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Citizenship guide
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Family visas

There are several categories of visas if you want to become a spouse/ civil partner of a British or other settled national. You will be able to stay in the UK, settle and become naturalised later.

We are going to talk about spouse visas for those whose boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is a British or other national settled in the UK. However, we will not dwell on the EEA and Swiss nationals as they go under different rules. To learn more about it, please go to our European Nationals page.

We make ensure you get individual and thorough approach to your case in order to give you a desired result. We will prepare and send your application, including proof of your relationships. Our lawyers will also be able to assist you at a later stage of your stay in the country when you are ready to apply for ILR and citizenship/passport.

Spouse/ civil partner visa

It can be obtained in or outside the UK by opposite-sex or same-sex partners. A number of criteria must be satisfied in order to get this type of visa.

Eligibility

Marriage or civil partnership between two adults, who are at least 18 years of age, must be recognised in the United Kingdom. One of the partners must be a British or another settled person. Other criteria:

  • You must provide details of how you met and how often you see each other, and support it with relevant evidence,
  • You must have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply; you have to prove it by providing utility or other bills you’ve been paying together or separately but at the same address. Photos together, with your families and friends, hotel and flight reservations, correspondence can also serve as evidence,
  • You must show that you plan to stay together in the UK after obtaining a visa,
  • A sponsoring partner must satisfy minimum income requirements,
  • A non-UK partner must pass an English test and prove that they can financially support themselves and their dependants.

Exceptional circumstances would apply to you in case none of the conditions above are met, meaning that you can still apply for your visa.

Exceptions

  • You have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived there for 7 years and has established strong connections with the country, and it would be irrational for them to leave it
  • It would be almost impossible for you and your partner to live outside the UK and you wouldn’t be able to solve the issues
  • It would be a breach of your rights to stop you coming to the country or make you leave

This visa gives an unlimited right to work and study in the United Kingdom.

Visa is given for 2.5 years if you apply in the UK, and 2 years and 9 months if you apply in the country where you live.

Marriage Visitor visa

It is a category of a visitor visa issued for 6 months which allows you to come to the United Kingdom and get married or engaged. A couple has to marry or register a civil partnership during that time and depart the country with no plan of staying or settling there. You must also prove you are in a true relationship and can support yourself during your stay. You might also need to show your arrangements with the venue which has to be licensed.

You can’t work, study for more than a month, set up your own business or get public funds while you are in the UK on this visa.

Fiancé/ fiancée/ proposed civil partner visa

This type of entry is given to third-country nationals whose second half is in the UK as a British citizen or a settled person. A couple must be 18 or over and know each other personally. The UK partner must earn a minimum annual salary of £18,600 or more. A couple must not be in any other relationships at the date of marriage; they must demonstrate that all past marriages or civil partnerships have been dissolved.

The visa is issued for 6 months maximum and can only be applied for in the country where you live all the time. Once you arrive in the UK, you have to get married before your visa expires. Then, as a next step, you need to get a visa of a spouse or civil partner to be able to be in the country with your wife/husband/civil partner.

You cannot work on this visa.

Visa for unmarried or same-sex partners

It is granted to an unmarried partner of a UK citizen or another settled person in two cases; if you have lived legally in the UK for at least 2 years with your settled partner. If you have been living with that person abroad, you must show that you’ve been partner of a UK citizen for at least 4 years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

You may be eligible for settlement after living 5 years in the UK as a spouse/civil partner of a settled person. Time in the country on a fiancé/ fiancée visa is not added up.

The main requirement for ILR is to pass Life in the UK Test and an English language test.

Both partners must intend to carry on being together in the country after settlement. There are also financial and accommodation requirements that must be met.

British citizenship and passport

You and all family members can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation in one year after ILR is obtained. All requirements and criteria must be met:

  • In 5 years before applying for citizenship you cannot spend more than 450 days outside the UK and more than 90 days in the last year.
  • No criminal or administrative offence records.
  • Knowledge of the English language at a certain level.
  • Life in the UK test.

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