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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  Partner in national law firm.
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I have a difficult situation. My girlfriend is in UK on a

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I have a difficult situation. My girlfriend is in UK on a student visa granted in 2010 and to expire in 2014. She will hopefully graduate with a good (possibly first class) degree from University of Liverpool in June 2014.

Obviously if she can obtain a relevant job from an employer with a class 2 sponsorship licence she will be able to apply for leave to remain by switching to tier 2.

We are trying to cover all options, however, and I wonder if there is any way she can apply to remain here as my partner. I am a UM citizen by birth.

We have known each other and had a solid relationship for over 8 years now and she came to UK previously on visitors visas as well as me visiting her in Belarus.

The major complication is that I am married although my wife lives permanently in a nursing home and our relationship is nominal only. I do not wish to divorce my wife as I think she has enough emotional turmoil living with her disease (MS). However, i assume that as I would not be eligible to marry my girlfriend in these circumstances she would be prevented from applying to remain as my spouse. Am I correct?
My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

Your analysis is correct.

You cannot marry your girlfriend whilst married to your wife. This would be bigamy, of course, which is a criminal offence.

Also you cannot say your girlfriend is your spouse - she obviously isn't. If you did, this would be a lie and get you both in trouble and you'd ruin her chances of staying in the UK.

Based on the information you've given, your girlfriends only real option as things stand is to find post study employment.

Hope this clarifies the matter for you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your reply. I was fairly certain i was correct but wanted to be absolutely certain since it appeared that for the purpose of applying for leave to remain then marriage was not essential merely 'being partners'. I had assumed, it seems correctly, that my not being in a position to marry her would preclude this potential route.

I understand. This further information may assist.

The requirement under the immigration rules is that the relationship should be "...genuine and subsisting".

If your relationship is genuine and subsisting you would expected to show evidence that you:

are in a current, long-term relationship;

are living together with your partner;

share responsibility with your partner for any children;

share financial responsibilities with your partner, such as a joint mortgage or tenancy agreement, a joint bank account or joint savings, and utility bills in both your names;

and your partner have visited one another's home country and family; and
you have made plans about living together in the UK with your partner.

Unless these requirements are fulfilled it is unlikely you could say your girlfriend is your partner for immigration purposes. Although having a mistress is not illegal, I think you would find it difficult to establish the requirements under the 'genuine and subsisting' requirements.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks again.


The information is indeed helpful. As it happens I think we could easily satisfy the current, long term relationship requirement and we have had joint tenancies and council tax and utility bills in the past although now that she is studying away that is no longer the case, although I do effectively pay for her accommodation.


There are no children so that wouldn't apply, but because of her studies we would undoubtedly fail the currently living together requirement.


I would just point out that all parties here (including my wife) are aware of what is going on but it does seem that loyalty to my wife and my refusal to divorce her may act against us.


I just hope the girlfriend can find suitable post study employment. Although so many of the potential employers seem to be asking for specific levels of pre-university UK based qualifications we are somewhat concerned.

Thanks for the additional information.

Loyalty to your wife and refusal to divorce is likely to count against you.

I've been looking at the Immigration Rules in a little more detail. Under Part 8, 295A the following is stated:

"...any previous marriage or civil partnership (or similar relationship) by either partner has permanently broken down; and

the parties are not involved in a consanguineous relationship with one another..."

This is clearly something you'll have to bear in mind of you decide to make an application.

Hope this helps. Please remember to rate my answer. Happy to discuss this further.

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