UK Unmarried Partner

/ Same-sex Partner Visa

An Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner Visa enables you to remain in the UK if you have been in a relationship for 2 years with:

You may also qualify for an Unmarried Partner Visa UK if your partner is outside the UK but intends to return to the country with you.

We shall need to show that this exclusive and committed relationship is akin to marriage or civil partnership.

Apply For An Unmarried Partner

UK immigration rules recognize the importance of same-sex relationships and common-law couples on the same basis as legal spouses. Even if you are not legally married or registered as civil partners, but wish to live in the country with your long-term partner, you may request for an Unmarried Partner Visa.

To apply for this kind of visa, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Fill in an online form for an Unmarried Partner Visa in the UK. The form you need to use differs for applications filed within the UK and outside the country.
  2. Pay the required application fees and immigration health surcharge.
  3. Where necessary, make an appointment at UKVCAS or a local visa application centre to provide biometric data (fingerprints and photographs).
  4. Upload all documents required to support your application.
  5. If relevant, respond to further document requests or interview by the Home Office.

What Is The UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

Unmarried Visa (also known as UK Defacto Visa) allows a person to live in the UK for 33 months (if applying from abroad) or 30 months (if applying from the UK) with an opposite-sex or same-sex partner who is a UK citizen or resident who qualifies as a Sponsor.

Formally, UK Unmarried Partner Visas belong to Family visas, which apply to unmarried couples, as well as children, parents, spouses, or civil partners.

Please note that you must be in a committed relationship with your partner living in the UK for at least 2 years and meet the specified requirements.

If your application for an Unmarried Partner Visa is successful, you will have the right to live with your partner and officially work in the UK.

Eligibility For Unmarried Partner / Same-sex Partner Visa

In order to obtain a visa under this category, you and your partner must be 18 or above and meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least two years at the time of the application, and your commitment is similar to married couple or civil partners.
  • You must meet the English language requirement.
  • You must be able to financially support yourself and any dependants. Read here the Financial Requirements
  • There must be adequate accommodation for you, your sponsor and any dependants.
  • You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK.

If there is any reason why you have not been able to cohabit, we may explain this with supporting evidence. For example, you cannot live together due to work, study, cultural, religious or other reasons.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK requirements

To qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you must prove that you meet all the requirements set by the Home Office and UKVI (UK visas and immigration).

Status of Sponsoring Partner

You may obtain an Unmarried Partner Visa if your partner meets one of the following requirements:

  • Is a British or Irish citizen.
  • Has Indefinite Leave to Remain in the country or Settled Status, which means they have permanent residence in the UK.
  • Has Pre-settled Status as an EEA national.
  • Has limited permission to remain as a Turkish Business person or a Turkish Worker in accordance with the ECAA Annex.
  • Has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
  • Has recognised stateless status in the UK.
  • Is a member of HM Armed Forces.

Age Requirements for the Unmarried Partner Visa

When applying for the Unmarried Partner Visa, both partners must be of legal age, that is, over 18 years.

Relationship Requirement

If you wish to apply, you and your partner need to prove that:

  • You know each other personally.
  • You have been in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for the last 2 years (if you lived together for 2 years some time ago, you need to prove that your relationship continues and that you plan to live together).
  • Your relationship is genuine and subsisting.
  • You intend to live together in the UK permanently.
  • Your previous marital or other relationship (if any) is permanently terminated.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa Financial Requirements

When considering your application, the Home Office will check whether you have enough funds to fully support yourself during your stay in the UK without resorting to public funds.

There are minimum annual income requirements (before tax and national insurance) for obtaining the Unmarried Partner Visa, which you must confirm before you receive your visa. The current income threshold to meet is £29,000 or £23,496 for HM Armed Forces personnel.

For existing Partner Visa holders on this route before 11 April 2024 and applying for Extension or Indefinite Leave to Remain, you may continue to meet the previous minimum income requirement of £18,600 under the Appendix FM transitional arrangements (up to a maximum of £29,000 including children):

  • £18,600 for applicants without children.
  • Additional £3,800 for those with one child.
  • Additional £2,400 for each additional child.

The financial requirement does not apply to children over 18 or those under 18 who are:

  • UK citizens 
  • Irish citizens
  • EEA citizens with pre-settled status
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain or Enter, or Settled Status holders 
  • Eligible under Part 8 or Appendix Armed Forces where the financial requirement does not apply.

When calculating your annual income, your salary from employment is taken into account, along with funds from other financial sources:

  • Income you receive from self-employment or as a director of a UK limited company.
  • Cash savings of over £16,000.
  • Pension payments.
  • Non-employment income, for example, from rental of residential/commercial real estate or dividends.

To calculate how much your cash savings over £16,000 could reduce your income requirement, you need to:

  1. Calculate the average amount of your savings over the last six months.
  2. Subtract £16,000 from average savings.
  3. Divide the remaining amount by 2.5 (the number of years the Visa is issued).

