My girlfriend and I both have Ukrainian citizenship. We're planning to visit the UK at the end of April. While filling in the application form for visitor visa we specified our relationship status as unmarried partners since we have been living together for more than 3 years and I'm going to be her sponsor. Closer to visa appointment I started to google some information, like what documents we should bring to prove our relationship etc. All the information that pops out is about the case when a person already settled in the UK wants to bring his partner. Did we fill in the form right?

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    Do you have any joint household bills or bank accounts? Mortgage or rental agreement? I think you chose the correct response, all that’s required is to demonstrate why you’d sponsor your girlfriend (assuming she needs a sponsor).
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 17:36
  • @Traveller That's one of the problems. We don't have joint household bills/bank accounts. It's not that common in Ukraine. We have a rental agreement, but it's on one name because the form doesn't allow to specify more than one person. Though, we've visited most of the countries together, have many photos with us together and we applied for foreign passports together more than 4 years ago (the passport number is different in one digit) Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:48
  • Your bank accounts will have the same address though? Or tax returns? As DJClayworth says in his answer, I don’t think ‘proving’ the relationship is such a big deal for a Visitor visa. Your girlfriend’s ties to Ukraine are more important.
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:51
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    If you live in Ukraine and are visiting the UK, you can’t be your girlfriend’s “sponsor”. In visa language, the word “sponsor” means a person who’s already settled in the destination country, who’s willing to support the visitor - financially or otherwise. I think you simply mean that you’re both tourists, but you’re funding the trip for both of you. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 23:19
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    It seems to me you are overthinking this. Your relationship status is irrelevant for traveling together. As long as both of you have a registered home address it does not matter if it is the same for both. The only time your relationship status is relevant, is for hotel rooms is in certain countries where they do not allow unmarried couples to share a room; mostly Muslim countries, but I also encountered it in rural areas of Japan.
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


If you are both just visiting the UK, the authorities will not be very bothered by what your relationship to each other is. They are really only concerned about whether you will both leave at the end. Unless there is something that doesn't make sense about your story they won't care if you are legally married or how long you have been together. That is probably why you are not finding much information about it.

It might be helpful to have photos of yourselves together from a while back, and maybe documents showing you live at the same address, but I doubt you will be asked for them.

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    Well he intends to be the sponsor of her which does raise the question 'why are you sponsoring her'.
    – user4188
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:33
  • I'm assuming it just means he is paying for her,. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:39
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    @chx "We're going together" seems to be an excellent answer to that. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:44
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    'Sponsor' has a technical meaning in UK applications which is more than just paying for the trip. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:55
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    Yes, very common. Those persons are not called sponsors in official UK immigration terminology. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 2:15

I think your issue might be that you're misusing a critical term. "Sponsor" is a specific term that has nothing to do with who is paying for a trip, and since neither of you currently hold a UK visa, the term isn't applicable to either of you.

A "sponsor" in immigration terms is a person (generally a family member, partner, or friend) who is already a citizen or visa holder in the country in question, and who is willing to be a point of contact and vouch for the intentions of the person who wants to immigrate.

You probably didn't fill out the form wrong, you might just be Googling using the wrong terminology.

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    You do not have to be a UK citizen to sponsor a UK visit visa, nor is it the sponsor’s role to vouch for the applicant’s character. It’s incorrect to say a sponsor has nothing to do with temporary vacations see 4.3 gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 8:01
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    @Traveller You're absolutely right. In Canada only citizens and permanent residents can sponsor visas and I think I just assumed without Googling that the rules were the same for the UK. I'll amend my answer right now.
    – Jess
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 8:06
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    Also corrected "vouch for the character of" to "vouch for the intentions of", since from what I'm reading, it's generally expected that when writing a letter of invitation you need to include details about your relationship to the person, the purpose of their visit, how they plan to support themselves, etc. It's irrelevant to the OP's question anyway because they are not -- nor will they need -- sponsors, but I appreciate the correction.
    – Jess
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 8:17
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    In the context of a UK Standard Visitor visa, a person providing a letter of invitation is not vouching for the intentions of the invitee. See under ‘Sponsorship Issues’ in this canonical answer travel.stackexchange.com/questions/92121/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 8:41

IMHO the important point here is whether your girlfriend meets the eligibility criteria for a visa in her own right or not. If she does, there’s really little need to prove your relationship. Just state that you’re travelling together in your respective applications and cross-reference the GWF number of your application in hers. You’ll both be providing your respective bank account statements which should show you share the same address.

If you’re paying for the trip because your girlfriend doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria, you probably do need to do a little more to satisfy the ECO that you have a genuine personal relationship per v4.3 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules. You can do this very simply by stating in the application (or a covering letter) how long you’ve been in a relationship and why you’re paying the costs of the trip eg because you are currently the wage earner in the household. You will still both have to provide bank statements, which should prove you share the same address.

Note that:

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