Joining your settled Partner / Parent

You may be eligible to join your ‘present and settled’ partner in the United Kingdom, providing that you fulfil certain immigration criteria. Partners must be 18 or over and prove that they are in a genuine relationship.

You can either be:

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Married

N

In a civil partnership

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Or have been living together for at least 2 years in a genuine relationship

Those wishing to enter or remain in the United Kingdom under the partner route, will be provided with stay of either 33 months (for entry clearance visa applications) or 30 months (for applications from within the UK). Extension applications can be made for a further 30 months. Once you approach 5 years in total, an application for settlement can be made. Settlement is another word for indefinite leave to remain.

To join your partner in the United Kingdom, you must meet very specific requirements including suitability and eligibility requirements.

Joining Settled Partner

Initial applications:

Relationship requirement

The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting. Evidence of cohabitation is required for those who are not married or in a civil partnership.

To qualify as an unmarried partner, one needs to show evidence of cohabitation with their partner for at least the last 24 months. Evidence of a committed relationship and proof of its length can take the form of:

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Joint commitments, (such as joint bank accounts, investments, rent agreements, mortgage, death benefit etc)

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If there are children of the relationship, a record of their birth entry

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Correspondence which links them to the same address

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Any official records of their address (ex. Doctors records, DWP record, national insurance record etc)

N

Letters from third parties may be of evidential value but should not of themselves form the sole basis of a claim

N

Any other evidence that adequately demonstrates their commitment to each other. The Home Office are looking for sufficient, conclusive evidence of the relationship

Suitability

Entry clearance will be refused if the applicant is currently the subject of a deportation order or the exclusion of the applicant from the UK is conducive to the public good due to current or previous unspent convictions.

Entry clearance will also be refused if:

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The applicant has failed to attend an interview, provide information, provide physical data or undergo a medical examination or provide a medical report

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It is undesirable to grant entry clearance to the applicant for medical reasons

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The applicant’s parent or parent’s partner poses a risk to the applicant

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The applicant has failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office or one or more relevant NHS bodies notified the Secretary of State that the applicant has failed to pay charges in accordance with the relevant NHS regulations to overseas visitors and the outstanding charges have a total value of at least £500.

Financial requirement

Income

Have gross earnings of at least £18,600 per annum in earned income. This will increase for each non-settled child who is applying with you:

N

an additional £3,800 for the first child

N

an additional £2,400 for each additional child; alone or in combination with.

Evidence will need to be provided covering the last 6-12 months depending on the way you have earned your income or gained your savings.

Income can be from salaried or non-salaried employment, self-employment, property rental, dividends and other investment income, maintenance grants and pensions or in some cases, adequate maintenance (certain benefits).

Earnings for employment must be derived from within the UK via the settled partner or applicant if they have been legally able to do so. The only exception is if the settled partner has been working overseas for at least 6 months (and meeting the minimum earnings) and will be starting a new job within 3 months. This job must also pay at the minimum rate shown above.

Or

Savings

Above £16,000. This can be substantial if not used in conjunction with any accepted earnings (£62,500 held over the 6 months prior to the application – for single applicants not relying on income. This rises to £72,500 when a child is included). The calculation is different for Armed Forces partners.

English language

Applicants must show that they understand English at CEFR level A1 for the first period of leave.

This requirement can be met:

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By passing an English language test from the list of providers approved by the Home Office

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Being a national of a majority English speaking country

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Having a university degree which was taught or researched in English awarded by an educational establishment in the UK or if awarded by an educational establishment outside the UK is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s, Master’s degree or PhD in the UK

N

Being exempt as the applicant is aged 65 or over, has a disability which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement or there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK

Extensions

Requirements:

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Proof that the applicant continues to meet the financial requirement (this can be income from salaried or non-salaried employment of the partner and/or the applicant since the applicant is in the UK with permission to work)

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Applicants must show that they understand English at CEFR level A2 for the second period of leave and at CEFR level B1 (speaking and listening) for the indefinite leave to remain application

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Evidence of cohabitation will need to include documents covering the last 24 months showing the couple’s mutual address(es)

Bereaved partners and victims of domestic violence

There is provision under immigration rules to allow bereaved partners of settled residents or citizens, who were last granted leave as the partners of that person, to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK before they have lived in the UK for 5 years.

