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Obtaining UK Visa for Unmarried Partners after UK Student Visa Is Not Extended

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Since I was a child I have dreamt about devoting my life to art; studying drama in London was a dream come true for me. Unfortunately, I fell ill during my course, and on top of that, my UK Student visa was about to expire. I had to obtain another visa. I was so disappointed when I got a refusal; I had made a lot of plans relying on the idea of staying in the UK. I decided to look for a way out and happened to come across positive reviews about Imperial & Legal.

Esy, a 26-year-old
Student from Ghana
Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Esy, a Ghanaian, came to the UK to get a university degree and become a playwright. Since early childhood, Efua Sutherland was her role model, and, just like the famous dramatist, Esy aspired to change the life of her people for the better. 

Esy was staying in the UK on a UK Student visa and had no intention of settling in the country. On the contrary, she planned to go back home after graduation. The girl managed to get into St Mary’s University in Twickenham. She enjoyed her studies, but the programme was rather challenging. Consequently, she fell ill and had to take academic leave to recover. 

Despite all trouble, Esy managed to get her bachelor’s degree and then her master’s. Moreover, she successfully started her career as a dramatist – the National Youth Theatre staged one of her plays. Although the company was not experienced and was made up of students, she was over the moon with joy, because not only her talents got appreciated by the public, but she also managed to convey the central theme of her work – the tragedy of the intercultural conflict between traditional African faiths and the Western Christianity.  

This was a great inspiration for Esy to go on with her studies. She decided to do a PhD in literature, but she needed to extend her UK Student visa to do this. And there came the unexpected: she received a refusal from the Home Office, meaning that she would have to leave the country without finishing her course. A friend recommended the devastated girl to get in touch with Imperial & Legal for help. 

Our Client

Esy is a 26-year-old from Ghana. She obtained a master’s degree in the UK and plans to continue her studies here. 

The Challenge

To get a UK visa to stay and study in the country.

The Solution

Let’s see why a UK Student visa was not extended. The Tier 4 Student visa, which Esy used to enter the UK, is valid for a fixed period. Usually one can stay for up to five or six years, depending on the course one studies. An applicant is supposed to complete their studies during this time. However, Esy failed to do so, because she had spent a year on academic leave. Even though she had a solid reason, there was only a small chance that the Home Office caseworkers would change their minds, if she reapplied. Our immigration advisors had to find another way of ensuring Esy’s staying in the UK for the necessary period.    

Imperial & Legal advisors asked Esy a lot of questions to learn as many details about her life as they could. First, they thought about applying for a Global Talent visa. But this would require quite a bit of work. They would have to prove that Esy is a promising young playwright destined to become an outstanding professional; submit testimonials and credentials by acknowledged literature and theatre experts, attest to her membership in various professional associations, show certificates proving achievements in professional competitions and provide a great deal of other evidence that Esy is meant to be a distinguished playwright.  

Nothing of this was impossible, but it would take time, while Esy’s UK Student visa was about to expire. After receiving the refusal, she had only a fortnight to leave the country. 

Esy accidentally mentioned that her education was not the only reason she wanted to stay. She had a boyfriend in the UK, who was also a Ghanaian. He had lived for quite a bit in the UK and had an indefinite leave to remain, or ILR. This made things easier, giving Esy a chance to apply for a UK Family visa

This came as a complete surprise for Esy, because she had thought that she could apply for a UK family visa only provided they were married. Our legal advisors dispelled the myth and explained to her that if a couple lived together, shared the costs of living and had a relationship akin to matrimonial, they are treated equally to a family. The point was to prove that they had had a relationship for at least two years. The obvious advantage of this visa is that the applicant can stay, work and study in the UK.  

Fortunately, it did not take our advisors long to collect all the necessary evidence to prove the relationship. The application was so convincing and exhaustive, that the couple did not even have to attend an interview. 

Esy obtained a UK visa for unmarried partners and continued living with her beloved person in the beloved country and studying for a PhD. Apart from research and writing plays, she started to dedicate her time to community work, protecting the rights of citizens of former colonies, which include Ghana. 


Although a UK Spouse visa is often understood in everyday life as a visa for a woman married to a UK citizen, this is not correct. First, “a spouse” also includes “a husband”. Second, it does not necessarily require a marriage, either with a civil or a religious ceremony. Being partners will give you the same right to apply as being spouses, provided you can prove your relationship. 

This visa is initially granted for two years and nine months and can be extended for two and a half years. Then one can apply for ILR and UK citizenship. You will have to maintain your marriage during all this time. 

Imperial & Legal advisors will talk you through the whole process of getting a UK Family visa and find a solution for the most difficult and complex situations. 

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