Outline of the partnership pages
As you will see elsewhere in the website, the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group evolved in 2004 from the original Stonewall Immigration Group which came into being in 1993 to fight for equality in UK immigration law for same-sex partners. The Unmarried Partners Rule which became law in 2000, was the culmination of this work. Many of our founders are still closely associated with the Group and regularly contribute content to the website.
The pages under the Partnership heading in the navigation bar above deal with several related issues. ‘Immigration Rules’ covers law and procedure for spouses/civil partners, fiancé(e)s/proposed civil partners, unmarried same-sex partners, those with an equivalent foreign partnership status recognised under UK law and aspects of EU law where the sponsor is an EU national living in the UK. There are two sub-pages under Immigration Rules, the first listing evidence required when making a partnership application, the second listing relevant Home Office links which seem harder and harder to find. ‘Other Options’ covers some other ways to stay in the UK if you do not yet feel ready for marriage/civil partnership and wish to be here in UK with your partner to build up time together.
We have also included a page dealing with domestic violence and immigration rights.
On the 18 November 2004 the Civil Partnership Act 2004 received Royal Assent. UKLGIG was actively involved in discussions to ensure that immigration issues were properly catered for when the Act came into force. The Act ensures that under UK statutory law, same-sex couples who register their relationship should be treated in an almost identical way to married couples. This relates to a variety of issues including children matters, inheritance tax, property and financial arrangements, immigration, occupancy, tenancy and so on. The Act also means that the dissolution of a registered relationship, following its breakdown, is dealt with in an almost identical way to divorce, with the associated financial and other consequences.
The Civil Partnership Act extends to the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Act came into force on 5th December, 2005, and the first civil partnership ceremonies took place on 21 December, 2005.
The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by Parliament in July 2013, came into force on 13 March 2014, and the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014.
Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014 and took effect on 16 December 2014. The first same-sex marriages took place on 16 December 2014 for same-sex couples already in civil partnerships. The first same-sex marriage ceremonies for couples not already in a civil partnership occurred on 31 December 2014.
Unmarried same-sex partnership
The Unmarried Partners Rule became law in October 2000 and provides opportunity for those who are not ready (or able) to consider civil partnership or marriage as an option. Although the term itself is no longer used in the immigration rules, the law provides for an applicant ‘who has been living in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership‘ with their sponsor for at least two years prior to the date of application’. Note that the legal rights of this status are limited to immigration only. Look carefully at the evidence required to qualify.
If the sponsor is an EU national ‘exercising treaty rights‘ in the UK, EU law allows a foreign partner in a ‘durable relationship’ to join or stay with their sponsor in the UK. The UK government interprets a ‘durable relationship’ as equivalent to unmarried partnership, requiring evidence of 2 years prior cohabitation.
British immigration law relating to partners
British immigration law has, over recent years, become increasingly complex and it is more and more difficult to provide a general guide. Applicants must read the Immigration Rules (and any related guidance) before making an application and should not rely on information from this website alone.
It has traditionally been UKLGIG’s position that those with ‘straightforward’ applications should be able to make an application without the help of a legal adviser. We now believe that the need for specialist advice has increased due to the complexity of the new rules introduced by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
Click here for a summary of the rules and procedures with links to the relevant parts of the UKVI website.
It could well be your first step to attend one of our monthly partnership meetings in London. These are held on the third Saturday of each month (excluding December) at 1.00 pm unless otherwise stated. Confirm dates and times in the right sidebar. Please try to arrive 10 minutes early so we can start on time.
The meetings start with a talk, usually by two solicitors, who will cover the main issues arising out the latest immigration rules affecting partners. They will answer general questions within the meeting. Afterwards you can have an informal one to one discussion with one of the solicitors, but you may have to be patient – those who arrive at the meeting first will also be first on the solicitors list. To give everyone a chance, individual sessions are for maximum 10 mins.
We do urge you to read our comprehensive summary of the current immigration rules before coming to the meeting.
Those who attend the partnership meetings will understand that, with the continually increasing costs associated with asylum seekers support work, which is now our primary focus, we cannot afford to run these meetings at a loss. The solicitors (who normally charge £200 or more per hour) donate their Saturday afternoons once a month. You can play your part in the vital asylum work (and come to as many partnership meetings as you need) by joining as a member or friend of the group (min £20). There will be a suggested donation of £10 for non-members (couples or individuals) towards the costs of our vital asylum support work.