Ways to Bring Your Husband or Boyfriend to the UK
Are you trying to figure out how to bring your partner or spouse to the UK? Well, this article has got you covered.
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Having a romantic relationship with someone from a different country can introduce some additional stages to your love story, particularly when it involves steering through the sophistication of immigration laws. The specific details surrounding your partner’s stay in the UK – such as the duration and the purpose of their visit – will substantially influence the most appropriate route to choose. Our guide categorises various visa routes and provides you with the necessary details to make an informed choice and progress.
However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that this guide is not a substitute for legal advice. Always keep up-to-date with the most recent immigration rules and seek direction from a legal expert for your specific circumstances.
The Visitor Visa Route
Your partner can gain single entry access to the UK for a maximum period of six months using a Visitor Visa. Alternatively, they can apply for a long-term Visitor Visa which is valid for multiple visits over a two, five or ten-year period. However, the long-term Visitor Visa is still subject to the same six-month maximum duration for each visit.
To apply for a Visitor Visa, you will not have to show proof of your relationship for a successful application; tourism will suffice as a reason for entry to the UK.
What your partner may have to prove:
- They plan to leave the UK upon the expiration of their Visa
- They can look after themselves financially whilst in the UK
- They have or can at least afford to buy their return ticket
- They do not plan to live in the UK through successive visits or attempt to make the UK their home.
Your partner is not permitted to do any of the following once in the UK:
- Apply for government funds
- Attempt to gain employment
- Get married or enter a civil partnership
The Visitor Visa provides a relatively cheap and straightforward route for you to spend up to six months in the UK with your partner and is a process which can be repeated over time. We should, however, stress that this is strictly a Visitor Visa. Should the Home Office believe that your partner is using the visa as a means to ‘live continuously in the UK’, then they will revoke it.
Consequently, time spent in the UK under a Visitor Visa will not contribute to your partner’s chances of gaining permanent residency in the UK. It is, therefore, paramount to be clear about the intention behind your partner’s trip to the UK.
The Fiance Visa
The Fiance Visa is sometimes called the Marriage Visitor Visa as its purpose is to ensure you get married in the UK. Your partner will be allowed to enter the UK for a maximum of 6 months, but unlike the Visitor Visa, they will be allowed to marry or enter a civil partnership.
Your partner is eligible for the Fiance Visa if:
- Both of you are 18 or over.
- Both you and your partner are legally free to marry or enter a civil partnership. Neither party is currently married. If either party was previously married, they should be able to show a death certificate of the previous partner or the decree absolute for the divorce.
- Your partner will not stay in the UK longer than six months in the UK if you do not get married.
- They will not attempt to make the UK their home.
- You or your partner can support themselves financially for the duration of his stay.
- They can pay for return travel out of the UK.
- You can provide details of the marriage or civil partnership being planned and evidence of monies already spent.
- You can show proof of a ceremony being planned. Venue bookings, for example.
This is the ideal visa route if your intention is to organise and celebrate your big day amongst friends and family in the UK. The Home Office specifically states that the Fiance Visa is unavailable to those wishing to settle in the UK. Therefore, if you harbour hopes of bringing your partner to the UK on a permanent basis, you need to look at other options.
The Unmarried Partner Visa
The Unmarried Partner Visa allows the Home Office to be more inclusive and extend the same rights to couples who cannot or do not wish to get married or enter a civil partnership.
As long as you can show that you are in a relationship which is akin to a marriage or a civil partnership, then you may be entitled to an Unmarried Partner Visa.
You will be required to satisfy the following criteria:
- You are both over 18
- You must have been in the relationship for two years or more and have met in person
- You intend to stay together permanently, and the connection is genuine
- Neither of you is involved in any other relationships
- You have the finances to support yourselves in the UK
- Your partner has the necessary knowledge of English
An Unmarried Partner Visa is valid for 33 months and open to extension. After spending more than five years in the UK on an Unmarried Partner Visa, your partner can then apply for indefinite leave to remain.
The Spouse Visa Route
The Spouse Visa will allow your husband to move to the UK, live there and also work there. On this visa route, your husband will be able to stay in the UK for 2.5 years and can later extend this application for another 2.5 years. Once your husband has completed five years in the UK, he can make an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and eventually British Citizenship through naturalisation.
The Spouse Visa is available for your husband if you can show proof of the following criteria:
- You and your husband are both 18 or over
- You are a British citizen or an individual with indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or have refugee or protected status in the UK
- Your husband’s intention is to settle in the UK for the long term.
