Partner, Spouse & Family

Stabilising Your Future

To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.

Your partner must also either:

  • Be a British citizen
  • Have settled in the UK (they must have indefinite leave to remain or proof of permanent residence)
  • You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply

There is a requirement to provide proof of your civil partnership or marriage that is recognised in the UK. If you are a partner or fiancé, you will need to provide proof that you have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years and that you will marry or enter a civil partnership within in 6 months of arriving in the UK.

There are also other requirements which must be met in order to apply & that is to say, you must have a good grasp of English and you must be able to financially support yourself and your dependents.

There are other options which allow you to apply or extend your permission to stay should you not meet the above requirements mentioned, i.e. family life as a parent under the five-year route. Please contact us for further information.

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
  • You won’t be able to work during your engagement
  • You will subsequently be granted permission to stay for 2.5 years, or if your applying as a fiancé or proposed civil partner, a 6-month stay will be approved.

Domestic Abuse

Under the Home Office’s domestic abuse rules, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if your relationship has recently broken down due to domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse includes threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between adults (i.e. 18 years or older) who are either in a relationship together or with family members. It is important to understand that violence or abuse is not just physical; it can also be psychological, sexual, financial, or emotional.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse involves an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, and /or violent behaviour, including sexual violence. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence
  • Emotional and mental abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Economic abuse (withholding money or refusing to allow you to work)
  • Coercive control
  • Online or digital abuse
  • Harassment and stalking

Both men and women can be victims of domestic abuse.

You may be able to apply for ILR as a victim of domestic abuse or coercive behaviour if you are currently in the UK and were last granted leave to enter or remain in the UK as the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a British citizen or settled person. A settled person is an individual who has been granted permanent residence in the UK – either in the form of EU Settlement Scheme Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain.

If you are destitute we can apply for your concessionary leave to remain which will give you the right to seek benefits whilst preparing for your application submission. If you are a victim of domestic abuse and are worried about your immigration status in the UK, please contact us at Quick Immigration Solutions and your case will be treated with the utmost sensitivity.

Discretionary Leave to Remain

Discretionary leave to remain in the UK is granted to people who are able to prove to the Home Office that their circumstances are compelling on compassionate grounds or are such that they can be granted leave outside the immigration rules.

A person can apply for discretionary leave to remain via Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), through the argument that his or her removal from the UK will result in a breach of the obligation.

It can only be applied for within the UK and not abroad. The application is intended to cover compassionate and exceptional circumstances and should be used sparingly. It is best for you to seek advice before you make an application; our experts have vast experience in getting various people leave to remain under this category.

A person can leave the UK at any time under Discretionary Leave to Remain as there are no travel restrictions.

How many years is Discretionary Leave?

The period of leave granted may not be same in all the cases and will vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, in general, discretionary leave is granted for 30 Months after 9th July 2012, leading to Indefinite Leave to Remain in 10 years. Before 9th July 2012, discretionary leave was granted for 3 years, leading to Indefinite Leave to Remain in 6 years.

When a person is granted DL initially, this does not always mean a person is entitled to further leave or settlement. Subsequent leave could be granted if the applicant continues to meet the criteria in the current policy.

Bereavement and Immigration

You may be eligible to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain in the UK) if your partner has died. Your partner must have either:

  • been a British citizen
  • had indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • been from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and had pre-settled status
  • Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It’s also called ‘settlement’. It gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can use it to apply for British citizenship.
  • Your permission to be in the UK must have been based on being their partner as part of a family visa. A ‘partner’ is one of the following:
  • your spouse (husband or wife)
  • your civil partner
  • someone you were living with in a relationship that’s like a marriage or civil partnership

When to apply?

You can apply any time after your partner’s death. You do not have to wait until your current visa expires. You must be in the UK when you apply. Our team of experts have substantial experience working on such cases, with a high success rate to match – please contact us for more details.

Appendix Private Life

On 15th March 2022, the Home Office published a 205-page Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules. Amongst the various changes introduced was the insertion of a new Appendix Private Life. This will take effect on 20th June 2022 and will apply to all applications made on or after that date, replacing paragraphs 276ADE to 276DH. Applications made before 20th June 2022 will be considered under the Rules in force on 19th June 2022, even if they are decided after that date.

