The Bailiwick of Guernsey (“Guernsey”) is a British Crown Dependency and the second largest of the Channel Islands that also comprises of the Isle of Man and the Bailiwick of Jersey. Guernsey is considered idyllic, showcasing stunning sceneries and a pleasant climate. Although not part of the United Kingdom and having its own jurisdiction, these Crown Dependencies are closely connected to the UK, and some of its International Relations aspects are governed by the UK.
If you are married to or in a relationship with a British Passport holder or a person that is considered settled in the UK, like Irish nationals and EU nationals holding pre-settled or settled status and wish to emigrate to the UK, you could qualify to apply for a Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa. However, there are very strict financial requirements that you need to meet. If, on the other hand, you prefer to emigrate to Guernsey, you could still apply for a Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa. This Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa for Guernsey will allow you to live and work in Guernsey and travel to the UK as a visitor, however, if you wish to live and work in the UK, you will have to apply for a visa, specifically for the UK.
How to qualify
To qualify for a Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa for Guernsey, you have to be married to or be in a relationship with a British Passport holder or a person with settled status in the UK. It has to be your intention to live together permanently as husband and wife or as a couple in a genuine and subsisting relationship. Unlike a Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa application for the UK, where you need to meet strict financial requirements, you only need to prove that you can adequately maintain and accommodate yourself if you choose to immigrate to Guernsey instead. There is a specific calculation that needs to be done when proving adequate maintenance and accommodation. However, the financial requirement is not nearly as stringent as in the case of Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visas for the UK. Other criteria need to be met apart from the relationship and financial requirements.
Length of Stay
Your Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa for Guernsey will be issued for an initial period of 33 months. After 33 months, provided that you are still in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse/partner, you must apply to renew your visa for another 30 months.
Right to Work
As the spouse or unmarried partner of a British national or settled person in the UK, you will have the right to work in Guernsey without any restrictions. However, before you take up employment, your employer in Guernsey will have to apply for a local work permit for you, issued by the Guernsey Border Agency.
Immigration Health Surcharge
Unlike the UK Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa, there is no Immigration Health Surcharge payable if you apply for a Spousal/Unmarried Partner for Guernsey. You will have to obtain your own private Medical Aid/Insurance once you arrive there.
Indefinite Leave to Remain and Citizenship
Once you have completed a total period of 5 years in Guernsey on your Spousal/Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in Guernsey and the UK.
After that, you could apply for British Citizenship and a British Passport. Normally, there are certain requirements regarding allowable absences from the UK during these five years when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. However, time spent in Guernsey will not be viewed as time spent outside the UK as Guernsey is part of the common travel area for the UK. When you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, it’s also important that you still need to be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse/partner. Your intentions still need to be to permanently live together as husband and wife or as a couple. Other criteria need to be met to qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, Citizenship, and a British Passport.
How Breytenbachs can help you
The Isle of Man and the Bailiwick of Jersey have similar Immigration Rules with a few differences, however, if you are interested in immigrating to one of these islands instead, you are more than welcome to contact us for further assistance.