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Getting a visa for your partner to live in the UK

This advice applies to England

If you’re living in the UK, anyone can visit you for up to 6 months by applying for a general visitor visa. If they’re your partner, they can apply for a visa to stay longer than 6 months. Partner means:

  • husband or wife

  • civil partner

  • other partner who you’ve lived with for at least 2 years

If you’re engaged to be married or enter a civil partnership in the UK, your fiancé(e) can join you for up to 6 months. Once they’re your husband, wife or civil partner, they can then apply to stay for longer than 6 months.

A partner or fiancé(e) who joins you in the UK based on your right to stay in the UK is called a ‘dependant’, and you are known as the ‘sponsor’.

Any partner can apply from outside the UK. They can apply from inside the UK as long as they:

  • were given leave to remain in the UK for more than 6 months

  • aren’t in the UK on a visit visa

  • aren’t applying as a fiancé(e)

If the application gets rejected, appealing will take between 6 and 9 months. You should think about getting help from a specialist immigration adviser. You can:

How long the visa lasts

Who the visa is forHow long the visa lasts
Your husband, wife, civil partner or partner who you've lived with for over 2 years

33 months.

They can then renew their visa from the UK for another 2 years and 6 months.

If they meet the requirements of these visas, they can apply to settle in the UK after a total of 5 years.

Your fiancé(e) 

6 months - they must marry you or become your civil partner before this ends.

They can then apply for leave to remain as your partner for 2 years and 6 months. At the end of this, they can extend this again for the same length of time.

If they meet the requirements of these visas, they can apply to settle in the UK after a total of 5 years.

Check what visa they need

The visa your partner needs will depend on your circumstances.

Your circumstancesThe visa your partner needs
You’re a British citizen, or naturalised  Family visa

You’re a ‘settled person’ in the UK (ie you have ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

Family visa
You’re an EEA national living in the UK and your dependant is not from the EEA ‘EEA family permit’

You’re getting married or entering a civil partnership in the UK and both intend to live in the UK

Family visa

You have refugee status or humanitarian protection

Family reunion

You have a Tier 2 (General) visa

Apply as a dependant of a Tier 2 (General) visa holder

You have a Tier 4 student visa

Apply as a dependant of a Tier 4 visa holder

If you’re filling in the form for them

You can fill in the application form for your family member - you must do this online using the links above. 

The online application system doesn’t list the visas by name - you’ll have to answer some questions to find the visa you need. There’s an option to “apply for someone else” on the online form.

As part of the application process, they must have their biometrics taken (fingerprints and photograph). Check where their nearest visa application centre is before you apply, because it might be in a different country.

Make sure you put your family member’s information as the applicant’s details.

Check how much you need to be earning

You need to be earning a certain amount, or have enough savings, in order to bring your partner to the UK to live. This is called ‘meeting the financial requirement’.

You don’t need to meet the financial requirement if you have refugee status or humanitarian protection.

If you do need to meet the financial requirement, you’ll need to prove that you earn a minimum annual income (before tax). The amount depends on who you're applying for.

Family memberHow much you need to earn per year before tax

Just your partner

£18,600
The first child Plus £3,800 (so £22,400 total)
Each additional child Plus £2,400 (so £24,800 for 2 children, £27,200 for 3 children and so on)

You can meet the financial requirement through a combination of:

  • earnings from employment or self-employment - but only if you’re in the UK with permission to work
  • a pension
  • maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay
  • other income such as from rent or shares
  • cash savings - you’ll need at least £16,000, and the savings must have been in your name for 6 months or more

For an application from abroad, only the sponsor’s earnings from employment or self-employment are counted. The dependent’s earnings also count if they apply from in the UK. Note that the visa granted to fiancé(e)s doesn’t let you to work in the UK.

Read full details about meeting the financial requirement on GOV.UK. If you’re not sure if you meet the financial requirement, you should get help from a specialist immigration adviser.

You won't need to meet this financial requirement if you have one or more of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
  • Police Injury Pension

If you get one of these benefits, you'll just need to show that you receive enough money to look after your dependant - this is called ‘adequate maintenance’. How much this will be depends on your individual circumstances. 

In all cases, the accommodation you will share must be ‘adequate’.

If your partner is from outside the EEA, and applying for a visa to stay over 6 months, they'll have to pay £200 per year for healthcare in the UK, as part of their visa application. This is known as the Immigration Health Surcharge. 

You can find out more about Immigration Health Surcharge on .GOV.UK.

Including the correct evidence

The most common reason a visa application gets rejected is because there’s not enough evidence (documents that prove your case) sent with the application.

In general, you’ll need to provide a piece of evidence to support each thing you say in the application. See more information about the information needed for family visas.

Proving you’re in a genuine relationship

You’ll need to provide evidence that you’re in a genuine and continuing relationship. For example, this could include documents that show that you:

  • have lived together
  • have children together
  • have a shared bank account or savings
  • have spent time together and are in frequent contact

Partners of British citizens or settled persons - attending an interview

Your partner might have to go to an interview as part of the application. There can be long waiting times for an interview - check the visa application centre where they live to get an idea of how long they’ll have to wait to get an appointment.

If you’re about to get married or enter a civil partnership, it’s a good idea to apply for the visa before the wedding or registration because of the time it can take to get an interview. If you do this, you should include a letter with your application that includes the date of your marriage or civil partnership. 

At the interview, the applicant will be asked questions about your relationship, eg how and where you met, and information about your families. If you’re already married or in a civil partnership, they should take evidence of this, eg marriage certificate.

You should both go to the interview if you’re in the same country when the interview takes place.

Once your partner arrives - collecting their biometric residence permit

Your partner will have to collect their biometric residence permit (BRP) within 10 days of arrival in the UK. They’ll get a letter that tells them where to collect the BRP. 

It’s important that they collect the BRP within 10 days - they might be fined or have their visa cancelled if they don’t.

If you don’t know where to pick up the BRP, email BRPCollection@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. Include the following details of your partner in the email:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • passport number
  • telephone number
  • reference number - you’ll get this on any letters from the Home Office 
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