Dependent Visa: How long can an unmarried partner stay outside the UK?


I recently obtained my Global Talent Visa and wish to apply for a dependent visa for my unmarried partner with the same start date as mine. I have several questions regarding it.

  1. If my partner’s dependent visa is approved, is it ok for her to be outside the UK for a continuous period of 2 years (as she needs to complete her degree in her own country)? Have you come across any rules or real cases indicating that this would invalidate her dependent visa?

  2. Follow-on 1: If the answer is not okay, can she apply for her dependent visa now (2023/11), but set the entry date to be 2025/07 when she graduates? The reason I want to apply early is that I only have proof of living together with her from 2021 to 2023. I’m afraid that if I apply too late (2025), I won’t have proof of living together in the past two years, and I don’t know how much it could affect the dependent visa application result.

  3. Follow-on 1: If the answer is okay and she joins me in the UK at the end of Year 2, when her dependent visa expires at the end of Year 5, can she still apply for a 3-year extension for her dependent visa when I’m applying for my ILR by then (I’m on exceptional promise, so I can only settle on Year 5)? If she can, and then meet the 5-year requirement by Year 7 (with no 180 absences in any given 12 months for 5 years), can she get her ILR then?

  4. Follow-on 3: If she can apply for an extension, when should she apply? How many days before or after her dependent visa expires? Which website or form should she use to apply?

P.S. I’m not concerned about the additional IHS fee. I’m willing to pay it for de-risking.

If she is not going to join you now, then wait until she done. You can list her as your married partner in your application. Living together for two years is not the only way to show your relationship is subsisting and genuine. When it’s time to apply you can show evidence of living together in the past, pictures, messages, financial support and other details… This is not immigration advice, you can speak to a immigration lawyer for specific advice in your situation.

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Thanks for sharing! How about the first question: Are there any rules about how long a dependent visa holder can be outside of the UK? Will her visa be invalidated in any way if she spends too much time outside?

If she spends too much time outside the UK, it just means you won’t be eligible for ILD in 5 years. She has to extend.