Thank you for your query. I will try and assist you as much as I can.
To bring your partner to the UK under the five year Family Life route, you will have to show that you have been living together for two years. I refer you to the Home Office policy below:
An applicant applying as an unmarried partner or same sex partner must have been living together with their partner in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application and must provide documentary evidence of this. This is defined in GEN.1.2. of Appendix FM.
Dealing with your second question, under a visit visa, she must return within six months. You could consider going to Canada and getting married, or you can get your partner to come to the UK on a marriage visa: https://www.gov.uk/marriage-visa/overview
Please note on a standard visit visa, your partner is not allowed to get married in the UK or switch to a 5-year family life route. On a marriage visit visa, your spouse will have to return to Canada.
You could consider a fiance visa.On this visa, your partner can come to the UK to get married and then switch to a spouse visa. You will have to for the fiance visa that you earn more than £18,600 gross per year.
Regarding your final question, I refer you to the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/452912/Family_Life__as_a_Partner_or_Parent__and_Private_Life_-_10-year_routes_guidance_August_2015.pdf
In applications for further leave to remain or for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a partner, where there have been limited periods of time spent outside of the UK during the period when the applicant had leave as a partner, this must be for good reasons and the reasons must be consistent with the intention to live together permanently in the UK. Good reasons could include time spent in connection with the applicant’s or their partner’s employment, holidays, training or study. If they have spent the majority of the period overseas, there may be reason to doubt that all the requirements of the rules have been met, e.g. that the couple intend to live together permanently in the UK. Each case must be judged on its merits, taking into account reasons for travel, length of absence and whether the applicant and sponsor travelled and lived together during the time spent outside the UK. These factors will need to be considered against the requirements of the Rules.
I hope I answered your questions.
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Many thanks for your post.
1: The answer is no - please confirm.
From the rules I have given in my previous post, it is clear that as an unmarried partner you must have been living together.
2. If my girlfriend comes to the UK for 4 x 6 month visits with only a minimal time back in Canada ( less than 6 months?) does that count as living together for 2 years? Will the authorities allow these type of consecutive visits?
There is no precedent that I am aware of. You may be able to apply for it, but you will have to make detailed representations to the Embassy, and it will be up to the Embassy if they take issue. Please note that they may take issue that your partner is using the visit visa route to stay in the UK for such long period and they may reach the conclusion that your partner was never a genuine visitor to the UK.
4. Is there any advantage to getting married here or in Canada - or are they both the same? Presumably either way we still have to apply for a family Visa - and it doesn't matter that we have not lived together for 2 years - please confirm
That is right.
I hope I have given a satisfactory response.
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I have explained in the previous post of the requirement.
I am.setting out the rule in full for your consideration:
Under GEN.1.2 a “partner” is defined as:(i) the applicant’s spouse;(ii)the applicant’s civil partner; (iii) the applicant’s fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner; or (iv) a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application.
Where an applicant meets all the other requirements of the rules but does not meet the definition of “partner” at GEN.1.2. because they are unmarried or not in a civil partnership andhave not been living together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years, the relevant refusal paragraphs in Annex A should be used.
From the rule is clear that the you must have been living together for two years before applying. I have also explained in the previous post that you could apply for partner visa and explain your position and then it will be up to the Embassy to see if they will apply discretion.
I understand your point that the rule does not explicitly state continous residence of two years but this again you need to raise with the Embassy if you submit an unmarried partner application.
If you have the intention of getting married then I would suggest that this will be the best course of action for you but that it a matter for you and your partner to decide.
I would now be grateful if you would kindly rate my answer positively and I wish you all the best for the future.