Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances

If you’re considering settling in the UK under the family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances route, the Home Office have issued new guidance to help.

Here’s what you need to know.

(Updated as of 27 April 2020)

“Since 9 July 2012, the Immigration Rules have contained a new framework for considering applications and claims engaging Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life).

Article 8 of the ECHR states that:

8(1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

8(2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Family and Private Life Routes

There are 2 routes to settlement based on family life as a partner or parent. These are a 5-year route and a 10-year route where:

  • the 5-year route is for a partner, parent or child who meets all the suitability and eligibility requirements of the Immigration Rules at every stage
  • the 10-year route is for:
    • a partner, parent or child who meets all family life suitability and certain eligibility requirements and EX.1. applies under Appendix FM
    • those who meet all private life suitability and relevant eligibility requirements under Part 7 paragraph 276ADE(1)
    • those who have exceptional circumstances

Family life as a partner

When considering applications under the Immigration Rules based on family life as a partner of a person who is one of the following:

  • a British citizen
  • present and settled in the UK
  • in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or granted humanitarian protection (where family reunion under Part 11 of the Immigration Rules does not apply)

Under paragraph GEN.1.2. of the general provisions in Appendix FM, a ‘partner’ is defined as one of the following:

  • the applicant’s spouse
  • the applicant’s civil partner
  • the applicant’s fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years prior to the date of application (which we expect to be evidenced by documents showing that the couple have been living together at the same address for at least 2 years)

Please be advised that the above information is not exhaustive as there are more requirements and points to consider.

For more information on Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances, send an email to to book a telephone/Skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service will be held remotely on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton). Please be advised that our Preston drop-in service held on Fridays have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

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