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Welcome to the UK’s Most Comprehensive Civil Partnership Visa Guide

We’ve used our wealth of experience to create the most comprehensive online guide to applying for a UK Civil Partnership Visa. In our guide below you’ll find everything you need to know about civil partnership visas, including eligibility criteria, the application process, documentary requirements, fees, waiting times and the path to citizenship. We hope this free resource assists you in your visa application and should you need some assistance with your application, you can always get in touch with us online or by phone.

 

Important Update 4th December 2023

A statement made this evening by James Cleverley, the UK Home Secretary, will have a massive impact on Civil Partnership Visas in 2024 and beyond. In the statement, a series of amendments to the UK immigration system were announced. Amongst these changes was a proposal to increase the minimum income threshold for family visas (including Civil Partnership Visas) from £18,600 to £38,700, an increase of over 100%. This change will align it with the new minimum income band proposed for Skilled Worker Visas.

The proposed changes have been met with a huge public outcry and could be subject to change or legal challenges. There are very few specific details at the moment, including whether this will impact renewals or when the changes will go live. Our own expectations (and previous precedents) are that the changes will go live in April 2024 and will not impact visa renewals for anyone on a Civil Partnership Visa prior to this date. However, we stress this cannot be confirmed at this point. Check back regularly for updates when further information becomes available.

We appreciate these changes are concerning developments and may have far-reaching implications for many families. If you plan on applying for a spouse visa in the next 12 months, we recommend contacting us at your earliest convenience to discuss your circumstances and how you should proceed.

21st December Update

Further information has now been released on the proposed changes to Civil Partnership Visas and how this will impact new and existing visa holders. The key updates are:

  • The minimum income requirement will now be increased to only £29,000 in April 2024 before being increased on as yet unspecified dates to £34,500 and then £38.700.
  • Those already on (or who have already applied for a Civil Partnership Visa) before the changes will be assessed on the old £18,600 criteria for any subsequent extensions.
  • The additional child element for the minimum income requirement will be scrapped under the minimum income criteria.
  • The changes will become effective in April 2024

We will continue to update these pages as and when further information becomes available.

What is a UK Civil Partnership Visa?

The UK Civil Partnership Visa is a type of settlement visa designed for non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who are in a genuine and subsisting civil partnership with a UK citizen, someone holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or EU Pre-settled/Settled Status in the UK. This visa category allows the visa holder to live, work, and study in the UK, providing an opportunity for long-term settlement.

To be eligible for a UK civil partnership visa, applicants must provide various different pieces of evidence to demonstrate the merits of their application. These documents need to establish the immigration status of the sponsor, prove the age and ID of both parties, as well as demonstrate that there’s a bona fide and ongoing relationship. Additional requirements around finances, accommodation, English language ability, and health need to be addressed as part of the application process.

To obtain a UK Civil Partnership Visa, applicants must fill out an online form, pay the visa fee, attend a biometric appointment, and submit supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Standard processing times are up to 12 weeks for overseas applicants and 8 weeks for those applying within the UK. Alternatively, applicants can also opt for priority services. These services offer faster decisions, with processing times ranging from 6 weeks for overseas applications to just 1 working day for applications made within the UK.

Once granted, the Civil Partnership Visa is valid for an initial period of 30 months. If the applicant applies outside the UK, the visa is valid for 33 months. After this period, the visa holder can apply for an extension, valid for an additional 30 months. If, by the end of the extension, the applicant has continuously resided in the UK for five years, they may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, ultimately, British citizenship.

 UK Civil Partnership Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for a UK Civil Partnership Visa, applicants must meet specific criteria to join or remain with their civil partner in the United Kingdom. By understanding and fulfilling these requirements, applicants can significantly improve their chances of obtaining a UK Civil Partnership Visa.

