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UK Immigration for spouses and civil/unmarried partners: useful tips

18 June 2011

The application process for spouses and civil/unmarried partners to join and settle with their beloved ones in the UK should be straightforward, however, it can be all but simple. Much depends on the individual circumstances as well as the applicant's ability to navigate through the relevant Immigration Rules and provide the required supporting evidence.

It helps to have a good grasp of the prospective visa category under which the applicant will make his/her entry clearance or application for further leave to remain in the UK. Broadly speaking, only the spouses or partners of British Citizens or migrants holding Indefinite Leave to Remain are able to make an in country application as long as they entered the UK in a visa category other than the visitor one. In summary, visitors will not be able to switch into the spouse or civil partners category, but will need to return to their country of nationality and residence to lodge an entry clearance application even if married to a British Citizens However, the spouses or partners of individuals who are in the UK on a limited leave to remain such as a Tier 1 General holder/ HSMP, Tier 2 holder/work permit or students are in a less fortunate position as they will not be allowed to switch in country.

After the applicants have given notice to marry or register the civil partnership, they have to wait 15 full days before the wedding or registration of the civil partnership can take place (14 days in Scotland and Northern Ireland). In England and Wales, once your notice to marry or register your civil partnership has been accepted, the wedding or civil partnership can take place at any register office or approved premises. If you plan to marry at a church or religious building registered for marriage it must be in the district of residence where you or the person you plan to marry live. Please note that the notice to marry or register your civil partnership is valid for one year from the date on which it was given in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for three months in Scotland.

The applicants will need to meet the English language requirement introduced by the UK Border Agency on 29 November 2010.

Finally, it is important to submit the correct documents to show that the relationship is genuine and in the case of unmarried partners to cover the two years period preceding the application, that the parties have met, and there are adequate funds to meet the accommodation and maintenance requirements. In country applicants will need to submit their biometric data and will be issued with an identity card for foreign nationals. The application can be submitted by post or using the same day service. Processing times for entry clearance vary according to the British Diplomatic Posts dealing with the applications.

Most applications attract a right of appeal under the Immigration Rules and the ECHR. Also, mandatory grounds of refusal and re-entry bans do not apply when the applicant is the spouse or civil/unmarried partners even in case of deception or previous immigration breaches.

Migra&CO can help you to take the correct steps and submit a successful application without any delays or risks of refusal.

Speak to one of our Blog visa consultants now to discuss your tailor made visa solution. Call us on +44 20 3384 3075.
Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.