Being married or in a civil partnership to your British or settled partner is not the only way, to join him or her in the UK. The UK Immigration Rules allow for the unmarried partners(of at least two years) of persons in various immigration categories in the UK, to join their partners in the UK.
If your partner is a British citizen, you will have to fulfil the financial requirement. A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required to sponsor the settlement of the partner. If you are applying from within the UK, from a category that allows you to ‘’switch’’ the settlement route, £18,600 can be made up from the income of both parties, and it should thus be easier for you to fulfil the financial criteria.
If the partner present and settled in the UK is the holder of an Ancestry Visa or an EU national, you will not need to fulfil the minimum income criteria.
In cases where the partner is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 PBS holder, the maintenance requirement of those visas will have to be fulfilled.
A Relationship akin to Marriage
An important requirement to proof in this type of application is that you have to prove that you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for two years or more.
You will also need to prove that you intend to live together permanently in the future. Should you fail to provide this proof, your application will in all likelihood be declined.
To provide proof of your relationship and cohabitation, you would normally need utility bills covering two years, such as tenancy agreements, bank statements and other bills being posted to the same address. It should preferably be joint, but you can also be from separate accounts, as long as it shows the same address.
One of the many advantages of the Unmarried Partner Visa is that it allows a person to work in the UK without restriction. You will thus be able to be employed, be self-employed or combine the two.
Probably the single most important advantage for most people is that the type of visa is that it leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
If your unmarried partner visa is based on your partner’s Ancestral visa, the unmarried partner visa will be granted for the duration of the ancestral visa, and you can apply for ILR with the ancestral holder. However once ILR has been obtained you will only be able to apply for British citizenship if you have completed five years residence in the UK.
Unmarried Partners under Tier1 & 2 must complete five years as a dependent if the application is processed after 9 July 2012.
Unmarried Partners based on British citizens are granted for 30 months, after which an application can be made for an extension of another 30 months, which should take the applicant to the qualifying period of 60 months for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.