Unmarried Partner Visa UK Guide for 2024 [STEP-BY-STEP]

13 steps you can follow to process your own unmarried partner visa in 2024

step 1
Check that the UK unmarried partner visa is right for you and your partner

What is a UK unmarried partner visa in 2024?

#1 A UK unmarried partner visa will allow the applicant (“the person applying”) to enter and/or remain in the UK with the sponsor (the “UK partner”).


#2 A UK unmarried partner visa will allow the applicant to either extend their stay in the UK based on their relationship with their partner OR switch into the partner visa category from another visa type.

An example of an unmarried partner ‘extension’ application

Patrick is a New Zealand national and has lived with his British partner, Hazel, for 6 years.

In 2021, Patrick applied for an unmarried partner visa from New Zealand and was granted a 33-month unmarried partner visa (which is sometimes referred to as a ‘UK spouse visa’).

In 2024, Patrick will therefore apply for an unmarried partner visa extension.

The unmarried partner visa application form that Patrick will use to extend his first visa will be the FLR(M) form.

For more information relating to FLR(M) applications, check out our “FLR M Visa 2024 Guidance: Extension of Spouse visa” article.


An example of an unmarried partner visa ‘switch’ application

Harry is currently in the UK on a Student visa.

Since Harry has lived with his partner, Sam, for longer than two years, he can consider making an unmarried partner visa application from inside the UK.

Since he is not currently in the UK on a partner visa (rather, he is in the UK on a Student visa), he can apply to ‘switch’ into the partner visa category by submitting an unmarried partner visa application from inside the UK via the FLR(M) form.



#3 A UK unmarried partner visa application will allow the applicant to work in the UK.

This is the case regardless of whether the application is made from inside the UK or from outside the UK.


#4 A UK unmarried partner visa can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship.

The following is the typical route to British citizenship under the UK unmarried partner route:

UK unmarried partner visa (33 or 30-month visa depending on whether an in-country or out of country application is made) -> UK unmarried partner visa (30-month visa) -> Indefinite Leave to Remain -> British Citizenship.


#5 The applicant will not be able to claim most UK benefits whilst in the UK on an unmarried partner visa.


Where can I find the UK unmarried partner visa application forms?

If you are making the application from outside the UK, click the link on this page under the sub-heading ‘Outside the UK’.

If you are making the application from inside the UK, click the link on this page under the sub-heading ‘In the UK’.


How much will a UK unmarried partner visa cost in 2024?

If you are making the application from outside the UK

#1 You will have to pay the Home Office processing fee of £1,846.

As we discuss in our unmarried partner visa UK fee and costs in 2024 article, this is the amount that you will have to pay the Home Office to process your visa.


#2 You will also have to pay £3,105 for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

Unfortunately, this is a compulsory fee.

All applicants are expected to pay this – even if they have already paid substantial amounts of UK tax.


If you are making the application from inside the UK

#1 You will have to pay the Home Office processing fee of £1,048.

This is slightly cheaper than if you were to apply from outside the UK.


#2 You will also have to pay £2,587.50 for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

Again, this is a compulsory fee.


What about other costs?

There are some other costs that you should be aware of.

#1 Immigration Lawyer fees normally range from £1,000-£3,000+.

Our full legal representation is primarily offered by Ed Lowe who has worked at the very heart of the Home Office as a senior Home Office manager.

Our fee for full legal representation is £2,250.

With this being said, thousands of applicants process their unmarried partner visas every year without an immigration lawyer.

Hiring an immigration advisor is not for everyone, since many partners are willing to take the time to familiarise themselves with the relevant immigration rules and submit the application themselves.

It is for such partners that our unique unmarried partner visa DIY application pack service comes in useful.

In short, our £435 DIY Application pack service will provide you with a tailored written guidance (including a detailed document checklist and set of letter templates) that are made according to the information that you provide us – saving you time and money.

uk spouse visa full legal representation


#2 Translation of documents.

If you have to submit certain important documents that are not in English or Welsh, these will need to be translated.

