1) One of the partners must be a resident of the UK
The applicant must provide evidence that his/her partner is habitually resident in the UK and has either British nationality or is habitually resident.
UK nationals who are abroad but intend to return to the UK are deemed to be resident in the UK.
2) Both partners must intend to live together permanently
The applicant and his/her partner must show a firm intention of living together permanently, a requirement which is mandatory for both parties.
Evidence is provided by formal letters of commitment from both partners confirming their intention to reside permanently at the address where the UK partner has his/her own or rented accommodation.
The visa officer may ask the applicant questions about the address, ask for a description of the place where the home is located, etc. in order to verify the veracity of their intentions.
3) Minimum income requirements for the sponsoring partner
The sponsoring partner must show that they have an annual income of at least £18,600. If there is one child this amount will be £22400 plus an additional £2400 for each child if there is more than one child. The appropriate minimum will apply at all stages: initial application, renewal, permanent residency. (This requirement does not apply to children who have British nationality, or one of the EEA nationalities, or permanent UK residency).
What counts as income:
An employee’s wages or self-employed income. The income of both the sponsoring partner and the applicant (or just the applicant) may be counted if the applicant is in the UK and eligible to work;
The regular income of the sponsor and/or the applicant which is not connected with employment (the applicant’s income is not counted if he/she is not applying in the UK);
The government or non-government pension (whether received in the UK or overseas) of the sponsor and/or the applicant;
any maternity or bereavement benefit(s) received in the UK by the sponsor and/or the applicant;
any savings of more than £16,000 which the sponsor and/or the applicant have had in their possession for at least the last 6 months and which they may use in their absolute discretion.
Sponsors in receipt of the UK Disability Living Allowance are exempt from the financial requirements.
Evidence of sufficient funds:
letters from employers;
financial documentation if the sponsor has a business;
proof of payment of taxes.
This is not a definitive list as proof of means can vary and other documents may be submitted depending on the circumstances.
Both partners must be able to fully support themselves and their dependants in housing (rented or owned) without recourse to public funds.
Evidence can be a rental agreement or certificate of title, and proof of a mortgage loan.
If possible, it is advisable to provide a letter from the local council regarding the number of rooms in the flat and the availability of the necessary facilities.
4) English Language
The Unmarried Partner applicants must prove that he/she has a good command of English at least at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The applicant must pass a language test from the Home Office approved list before applying for a visa.
Permanent Residence (ILR)
After 5 years of residence in the UK on an Unmarried Partner visa the applicant may apply for permanent residency. The applicant must pass the Life in the UK test to be granted permanent residency. Exceptions are for those over the age of 65 or who have medical contraindications.
From October 2013 applicants for ILR under this category must, in addition to Life in the UK, pass an English language test with a score of at least B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
They must also intend to continue living together with their partner and meet the financial and accommodation requirements.
Transition from another immigration category
If the applicant intends to come to the UK for the first time on the basis of a long-term partnership with a UK citizen or permanent resident, they must obtain an entry visa under the Unmarried Partner category.
If the applicant is already in the UK on any valid visa issued for more than 6 months (other than a visitor’s visa), they are entitled to change to an Unmarried Partner visa without leaving the country.
When applying for such visas, particular attention should be given to the selection of necessary documents, as each case is different. Therefore, in such cases, we recommend that you contact an immigration officer.
2. The common-law partners of EEA nationals who are exercising their rights under the Treaty on European Union in the United Kingdom.
Common-law partners can apply for a family permit and then apply for a UK resident card, which will be linked to the partner’s status,
Those who are already in the UK and want a Residence Card as a common-law partner of an EEA national can do so in the UK.
In either case, the partners must have been in an intimate relationship and have lived together for at least 2 years before applying, and must have strong documentary evidence of the sincerity of the relationship.
In addition to the above, the following factors must be taken into account:
It is at the discretion of the immigration officer to grant entry as a family member to the common-law partner.
Common-law partners are allowed to take up employment or self-employment as long as their partner exercises contractual rights in the UK.
Under the EEA Regulation 2006, common-law partners can apply for permanent residence after they have lived in the UK for 5 years.
The Domestic Abuse Rule applies to common-law partners of EEA nationals.
3. The common-law partners of people who have limited leave to remain in the UK
Some people who are temporarily resident in the UK can bring their common-law partner to the UK to be reunited/accompanied. As a dependent of the person with limited leave to remain, the common-law partner may take up employment or self-employment for the duration of his/her leave to remain (depending on the immigration category of the sponsor). Generally, applicants are granted a visa that is the same validity period as the sponsor’s visa and the applicant is expected to leave the country with the sponsor if the sponsor has no intention of settling in the UK. However, if the sponsor is able to settle permanently and makes an application to do so, dependants may also settle in the UK with the sponsor. The rules relating to victims of domestic violence do not apply in this case.