New age requirement for partners of settled migrants in the UK

According to new rules which came into effect on 27 November 2008, the minimum age at which a spouse can join their migrant partner in the UK has been raised from 18 to 21 for both parties.

The reform is aimed at reducing the risk of suffering enforced marriage at a young age and to afford vulnerable young people an opportunity to seek help and advice whilst being able develop maturity and life skills and to complete their education.

It will delay sponsorship for marriage until the age of 21.Only those aged 21 or over may sponsor or may be granted entry clearance (including visas) or limited leave as the spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner of another person.

As a limited concession, the change in minimum age to 21 will apply only to cases where the UK-based sponsor is present and settled in the UK, or is being admitted for settlement on the same occasion as the applicant.

The minimum age of 18 will continue to apply to sponsors and their partners in those cases where the stay of a sponsor is subject to a time-limit (for example, students, work permit holders).