The Civil Partnership Visa offers a legal route for same-sex partners to join or stay with their significant other in the UK. This visa category recognises the legitimacy of same-sex relationships and is a crucial step towards equality. Applicants must meet several criteria, including proving a genuine relationship, fulfilling financial and English language requirements, and ensuring adequate accommodation.
This article will explore the process, providing clear, detailed information for those applying for a Civil Partnership Visa from within and outside the UK. Let’s get started.
Overview of the Civil Partnership Visa for Same-Sex Couples
The UK Civil Partnership Visa offers a dedicated immigration route for unmarried or same-sex partners of British citizens, Irish nationals, or those with settled status in the UK. Holders of a Civil Partnership Visa gain the right to live, work, and study in the UK, assimilating into British life while maintaining their partnership. Initially granted for a period of 2.5 years, this visa can be extended for another 2.5 years, making a total of five years.
Reaching this five-year milestone under a Civil Partnership Visa allows applicants to seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Attaining ILR is a significant step, as it opens the path to permanent residency in the UK, solidifying the couple’s long-term commitment to life in the UK.
Read more for information: UK Civil Partnership Visa Interview Guide 2023
Eligibility Criteria for Civil Partnership Visa
A fundamental criterion for the Civil Partnership Visa is the age of the applicants. Both partners must be at least 18 years old, reflecting the legal age of majority and the capacity for independent decision-making in the UK. This age threshold ensures both parties are mature enough to make informed decisions about their relationship and life in a new country.
Genuine and Subsisting Relationship
The authenticity and continuity of the relationship form the foundation of the application. Applicants must demonstrate the legitimacy of their partnership, showing that any previous marriages have been legally dissolved and that the current relationship is ongoing and not within the prohibited degrees of kinship.
The Home Office assesses evidence of a shared life, such as joint financial responsibilities, cohabitation history, and future plans in the UK. This criterion is crucial to prove that the relationship is not arranged solely for immigration purposes.
Partner’s Status in the UK
For a civil partner visa application to be successful, the UK-based partner must have a certain legal status. This includes being a British or Irish national, possessing indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or specific visas like the Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa. Moreover, partners with refugee leave or humanitarian protection in the UK are eligible sponsors.
Legality of the Partnership
The legal recognition of the civil partnership under UK law is vital. The partnership should either be formed in the UK or, if formed outside the UK, be in compliance with the provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This requirement ensures the relationship is legally binding and recognised by UK authorities.
The financial requirements for UK Family Visas are set criteria that applicants must fulfil to qualify for a family visa in the United Kingdom. This measure is in place to confirm that individuals joining family in the UK are financially self-sufficient and will not depend on public funds.
The financial threshold requirement for ALL family visas will be raised from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024, followed by increases to £38,700 by early 2025. This requirement is often changed by the UK government. For the most up-to-date info, visit our page on family visa financial requirements or contact us directly.
The living conditions in the UK are evaluated for suitability. The accommodation must not be overcrowded and should adhere to public health standards, ensuring a healthy and stable environment for the couple. This assessment confirms that the living arrangement is sustainable and meets UK living standards.
English language ability is required for successful integration and communication in the United Kingdom. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum proficiency level, typically at CEFR level A1, through an authorised English language test or by holding a degree taught in English.
This requirement aims to facilitate smoother adaptation to life in the UK, enhancing the applicant’s ability to engage in community life and access opportunities.
Also Read: UK Civil Partnership Visa Requirements
Visa Application Process Overview
Applying for a UK Civil Partnership or Fiancé Visa requires a strategic approach, combining accurate information submission with timely action. It begins with an online application, where detailed personal, relationship and future plan information is essential.
While submitting the application, you will need to pay the visa fee. The fees vary depending on whether you’re applying from within or outside the UK. The fee is £1,048 for in-country applications and £1,846 for applications from outside the UK.
The subsequent phase involves a biometric appointment, a standard but critical procedure in the visa journey, involving collecting your biometric data for identification purposes.
Processing times for these visas can fluctuate, often from a few weeks to several months, making planning important, particularly for those with time-sensitive relocation or marriage plans. For areas of uncertainty or complexity, consulting a solicitor experienced in UK immigration law can provide clarity and direction.
Also Read: UK Civil Partnership Visa Extension process
When applying for a same-sex partner visa, a comprehensive set of documents is required to substantiate your application. These documents play a crucial role in verifying the authenticity of your relationship and your eligibility to settle in the UK.
- Document including the name, country of origin, date of birth, and passport details of the partner. Proof of their right to live in the UK, such as a passport or settlement evidence, is also necessary. If applicable, details and documents related to any previous marriages, civil partnerships, or children of your partner, including divorce certificates or dissolution of previous partnerships, are required.
- Evidence of your marriage or civil partnership. This could be your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document. Additionally, proof of shared financial responsibilities, like joint bills or accounts, is vital. You may also need to provide evidence demonstrating the duration of your cohabitation, frequency of contact, and any caregiving responsibilities you have for each other.
- If you have children, their details are also necessary. This includes their identity, parental arrangements, and living situation. These details help in assessing the family unit as a whole.
- Financial Evidence such as pay slips, P60 forms from HMRC, employer letters, bank statements showing income, pension statements, or proof of savings. These records attest to your capacity to provide financially for your partner and yourself while residing in the UK.
- Additional documents include your present passport, previous passports with visa or entry stamps, BRP card, if you have one, any past applications for immigration, information about your criminal record, your UK National Insurance number, and your parents’ dates of birth and nationalities.
- If applicable, based on your country of residence, tuberculosis (TB) test results must also be submitted.
Collecting and organising these documents meticulously is vital to a smooth visa application process. It’s advisable to check for the most current requirements and ensure all documents are up-to-date and accurately reflect your circumstances.
You Ask, We Answer
The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.
Dr Bernard Andonian has over four decades of experience as a London-based UK Immigration Solicitor and was also a former immigration Judge. He has been awarded a PhD in Law from the University of West London for his in-depth knowledge of UK immigration and nationality law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts whilst representing clients in the UK, and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.