I am applying for a family visa for my Ethiopian partner and I to move to the UK.

My partner moved in with me early January 2020. We will submit our application for the visa early October. It will take 3 months to process, so we should hear early January 2022 and so travel mid/late January.

I want to apply on the basis of having lived together 2 years, rather than as a fiancee, so that we get 2.5 years rather than 6 months. Also, we will have a baby mid-March, so don't want to be organizing a wedding, as the fiancee visa requires.

By the time our application is approved, we will have lived together 2 years - Jan 2020-2022. Is there any way we can apply in October, saying by the time we leave for the UK we'll have lived together 2 years? (If we apply January, we won't get approval until April.)

If not, and we enter on a fiancee basis (and so get 6 months), can we switch visa to one based on our living together for 2 years, once in the UK? Or switch to one based on that my partner is mother to a British citizen baby? (Much of the guidance says you have to leave the country and re-enter if your visa is 6 months or less, which seems to include our fiancee visa.)

Huge thanks

1 Answer 1


According to the official website, it is the application date that counts however, the requirement is civil partnership OR marriage OR 2 years living together.

The "easiest" alternative for you would be entering a civil partnership / marrying where you live and getting the appropriate Apostilles and translations (if applicable) of the certificate as proof of relationship instead of trying to prove 2 years of living together.

I don't know where you both live, so you can check here if there are any additional requirements to get the partnership / marriage recognized in the UK

You only need the paper, so there is no need for a whole ceremony / reception and etc...

  • Marrying here (Ethiopia) was our plan, but we've struggled with the bureaucracy, so are resigned to marrying later in the UK.
    – Chris
    Aug 30, 2021 at 12:21
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    @Chris if your partner enters with a fiancee visa (6 months) you have this allotted time to either get a civil partnership / marry (one or the other, whichever is simpler for you to arrange) and request a switch to the family visa after the civil partnership / marriage (then it will be for 2 years + 6 months), OR apply for a visa extension for your partner - but then you need to have a pretty good reason as to why you were both unable to get a civil partnership or marry, otherwise, an extension will not be granted. And your fiancée cannot work with this visa. Aug 30, 2021 at 13:08
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    I am very grateful indeed @Juliana, seems we need a rethink.
    – Chris
    Aug 30, 2021 at 13:54
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    @Chris And now that I see, I forgot to address your second idea: please take into account that according to the information on parent visa, your partner needs to have sole custody of the child or if you share custody, you both cannot be partners. That visa is intended to enable parents that are no longer eligible for a partner visa (due to divorce / dissolution) to stay with their children in the UK Aug 30, 2021 at 14:12
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    You had indrectly answered that, as it was predicated on coming in on a fiancee visa, which you have highlighted is likely to run into problems. But I hadn't noticed we couldn't be partners in my scan of that visa. You have saved me hours of misdirected research and potentially weeks or months pursuing an unwise approach - enormous thanks.
    – Chris
    Aug 30, 2021 at 14:17

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