Unmarried Partner Visas – An Overview

The UK unmarried partner visa is a type of visa that allows long term partners of British citizens or settled persons to enter or remain with them in the UK. The visa is sometimes referred to as a UK de facto visa and provides all the benefits of a UK spouse visa. The visa is based on the relationship between two people, the British citizen or settled person (“the sponsor”) and the non-UK partner (“the applicant”). To be eligible for the unmarried partner visa, the sponsor and the applicant need to demonstrate they have:

  • Are in a genuine and subsisting relationship
  • Been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years from the date of application
  • Cohabitated for at least 2 years
  • Shared finances or financial arrangements
  • Plans to live together within the UK

In addition to substantiating the legitimate nature of the relationship, the sponsor also needs to demonstrate they earn a sufficient amount to satisfy the financial requirement. This means that the couple can adequately support themselves financially without relying on public funds. There is also a requirement for the applicant to meet the English language requirement as well as satisfying both the health and character requirements set by the UK government.

Should the applicant be successful in their unmarried partner application, they will be granted a visa that means they can live and work in the UK for up to two and a half years. After this time, they can apply for an extension of their visa, for a further two and a half years. After living in the UK for a total of five years on an unmarried partner visa, the applicant should then be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), which would allow them to live and work in the UK permanently.

Unmarried Partner Visa Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for a UK unmarried partner visa are as follows:

  • Relationship: The applicant must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with a British citizen or settled person. The relationship must have lasted for at least 2 years before the date of the application.
  • Marital status: The applicant must not be married to, or in a civil partnership with, their partner.
  • Intention to live together: The applicant must intend to live together with their partner permanently in the UK.
  • Financial requirement: The partner in the UK must meet the financial requirement, by earning at least £18,600 per annum, or have sufficient savings. Additional sums are required if there are any additional dependents.
  • English language requirement: The applicant must prove they have a good knowledge of English.
  • Health and character requirements: The applicant must meet the health and character requirements set by the UK government.


Unmarried Partner Document List

Here is a list of the necessary documents that you will typically need to provide when applying for a UK unmarried partner visa:

  1. Valid passport: You’ll need to provide your current valid passport, which have at least one page free for the visa
  2. Proof of the relationship: this can include photos together, written correspondence, evidence of shared finances or household, as well as statements from family or friends
  3. History of the relationship: A detailed statement of the history of the relationship, including evidence of cohabitation for the past 2 years, as well as details of future plans together
  4. Evidence of financial support: You will need to provide evidence that the sponsor can meet the financial requirement for the visa. Evidence for this may include payslips, bank statements, and tax documents.
  5. Proof of accommodation:  You will need to provide evidence of suitable accommodation for you and your partner in the UK, such as a tenancy agreement or a letter from your host.
  6. English language ability: You will need to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for the visa. This may include a test certificate or evidence of an exemption.
  7. Tuberculosis (TB) test results: You may need to provide evidence that you have been tested for TB if you are from a country where TB is prevalent.
  8. Other additional documentation: Any other relevant documents that the immigration office requests, such as police clearance certificates or medical reports.


Documentary requirements vary from case to case, so the above list may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re in any doubt you should contact UKBA or a UK immigration expert such as First Migration.

UK Unmarried Partner Fees

As of April 2023, the fees for a UK unmarried partner visa are as follows:

  • Entry clearance (for applicants outside the UK): £1,538
  • Leave to remain (for applicants in the UK): £1,048

It’s important to note that while these fees include the £19.20 biometric fee, they do not include the additional NHS Immigration Health Surcharge. This fee is as follows:

  • IHS Fee outside the UK – £1872
  • IHS Fee inside the UK £1560

There could also be extra fees payable if you want to expedite your application. Priority processing services are subject to local availability and additional fees will apply. See our UK visa application process guide for further information.

UK Unmarried Partner Processing Times

The processing times for a UK unmarried partner visa can vary depending on a number of factors such as the volume of applications being processed, the completeness of the application, and whether additional information or documentation is required. Processing times also vary between different countries with UK submitted applications generally processed quicker. The UK government aims to process 90% of unmarried partner visa applications within 12 weeks of submission. However, currently some overseas applications are taking up to 24 weeks to process. The timescales for UK submitted applications is slightly better with most applications assessed within 8 weeks.

Unmarried Partner Application Forms

The application form you need to use to make you unmarried partner visa application depends on whether you are applying from within the UK or from outside the UK.

  • For applications submitted inside the UK, use the FLR(M) online form. You can access the FLR(M) online form via the Gov.uk website.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, you will then use the VAF4A online form. You can access the VAF4A form via the Gov.UK website.

All applications need to be completed and submitted digitally, before you can progress to the next step of the application process.

Absolutely. The key requirement for Unmarried Partner Visas is to demonstrate you have been in a relationship akin to marriage for the past 2 years. This means there are expectations for co-habitation, shared finances, shared bills and an intimate relationship. All of these aspects of your relationship need to be evidenced through official documents, correspondence and even written declarations from people that know you both.

The Unmarried Partner Visa is issued for an initial period of 2 years and 6 months (ow 2 years and 9 months if applying from overseas). Shortly before the end of your initial visa term, you can apply for an additional 2 years and 6 months extension. The intention is that this extension will provide you with sufficient time to meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There is no difference at all between the two visas in terms of application fees, rights and permissions. The only difference between the two visa is the documents required as part of the application process.