Private Life Route – Leave to Remain/Permission to Stay and ILR/Settlement

In a similar fashion to the existing paragraphs 276ADE(1) and 276DE, Appendix Private Life maintains the option to apply for leave to remain (permission to stay) and indefinite leave to remain (settlement) on the Private Life route. For ease of reference, those can be split into sub-categories as follows:

Leave to Remain/Permission to stay on the Private life route:

  • For children under 18
  • For young adults aged 18 to under 25, who meet the half-life test
  • For adults aged 18 or over, who do not qualify as young adults
  • Relying on Article 8 of the ECHR
  • ILR/Settlement on the Private Life route

For children born in the UK:

  • For persons who have or were last granted leave as a child or as a young adult
  • For adults aged over 18 who do not qualify under the above sub-category

New category for dependant children born in the UK to a person on the private life route

A new category has been introduced: permission to stay and Settlement as a dependant child born in the UK to a person on the Private Life route. This is for children born in the UK who are not eligible for permission to stay or for settlement on the Private Life route on their own right (for instance, because they have not lived in the UK for at least 7 years) and who apply as dependants of their parents, who themselves are or have last been on the Private Life route.

Permission to stay/limited leave to remain on the private life route

The new Appendix introduces separate validity, suitability and eligibility requirements.

It is important to note that an application that does not meet all of the validity requirements will be invalid and may be rejected without being considered. That effectively means that, not only will there be no right of appeal against the rejection (as a human rights claim will not be considered to have been refused), but it is also likely that section 3C will not be engaged as no application to vary leave will be considered to have been made (although on some occasions an application will not be invalid from the outset, such as where there is a failure to enrol biometrics). For this reason, it is very important to ensure that the validity requirements are met prior to applying.

Suitability requirements under appendix private life

For permission to stay, the suitability requirements for a Private Life application are the same as those of the existing paragraph 276ADE(1)(i), namely those set out in S-LTR.1.2. to S-LTR.2.2. and S-LTR.3.1. to S-LTR.4.5. of Appendix FM. There is one addition: the Private Life application must not fall for refusal under paragraph 9.6.1. of Part 9 (the general grounds of refusal). This applies where the decision maker is satisfied that it is more likely than not that the applicant is, or has been, involved in a sham marriage or sham civil partnership.

Eligibility requirements under appendix private life

As set out above, the eligibility requirements for a Private Life application vary depending mainly on the age of the applicant and they mirror the requirements of paragraphs 276ADE(1)(iii) to (vi). No substantive changes have been made to these.

Children under 18

A child under 18 at the date of application will still need to show that they have been continuously resident in the UK for at least 7 years and that it would not be reasonable to expect them to leave the UK.

Young adults aged 18 or over and under 25 (who meet the half-life test)

A person aged 18 or over and under 25 at the date of the Private Life application (a young adult) will need to have spent at least half of their life continuously resident in the UK. The requirement includes having arrived in the UK before the age of 18. It is unclear what this adds, given that if a person had arrived in the UK after the age of 12 and a half, they would not meet the half-life test by the time they were under 25 in any event.

Adults 18 or over (who do not qualify as young adults)

A person aged 18 or over (who does not meet the half-life test above if under 25) must either show they have been continuously resident in the UK for more than 20 years, or satisfy the decision-maker that there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country where they would have to live if required to leave the UK. There is a separate provision precluding applicants from meeting the last requirement (the very significant obstacles test) if they have made a protection claim that was declared inadmissible under Part 11 of the Rules; this mirrors paragraph 276ADE(2) that refers to Schedule 3 to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004.

Continuity of residence

There are provisions on how to consider the continuity of residence on the Private Life route. It is worth noting that continuous residence will break if an applicant has spent a total of 550 days or more absent from the UK during the relevant period (as opposed to 18 months, which were previously considered erroneously by the Home Office to amount to 540 days and were found by the Upper Tribunal to consist of 548 days). The Home Office like their rounded numbers, it seems, and have —generously— given away an extra 2 days to make up for the previously missing 8.

Date for Consideration?

It is noteworthy that, whereas paragraph 276ADE was worded so that all the requirements for leave to remain had to be met at the date of application, Appendix Private Life is worded so that only the age of the applicant is assessed at the date of application, not the substantive requirements (for instance, whether a child has been continuously resident in the UK for at least 7 years or whether an adult has for more than 20 years, or whether the half-life test is met). Neither does paragraph PL 9.1. (the “Decision” paragraph) refer to the date of application as the date for the assessment of the relevant eligibility or suitability requirements. Does that mean that these should be assessed at the date of consideration/decision? In the absence of express wording, that is arguable and could be relied on to an applicant’s favour.

Reliance on Article 8 ECHR

Finally, there is a category for individuals that do not meet some suitability requirements or the eligibility requirements. In order to be granted leave on the Private Life route, the decision maker must be satisfied that refusal of leave would breach Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention on the basis of private life (paragraph PL 8.1.). However, an application on the Private Life route will still be refused notwithstanding this, if the person falls for refusal under suitability paragraphs S-LTR.1.2., S-LTR.1.3., S-LTR.1.4., S-LTR.1.5., S-LTR.1.6 or S-LTR 1.8 (the “mandatory” suitability grounds). That is provided by paragraph PL 8.2.