We discuss this in more detail, as well as discussing when documents should be translated, in part 3 of our free video series.

Whilst different translation companies charge differently, in the UK, the average cost of this is between £80-£120 per document.


#3 Premium (optional) Home Office fees.

If you want your visa to be processed faster than the standard service times (2-3 months for out-of-country applications & 6-8 weeks for in-country applications), you may have the option of paying extra for a priority or super-priority service.

As we discuss in our unmarried partner visa UK processing time in 2024 article, for out-of-country applications, the priority service for UK unmarried partner visa applications will cost an additional £500 on average (depending on the current exchange rate used).

For in-country applications, the super-priority service will cost an extra £1,000, and reduces the processing time to one working day.


What are the Unmarried Partner Visa UK Requirements in 2024?

For your UK unmarried partner visa application to be successful, the following unmarried partner visa UK requirements in 2024 must be met:

  • You must show that the applicant falls within the definition of an ‘unmarried partner’;
  • You must show that the applicant and sponsor are in a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’;
  • The applicant must satisfy the relevant English language requirement;
  • If you are making an out-of-country application and are a resident of one of the listed countries, the applicant may have to take a Tuberculosis(TB) test;
  • You must show that you satisfy the financial requirement;
  • You must prove that the accommodation in the UK will be adequate; and
  • The ‘suitability’ requirements must be met.

Before we discuss each of these requirements, there are some other things that you should consider before applying. 

step 2

Make sure you know whether you are applying from inside or from outside the UK

“Why is it important to know whether the application is being made from inside the UK or from outside the UK?”

It is important to know because the following will vary:

  • The required documents;
  • The relevant application;
  • The requirements;
  • The process; and
  • The costs.

First of all, if the applicant does not have a visa that allows them to be in the UK, the application must be made from outside the UK.

Example

Ali is a French national.

Since he has never been issued a UK visa, he will have to submit the unmarried partner visa application from outside the UK.

Second of all, if the applicant is in the UK on a UK visitor visa or is in the UK as a non-visa national, they will be expected to return to their home country (or country where they hold any type of long-term residency) and then submit an application there.

Example

Marcos is a US national and has visited the UK several times.

Since Marcos is considered to be a non-visa national, he can visit the UK for up to 6 months without having to apply for a UK visa.

However, if Marcos wants to apply for a UK unmarried partner visa, he will be expected to return to the US and make an application there – he cannot submit a UK unmarried partner visa from inside the UK.


“My partner does not have a UK visa but I (the British national), will submit the documents in the UK on behalf of my partner – is the application being made from inside or from outside the UK?”

The application must still be made from outside the UK.

Although it is most commonly the UK partner that deals with the majority of the visa application, technically, since it is the applicant that is applying for the visa, the visa will have to be made from outside the UK.

step 3

Make sure you know when to submit the application

If you are applying from outside the UK, you can skip this step as this is normally just a question of convenience for you – as long as the unmarried partner visa requirements are met.

However, if you are applying from inside the UK, you must know when you should submit the application.


For applications that are being submitted from inside the UK

For applications that are being made from inside the UK, the relevant application is called the FLR(M) application.

It is very important to know when you should submit the FLR(M) visa, as getting this wrong can cost you a lot of unnecessary hassle, time & money.

Knowing what the ‘date of application’ means here is crucial.

What is the ‘date of application’?

The ‘date of application’ for unmarried partner visa applications is the date that the Home Office fee (on the online application form) is paid. It is at this point that the application is submitted.

This is an important concept to grasp for several reasons. We discuss this further in part 1 of our free video series.

#1 The ‘date of application’, if the application is being made from inside the UK, must be before the applicant’s current UK visa or leave expires.

If the applicant makes the application from inside the UK after their current UK visa expires, they may become what is known as an ‘overstayer’.

This can have an incredibly bad impact on all future UK visa applications.

Furthermore, although unlikely, being an ‘overstayer’ may result in criminal proceeds being brought against them.

