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Family of a settled person visa

These visas are officially referred to as a “family of a settled person” and it makes it relatively easy for partner or spouses of British citizens to join them in the UK. There are a variety of relationships that qualify in this regard, so you should never feel put off from investigating your options just because your relationship is non-traditional.

With a spouse or partner visa you can work in the UK without restrictions

You can apply for this visa if you are married to a British citizen or a person who has settlement status in the UK (i.e. a person who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] or right of abode).

The visa, which is initially issued for a two-and-a-half-year period, allows you to work without restriction in the UK. You may also exit and re-enter the country multiple times. At the end of the two and half years, you will need to extend your stay in the UK for a further two and a half years.

After being on the spousal visa for a total of five years, you must submit evidence to the Home Office that you have been living together for that time, after which you may be eligible to apply for ILR.

In order to apply for the visa you and your spouse must:

  • Have met (not just online)
  • Be lawfully married to one another
  • Intend to live together permanently as man and wife
  • Ensure that the British citizen meets the financial requirement set out by the UK Visas and Immigration office

You may also apply for a UK visa as a dependant in any of the following circumstances:

  • You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds an ancestry visa
  • You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a student visa
  • You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a work permit
  • You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a Tier 1 visa

However, in all of these cases, you must apply for the visa outside of the UK, typically in your partner’s home country.

UK visa for an unmarried partner

You may apply for this visa if you are in a long-term relationship with a British citizen or a person who has settlement status in the UK. You and your partner must be able to provide evidence that you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for two years or more. The relationship may be a heterosexual or a same-sex relationship.

The visa allows you to work freely in the UK. In order to apply for it you must:

  • Be able to support yourselves, and any dependants, without recourse to public funds
  • Intend to live with your partner permanently

As with the marriage visa, the unmarried partner visa is initially issued for a two-and-a-half-year probationary period (five years if your partner is a citizen of an EEA country other than the UK). At the end of this period, you may apply for ILR provided that you are able to submit evidence that your relationship is genuine and that it will continue.

Contact one of our consultants to find out how we can help you to remain in the UK based on your relationship.

General visa criteria:

  • Married to, or are able to show that you have been cohabiting with, an eligible person for two years
  • Meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600 per annum
  • Intend to get married or become civil partners within six months

Eligibility and requirements

Married partner
You can apply for a UK spouse visa if you are lawfully married to a British citizen. This is the most common type of partner.

Unmarried partner
If you are in a long-term relationship with a British citizen, you can apply for a visa if you have been cohabiting for two years.

Fiancé
You can apply for a UK fiancé visa if you intend to get married or become civil partners within six months.

Couple sitting on the grass together

The financial requirements

If both the applicant and the British citizen are resident in the UK, then the requirement can be met by either partner. If the British citizen is resident overseas, then the earnings requirement must be met by them alone. If the cash savings route is taken, then it can be held jointly or separately. Essentially, one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Annual gross income of £18,600* (or the Pound equivalent)
  • Cash savings of £62,500* (or the Pound equivalent)
  • A combination of the above

* If children are included in the application, then these financial requirements increase accordingly.

Indefinite leave to remain
The UK spouse visa or partner visa counts as qualifying time in the UK towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Read more about indefinite leave to remain.

Specialist immigration advice and services

Partners of EU nationals

A European Union (EU) national can bring their spouse or partner to the UK on a six-month EEA Family Permit.

Understanding your EEA family permit

The EEA family permit covers two different partner statuses:

  • Married partner
  • Unmarried partner

The visa, which is initially issued for six months, allows the partner to work without restriction in the UK. You may also exit and re-enter the country multiple times.

In order to apply for the visa you must:

  • Have met (not just online)
  • Intend to live together permanently
  • Meet the financial requirement (see below)
  • Meet the English language requirement
  • Have satisfactory accommodation in the UK

You must apply for the visa outside of the UK in your home country.

During the six months, the partner or spouse can apply for an EEA Family Residence Card, which is valid for five years.

Specialist immigration advice and services

Partners of non-EU nationals

Many people are surprised to discover that a non-EU national can bring their partner or spouse to the UK on a dependant visa. This is only possible if the non-EU national holds a visa from some specifically designated visa classes.

You may apply for a UK dependant visa when you are married to (or in a long-term relationship with) someone who holds a valid:

  • UK Ancestry visa
  • UK student visa
  • UK work permit
  • UK Tier 1 visa

In all of these cases, you must apply for the visa outside of the UK, typically in your home country.

Specialist immigration advice and services

How you can qualify

The visa is initially issued for the same period as the length of time remaining on the main visa holder’s visa. The Home Office can refuse an application where this is a short period of time, although this is not specifically referred to. The visa allows you to live and work freely in the UK.

In order to qualify, you must fulfil all of the following requirements:

  • Be married to or in a long-term relationship of more than two years with an eligible visa holder
  • Intend on moving to the UK within six months
  • Intend to live together permanently

Specialist immigration advice and services

Extending your UK visa and indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

An extension of this visa occurs when the main visa holder applies for their own extension. If the main visa holder applies for ILR, then the partner can either qualify to apply for ILR (visa dependent) or would need to apply for a further extension.

 

UK spouse visa extension

When it comes to your spouse visa extension, you can only apply to extend their visa 28 days before it expires.

You can expect a decision on your extension application to arrive in roughly 12 weeks if you applied using the standard application. There is also a speed service which will give you a decision on your UK spouse visa extension within 24 hours.

 

Switch to a UK partner visa

If you are in a relationship with or married to someone who is British or has settled status in the UK, you may apply to switch to a partner visa from another visa.

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