The grant of permission on the Private Life route will permit work and study (subject to the ATAS condition) as part of its conditions. There will be no access to public funds unless the applicant is destitute or at risk of imminent destitution, or there are prevailing reasons relating to the welfare of a relevant child. Police registration will be required where Part 10 of the Immigration Rules applies.

It can be a complex area to understand, but our team of experts can help with the Private Life route – please contact us for more information, as there are number of strict requirements mandatory guidelines that you must operate within.

Appendix FM

The Immigration Rules contain the framework for immigration applications and claims engaging Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life). Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules provides routes to entry clearance based on family life.

If you wish to make an application under Appendix FM, it is useful to consult the Home Office guidance on the rules. The guidance gives a detailed explanation of the requirements that must be met and advises on the documents that should be provided in support of the application.

What are Appendix FM applications for?

Appendix FM applications are for individuals who are Non-European Nationals, and who are seeking to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family life with a person who is either a British Citizen, is settled in the UK or has refugee status or humanitarian protection.

Who can apply?

Individuals can apply to enter or remain in the UK under Appendix FM if they are a:

  • Partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner)
  • Partner with pre-settled status in the UK
  • Partners of UK citizens, or of those who are settled in the UK, may make an application under Appendix FM. You are considered to be a “partner” if you are a spouse or civil partner. An unmarried partner may also apply, if he/she have been living with his/her partner in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application
  • Victim of domestic abuse
  • A victim of domestic abuse, who entered the UK as a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, can apply for indefinite leave to remain if it can be shown that his/her relationship was caused to permanently break down as a result of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can take the form of either physical or emotional abuse. We can help gather the evidence to show abuse. We may decide to instruct clinical experts to help show abuse if this is deemed necessary.
  • A child of a person with limited leave
  • In order for a child to enter the UK to join a parent in the UK, one of the requirements is that the parent shows that he/she has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing. A parent will be considered to have sole responsibility for the child if he/she takes the important decisions in the child’s life and is responsible for the overall direction of the child’s upbringing
  • A parent – to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of your parental status you will have to provide evidence that you have either (i) sole parental responsibility for the child; or (ii) can access rights to the child, and that you are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing
  • An adult dependant relative – dependants over the age of 18 who are living overseas and require long term care to do every day personal and household tasks may apply under the adult dependant relative route if they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability they require the level of long term personal care that can only be provided in the UK by the relative here and without recourse to public funds
  • Fiancé – if you intend to relocate to the UK to begin a new life with your UK-based partner, you could be eligible for the UK Fiancé Visa. The Fiancé Visa is designed to enable non-EEA nationals to enter the UK to marry/enter into a civil partnership with their UK-based partner, and to begin a new life here. The applicant’s partner must be either a UK citizen or a person with settled status in the country. Fiancé Visas last for 6 months and they are granted under the assumption that you will marry your partner within the validity period of the visa.
  • You must apply for another immigration permission to remain in the UK after your Fiancé Visa expires. The simplest is to switch from the UK Fiancé visa to the Spouse Visa, which grants holders 30 months of residence in the UK. You can look for employment and study in the UK as a Spouse Visa holder, without any restrictions.

What is Part 8 of the Immigration Rules?

Part 8 of the Immigration Rules sets out the requirements for leave to enter or remain in the UK under the categories of spouse, civil partners, fiancée, unmarried partner, victim of domestic abuse, children etc. In a nutshell, it is for applications submitted as family members of persons living in the UK permanently.

What is Appendix FM Child Visa?

Appendix FM is used for applications for children where the parents are entering the UK under Appendix FM themselves or have already entered into the UK and they are living in the UK:

  • Rule 297 of the Immigration Rules is a route for children to take if they make an application to join a parent who is present and settled in the UK or being admitted for settlement in the United Kingdom
  • Rule 301 is a rule for children joining a parent or parents with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK with a view to settlement
  • Rule 303A are the requirements for limited leave to enter the UK as a child of a fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • Rules 304 – 309 are rules for children born in the United Kingdom who are not British citizens
  • Rule 309A – 316A are for children who are either already adopted by a person with leave to remain in the UK or is going to be adopted by a prospective parent
  • Rule 319F to 319H are specific rules for those children joining or accompanying a parent who has leave to remain as a points based system migrant

Appendix FM is a complex area to understand, but our team of experts can help with simplifying what you need to know – please contact us for more information, as there are number of strict requirements mandatory guidelines that you must operate within.

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