For Indefinite Leave to Remain, a more generous calculation applies where you may subtract £16,000 from the savings amount to meet the minimum income requirement.

For example, if you have £21,000 in savings, you can reduce the annual income requirement by £2,000. An amount of £88,500 will completely eliminate the minimum income requirement of £29,000. For existing Visa holders on this route before 11 April 2024 and applying for Extension or Indefinite Leave to Remain, cash savings of £65,000 or £34,600 respectively will meet the previous minimum income requirement of £18,600 under the Appendix FM transitional arrangements.

If the applicant's UK resident partner receives one of the benefits listed below, they may meet the financial requirement called adequate maintenance instead of minimum income requirements. Such benefits include:

UK Unmarried Partner Visa Residence and Language Requirements

The prerequisite for obtaining this type of visa is that one unmarried partner (Sponsor) must be permanently resident in the UK and have either British / Irish citizenship or ILR. British citizens who are abroad but intend to return to the country are considered UK residents.

Applicants over 18 and under 65 must meet English language proficiency requirements. That is, you need to prove that you speak English at a level not lower than A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

You can do this by obtaining a degree or other academic qualification taught in English, or by completing a qualifying English test from a test centre that is approved on the UK Home Office website.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa Document Requirements

When submitting your application, you will be asked to provide a number of documents confirming your eligibility for the Visa, namely:

  • Your valid passport.
  • Copy of your biometric residence permit (BRP) or existing Visa.
  • Proof that you will have adequate accommodation in the UK.
  • Proof that you meet financial requirements, examples would depend on your financial circumstances, including and not limited to:some text
    • Bank statements showing your and your partner’s income and any cash savings.
    • 6 months’ payslips or more, depending on the nature of your employment.
    • A letter from the applicant's employer or partner detailing the length of service, position, salary, and confirmation that the payslips provided are genuine.
    • Proof of income from other sources, such as pensions or rental property.
  • Information about previous immigration applications you have made.
  • Information about any criminal convictions.
  • National insurance number (if available).
  • Results of a tuberculosis test (TB) (if you are from a country where this procedure is required to apply for a visa).

In addition, the Home Office expects to see significant evidence of regular contact, joint responsibilities, emotional support and interest in each other's well-being, and that you are dependent on each other. It may require:

  • Your partner's details, including their name, date of birth, nationality, passport, and right to reside in the UK.
  • Evidence of your relationship with your partner, showing when and how you met, how often you see each other, etc. – any evidence provided must be recent, illustrating the depth and length of your relationship.
  • Evidence of how long you have lived together, such as joint bills, mortgages, leases, and other services you pay together.
  • Evidence that you are providing care to your partner.
  • Information about persons with whom your partner was previously in a civil/official marriage or had children, including divorce certificates.
  • Information about persons to whom your partner provides financial support.

All documentation not in English or Welsh is subject to mandatory certified translation.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK Cost

The price of the Unmarried Partner Visa depends on how you apply. It is £1,048 per person if you apply within the UK and £1,846 per person if you apply outside the UK.

You will also need to pay an extra £1,035 per person per year or £776 per child under 18 for the immigration health surcharge (IHS fee).

You can calculate the exact cost using this online calculator.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa Extension

If you wish to remain in the UK, you are eligible to renew your Unmarried Partner Visa. An application for Extension must be submitted before its expiration date. If you do not do this on time, you will be classified as an overstayer, and the Home Office will require you to leave the UK, which may jeopardise your immigration history.

For your application to be approved, you must meet the same criteria as when you received your original Unmarried Partner Visa and any newer policy changes. It means you must still be in the same genuine relationship with your UK-based partner and meet the relevant financial requirements. The only difference is that if you passed the English exam at the CEFR A1 level, you now must meet the A2 level.

If your application is successful, you can remain in the UK for a further 2.5 years, after which you are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Duration of the UK Unmarried Partner Visa

The validity period depends on where you are applying from. The Unmarried Partner Visa is valid for 33 months if you apply for the Visa from abroad, or 30 months if you apply from within the UK.

Switching to the Unmarried Partner Visa Route

An application for ILR as an unmarried partner can be made from the UK unless you are in the UK as a visitor or, with limited exceptions, have valid leave issued for no more than 6 months.

If you are coming to the UK with a Visitor Visa and want to stay with your partner, you must leave the UK and apply online for permission to enter as an unmarried partner from overseas in your home country.

You cannot apply for this Visa if your partner is temporarily in the UK on a Work or Student Visa; you will need to apply under the Dependent route under their respective Work or Student Visa category instead, which would involve different requirements. 

Employment on the Unmarried Partner Visa

The Unmarried Partner Visa gives you full right to work and study in the UK. This right applies to all visa holders. It doesn't matter whether you are applying from within or outside the UK, applying for a visa extension, applying to change your immigration status, changing to an Unmarried Partner Visa from another visa, or applying for a completely new Unmarried Partner Visa in Great Britain.

