UK family visas are many in nature. They allow existing UK nationals, EEA nations or even UK permanent residents who are currently living the United Kingdom to sponsor their respective partners, their parents and their children to move to and remain in the United Kingdom.

Spouse or Civil Partner

The spouse or civil partner visa is almost always first granted only on probation and later it is possible that is it upgraded to an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or even a British Nationality. Usually the probation period is for two years. The only exception is if the couple applying has already been in a civil relationship or partnership for a minimum of four years before their making the application. In that case, the couple can apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain directly. While applying, the couple needs to prove:

That they are legally married to each other; and

They intend to live with each other while in the United Kingdom.

Unmarried Partner Visa

This particular type of visa allows the same benefits to practicing de-facto couples or even same sex couples as a spouse visa would to married couples or couples who have been through the civil partnership registration. Just like the spouse or civil partner visa, it would require the applicants to go through a two year probationary period, after which they are like to qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Nationality.

For a couple to be eligible for this visa, they will need to have lived with each other for a minimum of two years. If they’ve lived together for over four years, they can then apply for the ILR immediately. This visa is particularly made for:

Couples who cannot marry or do not intend to marry each other; or

Same sex couples who aren’t allowed to marry each other.

Fiancee or prospective civil partner visa

A Fiancee or prospective civil partner visa is issued for a period of six months to allow for the formalization of the relationship – the couple would have to marry to register their civil relationship within this time. Requirements include:

Both parties have to be above the age of 21

They should have met each other

They should be willing to marry or undergo the registration of their civil relationship

Once the couple is married, they will need to apply for a spouse visa.

EEA Family Visa

This visa is specifically designed for EEA nationals to come and join their family members in the United Kingdom. Any non-UK EEA national who currently resides in the UK can apply for a visa for members of their family or an unmarried partner provided that they:

Intend to live in the UK

Are economically active

Are willing to sponsor the family member.

Certificate of Approval

This allows an individual to enter the UK to get married or to enter a civil partnership. Couples looking to marry at the Church of England don’t need to apply.


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