This is something that you really should avoid if at all possible.

“What if the date of the visa appointment is after the expiration of the UK visa or leave?”

This is perfectly OK – if the in-country application is made before the expiration of the current visa. or leave.

This is because of what is known as ‘Section 3C leave’.

The effect of Section 3c leave is that the applicant’s current visa or leave will automatically be extended until a decision has been made on their application (or if they withdraw the application).

Please remember, Section 3c leave will only apply if the applicant applies before the expiration of their current visa or leave.


Example

Peter is currently in the UK on a Skilled worker visa which expires on 8 July 2024.

If Peter pays the Home Office fee on the online application website before 8 July 2024, this is perfectly OK as Section 3C leave will automatically extend Peter’s visa until the unmarried partner visa has been decided (or until it is withdrawn).



#2 If the applicant is currently in the UK on an unmarried partner visa (otherwise known as an FLR (M) visa), they should normally avoid submitting the application earlier than 28 days of their current visa expiring.

One reason for this is what is commonly known as the ‘5-year qualifying period’.

The 5-year qualifying period relates to the amount of time that you have to be in the UK on the partner visa route to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

If the applicant applies when there are more than 28 days before the expiration of their current visa, they may have to apply (& pay) for an unnecessary additional unmarried partner visa to reach the required 5 years qualifying period.

Furthermore, it has long been the case that Home Office correspondence states that the extension application should be submitted within 28 days of the visa or leave’s expiry date.

“How should I count dates to ensure that the application is made within 28 days? “

We like to use this website to easily calculate days between two dates.

One suggestion is to treat this 28-day rule as a 26-day rule.

This may prevent you from miscalculating dates and accidentally exceeding 28 days.

step 4UK Unmarried Partner Visa Relationship Requirements

 

#1 The applicant must have lived with the sponsor for at least two years in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership.

This is an important requirement for you to consider.

Essentially, you will be required to provide supporting documents that you fall within the definition of a partner in Appendix FM.

unmarried partner visa uk requirements in 2019

Unfortunately, there is a lack of published Home Office guidance regarding the two years cohabitation requirement.

What we know largely comes from our advisors’ many years of experience working for the Home Office.

First, the two years cohabitation requirement is often strictly enforced.

If, for example, based on the evidence submitted, you and your partner are only able to evidence 1 year and 10 months cohabitation, please note that there will be a substantial risk of refusal.

Second, simply living together for two years does not suffice alone as the living together for two years must have been “in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership”.

Following from this, we know that some Home Office caseworkers do not tend to count cohabitation that took place when one partner was in that country as a visitor towards the two years cohabitation requirement.

Third, the evidential threshold for the two years cohabitation is rather high. You will be fully expected to provide fairly comprehensive evidence regarding cohabitation.

Fourth, please note the words ‘date of application’ in the above definition of an unmarried partner. The date of application is the date that the Home Office fees are paid on the online application and is the point at which two years cohabitation in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership must have taken place.

For more information about the two years cohabitation requirement, you may find our discussion on this in part 1 of our free video series helpful. Here, we also discuss the options available to you if the two years cohabitation is not met, or if you are unsure whether it is met.


#2 The applicant and sponsor must have met in person.


#3 The applicant and sponsor must be aged 18 or over when they apply.


#4 The sponsor must one of the following:

  1. A British or Irish Citizen; or
  2. ‘Present’ and ‘Settled’ in the UK; or
  3. Someone who has been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme; or
  4. Someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (& started living in the UK before 1 January 2021);
  5. In the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.

If the sponsor has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or if they are an EEA national or non-EEA family member with a permanent right of residence in the UK (or has been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme), the sponsor will be considered as being ‘settled’.

In relation to the ‘present’ requirement, sponsors who are overseas but will be returning with the applicant if an out-of-country partner visa application is granted will be deemed to be present in the UK.


#5 The applicant and sponsor must not be related in a way that is not permitted by the Home Office.

If the applicant and sponsor are not related in any way, then read on as this will not affect your application.