The following are the key eligibility requirements:

  1. Age: Both the applicant and the sponsoring civil partner must be 18 years old at the time of application.
  2. Relationship: The applicant must be in a civil partnership with a British citizen, someone with indefinite leave to remain, or someone with settled status in the UK. The relationship must be genuine and ongoing.
  3. The Appendix FM Financial Requirement: The UK-based sponsor must meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600 per annum to support the applicant without relying on public funds. This threshold increases if the application includes dependent children. The income threshold increases to £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each additional child. Income can come from employment, self-employment, savings, or a combination of these sources. Further details are in our Appendix FM Financial Requirement guide.
  4. English Language Requirement: To obtain an initial Civil Partnership Visa, applicants must demonstrate their English proficiency by passing an approved English language test at the A1 level or higher. Alternatively, they can provide proof of having completed a degree taught in English recognized by Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher. If the applicant comes from one of the majority-English-speaking countries on the UKVI’s list, their passport will satisfy this requirement. To qualify for a Civil Partnership Visa extension, the applicant must meet a minimum level of A2 proficiency. To obtain an ILR Visa or British citizenship, the required level increases to a minimum of B1 proficiency.. 
  5. Suitable Accommodation in the UK: The applicant and sponsor must also have suitable accommodation in the UK that meets the “adequate” standard defined by UK housing regulations, and both parties must intend to live together permanently in the UK.
  6. Genuine and Subsisting Relationship: Evidence demonstrating that the applicant’s relationship with their UK-based civil partner is genuine and continuing must be provided. This may consist of records of visits, communication, shared finances, joint ownership of property or rental agreements, as well as photographs or travel records that document time spent together.
  7. Previous relationship Breakdown: If the applicant or their UK-based civil partner has been previously married or in a civil partnership, they must present evidence that the previous relationship has been legally terminated, such as a divorce decree or an annulment certificate.
  8. The Sponsor’s Immigration Status in the UK: The UK-based civil partner must have British citizenship, indefinite leave to remain, or EU Pre-settled/Settled Status in the UK. 
  9. Health: Applicants from some countries may need to provide medical documentation such as a Tuberculosis (TB) Certificate.

To improve the chances of securing a UK civil partnership visa and being able to reside, work, and study in the UK with their civil partner, applicants must carefully examine the eligibility criteria and collect the required documents to support their application.

Application Process for a UK Civil Partnership Visa

The UK Civil Partnership Visa application process can be complex and sometimes confusing. Our easy-to-understand guide below provides a step-by-step approach so that you can successfully navigate this process and maximise your chances of obtaining your visa approval. 

The application process is as follows:

  1. Gather Necessary Documents: Collect all required documents to support your application. These documents will include proof of your civil partnership, relationship, finances, English proficiency, and future accommodation.
  2. Complete and submit the Online Application Form: You must submit the FLR(M) form for UK-based applications and the VAF4A form for overseas applications. These applications are now made solely online. Ensuring all information is correct and consistent with your supporting documents is important.
  3. Pay the Visa Fee and Immigration Health Surcharge: You’ll need to pay both the Visa Fee and Immigration Health Surcharge after you’ve completed the application form. The appropriate visa fee is £1,846 for applications made outside the UK and £1,048 for those made within the UK. In addition, you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,035 per year, which provides access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). If available and selected, you can also pay the additional fee for the Priority Service to receive a faster decision at this point. The fee is £500 for the five working day Priority Service of £1000 for the one working day Super Priority Service.
  4. Submit the Supporting Documents: Before attending a biometric appointment, you must upload an electronic PDF of your supporting documents. This can be done via the UKVI website.
  5. Book and Attend a Biometric Appointment: As part of the application process, you must provide your biometric information (fingerprints, signature, and digital photograph). This is done during an appointment at a local visa application centre with the appointment scheduled as part of the online application process.
  6. Wait for a Decision on Your Application: Processing times for UK Civil Partnership Visas can vary depending on the country of application and the type of service selected (standard or priority). For applications made in the UK, expect a processing time of up to 8 weeks for the standard service or 5 working days for the priority service. For applications outside the UK, standard service processing times are up to 12 weeks or more, while the priority service typically provides a decision within 6 weeks (30 working days). 
  7. If you applied outside the UK: If your application is approved, collect your visa from your local visa application centre. You must travel to the UK within 90 days to live with your civil partner.
  8. If you applied in the UK: You will receive a decision email and, if approved, your new BRP Visa ID card by secure mail within 10 working days of the approval.

