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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 20 Feb 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]
@Jim - British citizens cannot be given visas to the UK hence you should travel to the UK using your British passport. You simply leave and re enter the USA with your US passport and enter and leave the UK with your UK passport.
TJ. - 20-Feb-18 @ 6:39 AM
I am a British \ US dual citizen residing in America.My fiance is American and we would like to get married in the UK.I travel using an American passport.Do we both need a UK marriage visa or only her?
Jim - 20-Feb-18 @ 5:26 AM
Ali - Your Question:
Hi, I am living in London without visa. My student visa got expired in 2014 and I'm living here illegally. Can I marry with my British girl friend ?? What are the requirements??? What shall I do now.??

Our Response:
If you are not documented, you would not be allowed to marry your girlfriend in the UK. Your best option would be to leave the UK and apply for a visa to return to the UK to marry.
AboutImmigration - 16-Feb-18 @ 11:18 AM
@Ali - To get married in the UK you will need to give the Home Office notice of your intention to marry of up to 70 days for their aprroval.
TJ. - 16-Feb-18 @ 3:48 AM
Hi, I am living in London without visa. My student visa got expired in 2014 and I'm living here illegally. Can I marry with my British girl friend ?? What are the requirements??? What shall I do now..??
Ali - 15-Feb-18 @ 5:31 PM
eve - Your Question:
Hi, I will come and marry my fiance in london what is the procedure?Please adviseRegardsEve

Our Response:
If either of you is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and subject to immigration control, you or your partner will need a visa to come to the UK to: give notice and get married or form a civil partnership, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 15-Feb-18 @ 2:33 PM
Hi, I will come and marry my fiance in london what is the procedure? Please advise Regards Eve
eve - 13-Feb-18 @ 5:14 PM
@Steve G - If you not meet the minimum income requirement for a family visa then you may choose to apply for one under the 10 year route.
TJ. - 4-Feb-18 @ 10:46 AM
Hi I am a British Citizen , but Have Spanish Residency, as I have been living in Ibiza , Spain for the last 6 yrs. My Fiancé is Australian, and lives in Bali. We have been living between Ibiza and Bali. I own a house in Spain , and we are buying a house together in Bali. We are wanting to get married, but we are unsure where is the easiest and least difficult place to marry legally. Please can you help? Any info is greatly appreciated . Thank you
Emmadavid88 - 4-Feb-18 @ 6:50 AM
I am a UK man and have a Brazilian girlfriend. We want to get married, but because I have a start up business I've not been paying myself £18600 salary, preferring to keep the money in the business. It is building rapidly and is now valued at over 100k and I am sole owner,but will this be enough for immigration? How do they provision for people in my position? Answers greatly appreciated.
Steve G - 4-Feb-18 @ 2:27 AM
I want to marriage any British girl woman if any one interested me plz contact me thanks. My WhatsApp number 00971553294102. Im from pakistan now im working here in subway restaurant food delivery boy in dubai.
Hussain - 29-Jan-18 @ 12:13 PM
@Jumper - you can apply for a family visa as a spouse under the 10 year route if you do not meet the minimum UK income requirement. Your husband is free to enter and leave the UK anytime as a British citizen even if he holds other nationalities. Despite having to leave the US on his US passport, he should enter the UK on his British passport. Brexit will not have any impact on you because you are not an EU citizen.
TJ. - 26-Jan-18 @ 11:55 AM
@Fareen - To get married in the UK as a foreign national you will need to give 28 days notice to the registry and a further 70 day notice to the Home Office. If you wished to get married in the UK during your visit you should have applied for a marriage visitor visa.
TJ. - 26-Jan-18 @ 11:49 AM
My British husband and I, am American, were married in U.K. in 2006. Since then we’ve lived is US but want to live in U.K. now. We own a home there but don’t have jobs yet. What paperwork do we need? Can he just move back with U.K. passport? He will have US citizenship by the time we go back. Will Brexit affect our move adversely?
Jumper - 26-Jan-18 @ 5:20 AM
Hi I'm on visitor visa from India sponsored by my far off cuz who is British citizen , full time working, we want to get married before my visa expires and then go back to India to 're enter on spouse visa...need to know the process please , we are engaged at the moment....
Fareen - 26-Jan-18 @ 2:40 AM
@Brito - The spouse of a British citizen can apply for British citizenship immediately after being granted ILR.
TJ. - 23-Jan-18 @ 12:54 PM
Hi, I am British married to a non-EEA citizen, who has studied and worked 3 years prior to our marriage and now holds a spouse visa for the last 4 years(a total of 7 to 8 years in the UK). When we reach the 5 years milestone on the spouse visa, would she be able to apply for citizenship or would she still need to wait the 12 month period?
Brito - 23-Jan-18 @ 8:07 AM
@Laney - After your visa is granted you can come to and leave the UK anytime as long as it's valid.
TJ. - 20-Jan-18 @ 6:56 PM
Im an Australian citizen living in Australia with a British citizen partner and British kids by descent applying for a partner visa to live in the UK. Once visa is granted is theee a time frame we must enter the UK within? 3mths? 6mths?
Laney - 20-Jan-18 @ 4:47 PM
Tommo - Your Question:
Hi I have been living in Australia for the past 16 where I am a permanent resident I am ingaged to be married to my partner I have returned to the UK and I am getting my partner to come join me in March this year and getting married and hoping my partner and 2 children will stay in the UK with me what do I have to do to make this happen

