… there are several post study visa options on the basis of a relationship.
It may be that while studying in the UK, a student meets a partner who is British or settled and wishes to remain here to continue the relationship.
Here we look at the options available on the basis of a relationship.
What are the requirements?
A person in the UK with a leave for more than 6 months can apply in-country to vary that leave to stay on the basis of a relationship with a partner who is British or settled providing they meet the requirements of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. This then places them in a 5 year route to settlement in the UK.
The requirements to be met are:
- English Language – must have approved qualification at CEFR A1 or degree taught in English or be a native English speaker
- Relationship – must be married or living together for a minimum of two years and the relationship must be genuine and subsisting
- Financial – must have minimum income of £18,600 gross per year from employment / self-employment / cash savings / non-employment income
- Accommodation – must be suitable and adequate
What if you do not meet the requirements?
If you do not meet the requirements then you will not be able to apply in the five year route to settlement in the UK. However it may be that you can take action to put yourself in a position where you do meet the Immigration Rules. Or you may qualify to apply under the Exceptions in Appendix FM in a 10 year route to settlement in the UK.
Frequently asked questions
What if you have not lived together for 2 years?
The relationship will not be recognised if you are unmarried and have not lived together for at least 2 years or if you cannot provide evidence to show this. If you have not then you may need to consider getting married ahead of making an application.
What if you do not earn £18,600?
As a student you are unlikely to have this level of earnings from employment as your working hours will have been restricted. Where you are applying in-country the financial requirement can be met by income from you and / or your partner. For example if your partner earns £15,000 gross per year, you would need to show earnings of £3,600 gross per year to meet the minimum income threshold. Income from different sources can also be combined, for example cash savings added to income from employment. You or your partner may be able to take a second job to boost your income.
What if you have a British child?
If you are in a subsisting relationship with the child’s other parent, but are unmarried and have not lived together for at least 2 years, the relationship with the child could still meet the Exceptions in Appendix FM if you can show that it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK.
If you are not in a subsisting relationship with the child’s other parent then you could apply for leave as a parent if you can show you have sole responsibility or enjoy direct access to the child and are taking an active role in their upbringing. An application could be made in the 5 year route to settlement if you can meet English Language and financial requirements or in the 10 year route if you can meet the Exceptions to Appendix FM.
Alternatives to applying in-country
If you do not meet the requirements now and there are no exceptions, then applicants will need to return back home and then apply either as a fiancé(e), spouse or unmarried partner once the requirements of Appendix FM can be met.
The UK’s Immigration Rules and procedures are complex, subject to frequent changes and can be confusing. It is important to get advice to ensure that you identify the correct options available to you ahead of making any application either in-country or from outside the UK.
It is also very important to ensure that you make any application before your current leave expires.
We recommend seeking advice 6 months before your Tier 4 visa expires on your options to remain here following your studies.
For full guidelines visit the Home Office website.
If you would like advice on any immigration matter please contact us on 0191 232 9547.