The UK Unmarried Partner Visa (also called the UK de facto visa) allows a person with a partner who is a British citizen or resident in the UK to initially reside in the country for up to 33 months.
What is the UK Single Partner Visa?
The UK Unmarried Partner Visa (or UK De facto Visa) allows an unmarried person with a partner who is a British citizen or resident in the UK to initially reside in the country for up to 33 months. To qualify, those in a de facto relationship must have been in a genuine relationship with their UK-based partner for at least 2 years. You will also need to meet all the eligibility requirements for a UK single partner visa listed in the article below. Applicants may be in an opposite or same-sex relationship to qualify for an unmarried partner visa.
Who can apply for an unmarried partner visa in the UK?
Foreign nationals can apply for an unmarried partner visa in the UK if they have been in a genuine relationship for at least 2 years (and remain so) with a partner who:
- Is a British or Irish citizen
- Possesses ILR, EU Settled Status or proof of permanent residency
Are from the EU or EEA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein) and have pre-settlement status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- A Turkish businessman visa or Turkish worker visa holder
- A person with UK refugee status or humanitarian protection
The immigration rules for unmarried partners also state that if an applicant does not meet the above requirements, she may still be able to apply:
- if it can be demonstrated that there would be significant difficulties for the applicant and her partner if they were to reside as a couple outside the UK, and these cannot be overcome
whether this would breach your human rights if you were unable to live in the UK or were asked to leave.
UK Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements
To apply for a single partner visa in the UK, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Both partners must be at least 18 years old
- Relationship Requirement: Both partners must have been in a real relationship for at least 2 years and must still be together.
- Both partners must intend to live together in the UK
- English Language Requirement: Speak English to the required standard
- Financial Requirement: Have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents
Partners wishing to apply for this route must be able to demonstrate that they have cohabited for the last 2 years in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership. The 2 year rule for an unmarried partner visa is necessary to meet the requirement of a genuine relationship. To demonstrate that you meet the relationship requirements, you will need to provide appropriate evidence of the UK unmarried partner visa that you have cohabited (see required documents below).
When considering your application, the Home Office will check that you have enough money to live on for the period of time you are in the UK. The Home Office specifies a minimum gross income requirement (i.e. before tax and national insurance) of:
- £18,600 for applicants without children
- An extra £3,800 for those with a child, and
- An extra £2,400 for each subsequent child
The financial requirement does not apply to any child who is a British citizen, EEA citizen, resident in the UK or eligible for ILR.
When calculating your annual income, keep in mind that this doesn’t just refer to paid work; other sources of income can be used, including:
- income earned from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK
- cash savings over £16,000
- money from a pension
- non-business income, for example, from property rental or dividends
To calculate how much your cash savings over £16,000 can reduce your income requirement, you simply:
- Step 1: Calculate the average amount of your savings over the last six months
- Step 2: Withdraw £16,000 from your average savings amount
- Step 3: Divide the remaining amount by 2.5 (2.5 is the number of years a partner visa will be issued for, so this ensures you have enough money for the entire visa period).
If you have £21,000 you can reduce your annual income requirement by £2,000. An amount of £62,500 would completely negate the minimum income requirement of £18,600.
If an applicant’s UK-based partner receives any of the benefits listed below or allowances on behalf of their child, she can meet the financial requirement through ‘adequate maintenance’ rather than the minimum income requirement. These benefits include:
- Companion allowance
- Subsistence allowance for disability
- Severe disability allowance
- Disability compensation for accidents at work
- Accompanying allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the
- Armed Forces Compensation Plan
- Constant attendance allowance, mobility supplement or war disability pension
- under the war pension scheme
- Police accident pension
English language requirement
Applicants who are over 18 and under 65 will need to meet the English language requirement. This can be met in one of 3 ways:
- Come from an English-speaking country – these include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
- Have a degree or other academic qualification that was taught in English.
