Home > Citizenship > Marrying a UK Citizen

Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Marrying A Uk Citizen

Marrying a UK citizen will generally entitle a foreign national to live and work in the UK. However, this entitlement is not automatic and there is certainly no immediate entitlement to citizenship for a foreign spouse.

Marriage Visitor Visas

If you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK, you can apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa. However, you will not be permitted to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership longer than the permitted six months. Any individual coming to the UK to marry must be 18 or over, be in a genuine relationship and plan to enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months of arrival. Once the person leaves the UK at the end of the term, if they wish to apply to live in the UK they will need to apply for a new visa.

Family of a Settled Person Visa ('Spouse' Visa )

You’ll need a Family of a Settled Person Visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you want to come to the UK to live with your spouse, civil partner or partner, who is legally permanently resident in the UK. There are strict financial and other eligibility requirements attached to this visa and you have to ensure both you and your spouse fully meet these in order to be able to apply. With this visa you will be able to work and/or study, but you will not be entitled to apply for public funds.

If you come to the UK with this visa, then if you continue to meet the requirements of your stay, you can apply to extend your existing ‘family of a settled person’ visa to 'remain with family' in the UK.

New restrictions have been imposed because some foreign nationals marry British citizens, or residents, purely so that they will be granted leave to remain in the UK and subsequently be in a position to apply for citizenship. To reduce the incidence of foreign nationals marrying UK citizens to obtain leave to remain, people who are subject to immigration control are strictly scrutinised by the UKVI.

Forced Marriages Involving British Citizens

In recent years growing concerns have been voiced on the subject of foreign nationals marrying UK citizens in forced marriages. Typically these involve male British citizens going abroad and marrying a foreign national who he may not previously have met and then bringing her back to live in the UK. In many cases at least one member of the couple will not have been aware that they were to be married. Girls may be plucked out of a village, unable to speak English and with absolutely no knowledge of UK life, and brought to live in a foreign country with a complete stranger.

The British government has made it a stated intention, through its Forced Marriage Unit, to reduce the number of forced marriages involving British citizens. Further new rules for foreign nationals marrying UK citizens will include requiring the foreign national to agree, before they come to the UK and to learn English after they arrive. If it is discovered that a foreign national has misused the marriage visa system their leave to remain in the UK may be removed. The UKVI has been given greater powers to deal with those who abuse the system and more guidance in spotting possible victims of forced marriages. Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Bp - Your Question:
I am A British citizen who has been living in Canada for 5 years and have citizenship there now. I married a Canadian girl a year ago and we have2 children. We are wanting to come back to the uk. What is the deal with the gaurantuer option? Can you let me know the full details please as my family could be the gaurantuer? Thanks

Our Response:
If you wish to apply to bring your family to the UK, you would have to satisfy the requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:28 PM
I am A British citizen who has been living in Canada for 5 years and have citizenship there now. I married a Canadian girl a year ago and we have2 children. We are wanting to come back to the uk. What is the deal with the gaurantuer option? Can you let me know the full details please as my family could be the gaurantuer? Thanks
Bp - 25-Apr-17 @ 8:00 PM
i am uk born 50 years, fallen in love with kosovan 43 what are the chances of him given an uk visa so we can marry and live in uk . i am a carer for my son who is on disability benefits and own my own home. we both are divorced . he does not have children
peanut - 22-Apr-17 @ 12:10 AM
Hi my brother has met a wonderful lady from hong Kong while she has been living in the UK and also had a lovely baby boy they are getting married in July but are worried that she and their son maybe sent home even though this is her home and has been for two years should he be worried or will it all be ok for them to live the rest of their lives as a happy tax paying family really could do with some advise many thanks
Pilch - 21-Apr-17 @ 8:48 PM
Hi, I am British citizen but I have a dual citizenship in the Philippines as well. I am currently living here in the Philippines and I married my long-time partner last year who is a Filipino. We are looking to settle down in the UK. My question; is it possible for him to apply for a visa in the UK whilst I'm still here in the Philippines? It will be ideal if we arrive in the UK together? Thank you in advance. Kind regards, Steff
Steff - 21-Apr-17 @ 12:04 PM
ethanfletcherx - Your Question:
Hi. I'm from the US. My girlfriend is a UK citizen since birth and we want to get married in the UK. Would I need a separate visa? Can I stay longer than 6 months? How long would it take to get citizenship after marrying her? I plan on spending my life with her in the UK so anything you tell me will help out greatly. Thank you for your time

