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Partners, Spouse and Family
To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
Your partner must also either:
- be a British citizen
- have settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence)
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
- You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.
There is a requirement to provide proof of your civil partnership or marriage that is recognised in the UK, you have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when applying and you are a fiancé/e or partner and will marry or enter a civil partnership within in 6 months of arriving in the UK
There are also other requirements which must be met in order to apply, you must have a good knowledge of English and are able financially support yourself and your dependants.
There are other options which enable you to apply or extend your permission to stay, should you not meet the requirements mentioned above if:
- you have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
- living together as a couple outside the UK would cause you difficulties that could not be overcome
- it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave
You must prove that:
- any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended
- you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK
- You won’t be able to work during your engagement.
You will be granted permission to stay for 2.5 years, or if you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner a 6 months permission will be approved.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
You may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain if you have lived in the UK for several years and intend to stay in the UK. By applying for ILR, you will:
- attain the right to settle in the UK indefinitely,
- be able to travel to and from the UK without restrictions,
- not be required to show a work permit when taking up employment.
ILR requires you to show you have been in the UK for a period of time. This length of time depends upon your immigration status which is determined by factors such as the visa you hold and ability to support yourself etc.
British Citizenship – Naturalisation
You can apply to become a British citizen through naturalisation if you are 18 or over, you are of good character (i.e. no criminal record), you intend to continue living in the UK, you have good knowledge of English and life in the UK and meet the residence requirement.
There is a residency requirement which is:
- you must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years,
- in that time, you must have not spent more than 450 days outside the UK,
- spent no more than 90 days (3 months) outside the UK in the last 12 months,
- if you are from outside the EEA, you had settlement also knows as ILR for the last 12 months in the UK,
- if you are an EEA national, there is a requirement to provide a permanent residence document which will confirm you had permanent residence status for the last 12 months,
- and you have not broken any immigration laws whilst in the UK
Similarly, if your spouse is a British citizen you can apply for citizenship which also has requirements which include:
- your age being 18 or over,
- you are of sound mind,
- you have met the requirements of the knowledge of English and life in the UK,
- if you are an EEA national, you have been granted ILR or permanent residence,
- and you meet the residency requirement.
When sending your application, a bio-metrics will be mandatory from you. After applying, a decision will usually be made in 6 months, depending on the application some may take longer. Once you have received your certificate of British Citizenship, you must send your biometrics residence permit back to the Home Office. The UK allows dual nationality for its citizens however, some countries may not. In which case they can revoke your citizenship once you have become British therefore, it is imperative for you to contact your embassy before you decide to apply for naturalisation.
EEA Nationals and Family
Any member of the EEA or Switzerland have the right to reside in the UK automatically. However, for family or extended family members that are not EEA nationals, a registration certificate will be required should they wish to apply for a UK family permit. By applying for a registration certificate, the requirement to establish proof of legal residence and eligibility of work in the UK will be satisfied.
If you are an EEA or Swiss national currently settled in the UK, you can apply for your non-EEA or Swiss national family member to live with you in the UK. For such visas a family member is considered to be:
- Spouse or civil partner,
- Children of you and/or partner who is under 21 years of age or depends on you for financial support,
- Parents or grandparents of you or partner and depends on you for financial support.
An EEA family permit makes it easier and quicker to enter the UK which without you can be refused entry. The permit is valid for 6 months in which you can leave and enter the UK as many times as you need within that time.
A non-European national can apply for a Visitors Visa under various categories including coming to the UK as a tourist, to visit family or on business, as an entertainer or sportsperson, or for special reasons like receiving private medical treatment or to get married. If you come to the UK as a visitor you are generally permitted to remain for up to six months.
Visitor Visas allow foreign nationals who are subject to immigration control to enter the UK for a short period of time. This period is usually a maximum of six months. This visa route is different from those under the Five-Tier Points-Based system, as it is usually easier to apply for and obtain. Visitor Visas also tend to grant you less UK rights (for example, you cannot bring dependants with you while on this visa category).
Eligibility to apply for a Visitors Visa will depend on what you intend to do whilst you are in the UK. You must also have sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself and to be able to meet the cost of your return or onward journey, so we recommend a consultation with one of our specialists prior to submitting your application to ensure success. One of our lawyers will take detailed instructions about your situation to assess your eligibility and find the right type of Visitor Visa for you. He/she will also prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application. This letter includes information about your case and its merits and it also links your case to other successful cases. Your lawyer will also complete your application to the highest standard in order to maximise your chances of success. Get in touch with us now to speak with one of our advisers.
Fast Track Services
If you need to make an urgent application, we can help. Our Fast Track Service ensures your application becomes a high priority for our team of immigration experts. We work hard to make sure your application is prepared and submitted on time and to the highest standard.