How to Bring My Chinese Wife or Girlfriend to the UK? – 3 Possible Immigration Routes
As the world becomes smaller it is not uncommon to find love from all corners of the globe. If your partner is of Chinese nationality and you would like to bring them to the UK you will be looking at three different VISA routes to choose from. Your decision should be based on eligibility, the intended duration of their initial visit to the UK and where you eventually plan on building a life with your partner. For information on how to bring your husband or boyfriend to the UK, read our article on How Can I Bring My Husband or Boyfriend to the UK?
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At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, many individuals ask us How Can I Bring My Chinese Wife or Girlfriend to The UK? Well, there are three ways to achieve this. In fact, one can bring their Chinese Wife or Girlfriend to The UK under the Standard Visitor VISA, the Fiance VISA and the Spouse VISA route. Continue reading to learn more about each respective route and its criteria. For information on how to bring your husband or boyfriend to the UK, read our article on
The Visitor VISA Route
Chinese nationals are required to obtain a Vistor VISA in order to visit the UK as visitors. The reason for your visit can be to join friends and family or simply for tourism so visiting a partner ticks that box. The VISA will permit a single entry to the UK for a maximum stay of 6 months at a time. You can acquire either a one off VISA or a long term Visitor Visa which is valid for multiple visits over a two, five or ten year period but either way the maximum stay will still be 6 months at a time.
Other eligibility requirements mean that you will have to show the following:
- You will leave the UK by the time the VISA expires
- You are able to support yourself financially whilst in the UK
- You have or can at least afford to buy your return ticket
- You will not try to live in the UK through future successive visits or attempt to make the UK your home.
Once your partner is in the UK on a Visitor VISA they cannot do any of the following:
- Gain any government funds
- Work or try to gain paid employment
- Get married or enter a civil partnership with anyone or even give notice of marriage or a civil partnership
The Visitor VISA is the cheapest and most straightforward route of entry for your partner if you are simply aiming to spend a short period of time with them in the UK.
If you acquire a long term visitor VISA then your partner can benefit from multiple entries to the UK and this may be the ideal system for you and your partner. However, if the Home Office comes to believe that you are using the VISA as a means to live in the UK continuously then it will revoke the VISA.
Moreover, only ‘time spent continuously’ in the UK can contribute to your partner’s future chances for permanent residency in the UK. Therefore, it is paramount for you to decide what you would like to gain from the VISA and how likely it is that your partner will want to work or live continuously in the UK.
The Fiance VISA Route
The UK Fiance VISA otherwise known as the Marriage visitor VISA will allow your partner to enter the UK for a maximum of 6 months but unlike the Tourist VISA you will be allowed to marry or enter into a civil partnership during your stay in the UK.
You are eligible for the Fiancé VISA if:
- You are both 18 or over
- You are legally free to marry or enter a civil partnership i.e neither of you were previously married to someone else or you can show a death certificate of the previous partner or the decree absolute for the divorce.
- You will stay no longer than 6 months in the UK
- You will not attempt to make the UK your home
- You or your partner can support yourself financially for the duration of your trip
- You are able to pay for your return travel out of the UK
- You can provide details of the marriage or civil partnership you are planning and can show evidence of money you have already spent on it
- You can show proof of plans for a ceremony like a venue you have booked
Considering the eligibility requirements and time your partner will be permitted to stay in the UK it is clear why you may want to go down the Fiancé VISA route. Celebrating that special day in the presence of your friends and family is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is rapidly facilitated by the Fiancé VISA. After your Chinese partner acquires a UK Fiance visa, he/she can then switch to the Spouse Visa after your marriage takes place. Under the Spouse Visa route, your partner can then qualify for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years; read more below.
The Spouse VISA Route
If you are intending to build a life in the UK with your partner from China then this is the VISA route you should be considering. It will allow your partner to stay in the UK for up to 2 years and 9 months and can be extended without having to leave the UK. After five years in the UK under a Spouse VISA your partner will become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and eventually British Citizenship through naturalisation. The VISA is however only available to those who are already married or in a civil partnership. If you would like to bring a fiancé to the UK on this VISA then you must prove that you intend to marry them in the UK within 6 months and your VISA will only be valid for 6 months but open to extension once married.
If you would like to apply for this VISA then you must satisfy the following criteria and be able to show proof that:
- You and your spouse are 18 or over
- One of you is a British citizen, has permanent leave to remain in the UK, settled status, is a permanent resident of the UK or has refugee or protected status in the UK
- You intend to live permanently with your partner in the UK
- You’re marriage or civil partnership is recognised in the UK
- You have already lived for 2 years or more with your partner
- That your partner has a good knowledge of English
- That you are able to support yourself and dependants financially
Even If you do not satisfy this criteria you may still be able to apply for the VISA or extend your permission to stay if:
- There are specific reasons that would make it particularly hard for you and your partner to live together outside of the UK, for example you have a child who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years or more.
- It would be a breach of your human rights to prevent you from coming to the UK or forcing you to leave.
How Do You Prove Your Relationship?
You will need evidence from a government, bank, utility provider or bank which shows you live together, share expenses, are married or in a civil partnership. These documents should be no older than 4 years. They can include:
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Bank statements which show a common address or a joint account
- Utility bills or tenancy agreements which show you live together
- Dentist, GP or hospital letters which indicate your joint address
The Spouse VISA, otherwise known as the Family VISA, is clearly the hardest of the three to obtain, however, once your partner has their application approved they will be allowed to work and study in the UK. They are also able to add any dependent children back home to their application which may well be what eventually convinces your partner to make that move to the UK. All things considered this is the best route to take if your partner’s visit to the UK is part of a bigger plan to make the move permanent.
How Can Gulbenkian Solicitors help?
Gulbenkian Andonian immigration lawyers London can help you understand which VISA your partner may be eligible for and make sure you have every chance of a successful application. Boasting a wealth of knowledge and history in the field you can be confident that all your options will be thoroughly explained and a tailor made immigration plan for your partner will be executed to the highest professional standard.
Ask our Expert Legal Team
At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.