The loss of a partner is a very traumatic experience. Fortunately, the UK immigration rules allow bereaved partners to settle in the UK under certain circumstances. Thus, persons who lose their partners to death do not have to worry about the effect on their immigration status, should they qualify.
How to qualify for Settlement if your partner dies
The partner that died must have had one of the following statuses:
- British citizenship
- Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
- Pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme
The bereaved partner must have permission to be in the UK based on being a part of a family visa, as one of the following:
- A spouse
- Civil partner
- Unmarried partner, akin to a marriage or civil partnership
Unfortunately, you cannot apply if you were in the UK as the fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner of the person who died. In such cases, the person will, unfortunately, have to seek alternative routes to continue their stay in the UK. Please speak to a BIC consultant.
When your partner died, you must have been living together in the UK. You also must have had the intention to live together permanently in the UK.
If your partner were living permanently in another country, your application will not succeed.
Applying for children
Children will be able to apply for settlement at the same time as the bereaved partner. Children can be included as dependants on the application if they fulfil the following criteria:
- Permission to be in the UK as dependants of the person that died
- They received this permission before they turned 18 years. (Children can be older than 18 years of age at the time of the application, as long as they were younger than 18 when they received permission to be in the UK).
- Will live with the bereaved partner in the UK and have somewhere to live.
- They will be financially supported without access to public funds.
- Not married or in a civil partnership.
Knowledge of Life and English Language requirement
Fortunately, the applicant does not need to fulfil the English language requirement. Nor will you have to sit the Life in the UK test.
When can you apply
The bereaved partner can apply at any time after the partner’s death. You do not have to wait until your current visa expires.
Note that you have to apply from within the UK.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
If you are successful in your application to settle as a bereaved partner, you will receive Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
This status of ILR will mean that you can continue to work in the UK without restriction. You will have access to public services, public funds and pensions.
You should qualify for British citizenship after one year with the status of ILR.
How Breytenbachs can help you
The loss of a partner is a very distressing experience. Fortunately, we have a team of highly experienced and qualified consultants that will be able to deal with your and your children’s immigration status in the UK. Please feel free to contact us for more information or to arrange a consultation.