If you are currently working in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa and you are in a long-distance relationship with your unmarried partner (girlfriend or boyfriend), you might wonder whether you can bring your partner to the UK on a dependant visa. This post covers the ongoing misconception that you must be living with your partner for 2 years before they can come to the UK as your dependant.
There is a lot of information online which suggests that, in order to for unmarried partner to apply for a dependant visa under the Skilled Worker route, you must be in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership and living together for at least 2 years before the application. This is not accurate. Suppose you are in a long-distance relationship, and your partner has not yet been granted a UK visa. In these circumstances, it would be impossible to satisfy the requirement of living together for 2 years before the date of application.
The good news is that the Immigration Rules for Skilled Worker dependants changed last year. Now, as per RWP 5.1 (Requirement for a durable relationship where a person is not married or in a civil partnership) of Immigration Rules Appendix Relationship with Partner, the requirement of living together for at least 2 years before the date of application is no longer applicable. You will still need to prove that you and your unmarried partner have been in a relationship akin to marriage (or civil partnership).
You might then ask what it means to be in a relationship akin to marriage (or civil partnership. The Home Office Guidance on Assessing the relationship with a partner based on the Immigration Rules: Appendix Relationship with Partner provides:
“For a relationship to be similar to marriage or civil partnership the couple must usually have lived together as a couple (not just as friends) and shown an ongoing commitment to one another. However, in some circumstances there may be evidence of a durable relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership where the couple have not, or currently do not, live together.”
Even if you're living apart, your relationship can still meet the requirements for a durable relationship. There could be valid reasons for living separately, such as your unmarried partner studying in another country, work commitments, or immigration processes in another country. In these cases, a durable relationship can still meet the requirements, provided the relationship is durable, genuine, and ongoing, even though you're living apart. For instance, there may be evidence that you have lived together in a durable relationship in the past and plan to do so again in the future.
Success in your partner’s application hinges on the evidence you submit. Understanding the type of evidence you and your partner need to provide is therefore crucial. This could include communication records, travel documents showing visits, joint financial responsibilities, or any other proof that your relationship is genuine and ongoing.
Contact us to discuss the possibility of bringing your dependant partner to join you in the UK using the Skilled Worker route.