Our Response:
If you wish to marry in the UK, please see link here. If you are successful in obtaining a marriage visa you would have to keep to the terms of the visa and return home to apply for a 'spouse visa', please see link here. Additionally, you can apply directly for a spouse visa prior to marriage, if you fulfil the requirements laid out in the 'eligibility' section.
AboutImmigration - 20-Apr-17 @ 11:19 AM
Hi. I'm from the US. My girlfriend is a UK citizen since birth and we want to get married in the UK. Would I need a separate visa? Can I stay longer than 6 months? How long would it take to get citizenship after marrying her? I plan on spending my life with her in the UK so anything you tell me will help out greatly. Thank you for your time
ethanfletcherx - 19-Apr-17 @ 4:33 PM
Jason - Your Question:
Hello I am a U.S citizen in the U.S armed forces that has been stationed in England for the past 2 years. I am about to marry a UK citizen, and end my contract in the armed forces while in England three years from now. How do I go about being able to stay in the UK with her without having to leave at all, and how possible is it to obtain a UK citizenship without losing my U.S citizenship. Thank you for answers. -Jason

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk page here which should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:12 PM
Hello I am a U.S citizen in the U.S armed forces that has been stationed in England for the past 2 years. I am about to marry a UK citizen, and end my contract in the armed forces while in England three years from now. How do I go about being able to stay in the UK with her without having to leave at all, and how possible is it to obtain a UK citizenship without losing my U.S citizenship. Thank you for answers. -Jason
Jason - 18-Apr-17 @ 7:10 AM
Thank you for response when I follow the link you sent and click "There are different requirements if your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen." it says: "lived in the UK for at least the 3 years before your application is received" So is it 3,5,or 6years for EU citizen who is married to a British Citizen? Still very confusing. Thank you. Norbert
Norbert - 16-Apr-17 @ 10:40 AM
Hi, the 3 yrs rule for married couple is very confusing to me. Can you please advice me. I am married with a british citizen since 2009. I went through all the process ie FLR and ILR. but I never applied for naturalisation but I am now interested. My problem is I stayed out of Britain more than 270 days last 3 years but I stayed less than 450 days out of Britain in last 4 years. According to Home Office Booklet, absence is disregarded up to 450 days in 4 years for married person. Am I right? Will they consider my application based on 4 years period?
Seasalt - 13-Apr-17 @ 7:41 PM
Norbert - Your Question:
Hi there, this 3/5 year qualifying period has got me confused regarding UK naturalisation. I'm a British Citizen and my wife is Hungarian. She's been living in the UK for nearly 4 years. Can she apply on the grounds of being married to a British Citizen without having a permanent residence card or ILR? She has an English B1 language certificate and ready to take the Life in UK test. Kind regards and thank you for your reply. Norbert

Our Response:
I'm afraid not - she has to go via the ILR/PR route first. EU nationals continue to have a right to reside in the UK in accordance with EU law and therefore do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 10:29 AM
@Sopn it is a lot harder to qualify for a visa based on your UK spouse. Given that you are willing to get married in another country I would suggest you explore the "Surinder Singh" route which would allow you to live in the UK with an EU residence card.
TJ. - 12-Apr-17 @ 3:27 PM
Sopn - Your Question:
My partner is a UK citizen who recently moved back to the UK. We want to get married and have me move there to be with her. We cannot get married in Nigeria as same sex marriage is illegal here. If we decide to go to a country where it is legal and get married, what is the process to get me to the UK to join my partner and what are the chances of me being denied the chance to live with my partner in the UK permanently? I just need the process and how long it could take. Also to know if there's any point trying to push it at all or just give up on my relationship because I'm hearing the policies have changed. So it's a lot harder than it was years ago to relocate. Please reply as soon as possible. Thank you.

Our Response:
There is no gender discrimination regarding immigration applications for a 'spouse' visa. However, there are other general pre-requisites required in order to be able to apply, please link here.
AboutImmigration - 12-Apr-17 @ 2:54 PM
regmcm - Your Question:
HiI am a British Citizen living in Spain for 8 years.My Girlfirend is Turkish and she plans to come and live with me in a month. We plan to get married within a year. Is she allowed to stay in Spain as my spouse/ common law wife longer than the 3 month normal visa allows? I have my own business and she has an offer of work.MAny thanks

Our Response:
We can only advise on UK immigration law, so cannot answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:29 PM
Hi there, this 3/5 year qualifying period has got me confused regarding UK naturalisation. I'm a British Citizen and my wife is Hungarian. She's been living in the UK for nearly 4 years. Can she apply on the grounds of being married to a British Citizen without having a permanent residence card or ILR? She has an English B1 language certificate and ready to take the Life in UK test. Kind regards and thank you for your reply. Norbert
Norbert - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:00 PM
Nat - Your Question:
I am EEA national I have been living in UK for 14 years I have resident card (5 years one).I am engaged to British Citizen and panning to get married within one year. Could you please explain when I will get married what I need to do to obtain British Citizenship? Do I need to apply for Permanent Residence Card or can I apply for citizenship straight away? Thank you!

