Foreign & Commonwealth soldiers who are in long-term relationships are allowed to bring their partner to the UK, but the criteria are strict and it’s not easy to provide the evidence required. Here, our specialist Katherine Houlston runs through what you need to do…

One of the definitions of “partner” in the immigration rules is that you have been living together “in a relationship similar to marriage or a civil partnership for at least two years”.

So if this is you, you’re able to apply, but it’s important to remember that the minimum income requirement, as well as all others, will still need to be met.

WHAT EVIDENCE DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?

UKVI require evidence to show that you have been living together at the same address for at least two years. It states: “The two-year period of living together must have been completed prior to the date of application, however, it does not need to have been completed immediately preceding the date of application if, for example, the couple are currently living apart.”

WHAT IF I HAVEN’T BEEN LIVING WITH MY PARTNER FOR TWO YEARS?

Unfortunately, the requirements of the rules will not be met and your application would have to be considered on the basis of exceptional circumstances. For example, if refusal could or would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the individual or their family. It’s usually difficult to prove exceptional circumstances, so you would have to appeal and attend a hearing in the UK.

CAN I COME TO THE UK AS A VISITOR AND THEN APPLY AS A PARTNER ONCE WE’VE BEEN LIVING TOGETHER FOR TWO YEARS?

No. You must apply for the correct visa if you’re intending to remain here, otherwise, you’ll be in breach of immigration rules and considered to be illegally in the UK once the visit visa expires. This will affect your ability to apply to remain within the immigration rules. You won’t be entitled to free NHS care or be able to work, drive, open a bank account or continue your studies whilst you’re an overstayer.

CAN WE GET MARRIED IN THE UK?

Yes, but this is usually not possible unless you are on a fiancée visa or a marriage visit visa.

It’s worth noting that the Home Office definition of a long-term relationship differs from the definition used by the MOD for entitlement to Service Family Accommodation. Information about all the options available can be found at aff.org.uk

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