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Marriage & Family

Spouse / civil partner

Under the Immigration Rules a marriage and a civil partnership (ie same-sex marriage) are treated the same. If a person, either inside the UK or outside the UK, is married to or in a civil partnership with someone who has settled status in the UK (ie who holds full British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain) they may be able to apply for a Spouse visa or Civil Partner visa.

If the visa is granted it will be granted initially for two and a half years or slightly more. When this initial visa is near to expiry, and if the relationship is still going well, the applicant can apply to extend the visa. If this application is granted it will be granted for a further two and a half years.

When the extension visa is near to expiry, and if the relationship is still going well, the visa holder will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. So, in effect, an applicant must spend five years on a Spouse/Civil Partner visa before they are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There are also specific requirements about how much income or savings the applicant and their partner must have and there is also an English language requirement. From May 2017, extensions will only be granted if applicants can satisfy the new English Language requirement at A2 level.

A Spouse/Civil Partner visa holder is entitled to work in the UK without restriction.

Fiance(e) / proposed civil partner

Under the Immigration Rules a fiancé(e) and proposed civil partner (same-sex relationship) are treated the same. If a person outside the UK is the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of someone who has settled status in the UK (ie who holds full British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain) they may be able to apply for a Fiancé(e) or Proposed Civil Partner visa and come to the UK on that basis. It is not possible to apply for this visa inside the UK and the parties must have met in person.

If the visa is granted it will be granted for six months, and the applicant should get married/enter into a civil partnership within that period. Once they have done this they can apply for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa.

There are specific requirements about how much income or savings the applicant and their partner must have and there is also an English language requirement.

A Fiancé(e)/Proposed Civil Partner visa holder is not allowed to work in the UK.

Unmarried partner

An unmarried partner is someone that you live with in a relationship that is like marriage or civil partnership but you are not actually married or in a civil partnership. So the relationship can be either a heterosexual one or a same-sex one.

If you have lived with an unmarried partner who is either a British citizen or who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least two years (either in the UK or outside the UK) you may be able to apply for an Unmarried Partner visa.

If the visa is granted it will be granted initially for two and a half years or slightly more. When this initial visa is near to expiry, and if the relationship is still going well, the applicant can apply to extend the visa. If this application is granted it will be granted for a further two and a half years.

When the visa is near to expiry, and if the relationship is still going well, the visa holder will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. So, in effect, an applicant must spend five years on an Unmarried Partner visa before they are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There are also specific requirements about how much income or savings the applicant and their partner must have and there is also an English language requirement.

An Unmarried Partner visa holder is entitled to work in the UK without restriction.

Dependent relative

This visa allows a relative of someone settled in the UK (ie someone who holds full British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain) to come to the UK and join their family member on a permanent basis. The rules defining the relationship are fairly complicated; the relative would typically be an elderly parent or grandparent of the settled person but exceptionally it could be another close relative. This visa can only be applied for outside the UK.

The requirements for this visa are difficult to meet, therefore a carefully prepared application is crucial in the first instance, with significant evidence to make it clear that if refused, the application is likely to be successful in an appeal. The applicant must show that they are wholly or mainly financially dependent on their settled relative. They also need to show that they need long-term personal care, that that care is not available in the country where they live, and that their settled relative would be able to provide it for them in the UK. They also need to show that they could be maintained in by their settled relative in the UK without the need for public funds.

There is currently no English language requirement for this visa.

Child of parents settled in UK

If a child under the age of 18 is living outside the UK and both his/her parents have settled status in the UK (ie they both hold full British citizenship or indefinite Leave to Remain) the child may apply for a visa for indefinite leave to enter the UK and join his/her parents on a permanent basis. As long as there is adequate finance and accommodation for the child this application may be relatively straightforward.

If only one of the child’s parents is present and settled in the UK the application may be more complicated. Depending on the circumstances, the parent in the UK may have to show that they have “sole responsibility” for the child which can, in some situations, be problematical.

Parent of child at school

If a child under the age of 12 is in the UK studying at a private school a parent of the child may apply for a visa to join the child in the UK on that basis. If the visa is granted it will be granted for up to 12 months and it can if appropriate be extended, but this visa will only be granted to cover the period when the child is still under 12.

The visa-holder is not allowed to work in the UK.

Victim of domestic violence

If someone has leave in the UK as a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner (either heterosexual or same-sex relationship) of a person present and settled in the UK (ie who holds either full British citizenship or indefinite Leave to Remain) and they have experienced violence from their settled partner that has caused their relationship to permanently break down they may be able to apply for a visa for indefinite Leave to Remain on that basis. They must provide appropriate evidence about the violence. The violence could be physical and now includes emotional abuse too.

This visa can be applied for by a woman or by a man.

To find out more about the above, you are welcome to call us on 020 8566 5522 for a preliminary informal discussion of your matter. We may ask you to send us further information about your matter either by fax on 020 8566 5511 or by email at enquiries@hudsonlegal.co.uk so that we may get a fuller picture of your circumstances.

After this initial discussion, you may wish to book an appointment for a full consultation via SKYPE or ideally at our offices located at 7 Central Chambers, The Broadway, Ealing, W5 2NR. We are directly opposite Ealing Broadway tube and railway station.

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