In addition, victims of domestic violence who were last granted leave under the Family Life rules (Appendix FM), and whose relationship broke down as a result of domestic violence, can also apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

The requirements to be met for ILR in the UK as a victim of domestic violence or abuse are that:

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The applicant must be in the UK

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The applicant must have made a valid application for ILR to remain as a victim of domestic abuse

N

The applicant must not fall for refusal under the ILR suitability requirements

N

The applicant must meet all eligibility requirements for ILR as a victim of domestic abuse:

K

The applicant’s first grant of leave under this Appendix must have been as a partner of a British Citizen, a person settled in the UK or a person with refugee leave

K

Any subsequent grant of limited leave must have been granted as a partner of a British Citizen, a person settled in the UK or a person with refugee leave or granted to enable access to public funds pending an application DVILR and the preceding grant of leave was granted as a partner of a British Citizen, a person settled in the UK or a person with refugee leave

N

The applicant must provide evidence that during the last period of limited leave the applicant’s relationship with their partner broke down permanently as a result of domestic violence

Apply as a Parent

You can apply to live with your child in the UK if your child is:

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Under 18 on the date you apply

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Under 18 when you were first granted leave and does not live an independent life

N

Living in the UK

N

Is a British citizen or

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Is settled in the UK – has indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof or permanent residence

N

If you are applying in the UK, your child must have lived in the UK for 7 years continuously and it would not be reasonable for him/her to leave

You need to have sole or shared parental responsibility for your child.

If you share parental responsibility, the child’s other parent must:

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Not be your partner

N

Be either a British citizen or settled in the UK

Eligibility requirement

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You need to prove that you are taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and you will continue to do so after you apply

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Have a good knowledge of English:

K

you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher

K

or you have taken an approved English language test, a CEFR A2 test

Financial requirement

N

can financially support yourself and your child without claiming public funds

Income

Have gross earnings of at least £18,600 per annum in earned income. This will increase for each non-settled child who is applying with you:

N

an additional £3,800 for the first child

N

an additional £2,400 for each additional child; alone or in combination with.

Evidence will need to be provided covering the last 6-12 months depending on the way you have earned your income or gained your savings.

Income can be from salaried or non-salaried employment, self-employment, property rental, dividends and other investment income, maintenance grants and pensions or in some cases, adequate maintenance (certain benefits).

Earnings for employment must be derived from within the UK via the settled partner or applicant if they have been legally able to do so. The only exception is if the settled partner has been working overseas for at least 6 months (and meeting the minimum earnings) and will be starting a new job within 3 months. This job must also pay at the minimum rate shown above.

Or

Savings

Above £16,000. This can be substantial if not used in conjunction with any accepted earnings (£62,500 held over the 6 months prior to the application – for single applicants not relying on income. This rises to £72,500 when a child is included). The calculation is different for Armed Forces partners.

You will get permission to stay for 2.5 years. After this you will need to apply to extend your stay.
The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK is after you have lived in the country for 5 years continuously with permission to stay as a parent.

Tips

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Initial Family Life visa applications for overseas can take up to 6 months!

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Remember, if you are relying purely on savings to make up the financial requirement, it is the amount ABOVE £16,000 plus the difference between the gross annual income and the total required multiplied by 2.5. Only children who are not British, Europeans or settled are counted for the purpose of the financial requirement. The financial requirement may be met through employment income; self-employment income; savings; non-employment income (e.g. rental income); pension; or complex combinations of the above. There are some exceptions for applicants whose family member is in receipt of certain benefits, in which case they need to show “adequate maintenance”.

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Take the highest-level English language test from the outset to avoid extra fees for taking higher levels for the extension application. CEFR Level A1 for initial & A2 for the extension. These must include the four elements of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Please note that Level B1 in speaking and listening only is required for ILR applications.

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For extension and settlement applications, your finances over the previous 6 months will be required again, so plan well in advance.

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Once in the UK under this status, you will need to prove you are in a genuine subsisting and cohabiting relationship. Please keep documentation to prove this e.g. utility bills, bank statements, mortgage or tenancy agreements, addressed pay slips, insurance documents.

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Even if you are married, for the initial visa stage, show cohabitation where possible.

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According to section 9 of the Maintenance and Accommodation rules the Entry Clearance Officer should be satisfied that the couple’s accommodation is owned or legally occupied for their exclusive use and it is capable of accommodating the couple, and any children without overcrowding as defined in the Housing Act 1985.

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