Direct Mediation Services

UK visas for same sex partner

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UK visas for same sex partner

Welcome! Are you making an application to join your partner in the UK? Or maybe you are looking to support your partner in getting a visa to join you in the UK? This short article explains the basics for a same sex partner visa and is a starting point to understanding the visa journey. My name is Stuart. I am an OISC registered immigration lawyer and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. I am married to a foreign national, so I understand first-hand what it is like to go through the stressful application process. I hope you find this article helpful. Same sex relationships are recognised by the UK for the purposes of immigration. The same sex partner of a British citizen, or someone who has already settled in the UK, or someone who has moved to the UK on a limited time visa – possibly for work purposes – is entitled to make an application for a same sex visa for the UK. Same sex relationships have been formally recognised in the UK’s immigration rules since October 2000.

What are the conditions for applying for a same sex partner visa?

As well as one partner being a UK national or having Indefinite Leave to Remain, or holding a limited period visa (e.g. a Skilled Worker under the Points Based System):

  • You must both be 18 years of age or older.
  • You must be able to prove that you are in a genuine marriage-like relationship.
  • You must meet a minimum English language standard.
  • You must be able to prove that you can financially support yourself while in the UK

How do I prove I am in a “genuine relationship”?

If you are in a civil partnership or marriage which is recognised in the UK, no further proof of your relationship is needed. However, you do not necessarily need to be currently married or in a civil partnership. If you can prove that you are the fiancé or fiancée or the proposed civil partner of the person already living in the UK and will marry or enter into a civil partnership within 6 months of coming to the UK, you will satisfy this requirement. Otherwise, you would need to provide proof that you have lived together for a minimum of two years. This does not have to be a continuous period – for example, you might have had to live apart for a time during your relationship because of work commitments. It doesn’t matter where in the world you have lived together, but you must be able to provide enough official evidence to satisfy the immigration officer. We will be more than happy to advise you what evidence you would need to produce in your particular circumstances.

How good does my knowledge of English have to be?

You will not have to take an English test if:

  • You are a national of a country where English is a main official language. The countries are listed here.
  • You have a degree or academic qualification taught or researched in English. If it is from a non-UK university, you will have to get a certificate from Ecctis to prove that your qualification is at least the same level as a UK Bachelor’s degree.

Otherwise, you will need to take a test at a minimum of A1 level of the CEFR global scale – Basic User. This demonstrates that you can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases, introduce yourself and others and ask and answer basic questions about personal details – e.g. where you live, people you know and things you own.

Are there stricter visa requirements because we are a same sex couple?

No, there is no discrimination! The requirements for you as a gay person are exactly the same as heterosexual couples have to provide.

What are the income requirements?

You and your partner would normally have to prove that you have joint income of £18,600 or more per year (as at June 2022).

Why are nogoingback.org the right people to help and advise me with my UK same sex partner visa?

Quite simply because we belong to the LGBTQ+ community ourselves and we want to support more of our community through our immigration services. Starting a new out and proud life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK is exciting. We understand the sensitivity that needs to be applied if you are making an application from a country where same sex acts are a crime and there is acute discrimination. We specialise in helping LGBTQ+ people successfully applying for their visas to the UK to be with the person they love. At the core of our work, we believe that love should not have borders. You won’t find another firm of immigration specialists where everyone you deal with at the firm will be gay or from the LGBTQ+ community themselves. Everyone you speak to in our firm has the deep understanding of what it means to be different. We look forward to working with you on your application and being with you at the start of your new life in the UK. To have a free 20-minute immigration consultation with Stuart or one of our team, please complete our contact form below.

How much does family mediation cost?

Family mediation is not free of charge, but there are funding options available. There are currently three ways of paying for family mediation which are dependent on your circumstances. Each of these are detailed below.

Private family mediation client

The private costs of mediation vary from practice to practice. The Family Mediation Council estimate that registered mediators with the FMC charge (on average) £140 per person per hour for mediation. At Direct Mediation Services, we charge £120 per person per hour (office hours). We operate on a pay as you go basis, meaning that you will pay for each session you attend in advance; you will not have one bill at the end. This gives you some control over the funding of your mediation process and you can work with your mediator to discuss what is workable for you.

Legal Aid for family mediation

Legal Aid is available for family mediation. Direct Mediation Services have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency, and so are pleased to be able to offer this service. There are two routes to qualifying for Legal Aid. We have written a more detailed post about this, which can be accessed here, but in short:

  1. If you receive a qualifying welfare benefit such as Universal Credit, Income-Based ESA/JSA, Income Support, then you may qualify for Legal Aid.
  2. If you receive a low income (this is a disposable income of less than £733 per month), then you may qualify for Legal Aid.

If you qualify for Legal Aid, then your fees will be covered for:

Furthermore, your Legal Aid can also provide some funding to the other person in your mediation, even if they do not qualify. Legal Aid will cover the costs of the other person’s MIAM and the first hour of mediation. It is easy to apply for Legal Aid at Direct Mediation Services; all you need to do is fill out an online form and send in evidence (for example, a screenshot of your Universal Credit entitlement). We will do the rest.

The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme

In March 2021, the Ministry of Justice announced a new innovative funding option for people wishing to use family mediation. The voucher scheme contributes up to £500 per family for the costs of mediation relating to child arrangements. Effectively, this means that (with DMS) you get just over 2 hours of free mediation. The voucher scheme was initially set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in an attempt to reduce the strain on the Family Court and as part of the active push for families to use family mediation to resolve matters. We are pleased that the voucher scheme is continuing to be extended. The voucher scheme is not income based and so an award of it does not take into account your personal finances. Unlike Legal Aid, the voucher scheme will apply to almost all cases involving children. The voucher scheme does not cover cases that are solely relating to financial arrangements. When you attend your MIAM your mediator will explain the voucher scheme to you and ask for your consent. That’s really all you have to do; we take care of the rest. Our team will apply for the voucher on your behalf. As the voucher does not cover MIAMs, you will need to cover the costs for this either privately or through Legal Aid (Yes, you can still apply for the voucher if you are a Legal Aid client!) Once you have both attended MIAMs, mediation sessions can start. You can read more about the mediation process here. The voucher scheme can only be applied for once, you cannot get it twice. It is also important to know that the voucher scheme is still indefinite and there is no guarantee that it is here to stay. Your mediator will explain to you during the MIAM if the voucher scheme is available to you. If you have any questions about the voucher scheme, you can contact the office on 0113 468 9593 or here. You can read more about family mediation and other family related issues on our blog.

Final thoughts about free mediation

Whilst family mediation is not free, there is Legal Aid and funding available to support you in paying the costs. Fortunately, Legal Aid remains available for family mediation meaning that your finances should not be a barrier to you accessing the service. Similarly, the voucher scheme offers some positive financial help for all families who are finding challenges in sorting out arrangements for their children.

Want to know more about the LGBT immigration process?

Call us on 0113 4689593, email info@nogoingback.org.uk or complete the form below for a free call back.

 

Direct Mediation Services

Direct Mediation Services is a trading name of The Intelligent Solutions Group Ltd. The company is registered in England and Wales. Company number 7760633. VAT number 334 1841 12. Our company’s registered address is 5 Carla Beck House, Carla Beck Lane, Carleton, Skipton, BD23 3BQ.

 

 

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