UK family immigration: civil partnership visa
The UK immigration law allows your civil partner to join you in the UK on a settlement visa as long as you meet the strict eligibility requirements for sponsorship. There are a number of rules and regulations that enable your partner to settle with you in the UK and this section will give you some clarification as to whether or not your situation is compatible with the official requirements.
You and your partner must be at least 21 years of age in order to initiate the visa process. This reflects an increase from 18 years of age since November 2008 as part of the UK Immigration department crackdown on enforced marriages. You, as the sponsor, must be either a British Citizen, or lawful permanent resident of the UK permitted to remain in the UK indefinitely. To be considered a UK permanent resident, you must be allowed to live and work in the UK without restrictions. The qualifying sponsors other than British Citizens by birth or naturalisation, must hold an indefinite leave to remain or right of abode in the United Kingdom. You must be currently living and settled in the UK or returning to the UK with your partner with the intention to live in the UK permanently.
Your partner also needs to meet the UK civil partnership and partner visa application rules in order to qualify for a visa. These include –
- Registering a civil partnership recognised in the UK;
- That you have met each other in person;
- You can support yourselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds;
- You will live together permanently;
- You have arranged adequate accommodation for yourselves and any dependants.
Your partner is required to obtain permission to enter the UK, called entry clearance, prior to travelling to the UK. This is regardless of whether or not they are a national of a country that does not usually require a visa to enter the UK. The entry clearance can be obtained from a British visa-issuing post in their country of normal and legal residence well in advance of their intention to travel (typically three months).
If your partner is able to conform to the immigration requirements as outlined above, he or she will more likely be given the permission to live and work in the UK for two years. If, towards the end of the two year probationary period, you are still in the same relationship and continue to adhere to the requirements, he or she can apply for an indefinite leave to remain to stay in the UK permanently.
In some cases the initial two year period is automatically extended to permission to live in the UK permanently, without obligating your loved one to complete two years in the UK prior to applying for permanent residency. If you have been in a civil partnership and you can prove that you have been living with your partner outside the UK for at least four years, your partner can be granted an indefinite leave to enter (ILE). In most cases, however, its holder will be subject to the Knowledge of Life in the UK, otherwise known as the KOL, requirement. In general, foreign nationals can satisfy the KOL requirement in one of the following two ways:
- Taking the 'Life in the UK' test (if the applicant already has the required standard of English language), or
- Taking an approved English for Speakers of Other Languages course (ESOL) including specific citizenship content.
It should be noted that both the 'Life in the UK' test and the approved ESOL courses can only be taken in the UK. However, if your partner is granted a 2-year visa with KOL condition, he or she can, at any point, satisfy the KOL requirement in the UK and immediately apply for indefinite leave to remain without completing the probationary 2-year period in the UK.
<<< back to previous page or read next: UK settlement visa processing time
Applications are dealt with by a senior immigration consultant with over 10 years of professional immigration experience handling fiancee, partner and marriage visas. Contact our UK visa department today!