Join a partner

Partner Visas – Exceptions in the UK

July 27, 2018 1,748

It is sometimes difficult to get a visa to come to the UK to join your partner, because the rules can be hard to meet. But if you are already in the UK different rules may apply.

Some migrants find themselves in a position where they want to apply for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner) who is a British citizen, or holds settlement, or holds refugee leave or humanitarian protection leave.

The “normal” rules for a partner visa application are that the migrant must already hold immigration leave in the UK and must also satisfy a financial requirement, an accommodation requirement and an English language requirement.

But sometimes the migrant cannot satisfy the normal requirements but they nonetheless may be able to make a strong application. This comes about because of Paragraph EX.1 of the family immigration rules, which provides exceptions to the normal principles, whereby there is no need to satisfy these requirements. Such a migrant might even be an overstayer.

The exception rule works like this:

  • that the migrant has a genuine relationship with a partner who is British, holds settlement or holds refugee or humanitarian protection leave and there are “insurmountable obstacles” to them living their life together outside the UK

And there is another kind of exception, which works like this:

  • that the migrant is the parent of a child in the UK who is British or who has lived in the UK for at least seven years and it would not be “reasonable” to expect the child to continue family life outside the UK

In some cases the migrant might engage both of these provisions, ie they might have such a partner and such a child.

These wordings, “insurmountable obstacles” and “reasonable”, are of course vague and imprecise, and intentionally so. But in practice a lot of migrants are able to take advantage of these exceptions.

Migrants relying on these rules are disadvantaged to the extent that their route to settlement (ie indefinite leave to remain) is a ten-year route, rather than the five-year route under the normal rules, but at least the route is available to them.


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