UK Unmarried Partner Visa For Australians

The Unmarried Partner Visa route allows Australian citizens who are in a long-term relationship with an eligible spouse living in the UK to move there and form a permanent household with them, without having to get formally married or enter into a civil partnership.

Need support or advice with your UK Unmarried Partner Visa application? Speak to a specialist immigration lawyer for free with no obligation by calling Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    What Is The UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

    The Unmarried Partner Visa is a visa route allowing foreign nationals (including Australian citizens) to move to the UK to be with their partner, without them being legally married or in a civil partnership.

    The foreign partner must be moving to the UK with the intention of setting up a household with their British spouse, although there is no requirement for them to intend to marry in the future. It is also known as the UK De Facto Visa.

    The Unmarried Partner Visa route is open for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and is often a popular visa route for same-sex couples who are unable to legally marry in the home country of one of the partners.

    Usually, the visa allows for the settlement of the Australian partner for an initial period of 33 months (two years and nine months), before extending onwards. After a five-year period, the UK Unmarried Partner Visa holder may apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain, which is the British permanent residency settlement scheme. This can, if the visa holder so desires, lead on to a British citizenship application.

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    UK Unmarried Partner Visa: Requirements & Eligibility Criteria

    Both the Australian partner and their British spouse must meet set eligibility requirements to apply for the Unmarried Partner Visa. These are as follows:

    Australian (overseas) partner

    • Must be aged 18 or over
    • Must have a valid Australian passport
    • Must intend to live with their partner in the UK on a permanent basis – and have suitable accommodation available and ready
    • Be able to demonstrate that any previous relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership has ended
    • Be able to prove that they have lived with their UK partner for at least two years while in a relationship
    • Be able to demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves in the UK without claiming any public funds
      • This equates to £29,000 as of April 2024, and then to £38,700 over the course of 2024 and 2025. In addition, the requirement for additional funds for dependent children is abolished also as of April 2024.
    • Satisfy the relevant English language requirements

    UK based partner

    • Must be aged 18 or over
    • Must be a British or Irish citizen legally resident in the UK, OR
    • Must have Indefinite Leave To Remain, hold EU Settled Status or have another form of a valid permanent residency (including holding UK refugee status or humanitarian protection)
    • Earn a minimum of £29,000 per annum

    There are some circumstances in which an Unmarried Partner Visa application will be considered without these requirements being met, including if the couple would face significant difficulties to reside as a couple in the foreign partner’s home country or if the applicant’s human rights would be breached if unable to live in the UK.

    Contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 if you think this may apply to you, and we’ll guide you through the application process.

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    UK Unmarried Partner Visa Application Costs & Fees

    The processing of a UK Unmarried Partner Visa application begins once the form has been submitted and the fee amount cleared. As at March 2024, the UK Unmarried Partner Visa application fee is £1,048 if made from within the UK and £1,538 if made from outside of the UK.

    Visa holders are also subject to a £1,035 annual healthcare charge for access to NHS (National Health Service) services, and £776 for each child covered by the visa.

    Applicants should note that applying for a visa incurs several other costs – including printing and copying, translation fees and admin costs.

    We can guide you through the application process of your UK unmarried partner visa. Contact Us

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      UK Unmarried Partner Visa Application Process: Step By Step

      The application process for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa is fairly uniform and in all but the most complex cases follows these steps:

      Complete the online application form

      The UK Unmarried Partner Visa application form is filed online through the GOV.UK website; the official website of the British government. There are two forms available – one for applications being processed from within the UK, and one for applications being processed elsewhere in the world. At this point copies of any eligibility proofs should be uploaded.

      Pay the application fee and first year healthcare surcharge

      The payment of the application fee and the first year healthcare surcharge to cover NHS costs initiates the processing period of the visa application.

      Attend UKVCAS appointment for biometric submission

      Once the fee payments have cleared, the applicant may request an appointment at a UKVCAS service centre. At this appointment, they will have their photo and fingerprints taken as biometric information, and this identifying information will accompany the overall application.

      Supply any requested documents

      The UKVCAS team processing the application may request further documentary evidence of eligibility during the processing period. Applicants should respond with the relevant information as quickly as possible, as failure to do so may result in delay or even visa refusal.

      Await visa decision

      UKVCAS will supply the applicant with their final decision in writing. If accepted, the applicant may travel to the UK at any point from the visa start date, unless they are already in the country. If the application has been declined there may be recourse to appeal, with details on the route to do so included in the decision letter. Contact Total Law on +44 (0)333 305 9375 for help – we can guide you through the appeal process.

      UK Unmarried Partner Visa Application Processing Time

      There is no set SLA for the processing of applications made through the Unmarried Partner category, but generally speaking a decision can be expected within 12 weeks (three months) – but this is often calculated using ‘working days’ (weekdays and no national holidays) only. Visa extension applications are usually decided within eight weeks (2 months).

      Dependent on demand, there may be priority processing services available for an extra cost, but such services are withdrawn during busy periods.

      Unmarried Partner Visa Holders: Bringing Dependents to the UK

      Where the unmarried partners have children aged 18 or under, they can too be covered by the UK Unmarried Partner Visa application. All such dependents should be noted on the initial application.

      It should be noted that the financial requirements that foreign national unmarried partners (in this case, the Australian citizen) and their UK-based partners must meet to be eligible includes a set amount of income per dependent.

      If the couple have a child/ren already resident with the UK based partner, the applicant should note this in their application.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      If you’re applying or appealing for an Unmarried Partner Visa, the Total Law team can help. The Unmarried Partner Visa category is a popular yet often misunderstood immigration route that can be hugely rewarding in its ability to reunite couples and families permanently.

      With no obligation to enter marriage or civil partnership, fairly low financial requirements and a reasonable minimum income requirement, the Unmarried Partner route to the UK is accessible to many.

      Contact our immigration lawyers for specialist advice on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online. Whether you’re unsure of your adherence to financial requirements, need help on demonstrating your genuine and subsisting relationship, want to ensure your dependent children can come with you or just want some guidance on the application form, we can help!

      Our initial calls are always free with no obligation to proceed and we always aim to communicate clearly and without jargon for ease.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                There is no requirement for Unmarried Partners to be engaged or have any intention to marry or gain a civil partnership in order to apply for or be granted an Unmarried Partner Visa.

                An Unmarried Partner Visa does not grant Indefinite Leave To Remain (the UK permanent settlement permission) but it does allow for visa holders to apply for it. After a five-year period legally resident in the UK, the visa holder may apply for permanent residence, but this is a separate process.

                Applicants should note that Indefinite Leave To Remain is a separate immigration status to becoming a British citizen. Those holding Indefinite Leave To Remain may go on to apply to become a British citizen after one year.

                Both parties should intend to reside at the same address, together as a household, once the visa applicant moves to the UK if not already present. If the applicant is already in the UK, they should be able to prove good reason for not living with their partner if they don’t already, and must demonstrate intention to live with them.

                Both partners must meet a minimum income requirement to demonstrate their ability to support themselves and any dependents. However, the UK based partner may be entitled to public funds depending on their individual circumstances and their leave to remain status in the country. It should be noted, however, that any individual eligible for state-sanctioned financial support is likely to find such support greatly reduced when they live with another adult (as they would have to once the non settled person is granted their visa.

                Indefinite Leave To Remain is the UK’s permanent residence settlement scheme. This is not the immigration status provided by an Unmarried Partner Visa but may be applied for by visa holders at a later date.

                Visa applicants must be able to demonstrate English language skills to the equivalent of CEFR level A2. However, Australian citizens are not required to take an English language test on virtue of them being nationals of an English-speaking country.