The UK recognises same sex relationships for immigration purposes. Same sex partners of British citizens, those who are settled in the UK and those who come to the UK for a limited period of time are able to apply for a visa.
The UK first recognised same sex partner applications for immigration and visa purposes in 1997. Initially a concession was granted and then, in October 2000, same sex relationships were recognised formally in the Immigration Rules.
Who can apply for a same sex partner visa?
The non-UK partner of a British citizen, a person who is settled in the UK (i.e. they are a permanent resident or hold Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)) and those who come to the UK for a limited period, for example under the Skilled Worker route of the Points Based System, can make an application under the Immigration Rules for a same sex partner visa.
Do we have to be married or in a Civil Partnership?
No. The Immigration Rules provide for a same sex partner visa to be granted as long as the couple can demonstrate that they have lived together for a period of at least two years. This can be cohabitation in the UK, abroad or a mixture of both. The cohabitation period does not need to be continuous. For example, a couple may have lived together for a year or so several years ago, and may then have had to live apart due to work or other commitments, and may then have resumed cohabitation in the last year. This would meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules as long as evidence had been kept to demonstrate the various cohabitation periods.
A couple who are married or in a Civil Partnership do not have to demonstrate that they have lived together for a period of at least two years.
In all cases, the couple must demonstrate that they have a genuine and subsisting relationship. We find that many couples enjoy putting this evidence together as it can evoke memories of previous holidays and times spent with family and friends etc. Photos of the couple and letters of support from family and friends will always help to strengthen the application.
What are the requirements for a same sex partner visa?
The requirements for an application, from inside (where permitted) or outside the UK, are exactly the same as those applied to heterosexual couples. You can find further information here.
Are there any common reasons for a refusal decision?
The two most common reasons for a visa refusal notice at the moment are that:
- the financial requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules have not be met; or
- the Entry Clearance Officer does not accept that the couple are in a genuine relationship.
We have covered this in more detail here.
UK same sex partner visa – how we can help
We have been working with same sex couples to ensure their applications are approved since the Home Office first provided for such applications in the Immigration Rules. Our head of immigration, Nichola Carter, is a volunteer solicitor for the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) and has also been one of the group’s trustees. We are an affiliated firm with the group.
We have maintained a very high success record for spouse visa applications because we ensure that each application is thoroughly prepared and is accompanied by detailed representations from us that sets out to the decision-maker exactly how the application meets the requirements of the UK’s Immigration Rules. We also offer a fixed fee service.
Helping couples to be together is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the work we do. If you would like to speak to one of our experts to understand how we can help you and for some initial information, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.
This article was originally published in January 2019 and has been lightly updated. It is accurate as of the new date of publication shown.