Frequently asked questions about spouse and partner visas

I have a partner in the UK and I am also scared of going back to my country of origin. Should I apply for asylum or can I make a different application with the Home Office?

People who have a well-founded fear of persecution are expected to apply for asylum as soon as possible in the UK, because the Home Office will notice any delay in doing so. It might be possible to make a different application if you have a partner and your relationship satisfies certain criteria, but it is important that you receive immigration advice to help you decide whether such an application would be successful.


My partner is abusing me, but I’m scared that I will not be able to stay in the UK if I leave them. What should I do?

You should get help if you are experiencing domestic violence and are worried about what will happen to your immigration status if you leave your partner. In some cases, it is possible for victims of domestic violence to apply for indefinite leave to remain and access to benefits. You would need a lawyer to help you with this application, which is normally covered by Legal Aid. For more information on applying for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence, please see our Domestic violence page. For our list of lawyers, please see here.


I was successful with my asylum application and the Home Office granted me refugee status, but my partner is still in my country of origin. Can I bring them to the UK?

It is possible to bring your partner to the UK but there are different rules depending on whether you were in a relationship prior to fleeing your country or after. If you were in a relationship before, you can apply for family reunion, otherwise you need to apply under the general rules applicable to partners. It is important that you receive immigration advice on whether such an application would be successful. Applications for family reunion are not normally covered by Legal Aid. For our list of lawyers, please see here.


What is a marriage/civil partnership visit visa?

It is possible to visit the UK specifically for the purpose of registering a civil partnership or entering into marriage and returning to your home country afterwards. However, if you wish to do this you must apply for a ‘visitor for marriage or civil partnership visa’ before coming to the UK.


What happens if my sponsor has limited leave?

Spouses or civil partners or unmarried partners of people with a time restriction on their leave to remain in UK, such as points-based system migrants or ancestry visa holders, can apply for the right to be in the UK and will usually be permitted to work. Different rules apply to this category.