- Not ready for civil partnership ?
- Can we build up the two years by simply visiting each other?
- What other options are there for us staying together in the UK?
- What if there are no options ?
- Is there any other country where we could live together ?
Not ready for civil partnership ?
If you are not ready or able to enter into a marriage or civil partnership and do not qualify under the unmarried partners rules because you do not have the required two years cohabitation, you will have to find a way to stay together until you reach the two-year point. It is extremely important not to separate for any lengthy period of time.
The crucial thing to remember is to ensure that you document your relationship throughout so that when you reach the two-year period you have enough evidence to prove that you have been in the relationship as claimed.
Can we build up the two years by simply visiting each other?
In theory there is nothing wrong with spending six months in the UK visiting your partner and then returning home and your partner visiting you. The instructions to Home Office caseworkers state that where a couple have been living together for the preceding two years but have been dividing their time between countries and may for example have used the “visitor” category then this will be sufficient to meet the unmarried partners requirement.
If you do want to visit the UK regularly and are concerned about being refused entry at the airport you may wish to consider applying for a multiple entry visitors visa from the British Diplomatic Post in your own country. Do remember, however, that even if you hold a multiple entry visa, you should not normally be in the UK as a visitor for more than 6 months in any year and visitors are not allowed to work.
In the past, it has been possible for non-visa nationals (those who do not require prior entry clearance as visitors) to switch into student status from within the UK. Subsequently this was restricted to degree level study or above but such switching while someone is here as a visitor is no longer possible.
What other options are there for us staying together in the UK?
There are numerous categories in the immigration rules that allow people to come to the UK for particular reasons. If you qualify under one of these categories there is no reason why you cannot come to the UK for that purpose, living with your partner during that time.
The immigration system is based on a 5 tier framework. Many specific categories have been replaced under the Points-Based System..
Categories within the Points-Based System (PBS):
Underpinning the government’s new immigration system is a 5 tier framework, the Points-Based System, as follows:
- Tier 1 – Exceptional talent, Entrepreneur, Investor, Graduate entrepreneur. The ‘General’ category which included highly skilled workers (HSMP) is now effectively closed.
- Tier 2 – Skilled workers with a job offer where the post cannot be filled by a settled worker (subject to a quota system), Minister of religion, Sportsperson, Intra company transfer.
- Tier 3 – Low skilled workers. Currently suspended.
- Tier 4 – Students, prospective students.
- Tier 5 – Temporary workers: Creative and Sporting, Charity workers, Religious workers, Government authorised exchanges, International agreement (e.g. foreign government employees), Youth mobility scheme (young people from Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand and Monaco).
Tier 5 categories are temporary and people will not be able to switch to another status from within the United Kingdom.
Categories which are outside the Points-Based System (PBS):
What if there are no options ?
There is no requirement to have lived together for 2 years when making an application on the basis of marriage/civil partnership.
If there is some reason why you are not able or willing to enter into a marriage/civil partnership and you do not meet the requirements of the immigration rules for unmarried partners, see the latest position regarding applications based on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (EX 1-Exception 1). This is a hard route to follow and only worth considering if you can prove that there are insurmountable obstacles to family life with your partner continuing outside the UK.
Is there any other country where we could live together ?
If one of the partners is British or another EU nationality, the couple may be able to go to live in certain other EU countries who themselves recognise same sex relationships. If the foreign partner’s home country recognises same-sex relationships for immigration purposes, living in that country (even if on a temporary basis to build up cohabitation time) would clearly be an option. More here.