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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 22 Feb 2019 | 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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I am a South African and my husband is a British citizen been married for 17yrs. We have 3 kids who allhave British passports. We live in South Africa but want to move to the UK asap. What is the best way for me to get into the UK with my British family?
M - 22-Feb-19 @ 12:24 AM
I am in need of advice or to be pointed in the right direction about advice on visa or immigration or what the best option is. My girlfriend is pregnant I would like to bring her here to the UK. Secondly, I also want to bring my younger brother into the UK. He is 13 years old. I want to find out if there is any chance. I hope to hear from you soon.
PN - 21-Feb-19 @ 12:20 PM
@kasia30 - You can only apply for British citizenship once you have been granted settled status.
TJ. - 21-Feb-19 @ 10:13 AM
Hi I am Polish my husband is english we are married a year now do I still have to apply for British citizenship? Do I have any other rights?
Kasia30 - 19-Feb-19 @ 10:41 PM
@HASHIM - You will have to get married and apply for a free EEA family permit before Brexit.At the moment, legislation allowing civil partnerships between heterosexual couples has not been passed.
TJ. - 15-Feb-19 @ 5:49 AM
Hi, I am on tier 4 student visa which expires in mid October 2019. I have been in relationship with my gf who is from Spain living in UK for past 5-7 years. Our relationship started in 2016 Feb. We have not lived together continuesly as she had her on apartment and I had mine. But we used to stay at each other house's for weeks and sometimes months and it is same still. We see each other everyday. As my visa is approaching it's expiry date and at the end I have to leave the country if I don't apply for marriage visas to stay. Now main point is this: "What is the best option for me to go ahead with this; if I wanna stay in the country with my gf". Marriage? But she doesn't believe in marriages cz she is atheist. Or form a civil partnership with her ? If I form a civil partnership then it has its own precedings which I don't know. I would really be thankful to you for this guide to help me the main path to get the legal status in the UK before my visa expires. Thanks.
HASHIM - 14-Feb-19 @ 3:18 AM
@Wayne - You will have to apply for a family Visa as a spouse
TJ. - 13-Feb-19 @ 6:33 PM
Hi, my wife and I currently live and work in Dubai, we are planning to move to Wales, she is a British citizen and I am South African, we have been married just over 1 year, any information would be appreciated Thanks
Wayne - 13-Feb-19 @ 3:21 PM
@Anni - it will be easier for you to get married in the US unless your fiancè is willing to apply for a visa to marry in the UK. You do not lose British citizenship by obtaining other citizenships
TJ. - 10-Feb-19 @ 1:26 AM
Hi, I am British (born and raised in London) and I am engaged to an American (born and raised in the state of Georgia). We fully intend to settle in his hometown, both of us living in America. I have applied for my K1 visa and been approved, I have the pack which I cannot open. Can I marry my fiancé in the UK or does it have to be in the US? My understanding is I won't lose my British citizenship when I become neutralised, is this correct?
Anni - 9-Feb-19 @ 6:24 PM
@knightrider7880 - You should apply for a marriage family visa that will allow you to get married and eventually settle in the UK. If your wife meets the income requirements you can become a permanent resident in the UK within 5 years.
TJ. - 5-Feb-19 @ 10:34 AM
Hi, my girlfriend is a resident of the UK. I am a resident of the US. We plan on getting engaged and married. She has 2 children that she and I don't want to move from the UK. So I would like to move to the UK instead. My plan is to permanently move to the UK. How would I go about it legally? I have been visiting for a while, either 4 days or 9 days at a time.
Knightrider7880 - 5-Feb-19 @ 6:20 AM
Hello everyone! I am 16 and I was with my boyfriend for 2 years ( he is 18 in May 2019). And he proposed to me recently. My mom and dad don’t like this idea, but we decided we are going to marry anyway. Is it possible somehow ? Help please
RosesAreRed - 28-Jan-19 @ 4:35 PM
@Roses - You cannot legally marry an illegal immigrant in the UK. He will have to leave the UK and re enter legally or you will have to get married outside the UK.
TJ. - 17-Jan-19 @ 10:00 AM
Hi there, I British citizen who is looking to get married to an immigrant. Though has no papers and sorts what is the best to make our marriage be legal. I have few family and friends knowing about our relationship and how we both wanna marry in civil marriage. Can you please let me know. My partner is the most humble person and to loose him won't help me at all. Please I need advice.
Roses - 16-Jan-19 @ 12:22 PM
@clivem82 - Your wife will have to apply for settled status before December 2020 to remain in the UK
TJ. - 14-Jan-19 @ 2:28 AM
Good Afternoon, I am a British citizen (Borin in England) and my wife is Bulgarian, we were recently married and have a 15 month old daughter. My wife moved to the UK in Dec '15. Will my wife still need to apply to the EU settlement scheme to stay in the UK even though she is married to a British citizen and has a child born in the UK? Many thanks
clivem82 - 10-Jan-19 @ 2:39 PM
Hello! I was wondering if I can get some help in my case, is probably similar to others. Me and my boyfriend (he’s british) wants to get married in order to be able to be together, we’ll also live together, and my question is: which type of Visa should I apply? Do I need to leave the Country in order to apply or can I apply within? Please, if you can give any advise, that would be extremely appreciated.
JP - 4-Dec-18 @ 4:20 PM
I am looking for advice on howy American boyfriend can move here with his daughter to allow us to be together. His ex wife would also be looking to re-locating to allow them to co-parenting. Can anyone tell us where to start?
Barnie - 29-Nov-18 @ 1:45 PM
Hi there, I've been living in UK since 2002 and married to my British partner since 2007. I was granted spouse visa then and indefinite leave to remain since 2009. I've also done the life in UK test on 2009 to be able to get the indefinite leave to remain visa. My question is. Would I need to re do the test in case I apply for my citizenship? Regards
Max - 17-Nov-18 @ 12:40 PM
Hello TJ wat will happen to us after Brexit? as a surinder sigh route family?so so worries we will split with our family's.husband/wife /kid's etc... oh gosh this is so Hart!!! worrying for 3years!!!!!and stillcontinue worrying worrying!!!!!please TJ thank you!
Sa - 14-Oct-18 @ 9:26 PM
@Evie - There will be no change in the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit until 2021
TJ. - 14-Oct-18 @ 3:17 PM
Hello, I am after a legal advice in regards of the marriage between EU and UK citizen. My partner and I have been together for four years, we are planning to get married next year. I am worried that after Brexit marrying my partner (UK citizen) will be much more complicated. Can anybody please explain what process and charges are going to be and what charges will take place in order to be able to get married after Brexit?
Evie - 13-Oct-18 @ 6:23 PM
Wat will happen to us after Brexit? as a surinder sigh route family?so so worries we will split with our family's.husband/wife /kid's etc... oh gosh this is so Hart!!! worrying for 3years!!!!!and stillcontinue worrying worrying!!!!!!please Dana can you advise thank you!
Sa - 12-Oct-18 @ 11:09 PM
My fiancee, who is a USA citizen have been together for 11 years now, and engaged for the last 4. We wish to get married and for her to move to the UK to be with me, can you please help me out in regard for the best way to go about this, and how to make this happen. Also what time scale are we talking about to put this in place ?
Dickie Davies - 26-Sep-18 @ 10:22 PM
I got engaged to my fiance in January 2012 in Australia. My fiance is a British Resident and I am a n Australian Citizen, I am currently living in the UK on a Residence Permit. Permit type - Leave to Remain / Work Permitted with my Finaceand our two children. I have been on my current Residence Permit for two and half years.We are wanting to get married before the end on 2018 in the UK.Is this going to be possible?Will it effect my Visa or renewing my Visa.
Skye - 26-Sep-18 @ 10:50 AM
Hi, i just some question in my mind, is there's anyone can give me advise? i am from the Philippines but im working and living in Sultanate of Oman, and fortunately meet the person which is i dreamed and waiting for a long time, actually we are in same sex and he is British, we meet in chatting application and we start to fall in love to each other and i really love him, i know most of the people are not in favor of this kind of relationship but what we can do we just fall in love to each other and we really really love each other, but we are far to each other im working and living in Oman and he's in UK please advise us what is the first step we need to do because we planning to get married? whats the steps and procedures and requirements to be prepare? thank you all in advance for giving your time for reading my letter.
Gerald - 26-Sep-18 @ 6:05 AM
@Wiffer - Once you are legally married your wife can apply for a family visa as a spouse (under the 10 year route if you do not meet the minimum income requirements) and her child can apply as a dependant on her visa.
TJ. - 24-Sep-18 @ 2:42 PM
@PeterP - If your wife has lived in the UK for more than 5 years, she can apply for settled status from March 2019 at £65
TJ. - 24-Sep-18 @ 2:40 PM
I am going to the Philippines to marry my girlfriend in November. She has a 12 year old son. Would she be able to live in the UK and bring her son ?
Wiffer - 24-Sep-18 @ 11:34 AM
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Latest Comments
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