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Bury St Edmunds immigration specialist Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons Solicitors, says new rules on visas are good news for unmarried couples





Generally speaking, when the Home Office changes policy or introduces a new policy, it means that they are tightening up on their Rules. However, recently, there has been a change in the rules which unusually is very helpful and it relates to unmarried partners who are looking to apply for a visa to either enter or remain in the UK.

Under the old rules, overseas unmarried partners had to prove that they had lived with their settled partner in the UK for at least two years.

However, the change in the rules means that this is no longer needed.

Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons Solicitors
Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons Solicitors

This shift in policy, opens the door for couples who are in genuine and subsisting relationships but who have not necessarily been living together for two years. Under the change, couples only need to demonstrate that they have been together for at least two years and that their relationship is akin to a marriage or a civil partnership.

We came across many instances where couples had been in a long-term relationship but had not lived together for various reasons. It may well be that they were in a long-distance relationship or were simply living apart because of work reasons.

While the Home Office has relaxed the rules, proving the authenticity of the relationship is still a very important factor. The overseas partner will still need to provide strong documentation to prove the authenticity of the relationship and a range of documents will need to be provided, ideally formal documents but each case will have to be assessed on its own merits.

New visa rules will benefit couples. Picture: iStock
New visa rules will benefit couples. Picture: iStock

Unmarried partner applications have never been easy or straightforward to prepare and while the rules have become more flexible, careful preparation of the visa application will still be extremely important. The Home Office is certainly attempting ‘to strike a balance between accommodating diverse relationship dynamics and ensuring the integrity of the UK immigration system’.

Ellisons Solicitors
Ellisons Solicitors

For advice on this or any other immigration issues, contact Sohan Sidhu by email at sohan.sidhu@ ellisonssolicitors.com or by telephone on 01284 763333