Family Visas

UK Ancestry

This category is only open to citizens of Commonwealth countries who are over 17, have a grandparent born in the UK, are able to work (and are planning to do so) and who are able to support and maintain themselves and any dependants.

If intending to travel to the UK under this category, an entry clearance should be obtained in the home country beforehand, although it is also possible to switch into this category once in the UK. Wherever the application is made, it will be necessary to show the “chain” of birth and marriage certificates to link the relevant grandparent with the applicant. Permission will usually be given for five years and allows the individual to take or seek work.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Many UK immigration categories lead, after a period of time, to indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”), also known as “settlement”. In the case of most employment-based categories, the applicant needs to demonstrate five continuous years of time spent in that category. For those married to UK citizens, or other persons already ‘settled’ in the UK, the period is two years.

Fiancé Visa

This visa is for fiancé’s of United Kingdom citizens and United Kingdom residents with settlement visas that wish to live in the United Kingdom. Fiancé’s are granted entry to the United Kingdom for a period of six months, during which time they must marry their fiancé. During this time a fiancé will not be permitted to work in the United Kingdom, and the fiancé must show that they are able to support their family for this time. This visa does however allow the holder to “switch” into the marriage category once the wedding has taken place.

Unmarried Partner Visa

This visa is for unmarried partners of United Kingdom citizens and United Kingdom residents that wish to live in the United Kingdom. Those in a permanent heterosexual or same-sex relationship may apply for leave to enter or remain on the basis of their relationship. The change in policy is confined to partners who have been living together for a period of at least two years. Initially a visa will be granted for only 12 months. At the end of this time, if the relationship subsists, you can apply to extend this visa. Unmarried partner visa holders can work without restriction upon entry to the United Kingdom.

UK Marriage Visa

This visa is for Spouses of United Kingdom citizens and United Kingdom residents that wish to live in the United Kingdom. This category requires an entry clearance which must be issued in the applicant’s home country (or other country in which they are lawfully resident). UK Marriage visa holders can work without restriction upon entry to the United Kingdom.

Subject to meeting all the other relevant criteria, those who have been married and living together elsewhere in the world for this four year period can be given indefinite leave to remain (or settlement status) straightaway, whereas those married for the shorter period of time will still be given an initial “probationary” period, which is entry clearance for two years. The rules now prohibit “switching” into this category for those who are already in the UK but were admitted for less than six months, for example, as visitors or short-term students. Clearly, this does not apply to those who were given up to six months leave as a fiancé(e).

EEA Marriage Visa

This visa is for married couples, one of whom is an European Economic Area Citizen that wish to come to the United Kingdom. Initially a visa will be granted for only 12 months. At the end of this time, if the marriage subsists, an extension will usually be granted for a period of up to 3 years. After a total period of 4 years in the United Kingdom, a candidate may then apply for a settlement visa. EEA Marriage visa holders can work without restriction upon entry to the United Kingdom.