Our Response:
You can also apply via the gov.uk link here, to bring your family to live with you, if you fulfil the requirements.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jan-18 @ 12:06 PM
@Tommo - Your partner can apply for a family visa or a marriage visitor visa in Australia as a fiancee that will allow you to get married in the UK. If she applies for a marriage visitor visa she will have to leave the UK within 6 months.
TJ. - 18-Jan-18 @ 7:26 PM
@Bajan - You will have to apply for a family visa in Barbados. You can apply either as a spouse or a fiancee
TJ. - 18-Jan-18 @ 7:22 PM
Hi I have been living in Australia for the past 16 where I am a permanent resident I am ingaged to be married to my partner I have returned to the UK and I am getting my partner to come join me in March this year and getting married and hoping my partner and 2 children will stay in the UK with me what do I have to do to make this happen
Tommo - 18-Jan-18 @ 4:41 PM
Hi, I am a Barbadian engaged to a British National. After much discussion we decided we would like settle in the UK at least for the foreseeable future. Do I apply for a spouse visa from here in Barbados? Do I start that process before the wedding or do I have to wait until after and then await the outcome before traveling there? Since I don't require a visa to travel to England ordinarily, should I travel there after the wedding and apply once there? Some guidance would be much appreciated.
Bajan - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:53 PM
@Holly - you may need to leave the UK and apply to return on a family visa as a spouseif you meet the requirements and after serving a re entry ban if any.
TJ. - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:31 PM
I was granted 3years limited to remain in 2011 and in 2014 my application for renewal was rejected 4 times on the basis that I was no longer staying with my family. My case went to high court and now I have been told that I have no right to appeal.I am now married to a British citizen. We have known each other since 2013 and we were engaged in 2016. However, we got married at the register office in October 2017 after contacting the home office. My husband and I are confused and don't know what to to do. I have been in the country since 1998 and in March this I would have reached 20 years.
Holly - 18-Jan-18 @ 4:55 AM
Scottishgirl8 - Your Question:
I have been living with my boyfriend in Spain for 5 years. He is Romanian and we were thinking about getting married soon. I am trying to find out if he can get British citizenship if we do so even though we don't live in the UK. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

Our Response:
Your boyfriend cannot apply for British citizenship unless he is living in the UK. Neither can he apply for British citizenship on the back of being married to you. His British citizenship would come on the back of him being resident in the UK for at least five years before he can apply.
AboutImmigration - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:56 AM
I have been living with my boyfriend in Spain for 5 years. He is Romanian and we were thinking about getting married soon. I am trying to find out if he can get British citizenship if we do so even though we don't live in the UK. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
Scottishgirl8 - 15-Jan-18 @ 3:08 PM
@pinkfox - your boyfriend should leave the UK voluntarily and apply for the appropriate visa to return for example a family visa. The longer he overstays in the UK the longer he will be banned from re entry once he leaves or is deported.
TJ. - 12-Jan-18 @ 9:55 AM
my boyfriend is overstayer in uk from usa he has mild cereble palsy epileptic fits and aspergers traits if he gets deported he will be homeless is there anything we can do i do want to marry him
pinkfox - 12-Jan-18 @ 5:48 AM
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