Thu | Dec 5, 2019

Immigration Corner | Can I settle in UK if my partner dies?

Published:Tuesday | January 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

Will I still be able to settle in the United Kingdom if my partner dies while I am still living over there? Any advice would be appreciated.


Dear VJ,

A person may be eligible to apply for settlement, that is indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, if their partner has died. The partner must have either been a British citizen or had indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom at the time of death.

In addition, the surviving person's permission to be in the United Kingdom must have been based on being the partner of the deceased person. Please note that a 'partner' is one of the following:

• A spouse (husband or wife)

• A civil partner

n Someone the person was living with in a relationship like a marriage or civil partnership.

Persons can apply anytime after their partner's death; they do not have to wait until the current visa expires. However, they must be in the United Kingdom when applying, and the application fee is ?£2,389.

The successful applicant will obtain indefinite leave to remain and this would mean that he/she can continue to live and work over there for as long as he/she would like. It will also mean that he/she is eligible:

- To work in any job.

- To run a business..

- For public services, such as healthcare and schools.

- For public funds and pensions.

- For British citizenship, if able to meet the requirements

Please be aware that permission to be in the United Kingdom must be based on the relations and that before the partner died, that person must have got a visa as their partner, but not as their fiance, fiancee or proposed civil partner.

Also, when the partner died, the applicant must have been living together with him/her in the United Kingdom or had intended to live together permanently over there. The partner must not have been living permanently in another country and the applicant should not need to take the Life in the UK Test or prove their English language skills.

A person's application might be refused if, for example, they have got a criminal record in the United Kingdom or another country; provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office; or broken UK immigration law.

When making the application, a person must provide:

- A current passport or other valid travel identification

- Any previous passports he/she had while living in the UK

- Biometric residence permit, if he/she has one

- A police registration certificate (unless he/she did not need to register)

- The partner's death certificate

- Proof of the relationship, for example, a certificate of marriage or civil partnership

- Proof that the applicant and the partner were living together.

Applicants will need documents to show that they lived with their partner until they died, starting from when they got permission to be in the UK as their partner. Persons will need to provide six official documents addressed to both persons, or each of you individually, at the same address.

It is recommended that persons include as many different types of documents as possible, for example:

- Gas, water or electricity bills

- Telephone bills

- Council Tax bills

- Bank statements and letters

- Letters from a government department

- Letters about your TV licence.

- Tenancy agreements.

- Mortgage agreement or statements.

- Letters from your General Practitioner (GP), a hospital or health service.

An applicant's children may be eligible to get settlement (indefinite leave to remain in the UK) at the same time and can be included on the application form if they:

- Are under 18.

- Have permission to be in the UK based on being the late partner's dependent.

- Are going to live with the applicant in the UK.

- Will have somewhere to live and be financially supported without using public funds.

- Are not married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life.

The child's application can be refused for other reasons, for example, if they've broken UK immigration law. The application fee is £2,389 for each child.

After the application has been submitted, persons will be asked to provide their fingerprints and a digital photo called 'biometric information'. Children aged six or over must provide biometric information if they are being applied for on the form.

The applicants will be informed whether the application has been successful within six months. Persons will be contacted if their application is complex and will take longer. For example, the authorities may need to verify supporting documents; or the applicant may need to attend an interview; or there may be a delay because of personal circumstances, such as, the applicant may have a criminal conviction.

Good luck.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).