Our Response:
EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.
AboutImmigration - 12-Apr-17 @ 10:45 AM
My partner is a UK citizen who recently moved back to the UK.We want to get married and have me move there to be with her. We cannot get married in Nigeria as same sex marriage is illegal here. If we decide to go to a country where it is legal and get married, what is the process to get me to the UK to join my partner and what are the chances of me being denied the chance to live with my partner in the UK permanently? I just need the process and how long it could take. Also to know if there's any point trying to push it at all or just give up on my relationship because I'm hearing the policies have changed. So it's a lot harder than it was years ago to relocate. Please reply as soon as possible. Thank you.
Sopn - 12-Apr-17 @ 8:16 AM
Hi I am a British Citizen living in Spain for 8 years.My Girlfirend is Turkish and she plans to come and live with me in a month. We plan to get married within a year. Is she allowed to stay in Spain as my spouse/ common law wife longer than the 3 month normal visa allows? I have my own business and she has an offer of work. MAny thanks
regmcm - 11-Apr-17 @ 8:10 PM
I am EEA national I have been living in UK for 14 years I have resident card (5 years one).I am engaged to British Citizen and panning to get married within one year. Could you please explain when I will get married what I need to do to obtain British Citizenship? Do I need to apply for Permanent Residence Card or can I apply for citizenship straight away? Thank you!
Nat - 11-Apr-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hi..need some advice im a uk citizen from birth i was living with my legal partner in colombia, we had a child 1 year ago, now im back in the uk living and working ..i lived in colombia for around 3 yrs, how can i apply for a uk passport for my son, he has a colombian passport at the moment both my name and my partners name are on the birth certificate.please help
jaslfc - 8-Apr-17 @ 11:35 AM
I have applied for my husband visa who is in pakistan. I applied on 23rd December and on 7th my husband went to get his passport back. The passport was emptyno visa or nothing no letter to explain why this has happened. After i contacted the immigration n i was told my visa is in hold... i need help what can i do now i really need my spouse here with me as im having a baby in june 2017.
LordF - 7-Apr-17 @ 10:20 AM
Hi I am a British citizen and married to a Turkish man for 17 years He has visa that runs out in 2020 The marriage has ended I want him to leave but he has no way of accessing benefits or work how will he be able to find alternative housing and is he allowed to stay in England ?
Louly - 6-Apr-17 @ 6:36 PM
Jun - Your Question:
Im a filipina citizen a permanent residence here in Japan I met A British National here in japan and we are now a good loversSinced im divorced here in japan to my ex husband a japanese national What are the policies and requirements so me and my fiance can get married in UKThank You and God Bless

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here for more information.
AboutImmigration - 5-Apr-17 @ 11:10 AM
sylwia1 - Your Question:
Hi, ive been living in the uk for 3 years now im a polish national and I am married to a british man, I would like to get citizenship by naturalisation. I dont have the first clue where to start. do I need to do the exam for fifty pounds or take an english degree. ant help would be much appreciated. thankyou

Our Response:
You have to have been living in the UK for at least five years to be eligible for British citizenship. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. This means that they have a right to live in the UK permanently, in accordance with EU law. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status.EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. EU nationals continue to have a right to reside in the UK in accordance with EU law. EU nationals do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities. For those that decide to apply for a registration certificate, there has been no change to government policy or processes. Applications will continue to be processed as usual. You can see more here.
AboutImmigration - 4-Apr-17 @ 11:52 AM
Im a filipina citizen a permanent residence here in Japan I met A British National here in japan and we are now a good lovers Sinced im divorced here in japan to my ex husband a japanese national What are the policies and requirements so me and my fiance can get married in UK Thank You and God Bless
Jun - 4-Apr-17 @ 11:42 AM
Mimi - Your Question:
I am living in the UK since 2004 with My husband. We have 2 kids and in 2015 we get married. I am French nationality. Can I apply for a British passport or citizenship? Thank youRegards

Our Response:
EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least six years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.
AboutImmigration - 4-Apr-17 @ 10:26 AM
hi, ive been living in the uk for 3 years now im a polish national and i am married to a british man, i would like to get citizenship by naturalisation. i dont have the first clue where to start. do i need to do the exam for fifty pounds or take an english degree. ant help would be much appreciated. thankyou
sylwia1 - 3-Apr-17 @ 7:26 PM
I am living in the UK since 2004 with My husband. We have 2 kids and in 2015 we get married. I am French nationality. Can I apply for a British passport or citizenship? Thank you Regards
Mimi - 3-Apr-17 @ 1:34 PM
Hello I am not sure which visa my husband would need to apply next. He is on EEA family member visa at the moment which is running out Nov this year. But that time I had European passport and I didnt have my British passport. After 2 years of him getting his visa I got my British citizenship. And now I have dual nationality Now my dilemma is can he apply for any permanent papers? Indefinite or permanent stay based on EU law? Or it's more complicated? He has been living here for 12 years now and we have been married for 5 years. We have a child together who has got British passport as well. He is self employed working long hours but I am full time student, so I only get NHS bursary every month which is not a lot. Can you help please? Thank you
eldzi9222 - 2-Apr-17 @ 3:40 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutImmigration website. Please read our Disclaimer.