It’s important to prepare for your UK Civil Partnership Visa application thoroughly. The absence of information or documents will likely lead to a refusal, even if it was only an oversight. 

UK Civil Partnership Visa Document Checklist

Here are all of the necessary documents that you will need to provide when applying for a UK Civil Partnership Visa:

  1. Valid passport: You must provide your current and valid passport or travel document.
  2. Proof of relationship: You will be expected to present proof that establishes you and your partner’s relationship is genuine and enduring. Such evidence could comprise photographs, emails or messages, travel documents, and other documents that verify your long-standing relationship.
  3. Civil Partnership Certificate: You must provide your original civil partnership certificate.
  4. Evidence of financial support: You must provide evidence that the sponsor can fulfil the financial requirements for the visa. Evidence for this may consist of payslips, bank statements, and tax documents.
  5. Proof of accommodation: You must present proof of appropriate accommodation for you and your partner in the UK, which may include a tenancy agreement, mortgage certificate, or a letter from your host. You should also include details about the property.
  6. English language ability: You must provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for the visa. This may include a test certificate or evidence of an exemption on educational grounds or citizenship of a majority English-speaking country.
  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 the immigration office requests, such as police clearance certificates or medical reports.

It’s essential to remember that the requirements and supporting documents needed for a UK Civil Partnership Visa can vary based on the circumstances of the applicant and their partner. While the documents mentioned above meet the standard requirements, additional evidence may be required based on your situation.

UK Civil Partnership Visa Processing Times

The processing and decision waiting times for UK Civil Partnership Visas vary between countries and can be impacted by several factors. These include the country of application, the service selected, and the complexity of the application. By understanding these factors, applicants can better prepare for the visa application process and set realistic expectations about when their visa application will be processed. At present, standard applications made from within the UK are being processed within 8 to 10 weeks. Applications made from outside of the UK are generally processed inside 12 weeks, although some are taking longer. 

When submitting your application, it’s often possible to choose between several different services. These vary from country to country, so you’ll need to check whether your preferred service is available in your country of application.

The different services are as follows:

  1. Standard Processing Service: The standard processing service is the default option for all applications. The processing time tends to align with the published times by the UK Visa and Immigration Office (UKVI). The standard processing time for a UK Civil Partnership Visa application currently ranges from 8 to 12 weeks or more, depending on the specific country of application and the visa application centre. Some applications will take longer if there are missing documents or if UKVI requires further information.
  2. Priority Service: The Priority Settlement Service is available at an additional cost from most application centres. It’s a service suitable for applicants who want a quicker turnaround on an application and certainty on when an application will be assessed. The service typically provides a decision within 30 working days for overseas applications and within 5 working days inside the UK.
  3. Super Priority Service: An additional premium Super Priority Service is available in a few locations.  This service aims to provide a decision within 24 hours, although this is subject to full verification of the whole application. It’s important to note this service is considerably more expensive and doesn’t guarantee approval, although it is the quickest way for your application to be assessed.

Aside from the type of service used, there are several other factors that can impact the processing time for a UK Civil Partnership application. These include:

  • Country of Application: Processing times vary from country to country and the workload of the specific visa application centre.
  • Completeness of Application: Incomplete applications or applications with missing documents may suffer delays or worse, refusal. Ensure you submit a complete and consistent application, including all the necessary documentation.
  • Additional Checks: In some instances, the UKVI may request additional information or conduct additional checks on certain aspects of an application.
  • Peak Application Periods: Processing times can fluctuate throughout the year, with holiday seasons or times of higher demand impacting processing times at visa application centres.