Indefinite Leave to Remain as an Unmarried Partner

For many people who strive to stay and live in the UK with their long-term partner who is a UK citizen, the Unmarried Partner Visa is the first step in the immigration route to obtaining ILR.

To become an ILR holder, you must have lived in the UK as an Unmarried Partner, enjoying the immigration benefits similar to a civil partner, for at least 5 years. If you wish to apply for the optional British Citizenship in future, you will need to show that you are already free from immigration time limit, i.e. have Indefinite Leave to Remain. Therefore, the 30 or 33 months’ validity of the initial visa alone is insufficient. Extending your visa for another 30 months may allow you to reach the five-year mark compulsory to attain ILR.

What if My Unmarried Partner Visa Application Faces Refusal?

If your visa application is rejected, you have the right to appeal within 14 days in you applied from within the UK or 28 days if you applied abroad, provided that you are not granted any other permission to remain in the UK when making the decision.

The appeal will be considered in the First-tier tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in the UK, with both in-country or out-country applications.

If you are in the UK, you and your partner can attend and give evidence in court. If you are out of the country, your partner and/or your Legal Representative may attend on your behalf. If necessary, you are allowed to provide a Witness a statement and present further legal arguments defending your Unmarried Partner Visa UK evidence. It is also possible to give evidence remotely if this is appropriate in your case.

Immigration appeals typically take many months to resolve, and the outcome can be uncertain. Read our guide on what to expect in an Appeal.

The best way to avoid the Unmarried Partner Visa appeal process is to submit the strongest possible application the first time. If you are nevertheless refused, seek legal advice and representation from qualified and experienced immigration professionals. It greatly increases the chances of your appeal being allowed without delay.

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How QC Immigration Can Help with Unmarried Partner Visa

There are many cases where clients approach us after independently applying for the Unmarried Partner Visa, which ended in a refusal. People who want to live with their partners in the UK are not always prepared for the complex procedure, alongside its many constant changes and pitfalls.

To prevent a Visa refusal or rejection, seek help obtaining your visa in advance from experienced specialists who will help you prepare all the documents, draft strong legal arguments where you may have special circumstances and successfully obtain a residence permit in the UK.

QC Immigration is an established UK immigration law firm that will assist you in obtaining the UK Unmarried Partner Visa.

Our lawyers are professionals with decades of expertise, and proven success rate. We are multilingual with global experience that give us a competitive advantage in the field of immigration law.

Using the services of our specialists, each client can be assured of:

  • Confidentiality.
  • Customised and unique approach to your specific situation.
  • Professional care for your case from start until finish.
  • Up-to-date and international knowledge of qualified specialists.
  • Reasonable prices.
  • Peace of mind.

We will assist you in preparing the necessary documents and completing an application for obtaining or extending an Unmarried Partner Visa. Our lawyers will support you at every stage of the application procedure and represent you in court if you file an appeal.

If you have any questions, contact us for a confidential consultation.

Successful examples of  our unmarried partner / same-sex partner visa work

An Australian client cohabited with her British partner in Australia and in the UK for less than two years, namely for 1 year and 11 months. We put forward legal arguments and asked the Home Office to exercise discretion and our client was granted a visa as the Unmarried Partner of a British citizen.

Our American client successfully switched from Tier 4 Student Visa to a Same-sex Partner Visa based on qualifying cohabitation with his British partner.

Our client from Hong Kong was successfully granted an extension as the Unmarried Partner of a British citizen in a timely manner.

Discover more


Where to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?
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The application is usually submitted online through the UK Home Office website. Thereafter, you will need to attend the Biometric Appointment at a local service centre or at the Visa Application centre (VAC) in your country.

How to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?
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To apply for this Visa, you must complete the online form, pay the fees, and if required, make an appointment at the visa centre to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph). It is also necessary to provide comprehensive documents confirming the genuine relationship with your partner and how you meet the other relevant immigration rules.

What is the difference between Unmarried Partner Visa and Spouse Visa?
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The main difference lies in the legal status of the relationship. The Spouse Visa is for married partners, and the Unmarried Partner Visa is for couples, including same-sex couples, who are in a long-term relationship of at least 2 years but not legally married.

How long does it take to get a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?
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For Entry Clearance applications outside the UK, they are usually reviewed within 12 weeks of submission. However, you can use the Priority visa service if you need to obtain a permit in a shorter time. Most visa centres offer this option, however the availability and cost may differ. Your application will be reviewed within 30 working days.

If you are applying in-country from the UK and want to either change your immigration status to an Unmarried Partner Visa or extend your stay on this visa, then you have several options. If you apply through the standard service, a decision will normally be made within 8 weeks. However, if you use the UK's Super Priority service, you will receive a decision within one day after submitting your biometric data.

How long can I stay in the UK with an Unmarried Partner Visa?
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Unmarried Partner Visa holders can stay in the UK for 33 months if the application was made outside the country, or 30 months if inside the UK. In addition, you have the right to extend your visa, and you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years.

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