The Unmarried Partner visa (also known as the UK defacto visa) allows the unmarried partner to enter or remain in the UK on the basis that they are in a relationship with a person who is present and 'settled in the UK'. 'Settled in the UK' means that you are ordinarily resident in the UK with no immigration restrictions on the length of your stay.

The Unmarried Partner visa applies to both heterosexual and same sex relationships provided that you can prove that your relationship is subsisting and has been in existence for two or more years.

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If your application for an unmarried partner visa is successful you will be eligible to work in the UK as soon as the visa is granted.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Unmarried Partner visa you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You and your sponsoring partner must both be 18 years of age or over.
  • You and your partner must intend to live together on a permanent basis.
  • You must show that any previous relationship that you or your partner were involved in (whether it be as a married or an unmarried couple) has ended.
  • You need to show that you have been living with your partner for at least two years in a relationship similar to marriage. You will need to provide documentary evidence confirming this.
  • You and your partner must have sufficient funds to support yourselves (and any dependants) without claiming public funds.
  • Your unmarried GBR or settled partner must be earning at least £18,600 per annum or savings to be able to sponsor you. If also sponsoring children as dependents then the financial requirement will increase.
  • You must have suitable accommodation available for you, your partner and any dependants.
  • You must also satisfy the English language requirements

Duration of Stay

The unmarried partner visa will be initially issued for a period of 33 months (if applying from overseas) or 30 months if applying from within the UK. A further extension must be sought for an additional 30 months to take you to five years. Once you have spent a period of five years on a spouse probationary visa, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK provided that you are still living with your partner in the UK and can continue to meet the maintenance requirement as mentioned above.

Additional information

Entry Clearance

If you are seeking to enter the UK on the basis of your relationship with a 'settled person' you must apply for entry clearance before you enter the UK.

It is possible to switch to an Unmarried Partner visa while you are in the UK provided that you have leave to remain here on a visa that was granted for a period exceeding 6 months. Please note that you cannot switch into the Unmarried Partner visa category if you are already in the UK and were initially admitted to the UK for a period of less than six months - for example, as a visitor or a short-term student.

English language requirements for partners

All partners, spouses, civil partners, fiancés and prospective civil partners are required prove that they can speak and understand English. Therefore you will need to provide evidence with your visa application to show that you have passed an English language test with an approved test provider.

If necessary we can arrange relevant tests for most countries around the world - please contact us for more information regarding the English language requirements for UK immigration.


If you and your spouse have children who are under 18 years of age they are allowed to enter the UK as your dependants. You should make an application for your dependants at the same time that you make your UK spouse visa application. However, you must demonstrate income of a particular amount in order to enable sponsorship. This amount varies depending on the number of children being sponsored.

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