UK family immigration: civil partnership visa

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The UK immigration law allows your civil partner to join you in the UK on a settlement visa as long as you meet the UK Border Agency (UKBA) 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 18 years of age in order to initiate the visa application process. 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 present 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 certain eligibility requirements to qualify for a UK civil partnership visa:

  • You must have met each other in person;
  • Your civil partnership must be recognised in the UK;
  • You intend to live together permanently in a genuine partnership;
  • You can support yourselves and any dependents without recourse to public funds;
  • You have arranged adequate accommodation for yourselves and any dependents;
  • Your partner may be required to pass a mandatory English test;
  • In some countries visa applicants are required to undergo mandatory medical (TB) screening.

Your partner must obtain permission to enter the UK, known as 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 in advance).

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 and a half years. If, towards the end of the probationary period, you are still in a relationship and continue to adhere to the requirements, your partner can apply for a further partner visa or extension to complete their five-year probationary period in the UK with an option to apply for residency (indefinite leave to remain or ILR) to stay in the UK permanently.


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