UK Immigration Law
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1) Regarding the issue of you applying to become a dependent of your partner, you will only be able to become his dependent once he has obtain ILR. You can apply to become his dependent on a fiancee or a spouse visa. As you are in the process of getting married I would suggest applying for a spouse visa which will initially be granted for 2 years and thereafter, you will be able to apply for ILR.
You will not be granted ILR simply by becoming his dependent and or on the basis that he is about to obtain ILR. You may be able to apply for ILR under your current visa once you meet the requirements of that particular visa category.
2) With regards to you returning to your home country for applying for entry clearence as your partners dependent, as your current leave to remain was granted for a period in excess of 6 months, you are able to switch in-country and become his dependent once you both have married and he obtains ILR. As mentioned above you will need to marry him and then apply for further leave to remain as his spouse.
3) The changing of name on your passport is not required for the purposes of submitting an application to the UKBA. The change of name is optional not compulsory.
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