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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 23 Feb 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.

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Steph - Your Question:
Hello, I am a Brtish citizen and my fiancé is a US citizen. We plan on getting married ans living in the UK. I understand we would have to apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa, which enables us to get married. My questions is whats the next step? What must we do in order for him to stay and work in the UK once we're married?

Our Response:
If your partner is successful obtaining the marriage visitor visa then they would have to leave the UK at the end of the terms of the visa. If you wish your partner to return to live in the UK, then you would have apply for the visa via the link here. In order to be able to apply, you as the sponsor would have to satisfy all the eligibility requirements.
AboutImmigration - 24-Feb-17 @ 12:34 PM
Paul - Your Question:
My Fiancée is Guyanese, but has Barbadian Nationality. She was granted a valid UK entry clearance marriage visa UKVI 01 valid from 15.11.16 - 16.05.17. The date of the wedding is 07.04.2017. She arrived in the UK on the 16.12.16 and has been living with me all this time. She wants to apply to remain in the UK permanently as my wife, but we're a little confused what application form we should be completing. Am I correct in thinking the whole process is in stages of2.5 years and then 5 - 10 years? Please clarify what application form/s I need to complete, and if the application form is submitted before the expiry date on the visa, will she still be allowed to remain until a decision is made or will she have to leave the UK?

Our Response:
Your fiance would have to leave the UK in line with the terms of her visa and apply from her home country via the link here. However, you would have to fulfil all the requirements laid out in the eligibility section of the form before you would be able to apply. I hope this helps.
AboutImmigration - 24-Feb-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hello, I am a Brtish citizen and my fiancé is a US citizen. We plan on getting married ans living in the UK. I understand we would have to apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa, which enables us to get married. My questions is whats the next step? What must we do in order for him to stay and work in the UK once we're married?
Steph - 23-Feb-17 @ 3:37 PM
My Fiancée is Guyanese, but has Barbadian Nationality. She was granted a valid UK entry clearance marriage visa UKVI 01 valid from 15.11.16 - 16.05.17. The date of the wedding is 07.04.2017. She arrived in the UK on the 16.12.16 and has been living with me all this time. She wants to apply to remain in the UK permanently as my wife, but we're a little confused what application form we should be completing. Am I correct in thinking the whole process is in stages of2.5 years and then 5 - 10 years? Please clarify what application form/s I need to complete, and if the application form is submitted before the expiry date on the visa, will she still be allowed to remain until a decision is made or will she have to leave the UK?
Paul - 23-Feb-17 @ 3:11 PM
Rameckler - Your Question:
Hello, I am a French national. I have lived and worked in the U.K. For 15 years, during that time I also got married to a British National, 8 years ago. As of 2014 we are living in Canada on a temporary basis. Can I apply for British citizenship from above although not lived in the U.K. In passed 3 years but would have met that requirement before moving to Canada?

Our Response:
You would have to be living in the UK in order to be eligible to apply. Unfortunately, now you have moved from the UK, your time spent in the UK will no longer apply.
AboutImmigration - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:58 PM
@Nad...you just have to be able to support them. But you have to be living, working and earning in the UK to apply.
Xav - 23-Feb-17 @ 10:50 AM
Hello, I am a French national. I have lived and worked in the U.K. For 15 years, during that time I also got married to a British National, 8 years ago. As of 2014 we are living in Canada on a temporary basis. Can I apply for British citizenship from above although not lived in the U.K. In passed 3 years but would have met that requirement before moving to Canada?
Rameckler - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:52 AM
Hello I'm British citizen wanna marry my fiancé Lithuanian citizen. What papers do we need? Thank you
Chris - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:48 PM
Hi, I am a British citizen currently working in Saudi. My wife is Pakistani national and daughter is a British national. My enquiry is if I can come to U.K. And apply for my wife's spouse visa and then come back to Saudi whilst the wife and daughter lives in U.K. At my home? Is this permissible according to the law or I have to live with them in U.K. Through out?
Nad - 22-Feb-17 @ 1:59 PM
@KCATSB- you're OK at the moment for your wife to stay with you in the UK, but it'll be a bit more difficult when Brexit immigration rules are put into force. DD
Dave. - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:51 PM
V - Your Question:
I am a UK citizen and will be marrying my Canadian fiancee next July. We currently both live in London - he has a work permit - and are both teachers.Once we're married will he still need to apply for a permit or will he automatically get UK citizenship?

Our Response:
He will not automatically be given citizenship on marriage. He can either apply to extend his permit, or apply for a spouse visa via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:41 PM
I am a British Citizen by birth and am engaged to a Romanian woman who is staying in the UK currently. I wish to know if we decide to get married in the summer what rights will she have to stay with me in the UK ? I am based in the UK and would obviously want he to stay with me here and go through the normal process and ultimately obtain a British passport in due course. What is the procedure and how long would the whole process take ?
KCATSB - 21-Feb-17 @ 11:41 AM
Jodie88 - Your Question:
Hi I am a British citizen, With 4 children to my Australian partner of 10 years. We are coming to the U.K. Soon for a few months but if we decide to stay in the uk long term can my partner apply for a working visa or spouse visa from the uk? Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
If your partner is on a visitor visa then he will have to stick to the terms of the visa and apply for a fresh visa from outside the UK. Visitors are given leave to enter/remain in the UK for only six months and they cannot therefore switch into a family or work visa from the UK.
AboutImmigration - 21-Feb-17 @ 10:05 AM
I am a British citizen and my gf who is a Malaysian citizen who has been living away in malaysia for some time now. We are currently filling out application form under settled visa, sub type- Marriage (i.e. fiance visa) as we are planning to get married in the UK and then apply for extending the visa. My question is regarding her eligibility in English language? She holds a BSc degree from a UK university. Does this suffice the eligibility criteria or do we need to get it credited by official UK NARIC or something? its a bit confusing. Thanks in advance.
Kunnu - 20-Feb-17 @ 11:12 PM
I am a UK citizen and will be marrying my Canadian fiancee next July.We currently both live in London - he has a work permit - and are both teachers. Once we're married will he still need to apply for a permit or will he automatically get UK citizenship?
V - 20-Feb-17 @ 7:10 PM
Hi I am a British citizen, With 4 children to my Australian partner of 10 years. We are coming to the U.K. Soon for a few months but if we decide to stay in the uk long term can my partner apply for a working visa or spouse visa from the uk? Thanks in advance.
Jodie88 - 20-Feb-17 @ 1:36 AM
british citizen if you want to marry a Chinese citizen the cheapest way is to marry in china then oncemarriedyou can apply online for settlement once you have all the documents and finances in place follow all the rules and required evidence documents. otherwise if you marry in the uk then you still have to comply with the same amount of documents and finances, only to receive a marriage visa then you have to apply again in the uk with the same amount of documents and finances which means double the money double the amount of evidence and finances in other words you get screwed twice by the government to achieve the same ends
nacnud - 18-Feb-17 @ 12:42 PM
Andy - Your Question:
HiI met my Chinese girlfriend a few years ago whilst she was studying here in the U.K. She moved back to China and we've been making frequent visits to each other ever since. We want to get married in the UK. Do we apply for 'family of a settled person' visa? Does this visa allow us to get married? Ideally we want her to come to the uk, get married and remain in the Uk.

Our Response:
If you want to bring her to the UK to marry but not live, you would apply for a marriage visitor visa, link here. If as you say, you want to apply to bring her to the UK, you would have to apply via the link here. However, in order to do so, you would have to fulfil all the eligibility requirements before you can apply.
AboutImmigration - 17-Feb-17 @ 2:46 PM
Hi I met my Chinese girlfriend a few years ago whilst she was studying here in the U.K. She moved back to China and we've been making frequent visits to each other ever since. We want to get married in the UK. Do we apply for 'family of a settled person' visa? Does this visa allow us to get married? Ideally we want her to come to the uk, get married and remain in the Uk.
Andy - 17-Feb-17 @ 9:52 AM
liz - Your Question:
Hi,im from philippines and im here in uk for a visit-marriage visa. I was married last feb 6,2017. my husband wants to extend my visa.is it possible? and we want to apply for working visa if I can extend my stay here in scotland.can I get a working visa if I can extend my stay?

Our Response:
You cannot apply to extend your visa or switch to another visa on a marriage visitor visa.You would have to leave the country as specified in the terms of your visa and apply from your home country (if you wish to live in the UK). You can apply for a 'spouse' visa, which will allow you to work, please see link here or a work visa, if you wish to apply independently of your husband, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 15-Feb-17 @ 1:50 PM
hi,im from philippines and im here in uk for a visit-marriage visa. i was married last feb 6,2017. my husband wants to extend my visa..is it possible? and we want to apply for working visa if i can extend my stay here in scotland..can i get a working visa if i can extend my stay?
liz - 15-Feb-17 @ 1:10 AM
Hi, I am a UK citizen and wish to marry my Iranian boyfriend, who has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK since 2010 He has no passport from Iran, as he left under asylum, and without 'purchasing' British Citizenship, he is unable to hold a UK passport either. We are stuck, unless we find the money, am I correct? I find this extremely harsh. Many Thanks
Kaidy - 13-Feb-17 @ 9:29 PM
Anna - Your Question:
I am a British citizen living in Spain. My husband and I will have been married for 2 years this July. We would like to relocate to the UK as we are expecting our first child in June this year. Which visa or application should I apply for to allow my husband to enter the UK? He does not have a European passport.Thank you

Our Response:
You would have to be living in the UK already in order to allow you to apply. Once you relocate to the UK, you will be allowed to apply after six months and only if you are earning the required amount listed in the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:58 PM
I am a British citizen living in Spain.My husband and I will have been married for 2 years this July.We would like to relocate to the UK as we are expecting our first child in June this year.Which visa or application should I apply for to allow my husband to enter the UK?He does not have a European passport. Thank you
Anna - 13-Feb-17 @ 1:31 PM
I met my wife in on June 2nd 2015 We married in Moscow on March 19th 2016 Our daughter was born in Moscow on August 11th 2016 I've been to Moscow 7 times and she's been to the UK 2 times. My daughter after 6 months of documents going backwards and forwards has her British Passport. I make more than £18,500 the required amount the GOV want, but would they be interested that when I summit my 6 months bank statements that I fell into my overdraft at Christmas, surely every one does at this time of year. We have all the documents which the GOV require and will be applying for her Spouse visa within 2 weeks. I just find it absolutely disgusting that we have to pay over £2,500 so I can be with my family. I'm British my daughter has duel passports and she was conceived on British soil. Why can't we just summit our documents and just be together? It was only 10 years ago that this process was free. I'm 27 and my wife is 24, we're just two young people who met and fall in love. Why should there be a price on that?
jameslefthanded - 12-Feb-17 @ 8:44 PM
I met my wife in on June 2nd 2015 We married in Moscow on March 19th 2016 Our daughter was born in Moscow on August 11th 2016 I've been to Moscow 7 times and she's been to the UK 2 times. My daughter after 6 months of documents going backwards and forwards has her British Passport. I make more than £18,500 the required amount the GOV want, but would they be interested that when I summit my 6 months bank statements that I fell into my overdraft at Christmas, surely every one does at this time of year. We have all the documents which the GOV require and will be applying for her Spouse visa within 2 weeks. I just find it absolutely disgusting that we have to pay over £2,500 so I can be with my family. I'm British my daughter has duel passports and she was conceived on British soil. Why can't we just summit our documents and just be together? It was only 10 years ago that this process was free. I'm 27 and my wife is 24, we're just two young people who met and fall in love. Why should there be a price on that?
jameslefthanded - 12-Feb-17 @ 7:09 PM
I am a British citizen; married to a middle eastern for the past 11 years. Can I give him a permenant residence for the U.K.? And consequently can he give it to his boys from a previous marriage which would allow them to work in the U.K.???
Rana - 10-Feb-17 @ 5:39 PM
My Fiancée is Guyanese, but has Barbadian Nationality. She was granted a valid UK entry clearance marriage visa UKVI 01 valid from 15.11.16 - 16.05.17. The date of the wedding is 07.04.2017. She arrived in the UK on the 16.12.16 and has been living with me all this time. She wants to apply to remain in the UK permanently as my wife, but we're a little confused what application form we should be completing. Am I correct in thinking the whole process is in stages of2.5 years and then 5 - 10 years? Please clarify what application form/s I need to complete, and if the application form is submitted before the expiry date on the visa, will she still be allowed to remain until a decision is made or will she have to leave the UK? Regards, Paul
Paul - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:44 PM
Gemzbaby - Your Question:
I'm marrying my Jamaican boyfriend in June but I don't earn 18,500 a year so what can I do to be with him I live in the uk?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if you do not qualify for the requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here, then you will not be allowed to apply. Your partner will have to qualify and apply for a visa independently if he wishes to enter the UK.
AboutImmigration - 8-Feb-17 @ 1:37 PM
I'm marrying my Jamaican boyfriend in June but I don't earn 18,500 a year so what can I do to be with him I live in the uk?
Gemzbaby - 8-Feb-17 @ 10:18 AM
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