New immigration rules came into force on 27 November 2008 which have raised the minimum age for spouse and partner applications.
This will increase the minimum age from 18 to 21 at which a person may sponsor, any of the following: spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner of another person.
The UK Border Agency has commented that this reform is designed to prevent forced marriages; “to protect young people from being forced into relationships they do not want at a time in their lives when they could be establishing a degree of independence as an adult through further education or through work”.
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, and work permit holders).
Source: UK Border Agency