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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 22 Apr 2018 | 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.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi, Please more on my earlier post, since we had a Church wedding in Nigeria, is it still necessary to have a Court wedding (whether in Nigeria or here in UK) before applying for Spouse Visa? Thank you so much for your help to people. I have read many.
Kel - 22-Apr-18 @ 4:42 PM
Hi, I am Nigerian, studied Masters here in UK and lived legally on Post study work visa between 2010 - 2014. I went back to Nigeria when my visa expired and I am now on visitor's visa. I later met my husband who is a British Citizen and lives in UK. We had a Church wedding in Nigeria but no court wedding. I usually come to stay with my husband with the Visitor visa and return to Nigeria after about 5 months. I am currently in the UK with my husband on Visitor's visa and wondering whether (1) If we can have a Court wedding in the UK with my Visitor's visa since we are already married in the church in Nigeria (2) Can I apply for Spouse visa from here in the UK instead of going back again to Nigeria? We have been married since October 2016 and I keep travelling out of the country before 6 months.
Kel - 22-Apr-18 @ 12:08 AM
ME - Your Question:
I'm a British citizen who has moved to the US 2 years ago with my Belgian wife (we got married in the US 3 years ago). We plan to move back to the UK but it will be a couple of years after Brexit, what is your advice for this situation as we are worried that she will not be able to return easily, won't be able to get UK citizenship, and worry that if she came back to the UK and we settled there and if I died, she would be kicked out of her home. She lived in the UK 10 years prior to the move to the US. We are worried that we may have to end our stay in the US early and head back to the UK before Brexit day to ensure her stay. Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a family visa for your wife and fulfil the requirements laid out in the link here .
AboutImmigration - 19-Apr-18 @ 12:34 PM
I'm a British citizen who has moved to the US 2 years ago with my Belgian wife (we got married in the US 3 years ago). We plan to move back to the UK but it will be a couple of years after Brexit, what is your advice for this situation as we are worried that she will not be able to return easily, won't be able to get UK citizenship, and worry that if she came back to the UK and we settled there and if I died, she would be kicked out of her home. She lived in the UK 10 years prior to the move to the US. We are worried that we may have to end our stay in the US early and head back to the UK before Brexit day to ensure her stay. Thanks
ME - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:34 PM
Hi I am British and my boyfriend has arrived here on holiday. He did not need a visa to enter the U.K. We want to marry. We have known each for a long time but been together for 6 months. What rights do we have. Can we apply for a finace visa whilst he is the UK or can we get married. What document would we need.
Missy - 18-Apr-18 @ 3:51 PM
Craigs - Your Question:
Hello there am I wish to ask a question I am I am a British citizen with a British passport and my partner is Russian we have been seeing each other for three years she works here in the UK but only on the Visa system long time she wishes to settle here and we wish to have a family where do I stand with her staying she already pays taxes as do I what is the best way forward short time we have no plans to be married but long-term we would like to. She speaks perfect English and is a registered childminder. Your advice would be most appreciated if there is anything we need to do we can get the ball rolling for future reference thank you again Craig

Our Response:
I presume you partner has ILR. If so, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:35 PM
Hello there am I wish to ask a question I am I am a British citizen with a British passport and my partner is Russian we have been seeing each other for three years she workshere in the UK but only on the Visa system long time she wishes to settle here and we wish to have a family where do I stand with her staying she already pays taxes as do I what is the best way forward short time we have no plans to be married but long-term we would like to . She speaks perfect Englishand is a registered childminder . Your advice would be most appreciated if there is anything we need to do we can get the ball rolling for future reference thank you again Craig
Craigs - 16-Apr-18 @ 7:13 PM
Hi. My fiancee is applying for visa. We plan to get married within the 6months of arrival. We are looking to also remain in the UK after. What visa do I need? Is it family, marriage visitors? Also on application form there is no fiancee option. There are 3 boxes... someone said.. settlement, settlement and then marriage should be selected? There is family options but no fiancee option.
Sanda - 14-Apr-18 @ 2:02 PM
F - Your Question:
Hi I am an Indian girl engaged to a British Muslim (Pakistani origin). What is the procedure for marriage? Should we get married in India or UK? And what visas should we apply for?

Our Response:
We can only give information regarding getting married in the UK, please see link here. You would have to make your own decision where you think it is best to marry.
AboutImmigration - 10-Apr-18 @ 11:09 AM
Hi I am an Indian girl engaged to a British Muslim (Pakistani origin). What is the procedure for marriage? Should we get married in India or UK? And what visas should we apply for?
F - 9-Apr-18 @ 4:56 PM
hi my self kalen, i am british citizen, my partner from from india, we use to live in london , in 2012 we had baby girl, and my partner went to india because his visa getting expire, again he applied for family visit , he got 10 years banned because of some documents problem . know he got scehngen visa he is coming to france, can i go to france and marry to him , can he get legal status
eg - 1-Apr-18 @ 10:23 AM
@Sal - if you are living legally in the UK then you have nothing to sorry about.
TJ. - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:21 AM
I am from Bolivia , I have 58 ages I am married to Brithis man in 2007 , every two years pay for Visa for two years half , and this years the visa is finished in may , i want split from may husband because i need pay another £ 3000 pounds , never i have benefits from uk , I work in care homei speakEnglish , never have problems inuki don't separeted from my husbandi don't want return to Boliviaalong, can you help me and my husband for don't broken my married please! never in uk i use the system all waysi am work my husband have 74 hold ages hi have heart problems i want together with my husband!! can you help as please! thanks
rosa - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:17 AM
Hi I'm from West Africa Gambia and married to British citizen we had a child and I held a resident card for family member for five yearsexpired on July 2021! But we'revery worried about our future to continue live here everyday I wake up i think i Will get deported!!please any advice
Sal - 29-Mar-18 @ 7:57 PM
Hi, I am a journalist writing an article on the pressures Brexit is putting on UK couples with conflicting views on the Referendum and the worries of transnational couples unsure about their future. I would love to hear some of your stories as I think this will make a really important and topical piece which hasn't had enough attention in the press. Please contact me at leah.stanfield@city.ac.uk
Leah - 29-Mar-18 @ 3:39 PM
Hi, my fiance is from India. We are planning to have a court marriage in India. Will this be recognised in UK? And is he still able to apply for a spouse visa after marriage to come and live with me in UK?
zgil - 29-Mar-18 @ 2:45 PM
@Jami - a Family visa for spouses has to be renewed every 2.5 years so if you are eligible it might make more sense to apply for ILR.
TJ. - 26-Mar-18 @ 7:48 PM
Hello, I am a South African Citizen on a UK Visa and my fiance' is a UK citizen we are getting married in august and my visa expires in September. I arrived in the UK in 2008 returned home for a year in 2011 and came back in 2012. I can re-apply for ancestry or apply for ILR but its very expensive what will my options be for spouse visa - we have been together for 11 years and engaged for a year. thank you, Jami
Jami - 26-Mar-18 @ 4:49 PM
@Mehwish - Italians are EU citizens and that means they can live and work in the UK without any restrictions anytime they want.
TJ. - 24-Mar-18 @ 6:14 AM
I’m a refugee and my partner is Italian if I marry him would he be able to stay and work here in the uk ?
Mehwish - 23-Mar-18 @ 10:07 PM
Rudigar87 - Your Question:
My friend who is very dear to me has worked in the UK for nearly 5 years. I would say he is a skilled worker and is on a working visa. What are his options? Can he apply to stay longer? How does it work if work sponsors him?

Our Response:
Your friend may be able to apply to extend his stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (General) visa, if he fulfils the requirements, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 12-Mar-18 @ 11:22 AM
@lovesickpaul - If your Fiancé is eligible for permanent residency (ILR) then she should apply for it. She will then be able to apply for British citizenship as soon as you get married.
TJ. - 12-Mar-18 @ 6:13 AM
Hi, my fiancé has a residence permit valid for another two years and includes a work permit.We want to get married in the UK.I was born and always lived in the UK.Can someone please tell me if she needs another visa for us to get married and how much it can cost, also will this affect her future as she can already apply for permanent residency. Thanks
lovesickpaul - 11-Mar-18 @ 9:23 PM
My friend who is very dear to me has worked in the UK for nearly 5 years. I would say he is a skilled worker and is on a working visa. What are his options? Can he apply to stay longer? How does it work if work sponsors him?
Rudigar87 - 11-Mar-18 @ 4:30 PM
@siiiime - If you are not a British citizen then you cannot apply for a British passport. You must first receive ILR and afterwards apply for a naturalization certificate.
TJ. - 11-Mar-18 @ 1:04 PM
Hello, applying for a UK passport do i still have to do naturalization if im marird to a British citizen?
Siiiime - 11-Mar-18 @ 11:43 AM
@TJ since the police have stolen her passport and threatened her several times with arrest for being Uighur and no other reason I guess that option is not really available either. Thanks for replying.
generallyangry - 5-Mar-18 @ 6:50 PM
@generallyangry - If they are legally married and the applicant is if good character she can apply for a family visa as a spouse under the 10 year route which does not require one to meet the income requirement.
TJ. - 5-Mar-18 @ 7:03 AM
Hi, my friends are in a long-term relationship and have recently completed their legal marriage paperwork with plans for a ceremony in the summer. He is from the UK, she is Chinese. As my friend is a member of an ethnic minority in a province undergoing militarisation, she has had her passport confiscated and cannot travel outside of the country. She recently was forced to leave her job in a different part of China and fly back to her home province when the local police threatened to arrest her mother because she was not in her hometown. She has been told that she must report to the local police station every five days and is not allowed to return to work. What rights does she have as the legal wife of a UK citizen? Is there anyway she could return with him to the UK when they have not yet saved enough money to pass the Tories immigration gate?
generallyangry - 3-Mar-18 @ 9:18 AM
@KS - Most employers these days will only accept BR cards as proof of ILR.
TJ. - 27-Feb-18 @ 7:56 PM
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