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Joining family in the UK

There have been many changes to the family settlement rules over the last couple of years. The advice below is intended only as a genuine guide. if you have any specific questions please contact us.

Our services

We advise and assist applicants with the following issues:
Marriage/unmarried partner/fiancé(e) entry clearance applications;
Entry clearance reviews/appeals;
Further leave to remain as a spouse/unmarried partner;
Indefinite leave to remain as a spouse/unmarried partner;
Entry clearance applications for other family members e.g. dependent children, parents and more removed relatives;
Appeals against refusals of any of the above;
Further leave to remain as the Victim of domestic violence;

If you would like to know more about our services or need help with any of these matters, contact us for a free assessment.

Requirements for Coming to the UK to join a spouse (marriage partner), unmarried partner or fiancé(e)

Getting married to or being an unmarried partner of British national or a person with settled status in the UK does not automatically give you the right to join the British national in the UK or to be with them. The following requirements must be met:

The individual wishes to enter the UK to join someone who is present and settled, or is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement;
That the applicant has met the sponsor and in the case of spouses, that the marriage is subsisting;
Both the applicant and the sponsor will be over 18 on the date of arrival in the UK;
They both intend to live together permanently as husband and wife (or, if unmarried partners, in a relationship akin to marriage); (fiancé(e)s do not have to live together until after they are married)
They will be able to maintain and accommodate themselves adequately together with any dependents, without recourse to public funds - note that the financial requirements are now very detailed. Please contact us for more information;

Unmarried Partners

In addition to the above requirements, if you are applying as an unmarried partner, you must show that:
You have been living together in a relationship “akin to marriage” which has lasted for two years or more;
Any previous marriage or relationship by either partner has permanently broken down; and
You are not in a “consanguineous” relationship with each other.
These applications are considered to be settlement applicants. However, applicants are usually given an initial two years “probationary” leave. After this you may apply for settlement (see below).

Entry clearance refused?

The British post must give the partner a formal notice of reasons why your application is refused and information about your right of appeal.

All refused applicants under these rules have an automatic right of appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber (IAC) in the UK. At the same time as making an appeal, it is a good idea to present the British post directly with arguments requesting a review of their decision and explaining why their decision was unfair or incorrect or some other reason it should be changed. Good arguments can sometimes make the entry clearance officer (ECO) change their mind and grant a visa without the need to go to an appeal.

For more details on our appeals services visit our appeals page or contact us for a free assessment.

EEA Nationals

Family members of EEA nationals and Swiss nationals have independent rights. See EEA nationals.

Applying for Settlement (indefinite leave to remain)

After you have been in the UK for 5 years as the spouse or unmarried partner, you can apply for settlement (for many people currently in the UK as family members they will fall within the transitional arrangements and so can apply for ILR after 2 years). To do this you must meet the following requirements:
You were admitted, or were given an extension of stay for a total of five years as the spouse or unmarried partner of a settled person and have completed that period;
You are still the spouse or partner of the same sponsor and the marriage or relationship is subsisting;
You both intend to live permanently as husband and wife, or as unmarried partners in a relationship akin to marriage;
You can maintain and accommodate yourselves and any dependents without recourse to public funds.

Unless the Home Office have reason to doubt that the relationship is genuine or there are financial problems, you will be granted ILR. If the application is refused then you have the right to appeal to the IAC.

Switching (changing from another status to marriage status)

Generally, anyone with leave to remain in the UK for more than 6 months, that has not remained in the UK in breach of the immigration rules can switch and apply to remain as a spouse.

This means that people in the UK as students (more than 6 months) and workers can switch into this category by making the required application.

Other miscellaneous family applications:

There are separate provisions relating to the following:

Partners of EEA Nationals;
Partners of Refugees;
Victims of domestic violence;
People whose partners have died;
Partners and family of people here with limited leave;
Other dependent relatives including children;
Other compassionate circumstances;

success stories

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Appeal and Judicial Review Victories
The Home Office have been interpreting the Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements very strictly.

We have had great success in winning many appeals and Judicial Reviews against Tier 1 and Tier 2 refusals.
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Entry Clearance Appeals
Decisions of Embassies and BHCs overseas sometimes fail to fairly consider an individuals case. Refusals over the last few months have often been on maintenance grounds on the basis of minor issues with documents.

We have an excellent record of overturning unfair decisions made by Entry Clearance Posts.

See more details of our recent successes.
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