Apply as a partner or spouse
To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
Your partner must also either:
- be a British or Irish citizen
- have settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
- be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status - they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.
If your partner has settled or pre-settled status you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.
What you’ll need to prove
You must be able to prove one of the following:
- you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
- you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
- you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
If your wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you might still be able to request an extension or apply to extend your stay. Read the guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.
You also need to prove you:
If you do not meet these requirements you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:
- you have a child in the UK who is a British or Irish citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
- there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that could not be overcome
- it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave
If you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
You must prove that:
- any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended
- you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK
If your wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed because of COVID-19, you might still be able to request an extension or apply to extend your stay. Read the guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.
You will not be able to work during your engagement.
How to prove your relationship
Send evidence that:
- comes from the government, a bank, landlord, utility provider, or a medical professional
- confirms your relationship with your partner - for example, that you live together, share expenses or are married or in a civil partnership
- is less than 4 years old
You can use things like:
- a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- a tenancy agreement, utility bills or council tax bills confirming that you live at the same address or pay bills together
- a bank statement from a joint bank account, or confirming that you live at the same address
- a letter from your doctor or dentist confirming that you live at the same address
If you do not have any evidence that meets this criteria, there is other evidence you can provide instead. However, it’s less likely that you’ll be given a visa in this case.
Other evidence you can provide includes:
- a one-off bill like vet’s fees or home repair costs
- letters confirming you and your partner are on the voting register for the same address
- student finance paperwork confirming that you live at the same address
Things like greetings cards, travel tickets, receipts, photographs and text or social media messages are not considered strong evidence of your relationship and are unlikely to help your application.
How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months on this visa. If you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, you can stay for 6 months.
After this you’ll need to apply to extend your stay.
If you extend or switch to this visa
If you extend your family visa or switch to this visa you can stay in the UK for 2 years and 6 months.
How to apply
You’ll need to prepare information and documents to provide with your application.
How you apply depends on whether you’re in the UK or not.
Outside the UK
You must apply online from outside the UK.
In the UK
You must apply online in the UK.
If you cannot pay the fee
Fill in the online fee waiver request form as well if you cannot pay the fee because you:
- do not have a place to live and cannot afford one
- have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
- have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing
Get help to apply online
You can get help with completing the online form if you:
- do not feel confident using a computer or mobile device
- do not have internet access
You can only use this service if you’re applying in the UK.
You cannot get immigration advice through this service.
Applying with your children
You can add children to your application as dependants if both of the following apply:
- they are under 18 when you apply, or were under 18 when they were first granted leave
- they do not live an independent life
Your child is living an independent life if, for example, they’ve left home, got married and had children.
When you can settle permanently
The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) is after you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years continuously on a family visa as a partner.
You cannot include time you’ve spent in the UK:
- on any other visa
- as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
The rules are different if you applied before 9 July 2012.
If you applied before 9 July 2012
You can only extend your family visa if all the following are true:
- you were given permission to stay in the UK as a partner before 9 July 2012
- you are not eligible to settle in the UK
- you have not been granted or refused another visa
You must also prove that: