UK civil partner visit visa applications now accepted

As already announced, the UK's Civil Partnerships Act 2004 will come into force on 5 December 2005, but from 14 November the Home Office will begin accepting visa applications for visits to register civil partnerships. This will allow time for those who want to give notice of a civil partnership to the registrar on 5 December. A visa is necessary for anyone who is not British, settled in the UK, or an EEA or Swiss national.

Please note that the Home Office will not begin accepting applications for civil partners and proposed civil partners coming to the UK for settlement until 5 December. If you are involved in a civil partnership, you may wish to apply for this visa in order to come to the UK and then apply for permission to remain in the UK.

Before a person subject to immigration control will be able to give notice of a civil partnership they will need to demonstrate to the registrars that they hold either:

  • Entry clearance granted to register a civil partnership; or
  • The written permission of the Secretary of State; or
  • Settled status in the UK;

The written permission of the Secretary of State will be granted in the form of a Certificate of Approval, such as those that already exist for marriage. In order to qualify for a certificate of approval applicants will need to have been granted over six months leave in the United Kingdom and at least three months of that leave must be remaining.

Civil partnerships are a new legal relationship which can be registered by two people of the same sex and give the couples legal recognition for their relationship. Same-sex couples will now be able to register a civil partnership, and will have equality of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with those opposite-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage.

The rights and responsibilities civil partners will have will include recognition for immigration and nationality purposes.