Unmarried Partner Visa UK – Guidance on Requirements You Need to Meet
Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner visa for UK helps non-EU applicants who are not married but in a relationship with the British or Settled person in the UK. There are several important requirements you must meet, including the minimum income threshold, accommodation requirement, English language requirement and relationship requirements. When you first start to fill in the applications forms and collate the required documentation, the amount of evidence you must provide for an Unmarried Partner Visa can seem overwhelming.
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Instructing an experienced immigration lawyer in London is a worthwhile investment, as they can help you with the process, greatly enhancing your chance of success. Below is an explanation of the four main requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa and how you can ensure you meet them.
The Minimum Financial Threshold for an Unmarried Partner Visa
The most controversial requirement for all partner visas, including Spouse/ Civil Partner and same-sex couples is the minimum financial threshold the sponsoring spouse, i.e. the one who is settled in the UK or a British Citizen, must meet. Currently, the sponsoring partner must earn £18,600 per annum. This increases to £22,400 if there is one child who will also be coming to the UK, £24,800 for two children and £27,200 for three children.
It is estimated around 40% of British Citizens would be unable to meet the minimum income requirement. Refusals of Unmarried Partner Visas for failing to meet this requirement have resulted in thousands of Skype families, so-named because the relationship can only be maintained via Skype.
However, the Home Office has recently loosened the minimum income requirements and caseworkers now have the discretion, in some cases, to consider third-party funding. In addition, the best interests of any children who are part of the application must also be considered.
To prove you can meet the minimum income requirement, it is imperative to include supporting documents such as pay slips and an employment contract within your application. If you wish to have third-party funding considered, it is possible immigration officials may want to interview them to ensure they can provide long-term support and the relationship between you is unlikely to change.
The Accommodation Requirement
To successfully obtain an Unmarried Partner Visa, you need to show that you and your partner have a suitable place to live in the UK.
The term ‘adequate accommodation’ is not defined, but Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules now reflects the Home Office’s pre-existing guidance and provides that accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if:
- it is, or will be, overcrowded, or
- it contravenes public health regulations
In addition, part of the property you plan to live in must be for the exclusive use of your family (this could be just a bedroom).
Problems can arise if you are renting accommodation in a house which is in multiple occupations (HMO), which is defined as “house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household”. This covers hotels and hostels, as well as houses, lived in by two or more family units or by a couple (and their dependent children) living with the parents or other family members of one of them. If you are living in or plan to live in an HMO, you must provide ample evidence that it is not overcrowded.
Supporting documents which can show you have adequate accommodation include:
- A copy of the property deeds
- A rent book and/or tenancy agreement
- A letter from the local authority or housing agency
The English Language Requirement
When submitting your application for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you will need to provide evidence that you either meet or are exempt from the English language requirement.
The minimum level of English language required to gain entry into the UK on an Unmarried Partner Visa is set at level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). Level A1 is described as follows in the relevant IDI:
‘The level of a basic speaker, who can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases. They can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer basic questions e.g. where they live and the people they know. They can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.’
To show you meet the English language requirement you will need to provide evidence that you are either the national of a majority English-speaking country, have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum level of A1 CEFR or, from 1 May 2017, A2 CEFR (if applicable) with a Home Office-approved provider at an approved test centre, or have an academic qualification which fits in with Home Office English-language requirements.
The Relationship Requirements
You will need to show you and your partner are in a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’ and you intend to live permanently with one another.
Documents which can be submitted to prove this include:
- Evidence that you live together, shown by way of a tenancy agreement, utility bills
- Bank accounts showing shared finances
- Evidence you have visited each other’s families and countries
- Letters, emails, phone records which show you kept in contact when apart
The above requirements are not exhaustive and are designed for information purposes only. For expert legal advice, please contact our offices to instruct one of our lawyers. We have a strong track record of successfully obtaining Unmarried Partner Visas for clients, even if their individual situation is slightly complicated.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.