Guide to the UK Partner Visa
When you are considering an unmarried partner visa in the UK and are in a long distance relationship, whether it is UK to the Philippines or UK to India, the priority for most couples is to sort out a UK partner visa so you can reunite and spend time together as a family. In this blog we explain how you can best secure a partner visa in the UK.
UK partner visa solicitors
For fast friendly advice from UK partner visa solicitors contact London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or use our contact form. Our specialist partner visa solicitors can advise you on the best way to secure a UK partner visa or, if you have had an application for a UK partner visa refused, we can look at your UK partner visa appeal options. Call us on 0203 959 9123.
Do I need a partner visa to enter the UK?
If you are in a relationship with a British citizen or your UK partner has Indefinite Leave to Remain and you’re from a non-EEA country you will need a partner visa, sometimes known as a 'de facto visa UK' to enter the UK. If you are from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein then you don’t need a UK partner visa to enter the UK.
Brexit and UK partner visas
After Brexit and the end of free movement UK immigration law may change so that the Immigration Rules on partners entering the UK are the same, whether you are an EU citizen or a non-EEA national. If you are worried about how Brexit may affect your relationship then call our Brexit hotline on 0203 959 9123.
Who is classed as a partner for a partner visa UK?
Many people assume that the only people who can apply for a partner visa UK are the husband, wife or civil partner of a British citizen or someone who has Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. However, the UK Immigration Rules say that an applicant can apply for a UK partner visa provided that:
You and your partner are both over the age of eighteen; and
You have met your partner in person; and
You have lived with your partner in a relationship similar in nature to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years; and
Your relationship with your partner is genuine; and
You intend to live permanently with your partner; and
Your previous relationships (and those of your partner) have broken down permanently.
If you can meet all of those eligibility criteria then you should come within the Home Office definition of ‘partner’ and thus be able to apply for a partner visa UK.
Can I apply for a partner visa whilst in the UK?
You can apply for a UK partner visa whilst in the UK provided that:
You aren’t in the UK on a visit visa ; and
You were given leave to remain in the UK for more than six months; and
You aren’t applying for a fiancée visa.
Can I switch visa to a UK partner visa?
If you were given entry clearance or a visa for six months or less, then you won't be able to apply to the Home Office to switch from your current visa to a UK partner visa. Instead you will need to look at your best immigration options to see if:
There is a visa you can switch to while still in the UK; or
You will need to leave the UK and then apply for your UK partner visa.
How much does my partner have to earn for a partner visa?
Even if you meet the definition of a ‘partner’, in order to qualify for a partner visa your UK based partner will need to earn a certain amount, or have enough money held in savings, to be able to bring you to the UK. The partner visa financial requirements are the same, whether you are applying for a partner visa UK from the Philippines, India, the USA or Pakistan or any other non-EEA country.
However, your UK based partner won't need to meet the partner visa financial requirement if they are in receipt of certain specified state benefits or if they have refugee status or have humanitarian protection.
For those couples who have to meet the partner visa financial requirements, the Immigration Rules say that you have to prove that your UK based partner earns a minimum annual income per year. The figure is gross income, before UK tax is taken off. The amount of the financial requirement depends on whether it is just you coming to the UK on a partner visa or if you are bringing dependent non-British children with you. The Immigration Rules say:
If you are coming to the UK on a partner visa on your own then your partner will need an income of at least £18,600 gross per year before tax; or
If you are bringing children with you then your partner will need to earn an extra £3,800 for the first child, and an extra £2,400 for each additional child.
Income can be a combination of:
Salary from Employment or drawings from self-Employment ; and
Pension payments; and
Maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; and
Investment income, for example, share dividends; and
Property income, for example, rental income.
If your partner’s income is less than the required figure they can use cash savings to help meet the partner visa financial requirement. The savings must have been held in your partner’s name for at least six months.
Do my savings and income count towards the partner visa financial requirement?
If you are applying for the partner visa from overseas then the Immigration Rules on helping meet the UK partner visa financial requirement are:
Your savings can count towards the financial requirement;
Your income will not count towards the financial requirement. (If you are in the UK at the time of your partner visa application then your earnings will count towards meeting the income financial requirement provided that your visa permits you to work in the UK).
Are there other partner visa requirements?
In addition to meeting the Home Office definition of ‘partner’ and the partner visa financial requirement you will also need to:
Have adequate accommodation; and
Pay the Immigration health surcharge; and
Meet the English language criteria or pass an English language test; and
Depending on the country you are from, have a valid TB test certificate.
How long does a UK partner visa last
Your UK partner visa should last for:
33 months if you apply from outside the UK; or
30 months if you apply for the partner visa from within the UK.
Can I renew a UK partner visa?
You can apply to renew your UK partner visa but you must:
Apply to renew your UK partner visa before your old visa expires; and
Still meet the eligibility criteria for a partner visa at the time of the renewal application.
You can renew a UK partner visa for up to two years and six months.
Can I settle in the UK on a partner visa?
A partner visa doesn’t last for ever. However, if you stay in the UK on a partner visa for five years then you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you have been in the UK on a different type of visa then a partner visa solicitor will be able to advise you on whether your time on that visa counts towards the five year residence requirement for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application.
Can my UK based partner ask you to apply for a UK partner visa for me?
Your UK based partner can ask a partner visa solicitor to prepare the partner visa application form for you. However, you will still need to have your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) taken at your local overseas visa centre.
Partner visa application next steps
As UK partner visa solicitors we know that for many couples the thought of making the partner visa application is very intimidating as you are worried about getting the paperwork right and making sure that you present the best evidence in support of your partner visa application. If you have questions about UK partner visas then OTS Solicitors are here to help you.
UK partner visa solicitors
If you don’t know where to start on making your own UK partner visa application or you are worried about getting an application made on behalf of your overseas partner right then call London based partner visa solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or use our contact form.
Our experienced partner visa solicitors can look at the best ways for you to secure your UK partner visa or, if you have had your application for a UK partner visa refused, we can look at your UK partner visa appeal options. Call us on 0203 959 9123.