Partner Visas. Simplified.
We can help you apply for your partner visa. Here we tell you how
What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a partner visa?
Your partner should be a British citizen or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (which includes people with pre-settled status, or settled status under the EUSS). In addition, you will need to show that you meet the following requirements:
Genuine and subsisting relationship
- You must show that you and your partner are in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
- Detailed guidance as to what this means – and what evidence applicants and their sponsors need to provide with their application – is covered in our detailed article Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships
- Those applying to join a partner in the UK need to meet a minimum level of English language proficiency. There are a number of ways that Applicants can meet this requirement.
- The Home Office provides specific guidance for those attempting to meet this requirement here: English Language requirement: family members
Minimum Income Requirement
- Applicants must show that they meet the Minimum Income Requirement. The most common way of meeting the requirement is via employment, but it is also possible to meet the requirement by holding savings at a certain level for a specified length of time, or via other types of income.
- If you are concerned about your ability to meet the Minimum Income Requirement, see our FAQs (below).
Suitability (“good character”) requirements
- An applicant must be ‘suitable’. This broadly means that they do not have any criminal convictions or character issues.
- If you are concerned about a suitability issue in your application, we would recommend that you seek legal advice.
How do I apply for a partner visa?
In order to apply to enter (or remain) in the UK as a partner, you will need to complete an online form, and pay the visa application fee. You will then need to upload your supporting documents, and attend a biometric appointment.
How much does it cost to apply for a partner visa?
The fee for the visa itself depends on where you are: those outside the UK will pay £1538, whilst those inside the UK and switching into the route will pay £1048.
Applicants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, currently charged at £624 per year of the visa (which would be £1560 for a 2.5 year grant of leave).
Depending on your location and availability, you may also have to pay for an appointment to provide biometrics (for example, it is not uncommon to pay £100-£200 for an appointment in London).
If you want a quicker decision it is possible to pay for an expedited decision. The fees for these services again depend on your location, but range between £500-£800 per application.
What information do I need to provide in a partner visa application form?
This depends on whether you are applying for entry clearance, in-country or to extend your visa and you may need to answer different questions based on your circumstances. In the in-country partner visa application form, the information requested is set out below (at the time of writing).
- Your current address
- Your current National Insurance number
- Information about previous marriages or civil partnerships
- Information about children you have under the age of 18
Your immigration history
- The date you entered the UK
- Information about any additional nationality or citizenship you hold (or ever held)
- Your current visa details
- Details about countries outside the UK (and your place of birth) that you have lived in
- Details about your last visit to the country of your birth or any country you are a national of
- Details about any previous visa refusals for any country
About your current partner (and your relationship together)
Your partner’s details
Your partner’s National Insurance number
Details about how long your partner has held British citizenship
Information about your partner’s previous marriage and any children s/he has
Information about anyone your partner is responsible for supporting
Details about your relationship with your partner including:
- When your relationship began
- Whether you have met your each other (and if so where and when you first met)
- Whether you live together (and if so when you started living together and where you live)
- Whether you have lived continuously for 2 years with your partner
- Whether you have lived with your partner anywhere other than your current address during the past 2 years (that you’ve not already mentioned)
- Whether you and your partner would be able to live together outside the UK if necessary
Information about whether your partner will be in the UK on the date of your application
Details of any learning disabilities you or your partner may have
Details of any physical or mental conditions you or partner may have that require at-home personal care and medical assistance
Details of any shared responsibilities you have with your partner
Details of the languages you and your partner speak fluently (including the language/s you use to communicate with each other)
Information about any benefits your partner currently receives
Details of any additional children your partner is currently sponsoring
- Details about any degree you have that is taught in English
- Details about any approved English language test that you have taken (including whether the test assessed your speaking and listening skills at a level equivalent to CEFR A1 or higher)
Your stay in the UK
- Details about how long you have lived in the UK
- Information about any trips you have taken outside of the UK since you started living here
Your family and friends
- Information about any family or friends you have in your country of birth (or any country whose nationality you hold)
- Details about where you would go if you had to leave the UK
- Information about any factors that would make it difficult (or impossible) for you to integrate and establish a private life in your country of birth (or any country whose nationality you hold)
- Details about how a visa refusal may affect your family or any children you have
Employment and financial
- Information about how you would prove that you meet the financial requirement
- Information about your employment, including details of your salary, the length of your employment, the organisation you work for etc.