- Your marriage or civil partnership is recognised by the UK system
- You also need to prove that you have already lived for two years or more with your partner. This will need to be proved to the Home Office during the application by letters from a government, bank or utility provider which are no older than four years. Showing proof of a joint address or joint finances will be accepted as proof of a genuine relationship between you and your partner.
- Your husband must also speak English to the required level
- You can demonstrate that you are able to support yourself and your husband in the UK.
If you cannot satisfy these criteria, then it is highly likely your application will be rejected by the Home Office. In this case, you can appeal the decision in a number of ways. One way would be to claim that your partner may still be entitled to a Spouse Visa by proving he would face ‘insurmountable obstacles‘ should you both try to pursue your relationship outside of the UK.
The Spouse Visa might entail more paperwork than the other visa routes but is clearly the best option if you intend to build a life with your partner in the UK. Your partner will have the right to work and study in the UK and will even be able to bring dependent children to the UK. It is clear that the freedom which the Spouse Visa can offer your partner could be the key to convincing them to move to the UK on a permanent basis.
UK Dependent Visa
The Dependent Visa in the UK permits the dependents of those who are UK nationals, settled in the UK, or on a particular visa category to join them. Dependents can include spouses, civil partners, unmarried or same-sex partners, children under the age of 18, and in certain circumstances, even parents or adult children.
Eligibility for the Dependent Visa to bring your boyfriend includes:
- You must be a dependent of someone who is present and settled in the UK or who is on a Work Visa
- You need to prove the relationship to the main applicant or ‘sponsor’
- You must provide proof that you intend to live with your sponsor in the UK for the span of your visa.
- You must prove that you have adequate funds to sustain yourself (and any dependents) within the UK without turning to public funds.
These are the basic prerequisites for a Dependent Visa in the UK. Keep in mind that UK immigration rules are subject to change, and always refer to the latest guidance from the UK Government or a legal professional before proceeding with your application.
EUSS Family Permit
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) family permit allows immediate family members of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen who resides in the UK to relocate and reunite with them in the country. The family member in the UK must either have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Eligibility for the EUSS family permit includes:
- You must be an immediate family member of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen who is living in the UK
- The relationship with the EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens must have existed before 31 December 2020
- The EU, EEA or Swiss citizen must have pre-settled or settled status
The EUSS Family Permit is a valid document for six months and does not impose any restrictions on work or study in the UK. It provides an opportunity for family members to apply for pre-settled or settled status on their own.
Civil Partner Visa
The Civil Partner Visa is similar to the Spouse Visa but specifically for individuals who are in a civil partnership with a UK citizen or a person with settled status. The Civil Partner Visa allows the holder to remain, work, and study in the UK.
Requirements for the Civil Partner Visa include:
- Both you and your partner need to be 18 years of age or older.
- Your civil partnership must be valid in the UK
- You and the proposed civil partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK
- You must have sufficient knowledge of English
- Fulfil the financial requirement (support yourselves without recourse to public funds financially)
The Civil Partner Visa lasts for 2.5 years and can be extended. After five years on this visa, the holder can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
How can Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors help?
Our team of immigration lawyers London are specialists in the field of visa and nationality law and can help you through the process of applying for any of the visa routes discussed in this article.
It is crucial to have legal counsel when applying for visas to make informed decisions and comprehend how they may impact your future family life. Our team can take charge of your immigration application, assuring you the highest opportunity for a successful application without unnecessary administrative difficulties.
If you are a British citizen or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you are qualified to apply for a spouse visa to bring your husband to the UK. Upon completing 5 years on a spouse visa, your husband can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which confirms permanent residency.
If the visa is denied, you usually have the option to challenge the decision by resorting to an appeal. The appeal process can be complex and equipped with legal advice might be favourable. Reapplication is also a possibility if your circumstances undergo a change or you can address the issues that led to the denial of your initial application.
The appropriate course of action primarily depends on your association and the purpose of your boyfriend’s visit. If he’s planning to stay temporarily, a General Visitor Visa may suffice. But, if you’re engaged and planning to get married in the UK, you can apply for a Fiancé Visa. Alternatively, if you’re already married or in a long-term relationship, a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa could be the best route.
The expenses related to bringing your partner to the UK can vary greatly depending on the type of visa, application location, and any additional services used. For instance, the application fee for a Fiancé or Spouse Visa, as of August 2023, is £1,538 when applying from outside the UK and £1,048 inside the UK. You should also consider the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge, English language tests, and any legal consultation fees.
This is based on your current relationship and ambition. If you’re already married, then applying for a Spouse Visa would make sense. However, if you’re not yet married but plan to do so within six months in the UK, a Fiancé Visa is the appropriate choice. Remember, a Fiancé Visa is temporary and does not allow for work rights.
Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.