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Civil Partnership Visa vs Spouse Visa: Which One is Right for You

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Civil Partnership Visa

Choosing the right visa to join your partner in the UK can be confusing. Two common options are the Civil Partnership Visa and the Spouse Visa UK. Knowing the differences and requirements for each can help you make the best choice for your situation.

Spouse Visa

A Spouse Visa lets married partners of UK citizens or people with settled status live in the UK. It is valid for 2.5 years and can be extended. After some time, it can lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and British citizenship.

Civil Partnership Visa

The Civil Partnership Visa UK is for partners in a legally recognized civil partnership. It offers similar rights and responsibilities as a marriage. Like the Spouse Visa, it is valid for 2.5 years and can be extended, eventually leading to ILR and British citizenship.

Eligibility Requirements

Relationship Proof

For both visas, you need to show proof of a genuine and ongoing relationship. For a Spouse Visa, you must be legally married. For a Civil Partnership Visa, you must be in a legal civil partnership. You will need to provide evidence like photos, letters, and joint financial documents.

Financial Requirements

You must meet financial requirements to prove you can support yourselves without public funds. Your sponsoring partner must earn at least £18,600 a year. If you have children, this amount increases by £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child.

Accommodation

You must have adequate accommodation for you, your partner, and any dependents. Your living arrangements should not be overcrowded and should meet health and safety standards.

English Language

You need to show you can speak English. This can be done by passing an approved English language test or by having a degree that was taught in English.

Application Process

Spouse Visa

  1. Fill Out the Online Application: Complete the application form on the UK government’s website.
  2. Pay the Fees: The fee is £1,538 if applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if applying from within the UK. You also need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £624 per year.
  3. Biometrics Appointment: Book and attend an appointment to have your fingerprints and photograph taken.
  4. Submit Documents: Provide all required documents like proof of relationship, financial evidence, and accommodation details.
  5. Wait for a Decision: Processing times vary, but it usually takes up to 12 weeks.

Civil Partnership Visa

The application process for a Civil Partnership Visa is the same as for a Spouse Visa. You need to complete the online application, pay the fees, attend a biometrics appointment, and submit the required documents.

Differences and Similarities

Key Differences

  • Type of Relationship: The Spouse Visa is for married couples, while the Civil Partnership Visa is for those in a civil partnership.
  • Legal Recognition: Civil partnerships offer similar rights to marriage but are often chosen by same-sex couples or those who prefer not to marry.

Key Similarities

  • Eligibility: Both visas have the same eligibility requirements, including financial, accommodation, and English language standards.
  • Application Process: The steps to apply and the fees are the same for both visas.
  • Path to ILR and Citizenship: Both visas can lead to indefinite leave to remain and British citizenship.

Choosing the Right Visa

Deciding which visa to apply for depends on your relationship and future plans. Here are some things to think about:

  • Legal Status: If you are married, apply for a Spouse Visa. If you are in a civil partnership, apply for a Civil Partnership Visa.
  • Future Plans: Consider if you plan to apply for British citizenship. Both visas offer this path, but think about your long-term plans in the UK.
  • Personal Preference: Some people prefer civil partnerships over marriage for personal reasons.

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