- Details about the ownership status of your home (including whether you own or rent it)
- Information about your home such as who lives with you there
Please note that the online forms tend to change frequently so this should be used as an approximate guide only.
What supporting documents do I need to provide with my partner visa application?
Genuine relationship evidence
The Home Office guidance provides a table with examples of evidence that can be used in support of your partner visa application. It outlines whether the particular evidence will be strong, acceptable or weak.
The Home Office considers the following documents as “strong evidence”:
- Genuine relationship evidence: Marriage certificate, certificate of civil partnership.
- Genuine relationship when apart: Birth certificate for children, money transfers, employment contract showing work placement away from home.
- Cohabitation: Tenancy agreement, mortgage agreement, letter from landlord, documents of ownership deeds. Utility Bills – for example council tax, electricity, gas, water, phone bill, TV licence, cable TV. Other official documents linking both applicant and partner to the same address such as driving licences, GP/medical letters, payslips, DWP/HMRC letters.
- Shared financial responsibilities: Bank statements
Genuine relationship evidence for entry clearance
Providing evidence of a genuine relationship when you are first applying for a partner visa may be difficult, especially if you have never lived together. For this requirement, a marriage certificate alone is not enough to show that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
In this case, you should provide additional evidence of your relationship such as statements from friends and family, photographs, travel tickets, and messages between you both.
You should also give evidence of future plans together such as where you will live in the UK and what arrangements you have made for your children for example.
Evidence of children
You can provide a birth certificate if both parents are named. If not, other documents may be accepted such as:
- Letter from nursery/school confirming that both parents have dropped the child off.
- Letter from GP confirming that both parents have attended appointments, or are listed as Next of Kin in medical records.
- Letters from organisations (e.g. local football club/institutions (e.g. church) which can confirm you have an active role in their lives).
For more information in respect of the genuine and subsisting relationship requirement, please see our post Evidencing "Genuine and Subsisting" relationship.
Certain people are exempt (such as those over 65) but if you need to meet the English requirement, you will have to provide proof of this.
This could be with a degree taught in English or an approved English language test result at level A1 (or A2 if applying for a partner visa extension).
The documents you need to provide will depend on how you meet the financial requirement (such as through your wages or savings).
If you are employed and have worked for your employer for more than 6 months, you will need to provide 6 months of payslips, bank statements, a letter from your employer, and you can also provide your employment contract, as well as your last P60.
It is worth checking the Immigration Rules Appendix FM-SE: family members specified evidence which lays out exactly what is required for each way you can meet the financial requirement. The Home Office financial requirement guidance also helps to explain how people can use each income category to satisfy the rules.
Can you review my partner visa application before it is submitted?
We regularly review partner visa applications prior to their submission, and which we would usually do via our popular one-off consultation service. If you would be interested in this please do get in touch.
Do you need a lawyer to make a partner visa application?
We cover this question in a general way on our Do you actually need a lawyer? page.
The key issues in any family visa application will usually be demonstrating that you meet the Minimum Income Requirement (which requires specified documents to be provided, in a particular format etc); and demonstrating that whatever relationship you are relying upon is a genuine one.
The average refusal rate for entry clearance family visas in 2021 was around 15%. This is probably not a good enough reason (by itself) to get a lawyer, but it is definitely something to think about.
If you are in doubt about whether you think you need a lawyer give us a call for a chat.
HOW CAN WE HELP WITH YOUR PARTNER VISA APPLICATION
As a part of our one-off consultation service, we regularly review partner visa application forms and supporting documents prior to their submission to the Home Office. This service is aimed at applicants who are:
- concerned about their eligibility to apply for a partner visa
- unsure about the supporting documents required in their application, or
- seeking reassurance from an experienced practitioner to make sure everything has been correctly completed
Your review will be undertaken by Nick Nason, principal at Edgewater Legal, and listed as an expert on the Lexis Nexis immigration experts Q&A panel, and regular commentator and contributor to Free Movement, the best read UK immigration law blog.