We have summarised relationships that are not permitted below:

The Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986

This does not allow for marriages between the following:

  • Mother of former wife, until the death of both the former wife and the father of the former wife;
  • Former wife of son, until after the death of both his son and the mother of his son;
  • Father of former husband, until after the death of both the former husband and the mother of the former husband;
  • Former husband of daughter, until after the death of both her daughter and the father of her daughter.

The Marriage Act 1949 does not allow for marriages between the follow relationships:

Prohibited degrees for a woman

  • Son;
  • Father;
  • Brother;
  • Father’s brother;
  • Son’s son;
  • Brother’s son;
  • Daughter’s son;
  • Mother’s brother;
  • Sister’s son;
  • Mother father;
  • Father’s father;

Prohibited degrees for a man

  • Mother;
  • Daughter,
  • Sister’s daughter;
  • Daughter’s daughter;
  • Brother’s daughter;
  • Son’s daughter;
  • Mother’s mother;
  • Father’s mother;
  • Mother’s sister;
  • Sister; and
  • Father’s sister.

#6 The applicant and sponsor must intend to live together permanently in the UK.

For out-of-country applications, simply expressing this intention normally suffices.

For unmarried partner visa extensions, this may be an issue where one or both partners have spent a substantial amount of time outside the UK. Whilst there are no set number of days permitted outside the UK on a UK unmarried partner visa, the reason for spending time outside the UK here will be very relevant.


#7 You must prove to the Home Office that the applicant and sponsor have a ‘genuine’ and ‘subsisting’ relationship.

There are two things that you should focus on.

i) Discuss the development of your and your partner’s relationship in your letter of supports; and

ii) Make sure you include enough relevant supporting documentation.

In addition to providing you with tailored written guidance and letter templates, our DIY Application Pack Service discusses our recommended approach to evidencing the genuine and subsisting relationship requirement via our detailed document checklists.


#8 You must evidence that any other legally recognised relationships of the applicant and/or sponsor must have broken down permanently. 

The required documentation depends on the particular circumstances.

Most commonly, this provides submitting a copy of a decree absolute (or an overseas equivalent) or a death certificate for previous marriages.

unmarried partner visa uk DIY Application pack

step 5Unmarried Partner Visa English Language Requirement

You must provide evidence that the applicant satisfies the English Language Requirement.

The evidence that you must provide depends on how you satisfy the English language requirement.

#1 Passing an English language test.

The minimum accepted level for a first-time unmarried partner visa application is a minimum of Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

This is the case for both out-of-country and in-country unmarried partner visa applications.

If, however, an application is being made from inside the UK and the applicant has already been issued one unmarried partner visa, the required minimum level will be A2 of the CEFR.

It may also be worth noting now that B1 is the minimum level for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application that is normally made after 5 years.

If the applicant sits a higher level test than what is required for the unmarried partner visa application, this can save you money and time – as long as the applicant’s English language ability in speaking and listening is good enough.

This is because, as long as the subsequent applications are submitted in a timely manner, you will be able to reuse the same English language test certificate to satisfy the English language requirement for future applications.

At the moment, the two most commonly relied-on approved English language tests that are on the List of Home Office Approved Secure English language tests (SELT) in 2024 are:

Before booking your test, you should make sure that the test centre is contained in the list of Home Office approved test centres which can be found at this link. We discuss this in part 1 of our free video series.


#2 Having a Bachelor’s, Masters or a PhD degree.

Academic Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degrees that were awarded from inside the UK will normally satisfy the English Language requirement.

English-taught Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degrees that were awarded from outside the UK will need to be supplemented with additional documentation from Ecctis (previously known as UK NARIC) to satisfy the English language requirement.


#3 Being a national of a ‘majority English speaking country’.

If the applicant is a national of any of the below-listed countries, they will automatically satisfy the English language requirement.