To ensure the smoothest possible UK Civil Partnership Visa application process, it’s crucial to:

  • Begin the process early and collect all necessary documents well in advance.
  • Ensure the application form is completed accurately, and you provide consistent information.
  • Select the appropriate service to match your timescales (standard, priority, or super-priority).
  • Prepare yourself and your travel plans for potential delays. It’s a stressful process without creating additional worries and setting unrealistic expectations. 

By addressing these factors, you can minimise the processing time for your visa application.

UK Civil Partnership Visa Application Fees

Before commencing the application process for a UK Civil Partnership Visa, it is crucial for applicants to acquaint themselves with the various fees and expenses involved. Familiarizing yourself with these costs can aid in proper budgeting and facilitate a hassle-free application process. To assist in this regard, we’ve provided below a detailed breakdown of all application fees and associated expenses.

  1. Application Fee: The UK Civil Partnership Visa application fee is £1,846 if you’re applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if you’re applying from within the UK. This fee is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of the application.
  2. Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): Applicants must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK. The cost of the IHS fee is £1,035 per year for adults and £776 per year for children. Since the initial Civil Partnership Visa issued in the UK is valid for 2.5 years, the total cost for an adult and child comes to £2,587.50 and £1,940, respectively. For applicants outside the UK, the visa length is rounded to 3 years, including the 2.5-year visa, and 90 days for the Entry Clearance Visa in the passport. The total IHS cost is £3,105 for an adult and £2,328 per child applying. It is important for applicants to keep in mind the IHS fee and plan accordingly for the additional expense.
  3. English Language Test: To fulfil the visa requirements, if an English language test is needed, you will be responsible for paying the corresponding test fee, which can vary from £50 to £250, depending on the test provider and location. Additionally, if you plan to use a degree certificate from a university outside the UK, you must pay for Comparability and/or English Proficiency Statements from ECCTIS, which may cost between £140 to £210 (prices subject to change).
  4. Biometric Enrolment Fee: When you submit your biometric data (fingerprints and facial image) at a visa application centre, a fee may be charged. The cost of this fee depends on the location and country but generally ranges from £100 to £200.
  5. Document Translation: To meet the visa application requirements, applicants must provide certified translations for supporting documents not in English or Welsh. The cost of translation services varies depending on the language, length of the document, and the service provider chosen.
  6. Priority Service (Optional): You can accelerate your application process by selecting the Priority or Super Priority Service, which incurs an extra charge. The Priority Settlement Service costs £500, while the Super Priority Service costs £1000. It’s important to note that these fees are in addition to the standard application fee and do not guarantee a successful outcome.
  7. Professional Advice – Immigration Consultancy Fees (Optional): You can consult an immigration adviser or solicitor to seek professional advice. The fees charged by these professionals may vary depending on the complexity of your case and their level of expertise. Although not mandatory, seeking professional advice can help ensure your application is accurate and complete. If you are interested in consulting with one of First Migration’s OISC-registered immigration consultants, who specialize in securing UK Civil Partnership Visa approvals, you can use the contact form on this page to provide your details for a callback. They will promptly provide you with a detailed quote for their consultancy services.

In summary, the mandatory fees for a UK Spouse Visa application are as follows:

  • Application Fee: £1,846 (outside the UK) or £1,048 (within the UK)
  • Immigration Health Surcharge: £2,587.50 for adults and £1,940 per child (applying in the UK) or £3,105 for adults and £2,328 per child (applying outside the UK)

Additional costs may include:

  • English Language Test Fee: £50 – £250
  • ECCTIS Statements (if using your degree certificate to satisfy English instead of an English test): £140 – £210
  • Biometric Enrolment Fee: £100 – £200
  • Document Translation Fees: Vary
  • Priority Service (Optional): £500 (Priority Service) or £1000 (Super Priority Service)
  • Professional Advice (Optional): Vary

Planning for these expenses when applying for a UK Spouse Visa is crucial to prevent any unforeseen financial surprises and guarantee a successful application. By having knowledge of all the charges and expenditures involved, you can prepare yourself for the application process and concentrate on satisfying the requirements.