We charge a flat fee of £325 + VAT for this service. You can find further details on our one-off consultation page.
We regularly represent individuals making partner visa applications to the Home Office. If you instruct us to assist with your application, we will manage the process from end to end, from completing the application form through to the decision. This includes the following:
- clear initial advice regarding eligibility with a detailed letter of advice and guidance on the route, and on the supporting evidence that is required
- a very high level of client responsiveness including contact by email, phone or other means during the evidence gathering process
- detailed scrutiny of the online form and supporting documents prior to submission with collation and preparation of the application
- preparation of a covering letter to be filed with application (if required)
- collation of the supporting documents into PDF format and uploading them on the Home Office portal
- advice and guidance on rights and responsibilities once the visa has been obtained, and what you need to do whilst working towards the extension
We offer our partner visa service for a fixed fee of £2,950 + VAT in straightforward cases.
In non-straightforward cases where the extent of the work required is not clear, or where there is a complexity and/or the matter is urgent, we would usually provide a time estimate of 8-15 hours for work in the application phase at our hourly rate of £325 + VAT.
This does not include the Home Office application or other fees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I meet the “genuine and subsisting relationship” requirement?
Please see our detailed article on this subject Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships
I don’t meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR). Can I still apply?
In certain circumstances, it is possible to make an application without meeting the Minimum Income Requirements.
However, the circumstances in which applications can succeed are fairly narrow. Anyone considering an application where they do not meet the MIR should read the Family Policy Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances in detail, and seek legal advice if possible.
I have only just met my partner. Will this be an issue in my application?
If you are married/in a civil partnership, there is no minimum time that you need to have been in a relationship before then in order to make an application based on marriage/civil partnership.
However, if you are not married/in a civil partnership, you could be considered under either the fiance(e)/proposed civil partner route, or under the unmarried partner route.
Under the unmarried partner route, the Home Office usually consider couples as eligible where they have cohabited for a period of two years. However, there is some discretion around this requirement.
If you are planning to enter into a marriage or civil partnership, then the fact that you met shortly prior to making the decision to get married/enter into a civil partnership would not be a bar to making an application on this basis.
However, it may be relevant in the Home Office's consideration of whether the relationship was "genuine and subsisting", and the reasons why you decided to get married/enter into a civil partnership after a short period should be fully evidenced.
Please see our detailed article on this subject Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships.
My partner and I are not married. Can I still apply under the partner visa rules?
The partner visa includes unmarried partner visa applications, and also fiancé(e) (or proposed civil partner) visa applications.
The Home Office would normally expect to see individuals making an unmarried partner visa application to have lived together for 2 years or more. If you are considering an unmarried partner application without meeting this requirement, we would recommend that you seek legal advice.
It is also possible to apply for a visa to enable a partner to enter the UK and get married/enter into a proposed civil partnership, and then switch into the main partner route. Further details are available in our detailed post Making a UK fiancé(e) visa application, and extending as a spouse.
I am self-employed/director of my own limited company. Can I still apply?
Yes. However, given the amount of evidence required in these applications for self-employed individuals/directors, we would normally suggest that anyone relying on income from these sources seeks legal advice before applying.
We would normally suggest a review of your application via our popular one-off consultation service.
My partner visa application has been refused. What can I do?
If your application is refused, we would recommend that you seek legal advice before taking any next steps. Those next steps are likely to include the following:
Apply again, correcting the deficiency identified as the basis of the refusal
Pros: usually the quickest remedy
Cons: not appropriate if you are not sure that the deficiency can be sufficiently rectified in the second application; required to pay additional fee
Appeal against the decision to a tribunal
An appeal can be made to the First Tier Tribunal against most spouse visa application refusals (confirmation should be provided in the decision).
Pros: other than relatively low court appeal fee (£140), no further fees to pay if successful
Cons: appeal process can take several months/years; no certain outcome in litigation
Contacting the decision making post (in entry clearance applications) to request a review
Where an application has been refused by an Entry Clearance Officer, it is sometimes possible to ask for this decision to be reviewed by the Entry Clearance Manager. It would usually be advisable to do this in conjunction with an appeal to protect your position and not lose your right of appeal