The countries are as follows:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Australia;
  • the Bahamas;
  • Barbados;
  • Belize;
  • The British Overseas Territories;
  • Canada;
  • Dominica;
  • Grenada;
  • Guyana;
  • Jamaica;
  • Malta;
  • New Zealand;
  • St Kitts and Nevis;
  • St Lucia;
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • Trinidad and Tobago; or
  • the United States of America.

These countries are classed as ‘majority English speaking countries’ by the Home Office.

You simply have to submit your passport with the required nationality to satisfy the English Language Requirement in this case.


#4 The applicant will not be required to meet the English language requirement if they are exempt.

If one of the following applies, the applicant will not be required to sit an English language test or provide other evidence of meeting the English language requirement

  • There are ‘exceptional circumstances’ that in effect prevent them from meeting the English language requirement.
  • The applicant is  aged 65 or over at the time you make the application; OR
  • A mental or physical condition prevents them from sitting the English language test.

In cases other than age (in which submitting the passport will do), you are required to provide evidence of the physical or mental condition that stops you from taking the test (or evidence of the exceptional circumstances).

Please note, however, that “exceptional circumstances” is a rather high threshold – mere inconvenience is often not enough. 

 

step 6Is a Tuberculosis (TB) test required for an Unmarried partner visa?

Firstly, a tuberculosis (TB) test is only required if the applicant is making an unmarried partner visa from outside the UK.

It is normally only required if the applicant is resident of the following countries:

  • Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
  • Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi,
  • Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire,
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic,
  • East Timor, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
  • Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana,
  • Haiti, Hong Kong,
  • India, Indonesia, Iraq,
  • Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan,
  • Laos, Lesotho, Liberia,
  • Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma),
  • Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea,
  • Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
  • Russia, Rwanda,
  • Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland,
  • Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu,
  • Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan,
  • Vanuatu, Vietnam,
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe

Applicants who are making the unmarried partner visa application from inside the UK (e.g. if they are already on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme YMS visa), do not need to submit a TB test.

The latest official Home Office list of countries from which you require a TB test can be found here.

All TB tests will not suffice. Rather, this Tuberculosis test, if required, must be from a Home Office approved clinic.

The list of Home Office approved clinics can be found here.

step 7Unmarried Partner Visa Accommodation Requirement

You will be expected to provide documentation to show that the adequate accommodation requirement is met.

It is very important to note here that accommodation cannot be prospective – as we discuss in part 3 of our free video series.

Our unmarried partner DIY Application Pack service (which includes a tailored document checklist) breaks this down into four different categories:

1) Those who own the UK accommodation where the applicant and UK partner will live together

2) Those who rent the UK accommodation where the applicant and UK partner will live together

3) Partner who will live together at a family or friend’s UK accommodation (which is rented)

4) Partner who will live together at a family or friend’s UK accommodation (which is owned)

Irrespective of which one of the above options applies to you and your partner, you will be expected to submit evidence that you have the legal right to reside in that accommodation.

step 8Unmarried Partner Visa Financial Requirement in 2024

Please note

The government intends to increase the minimum income threshold on 11 April 2024 from £18,600 to £29,000.

We discuss this in our UK Spouse & Partner Visa Financial Requirement (Minimum Income Threshold) Increase from £18,600 to £29,000 article.

The unmarried partner visa financial requirements in 2024 are the same as if the applicant was applying as a married partner.

Therefore, feel free to read our detailed spouse visa UK 2024 financial requirements guidance here.

Furthermore, throughout our free video series, we discuss numerous commonly made mistakes that partner visas make concerning the financial requirement.

Please note

If the sponsor receives a permitted benefit, the adequate maintenance test will apply instead of the standard minimum income threshold of £18,600+.

For more information about this, check out our article “Adequate Maintenance Guidance for UK visas [2024 REQUIREMENTS]

step 9Write the applicant & UK partner’s supporting letters

Although not necessary in all applications, including supporting letters from both you and your UK partner will often make your application much stronger.

