Bishop & Sewell

What are they?

British citizens or those who are settled in the UK may wish to be joined by their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner.

The requirements to be met by applicants under these routes are very similar. Those who are married or in a civil partnership must provide their marriage or civil partnership certificate and those who are unmarried partners will instead be required to evidence that they have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for the last two years.

What are the main requirements?

In order to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or settled person, applicants must also be able to demonstrate that:

  • they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship;
  • they meet the financial requirement; and
  • they meet the required level of English language (currently A1 of the CEFR).

The financial requirement, which is often the most complex requirement to satisfy, can be met in a number of different ways. Applicants must demonstrate that, as a minimum, their partner has an annual income of at least £18,600 or that the applicant and their partner have savings of at least £62,500.

It is important to note that the applicant’s own income can only be taken into account if the applicant is living and working in the UK lawfully. The financial requirement increases if any dependant children are to be included with the application.

How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?

Applicants submitting an application from outside of the UK will be granted leave to enter the UK for 33 months whilst those switching into this category from within the UK will be granted leave of 30 months.

Applicants can then apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 30 months, and as there is no maximum stay in the UK under this category, providing that an applicant continues to extend their leave they can do so indefinitely.

During their stay in the UK, applicants can work and change jobs without notifying the Home Office. They can also study, do voluntary work and leave and re-enter the UK as needed.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (otherwise known as ‘Settlement’)?

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held leave as a partner for at least five years. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test;
  • they continue to be in a relationship with their British or settled partner; and
  • since being granted leave in this category, they have lived in the UK with their partner.

How we can help?

The requirements for Spouse, Civil Partner & Unmarried Partner visas are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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