The information on our partnership pages provides a basic outline. During the current upheaval, however, many temporary arrangements are operating. Here are some useful links which we are assured will be continually updated:
The Free Movement website gathers together various updates on changes to immigration law and practice caused by coronavirus.
Worried about how COVID-19 might impact spouse and partner visas ?
Check out this useful guide from JCWI
Last updated: April 2020
Outline of the partnership pages
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 EEA law where the sponsor is an EEA 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.
Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been legal since 13 January 2020, following the enactment of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. The first marriage ceremony took place on 11 February 2020.
Unmarried same-sex partnership
The Unmarried Partners Rule became law in October 2000 and provides opportunity for those who are not ready or do not wish 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 EEA national ‘exercising treaty rights‘ in the UK, EEA 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. However, a couple can demonstrate that the relationship is ‘durable’ even if they have not cohabited for two years.
British immigration law relating to partners
British immigration law has, over recent years, become increasingly complex and it is 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.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our partnership meetings have been replaced with a telephone service for the foreseeable future.
For more information, please contact us on 020 7922 7811 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Please note that your personal data will be dealt with in line with our privacy notice.
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