“Unmarried partner relationship” has a specific meaning in UK immigration law: a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership where the parties have not actually married/entered into civil partnership but where they have cohabited together for at least two years.
The latter part of the definition is important: even if the relationship is strong and genuine, if the parties have not completed the two years together then the Home Office will not consider the relationship to be an unmarried partner relationship within the legal meaning, and a migrant will thus not be eligible to apply for an Unmarried Partner visa.
A migrant in either a different sex or same-sex relationship can qualify for this visa, and the requirements are the same. In either case they must provide evidence to show (a) that the relationship is genuine and (b) the two-year cohabitation.
Applications may be made in the UK or, in some cases, from outside the UK: the cohabitation can have occurred in any country but it must be proved.
It is possible to apply to “switch” visas in the UK to an Unmarried Partner visa in a wide range of circumstances, for example a student or migrant on a working visa can do so. But a migrant on visitor leave cannot, and only in special and particular circumstances can an overstayer apply.
The evidential requirements for an Unmarried Partner visa application are relatively onerous: not only does the applicant have to satisfy the standard requirements for partner visas but they also have to satisfy the specific requirements for that visa.
If you want help about this we at GSN Immigration have good knowledge and experience in this area and we will be able to assist you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer