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Partners and Children

Unmarried Partner visa (also known as the UK defacto visa) 

This page explains how to apply for permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as the unmarried/same-sex partner of a person who is settled here or applying to settle here. You may be part of the new Immigration Rules under the Appendix FM or part of the transitional arrangement.

The new Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules HC395 also impacts your stay in the UK as a PBS migrant. Our team can be contacted on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us on

The Unmarried Partner visa (also known as the UK defacto visa) allows the unmarried partner including same sex partners to enter or remain in the UK on the basis that they are in a relationship with a person who is present and 'settled in the UK'. 'Settled in the UK' means that you are ordinarily resident in the UK with no immigration restrictions on the length of your stay.

The Unmarried Partner visa applies to both heterosexual and same sex relationships provided that you can prove that your relationship is subsisting and has been in existence for two or more years. If your application for an unmarried partner visa is successful you will be eligible to work in the UK as soon as the visa is granted.

Click here to complete our visa assessment form and find out whether you meet the requirements of appendix fm. Every part of these requirements needs to be proven through documentary evidence, as well as simply filling in the forms. Our UK Immigration Lawyers work with you to find the right documents to evidence every part of this, and it’s essential that you have sufficient information about your relationships for the UK Visa and Immigration Team to deem it genuine. In many cases, applicants for Unmarried Partner Visas are also called for an interview, where they are questioned separately and their responses are compared. Our UK Immigration Lawyers have extensive experience with UK Partner Visas, and will prepare you at each stage of this process, so there will be no suprises on your partner visa application. 

How to meet the requirements of the un-married partner visa

To qualify for the Unmarried Partner visa you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You and your sponsoring partner must both be 18 years of age or over.

  • You and your partner must intend to live together on a permanent basis.

  • You must show that any previous relationship that you or your partner were involved in (whether it be as a married or an unmarried couple) has ended.

  • You need to show that you have been living with your partner for at least two years in a relationship similar to marriage. You will need to provide documentary evidence confirming this.

  • You and your partner must have sufficient funds to support yourselves (and any dependants) without claiming public funds.

  • Your unmarried British partner or settled partner must be earning at least £18,600 per annum or savings to be able to sponsor you. If also sponsoring children as dependents then the financial requirement will increase. 

  • You must have suitable accommodation available for you, your partner and any dependants.

  • You must also satisfy the English language requirements

Coming to the United Kingdom as an unmarried/same-sex partner

If you are subject to immigration control and you want to come to the United Kingdom in this category, you need to apply for an entry clearance. The impact on the new specified evidence and Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules HC395 needs to be met. If your application is successful, The Home Office will give you permission to live and work here for two and half years. This is called your probationary period. At the end of the two and half years, you may be able to apply to extend your leave and then after completing 5 years, you can then live permanently in the United Kingdom as the settled person's unmarried/same-sex partner - this is called indefinite leave to remain.

If you want to get married or register a civil partnership and switch into the category of husband, wife or civil partner during your probationary period, you should visit the section for Husbands, wives and civil partners, click here to read more information on this category. 

Switching from another category

If you entered the United Kingdom in a different category (for example, as a student), you may be allowed to switch into the category of unmarried/same-sex partner if The Home Office have given you a total of more than six months' permission to live here since your most recent admission to the United Kingdom. This permission must have been given in accordance with the Immigration Rules, not 'exceptionally' (outside the Immigration Rules). For example, if The Home Office gave you permission to enter for three months and then permission to remain for five months, you have been given a total of eight months - which means you can apply to switch into the category of unmarried/same-sex partner.

Your length of visa under the un-married partner visa

The unmarried partner visa will be initially issued for a period of 33 months (if applying from overseas) or 30 months if applying from within the UK. A further extension must be sought for an additional 30 months to take you to five years. Once you have spent a period of five years on a spouse probationary visa, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK provided that you are still living with your partner in the UK and can continue to meet the maintenance requirement as mentioned above. To read more information on applying for indefinite leave to remain as the un-married partner of a settled person, click here

Applying for your un-married partner visa from outside the UK

If you are seeking to enter the UK on the basis of your relationship with a 'settled person' you must apply for a visa before you enter the UK. It is possible to switch to an Unmarried Partner visa while you are in the UK provided that you have leave to remain here on a visa that was granted for a period exceeding 6 months. Please note that you cannot switch into the Unmarried Partner visa category if you are already in the UK and were initially admitted to the UK for a period of less than six months - for example, as a visitor or a short-term student.

English language requirements for un-married partners

All un-married partners are required prove that they can speak and understand English. Therefore you will need to provide evidence with your visa application to show that you have passed an English language test with an approved test provider.

Dependants under the un-married partner visa

If you and your un-married partner have children who are under 18 years of age they are allowed to enter the UK as your dependants. You should make an application for your dependants at the same time that you make your UK un-married partner visa application. However, you must demonstrate income of a particular amount in order to enable sponsorship. This amount varies depending on the number of children being sponsored.

Speak to ICS Legal by completing our visa assessment form, by clicking here

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