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INC, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 11825
Experience:  LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
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Dear Madame/Sir, We are writing as a couple who are trying

Resolved Question:

Dear Madame/Sir,

We are writing as a couple who are trying to decide what is the best solution for us to stay together, and therefore seeking advice on which course of action is best for us to take to ensure this.

I am a UK resident with a UK passport yet my girlfriend holds a hong kong passport.

As a quick overview of our history, my girlfriend Sinead (aged 25) moved to the UK when she was 14 to study through school and, after obtaining her A-levels, she obtained a Student Visa to remain and study at university. After graduating she remained on a Post Study Work Visa which is due to expire in November of this year. This would qualify her to remain in the UK usually due to the amount of consecutive years she has lived in the UK (11 years) but unfortunately she was out of the country during this time on a gap year to complete a project for her studies. She is currently working in an internship for an Art Gallery but has had fulltime positions previously in which she paid tax on her earnings.

I am also 25 and met Sinead while we were at the same school together aged 17, while we were not in a relationship at this time we remained in contact throughout our university studies, talking regularly, before committing to a relationship roughly 4 years ago, in June last year we took the step of moving in together and have no intention of changing this. I work as a designer for a branding agency and we support ourselves without benefits. We feel our lives our in the UK and our career goals, while it would not be the end of the world to move to Hong Kong, Sineads family would not be able to support us so it could possibly be a difficult relocation.

So what we are faced with is either having to live in separate countries, which is not an option due to how committed we are to each other, move back to Hong Kong or potentially move our relationship on sooner than we would may have done naturally to marriage in order to ensure we stay together and keep the situation we have worked very hard to obtain. We have no problem getting married as we were planning on doing so in the future and had spoken about it but would rather do it on our own terms and with the right savings.

Our question is therefore what is the best course of action? ideally we would like the unmarried partner visa but we would have not lived the full 2 years together by November.

Thanks for your time,

Chris Kilmartin
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  INC replied 6 years ago.

Hi Chris,


How serious is your relationship? Have you thought about marriage?


Many thanks,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
We have because of the circumstance, we are not people who would feel marriage is needed to confirm the seriousness of our relationship but if we were that way inclined we would be considering marriage at this point of our relationship but are in no way financially secure enough to have fund an event that we feel is appropriate. So to bring it forward and have a less satisfactory day because of the visa timings is something we would prefer to avoid if there are other options available,


Expert:  INC replied 6 years ago.



I have just re-read the information provided. If Sinead was outside of the UK and this was related to her course, the time outside of the UK, should not count against her. If this is the case, she may still be eligible to make an application for Indefinite LEave to Remain based on 10 years long residence.


If this is not the case, I would suggest she try to switch into a different category of Visa. Such as a Tier 1, if she meets the requirements. The only other alternative would be marriage.



If you wish to discuss, please feel free to ask further questions.


Kind regards,



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi again,

Thank you very much for this,

She left the Uk after her foundation Art course which she did under a student visa then after a year returned under a new student visa, although she did do work for her interview for her MA Art course interview which she had on returning, so I imagine that means that the 10 years has been split? Just on the other topic of unmarried partner visa, is there no debate for the time period we have lived together even if we have signed a year contract for the second year and would only be 6months from completleing the 2 year mark? We do have documents proving the length of our relationship before moving in together (Every email from the past 6 years).


Expert:  INC replied 6 years ago.

Hi Chris,


Thanks for the clarification. Based on this, it would be a split in the 10 years continuous residence.


With regard to the unmarried partners visa, unfortunately, the rules clearly state:


"you and your partner have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership which has been existing and genuine (not like a 'marriage of convenience') for at least two years"


Thus, this would mean that any application you make will be refused as your partner does not meet the requirement of the rules.



If you wish to discuss, please feel free to ask further questions.


Kind regards,

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