Applying for a UK Civil Partnership Visa Extension

If you intend to prolong your stay in the UK with your civil partner beyond the expiry date of your initial visa, it is imperative to apply for a UK Civil Partnership Visa extension. To facilitate a smooth and lawful extension process, presented below is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a UK Civil Partnership Visa extension. This guide will ensure you maintain your legal residency status in the UK.

  1. Check Eligibility: To qualify for a Civil Partnership Visa extension, it is essential you satisfy the initial visa requirements, which include fulfilling the relationship status, financial, English language, and accommodation requirements. Furthermore, it is crucial not to have violated any immigration regulations during your stay in the UK.
  2. Timing: To avoid any complications or the need to leave the UK and reapply from your home country, applying for your Civil Partnership Visa extension within the appropriate timeframe is essential. Applying too early or too late can result in undesired consequences. It is recommended to apply for the extension before your current Civil Partnership Visa expires, but not more than 28 days before its expiration date.
  3. Online Application: To commence the application process, visit the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website and fill out the FLR(M) form (Further Leave to Remain – Marriage/Civil Partnership) electronically. The form entails furnishing personal information, particulars of your partner, and details of your relationship and financial situation.
  4. Application Fee: Besides the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £2,587.50 for a 2.5-year extension period (£1,940 per child applicant), the application fee for a Standard Service application is £1,048. Alternatively, for a decision on the next working day after submitting your biometric appointment, the fee is £2048.
  5. Gather Supporting Documents: Gather all the requisite documents to substantiate your eligibility for the visa extension. These may comprise evidence of your relationship, financial records, proof of English language competency, and particulars of your accommodation. It is imperative to ensure that your documents are current and appropriately arranged.
  6. Biometric Information: As part of the application process, you must provide your biometric information (fingerprints and facial image) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre.
  7. Attend the Appointment: Attend your biometric appointment at the UKVCAS centre, bringing your passport, BRP card, and appointment confirmation. During this appointment, your biometric data will be gathered, which concludes all your obligations.
  8. Decision: Upon submitting your application, biometric information, and supporting documents, you must wait for a verdict. Typically, Civil Partnership Visa extensions take around 8 weeks to process. However, you can select a Priority Service (for an extra fee) to obtain a decision within 1 working day of your biometric appointment.
  9. Receive Your New Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): If your application is approved, a new BRP card will be issued, valid for an additional 2.5 years. A secure courier service will deliver the new BRP card to your residential address within 10 working days of the approval email.

Extending your UK Civil Partnership Visa is vital in preserving your lawful status in the UK. By adhering to the application process, ensuring you fulfil the eligibility criteria, and submitting your application promptly, you can extend your Civil Partnership Visa and continue living with your civil partner in the United Kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions

No two Civil Partnership Visa applications are the same, so we’re regularly asked many different questions. We’ve collated the most common questions in this FAQ section, which we hope will aid you with your application. Should your circumstances be particularly complex, or if you need assistance with your application, please contact us by phone or by completing a Contact Us form.

There is no difference between a Civil Partnership Visa and a Spouse Visa. The cost, duration, benefits, and rights associated with the visas are both identical. The applications are even made on the same application form. The only difference between the two is the legal mechanism by which you have chosen to enter into a formalised relationship.

All applications are now online via the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. For applications made inside the UK, you should complete the FLR(M) form (Further Leave to Remain – Marriage/Civil Partnership). You will need to complete the VAF4A form for applications made outside of the UK.

Whether you can switch to a Civil Partnership Visa inside the UK depends on your current immigration status. You should contact us to discuss the specific circumstances as there are a great deal of nuances that need to be considered to answer this question fully.