- Pass an English language test of at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
UK Unmarried Partner Visa required documents
When applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be asked to provide a number of documents to prove your eligibility. These may include:
- your current passport
- a copy of your biometric residence permit (BRP)
- proof of your relationship including:
- your partner’s details, including their name, date of birth, nationality, passport, right to live in the UK
- evidence of your relationship with your partner showing when and how you meet and how often you see each other – any evidence provided should be less than 4 years old
- evidence of how long you have lived together – e.g. shared bills, mortgages, rental agreements, and other things you pay for together
- whether you provide care to your partner
- details of anyone your partner was previously in a civil partnership with or married to, or they had children with, including divorce certificates
details of anyone your partner provides financial support to
proof you meet the financial requirements, e.g.:
- bank statements showing you and your partner’s income and any cash savings
- 6 months of payslips
- a letter from the applicant’s or partner’s employer detailing the length of employment, role, pay, and confirmation that the payslips provided are genuine.
- evidence of income from other sources, e.g. pension, rental property
- details of any previous immigration applications you have made
- details of any criminal convictions
- national insurance number
- tuberculosis (TB) test results (only if required)
How to apply for an unmarried partner visa in the UK?
To apply for an unmarried partner visa, you will need to complete the following steps:
Complete the UK Single Partner Visa online application form. The form you need to use is different for applications made within1 the UK and for applications made outside2 the UK.
- Pay the required application fee and health surcharge.
- Make and attend an appointment with a UKVCAS or local visa application center to have your biometric data (fingerprints and photos) processed.
- Upload all documents necessary to support your request.
- If necessary, attend an interview with the Home Office.
Visa cost for unmarried partners in the UK
Single visa application fees are £1,048 per person if applications are made in the UK and £1,538 per person if applications are made outside the UK.
Other costs include the health surcharge of £624 per person per year or £470 for children. This will allow you to access the National Health Service in the UK.
Unmarried partner visa for ILR
Once you have resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years as an unmarried partner, you may be eligible to apply for ILR. As an unmarried partner applying for ILR, you must:
- Still have an ongoing relationship with your UK-based partner
- It still meets the financial requirements
- Have suitable accommodation in the UK
- Meet the English language proficiency requirements (at level B1)
- Pass the UK Life test
- Meet eligibility requirements, including no criminal convictions
Visa extension for unmarried partners
If you plan to stay in the UK, you will need to apply for an extension to your unmarried partner visa before the expiry date. If your extension is granted, you can remain in the UK for a further 2.5 years, after which you can apply for ILR.
To get an extension, you still need to meet the same criteria you met when you were granted your unmarried partner visa. This means you need to maintain the same authentic relationship with your UK-based partner and continue to meet the financial requirements. The only difference is that if you have passed an approved English language exam at CEFR level A1, you will now need to reach level A2.
For further information, see our article on how to apply for an indefinite residence permit.
UK Unmarried Partner Visa Rejected
Visas for unmarried partners in the UK can be refused for a number of reasons, including:
- Not meeting the requirement of a genuine and subsisting relationship
- Not meeting the financial requirement
- The Home Office believes you are not of good character
- Do not provide any information with the application
- Provide false or misleading information
- Not paying the correct entry fee
If your request is denied, depending on the circumstances, you may have several options, including:
- Request Administrative Review (AR) if an error was made by the Home Office in issuing a refusal
- Request for Judicial Review (JR) to challenge the legal basis of the decision
- Preparation and submission of a new application
- Preparing and submitting an application for a different type of visa
- Appeal if your request is made on the basis of your human rights
Can I get a single partner visa in the UK if I have been with my partner for less than 2 years?
If you do not meet the 2 year requirement, you may still be able to apply for a family visa if you can demonstrate that there would be significant hardship for you and your partner if you were to reside as a couple outside the UK, and these cannot be passed or would breach your human rights if you were unable to live in the UK or would be asked to leave.
Can I get an unmarried partner visa in the UK if I am in a long-distance relationship with my partner?
It is possible for a person living outside the UK and in a long-distance relationship to apply for an unmarried partner visa to join their partner in the UK. However, at some point they must have lived together for 2 years.
Can I get an unmarried partner visa in the UK if my partner and I don’t live together?
Unmarried partner visa applicants are not required to currently cohabit. The basic requirement is that at some point you must have lived together for 2 years. Therefore, you can apply from outside the UK to join your partner in the UK.