Immigration rules for partners of British citizens who are not from the European Economic Area

Please note that this is not intended to be exhaustive immigration information. This is a brief overview of the main rules as published on the Home Office website (www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk).

Couples where one partner is a British resident can get approval for the other partner to come and live in the UK, but there are many conditions upon which this entry is dependent.

For those couples already in a Civil Partnership where one is a British resident

Conditions of partner's entry:

  • The couple have registered a civil partnership;
  • They are going to live together permanently as civil partners;
  • They have met each other;
  • The British partner must have a minimum gross income of £18,600 (changes from 9th July 2012). This figure is greater if they are also applying for any children.
  • They have adequate accommodation

The civil partner of the resident must obtain permission to enter the UK before travelling here. This is called entry clearance, and will take the form of a specific visa for married or civil partners of British citizens. To obtain it, the partner should apply to the British embassy in the country where he/she lives.

When the civil partner arrives in the UK, he/she will be given permission to live and work here for 2 years. At the end of the 2 years, if the couple are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together, the civil partner may apply for further rights to remain. They can apply to live here permanently after 5 years, if they are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together. At each of above stages the income level of £18,600 will apply, if the civil partner is working in the UK their income can be included.

For those couples who do not have a Civil Partnership but plan to have one, where one partner is a British resident

Conditions of this entry:
 

  • They plan to register a CP within a reasonable time (usually 6 months);
  • They plan to live together permanently after they have registered a CP;
  • They have met each other;
  • The British partner must have a minimum gross income of £18,600 (changes from 9th July 2012). This figure is greater if they are also applying for any children.
  • They have adequate accommodation

The proposed civil partner must obtain permission (entry clearance) to enter the UK before travelling here, even if he/she is a national of a country where there is normally no need for a visa to enter the UK. This will be in the form of a fiancée/proposed civil partner visa. To obtain it, he/she should apply to the British diplomatic post in the country where he/she lives.

If the proposed partner is already in the UK with temporary UK immigration permission (such as students) they will be able to register a civil partnership here. However, forming a civil partnership does not alter an individual’s immigration status. The couple will need to look into their options under UK immigration rules and in some circumstances under European regulations.

When the proposed civil partner arrives in the UK, the Home Office will grant them permission to stay here for 6 months, but they must not work. After they have registered the partnership, the partner may apply to stay here. If the Home Office approves the application, the partner will get permission to live and work here for 2 years. At the end of the 2 years, if the couple are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together, the partner may apply for further rights to remain. They can apply to live here permanently after 5 years, if they are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together. At each of above stages the income level of £18,600 will apply, if the civil partner is working in the UK their income can be included.

For those couples without a Civil Partnership who do not plan to have one, where one partner is a British resident (Unmarried partner rules)


Conditions of this entry:

  • Any previous marriage or civil partnership that either partner was in has permanently broken down;
  • They have both been living together as if in a Civil Partnership for at least 2 years;
  • They both plan to live together permanently;
  • The British partner must have a minimum gross income of £18,600 (changes from 9th July 2012). This figure is greater if they are also applying for any children.

The partner must obtain permission to enter the UK before travelling here. This is entry clearance and will usually be in the form of a visa for an unmarried partner. To obtain it, he/she should apply to the British diplomatic post in the country where he/she lives.

If they have followed the procedures correctly and fulfill the requirements for unmarried partners, when the partner arrives in the UK, he/she will be given permission to live and work here for 2 years. At the end of the 2 years, if the couple are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together, the civil partner may apply for further rights to remain. They can apply to live here permanently after 5 years, if they are still in a civil partnership and plan to live together. At each of above stages the income level of £18,600 will apply, if the civil partner is working in the UK their income can be included. 

 


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