UK partner visa vs. UK fiance visa: Which one is best for you

In this guide, we break down the key differences between the UK Partner Visa and the UK Fiancé Visa

Embarking on a journey to unite with your loved one in the United Kingdom is an exciting and promising endeavor.

However, navigating the visa application process can be complex and overwhelming, particularly when deciding between a UK partner visa and a UK fiancé visa.

In this guide, we break down the key differences between the UK Partner Visa and the UK Fiancé Visa, to help you make an informed choice based on your circumstances and aspirations.

Eligibility and relationship requirements
The UK partner visa requires you to be married or be in a civil partnership, or to show that you have been in a durable relationship similar to marriage for at least 2 years.

You will be required to provide a marriage certificate which is valid in the country where the marriage was concluded. Here, it does not matter how long you have been married, but you show you are living together at the time of the application, or if you are not living together, there is a good reason for it.

An unmarried partner visa is a more complicated affair. Show evidence of having lived together for 2 years and this evidence has to come from official sources – a joint bank account, joint ownership of property, utility bills or rental agreement.

If you are planning to get married, then you have to decide if you are getting married in the UK or abroad.

The UK fiance visa‌ is for engaged couples who are planning to get married in the UK within 6 months.

It requires evidence of a genuine relationship and the intention to get married. You don’t have to show previous cohabitation. Required evidence includes evidence of a genuine relationship, such as photographs, call logs, visit and travel records, plans for the wedding venue, and letters of intent and affirmation.

Duration and validity
If you decide to marry in the UK, the Fiance visa is granted for 6 months. Once married, you will switch to the spouse route in the UK. You may not work in the UK until you switch to the spouse visa route.

The spouse visa is granted for 33 months if you are applying from outside the UK or for 30 months if you are switching from the fiance visa in the UK.

It has to be extended at least once for another 30 months. You may apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years of residence if all the requirements of the immigration rules are met. If you fall below some requirements, you may still be permitted to stay, but your entitlement to indefinite leave to remain may be delayed to up to 10 years.

Financial requirements
The financial requirements for the fiance visa or the partner visa are identical. They require a minimum income of £18,600. This amount increases depending on the number of children.

The first child requires you to earn an extra £3,800 and £2,400 for each consecutive child.

The immigration rules strictly prescribe the proof of income and it’s best to consult UK spouse visa lawyers for expert advice.

Residency and work opportunities
Ideally you want a visa that opens up the door to Europe and allows you all the perks of living there. The UK spouse visa is only valid for the UK, it does not give you the right to travel to Europe without a visa or to work in Europe. However, it allows you to take employment in the UK, set yourself up as a freelance, or start your own business.

You may not access public benefits but it will entitle you to use the National Health Service (NHS) or use your private medical insurance if you prefer.

Application process and fees
It is crucial to understand all the immigration restrictions, eligibility requirements, and fees before you start the process.

UK visa fee is £1846 for either the fiance or partner visa.

If you are applying as a fiance you will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, but you may not use the NHS until you switch to a partner route and will need private medical insurance.

For the spouse or unmarried partner visa, pay the Immigration Health Surcharge on top of the visa fee. If you are applying from outside the UK, the IHS is £1872, if you are applying in the UK it is £1560. These figures are likely to increase later this year.

Which visa is best
The main determining factor is whether you intend to marry in the UK or abroad.

It is cheaper to apply for a partner or spouse visa since you will make one immigration application. Still the fiance visa may be more helpful financially if most of your family is in the UK and wouldn’t have to travel abroad for a celebration.

The cost of travel and the wedding celebrations are likely to be the decisive factors. As a sweet compromise, you might get married abroad and celebrating in the UK.

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