You and your UK partner could discuss the following in your statements:

  • How you satisfy the financial requirement
  • How you satisfy the accommodation requirement
  • How you satisfy the relationship requirement
  • How you met, began your relationship and when you started living together.
  • That your UK partner is willing to financially provide for and accommodate you to meet the Immigration Rules.

Our DIY Application Pack service contains professionally tailored supporting letter templates (& document checklists) for both you and your UK partner to use. If you would like to save time and hundreds of pounds, feel free to check it out.

unmarried partner visa uk DIY Application pack

step 10Check that you meet the suitability requirements

These requirements do not apply to most people, although it is important to be aware of these as they will likely result in refusal.

Apologies in advance as they can be quite dull to read!

You WILL be refused if any of the following apply:

#1 The UK’s government has told the applicant that they are NOT allowed in the UK.


#2 The applicant’s behaviour in the past has made it objectionable to give them an unmarried partner visa.


#3 The applicant has previously failed to comply with any of the following requirements without a good excuse:

  • Attend an interview
  • Provide information
  • Provide physical data
  • Be medically examined or submit a medical report.

#4 The applicant has been issued a Deportation Order.


#5 The applicant has been sentenced to imprisonment for a long duration for an offence that they committed. 


#6 The applicant has a medical issue that makes it objectionable to grant them an unmarried partner visa.


#7 The applicant was given a caution under section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 less than 5 years ago, and they were required to leave or were removed from the UK as a result of that caution.


You MAY be refused if any of the following apply:

#1 If in the past, the applicant submitted false information, representations or documents, or omitted important facts in any UK visa application.


#2 If a relevant NHS body notifies the UK government that the applicant has failed to pay NHS charges of £500 or more.


#3 If the applicant has recently been criminally convicted or if they are a persistent offender or have caused serious harm with their offending.


#4 If the applicant has failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.


#5 If the application fails to provide a maintenance and accommodation undertaking when asked to do so.

step 11Unmarried Partner Visa Evidence (Documents Checklist 2024)

As you progress through the online application website, you will be provided with a list of documents to submit in the unmarried partner visa application.

However, please do not make the mistake of assuming that these are the only documents that you should submit.

It is still absolutely crucial that you read the relevant official guidance regarding UK unmarried partner visas.

Simply submitting the documents listed on the application website often results in refusals for many unmarried partner visa applications.

“How do I ensure that I include the right documentation that complies with the Immigration Rules?”

All of the relevant rules are publicly available and can be found in the Immigration Rules and the relevant Appendices (such as Appendix FM).

They can also be found in the published Home Office guidance such as Appendix FM 1.7 and Appendix FM 1.7a.

If you would like to save time & put the best application forward, not only does our UK unmarried partner visa DIY Application Pack service provide a tailored document checklist and set of letter templates, we identify and narrow down the required reading as it applies to your circumstances by providing you with tailored written guidance.

step 12

Submit the unmarried partner visa application

The process will be different depending on whether you are making the application from inside the UK or from outside the UK.

If you are making the application from inside the UK

The process is as follows:

#1 Application forms are now completed and submitted online.

The link for the online application website can be found here.


#2 You then make payment online for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and then subsequently the Home Office fee. 

Payment for both are made on the online application form.

Please note that, it is at the Home Office payment page stage that the super-priority service can be purchased – it cannot be purchased later.

Therefore, if only the standard option is showing and you want to opt for the super-priority service, if the applicant’s visa or leave’s expiry date permits, you may decide to check back at a later time to check if the super-priority service is available.

Super-priority appointments are released daily at 1AM.


#3 You will then be automatically directed to the UKVCAS website.

It will be on this website that you book the biometrics appointment and self-upload the supporting documents (if you opt for that).


#4 Supporting documents can be uploaded online or scanned at the appointment for an added fee. 

Other than the applicant’s passport which will need to be brought with them to the visa centre, original documents are not required.

You can therefore submit copies (either digital or paper copies) of the supporting documents.

All of the documents, including passports, are retained throughout the process – the applicant will keep possession of their passport whilst they wait for the decision to be made.

For more information about the in-country process, this can be found in our UKVCAS/Sopra Steria 2024 guidance.


If you are making the application from outside the UK

#1 Visit the online application form website.

This can be found here.

The same application form is used for those applying as an unmarried partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, married and civil partner.


#2 If you are an unmarried partner who is not applying with any dependant children, select ‘Appendix FM partner’.

If you are an unmarried partner who is applying with dependant children, you should select ‘Appendix FM partner’ for the main applicant and ‘Appendix FM Child’ for the dependant child or children.


#3 Select the country of residence/nationality where the applicant will provide their biometric information.


#4 Complete sections 2 and 3 (Application & Finances).


#5 Read the document checklist automatically issued to you on the online application website.

Remember, if you are applying without an immigration lawyer, you must make sure that you read the relevant Immigration Rules and guidance.

The document checklist generated by this website is not exhaustive unfortunately and gives partners a false sense of security as it does not always list all of the documents that should be included.

This document checklist also does not notify you of the supporting document rules that must be met.

Our UK unmarried partner visa DIY Application Pack Service addresses these by:

  • Identifying common mistakes that unmarried partners make;
  • Lists documents that should be submitted that are not included on the automatically generated document checklist; and
  • Discusses the relevant rules that apply to certain documents.

We decided to offer this service because we know that many partners do not want to spend thousands on lawyer fees but want to ensure that they submit the best application possible.


#6 In section 5 of the online application form, declare that the contents are correct.


#7 Choose the standard of service that you would like.

The standard service will take approximately 2-3 months.

The priority service will take, on average, 6 weeks and will cost an additional £500 (this will vary depending on the exchange rate used).


#8 Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) & Home Office fee.


#9 You will then be sent to the TLS or VFS website, depending on the country in which the application is being made.

The VFS and TLS websites serves two purposes.

Firstly, it will allow you to self-upload your documentation (which is what we now generally recommend).

Secondly, it will allow you to pay for any additional optional services, such as the priority service.


#10 Attend the appointment.

The visa centre appointment is rather non-eventful and generally involves two things:

i) The applicant provides the Home Office with their Biometric data.

This means that the applicant will provide their your fingerprints, photograph and signature.

ii) If you choose to submit the documents at the overseas visa centre appointment via the document scanning service, the applicant can submit the documents there.

step 13

Application submitted. What now?

The process varies whether you are applying from inside the UK or from outside the UK.  We will discuss both processes below:

Out of country applications

In most cases, you will receive an email once the Home Office has processed your application.

This email will sometimes contain a decision letter. In other instances, it will only state that a decision has been made. For those who will only receive an email stating that a decision has been made, you will normally find out the outcome of the application once you receive the applicant’s passport back.

The email will either request the passport to be collected or notify you that the courier will send the passport.

Once the passport has been returned, you should find a 90-day entry clearance vignette, which is like a sticker in the passport.

Applicants are expected to enter the UK with this during this 90-day period.

In-country applications

When a decision is made, the applicant will normally receive an email.

This email will normally state whether the application has been granted or refused.

Although the process allows the applicant to retain their passport whilst the application is being decided, the applicant must not travel outside the UK.  If they do, your application will be considered withdrawn.

FREE UK Partner Visa Video Series

In part 1 of our free video series, we discuss the two year’s cohabitation requirement (which is a requirement for all unmarried partner visa applications.

In this free video series, we also discuss:

  • The financial requirement
  • The online application form
  • Document translations
  • The adequate accommodation requirement
  • The English language requirement
  • Dependent children requirement
  • Other partner visa requirements

SUMMARY

Hopefully this guide has helped you get a better idea about the UK unmarried partner visa requirements and process.

If you would like to submit the application yourselves but would like more assistance, you should check out our £435 Unmarried partner Visa DIY Application Pack Service.

On the other hand, if you would like an immigration advisor who has worked at the heart of the Home Office for 20+ years (Ed Lowe) to provide you with full legal representation, we offer this service for a fixed fee of £2,250.

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