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Settlement visas and ILR applications for unmarried or same-sex partners

How to enter the UK to join with your unmarried/same-sex partner and settle indefinitely.

In order to qualify for leave to enter the United Kingdom with a view to settlement as the unmarried or same-sex partner of a person present and settled in the United Kingdom or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • the applicant is the unmarried or same-sex partner of:
    • a person present and settled in the United Kingdom or who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement; and you have been living together as if you were married or in a civil partnership for at least 2 years; or
    • a person who has a right of abode in the UK or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK and is on the same occasion seeking admission to the UK for the purposes of settlement and you have been living together for at least 4 years as if you were married or in a civil partnership; and
  • the applicant has sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom (KOL requirement), unless exempt; and
  • any previous marriage or civil partnership (or similar relationship) by either partner has permanently broken down; and
  • you are not related by blood; and
  • you both intend to live permanently together;
  • there will be adequate accommodation for you and any dependants without recourse to public funds which you own or occupy exclusively; and
  • you will be able to maintain yourselves and any dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.
     

If your application is successful, your partner will get permission to live and work here for a probationary period of up to 27 months. At the end of the two years, you may apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK (known as 'indefinite leave to remain') as the settled person's unmarried/same-sex partner.

You may be able to get permission to live permanently in the UK (ILR) as soon as you arrive, if:

  • you and your partner have been living together for at least 4 years as if you were married or in a civil partnership; and
  • you have spent those 4 years living together outside the UK; and
  • you are both coming to the UK to settle here together; and
  • you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK, unless you are exempt

The appropriate form to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) as unmarried/same-sex partners is: Form SET(M) – settlement (please see Section 2, page 7 of the form).

For a list of documents to submit to successfully apply for ILR, see Applying for settlement: Submitting Form SET(M).

Settlement visas and ILR applications for spouses and civil partners

Settlement visas for Fiancé(e)s or Proposed civil partners