Immigration rules recognize the importance of the relationship of partners in a civil marriage on a par with the relationship between legal spouses.
What is the relationship between partners in a civil marriage?
In the light of the immigration rules and regulations of the European Union, the concept of “relationship between partners in a civil marriage” is interpreted as follows:
“Two persons living together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years may be considered partners in a civil marriage.”
These rules do not open the doors to the country for couples who have just started living together but provide an opportunity for those couples who have already lived together for a long time to enter or stay in the UK on this basis.
Who can apply on this basis?
Only the following persons can bring their civil partners to the UK:
- Person present and resident in the UK
- An EEA citizen exercising in the UK the rights granted by the Treaty of the European Union
- Certain categories of persons with a limited residence permit in the UK.
Let’s take a closer look at these categories:
Partners in a civil marriage of persons who are present and permanently residing in the UK
An applicant who has had a close relationship with a UK resident for two years is granted permission to reunite or accompany his partner in the UK.
For applicants from abroad, a visa is issued for 33 months, for applicants from the UK – for 30 months. In the future, this visa is extended for another 30 months.
Applicants are required to provide documentary evidence that they will be able to support themselves on their own, without resorting to government assistance, and have a firm intention to live permanently with their partners. The UK residence permit granted to them allows them to take up work or business for the entire duration of the residence permit.
Both must be at least 18 years old.
Having lived with their partner in the UK for 5 years, the applicant can apply for British citizenship, provided that he meets the requirements of other rules and regulations.
However, if the partners in a civil marriage at some point decide to get married, then in this case the applicant can apply for a spousal visa, which will be issued for 2.5 years. To obtain the right to permanent residence (ILR), the applicant must have lived in the UK for 5 years from the date of obtaining the unregistered partner visa.
The rules for victims of domestic violence apply to common-law partners.
Mandatory conditions for obtaining an Unmarried Partner visa
1) One of the partners must be resident in the UK
The applicant must provide proof that his / her partner is resident in the UK and has either British citizenship or permanent residency.
UK citizens who are abroad but intend to return to the UK are considered to be residing in the UK.
2) Both partners must intend to live together permanently
The applicant and his / her partner must demonstrate a commitment to permanently living together, and this requirement is mandatory for both parties.
The proof is the official letters of commitment from both partners confirming their intention to reside permanently at the address where the British partner owns or rented housing.
The visa officer can ask the applicant questions about the address, ask him to describe the place where the house is located, etc., to check the truth of his intentions.
3) Requirements for the minimum income of the sponsoring partner
The sponsoring partner must show that they have an annual income of at least £ 18,600. If there is one child, this amount will be £ 22,400 plus an additional £ 2,400 for each child if there are multiple children. The corresponding minimum will apply at all stages: initial application, renewal, permanent residence. (This requirement does not apply to children with British citizenship, citizenship of one of the EEA countries, or permanent residence in the UK).
An applicant for the Unmarried Partner category must prove that he or she speaks English at an A1 level or higher under the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Before applying for a visa, the applicant must pass a language test from the list approved by the Home Office.
Permanent Residence (ILR)
After 5 years of residence in the UK on an Unmarried Partner visa, the applicant is eligible to apply for permanent residency. To obtain permanent residency, the applicant must pass the Life in the UK test. The exception is made by persons over 65 years of age or with medical contraindications.
2. Partners in a civil marriage of citizens of the EEA countries exercising in the UK the rights provided by the Treaty on the European Union.
Civil partners can apply for a family permit and then apply for a UK resident card that will be tied to the partner’s status.
Those who are already in the UK and want to obtain a Residence Card as a civil marriage partner with an EEA citizen can do so in the UK.
In any case, the partners must be in a close relationship and have lived together for at least 2 years before the application, and must have strong documentary evidence of the sincerity of the relationship.
In addition to the above, the following factors should be taken into account:
- The issuance of an entry permit as a family member to a common-law partner is at the discretion of the immigration officer.
- Partners in a common-law marriage are allowed to apply for work or self-employment as long as their partner is exercising contractual rights in the UK.
- According to the European Economic Area Regulations 2006, civil partners can apply for a permanent residence permit after 5 years of residence in the UK.
The rules regarding victims of domestic violence apply to common-law partners of EEA nationals.
3. Civil partners of persons with a limited residence permit in the UK
Some people temporarily residing in the UK may invite their civil partners to be reunited/escorted to the UK. As a dependent person with a limited residence permit, a common-law partner may apply for work or self-employment for the duration of his / her residence permit (depending on the sponsor’s immigration category). Typically, applicants receive a visa that is valid for the same duration as the sponsor’s visa, and the applicant is expected to leave the country with the sponsor if the sponsor has no intention of settling in the UK. However, if the sponsor can settle permanently and submits an application to do so, persons dependent on him can also settle in the UK with the sponsor. In this case, the rules for victims of domestic violence do not apply.