Home > Citizenship > Marrying a UK Citizen

Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 11 Apr 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
We are trying to plan our wedding but I am getting so confused with what we need to do because of how things are worded. I am a UK citizen. He has been living here 2 years non stop and before that was back and forth a lot but mainly here because his mother lives here and has citizenship. He has a biometric residence permit but only allows him to do work placement. (He was born in Lagos, Nigeria) but is mixed race, Spanish and Philippines also. So what I am trying to figure out is, is there any special things we need to sort in our wedding planning? and what kind of visa would we need to apply for after we are married in order for him to at least be able to work? I have been researching loads but its confusing me as everything states "if people want to come to the UK" he is already here so does that make it any different? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
1990 - 11-Apr-19 @ 10:43 PM
Hi guys, can you help. Me (British citizen) and my finance (Canadian citizen) have been doing long distance for almost 5 years and are now looking to settle in one location, uk first then maybe Canada in a few years. My question is what type of visa would be appropriate for her to come to the uk and allow us both to get married (factoring 6-12month planning before our wedding date) and for her to be able to work here during that time. Government Information online is not user friendly and does not shed light on the unusual circumstances we are finding ourselves in.
Brit getting married - 30-Mar-19 @ 1:20 PM
@Ezra - If I knew the reason her visa to the UK was declined maybe I would be of assistance.
TJ. - 26-Mar-19 @ 10:46 AM
@JP - She can either apply for a family visa or a marriage visitor visa. The only downside with a marriage visitor visa is that she will have to leave the UK before she can convert her visa.
TJ. - 26-Mar-19 @ 10:45 AM
Hi there, I'm a UK Citizen and born in NZ I married my wife 9 years ago in New Zealand and she is citizen there , but what can I do to have her enter UK to be with me as I live here now and she has been declined Visa aswell.. how can she become a citizen? Or obtain Visa? This is just ridiculous as I've already been in the country 2 years....
Ezra - 26-Mar-19 @ 8:07 AM
Hello, i am Belarusian , married to British citizen in Portugal, i just got my residency in Portugal based on my husbandsresidency here for 5 years. Please advise when and how if it is possible i can apply for UK citizenship andif we never plan to live in UK , but we are planning to live in Dubai later.
Aki - 25-Mar-19 @ 12:12 PM
Hi, I am a British Citizen and my girlfriend a US Citizen. We would like to get married in the UK next year (2020) and would like for her to move to the UK at some point next year so we can live together. Would she need to apply for a family visa in order to be able to get married in the UK?
JP - 25-Mar-19 @ 1:39 AM
Hi I am British citizen and in relationship with someone from Africa. He is on visiting visa and about to return home. When we marry, what his chances. Do we have to go to his homeland to get marry or we can marry here. Please advise FA
FA - 20-Mar-19 @ 4:05 AM
@aosavessos - If your spouse becomes a British citizen you EEA residence card will be at risk because more strict rules apply for foreign spouses of British citizens living in the UK than foreign spouses of EU citizens living in the UK. You will only be able to apply for British citizenship once you have been granted settled status.
TJ. - 19-Mar-19 @ 8:59 AM
@Lawrence - Unfortunately the government contradicts itself. It says that spouses can apply for British citizenship after residence of 3 years in the UK. However it also says that spouses who apply for British citizenship must also have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled status which are normally only granted after 5 years of residence
TJ. - 19-Mar-19 @ 8:56 AM
Hi there. I'm married two years.I have a family member residence card. I am from overseas territory. My wife is European and becoming British citizen this year. Our question is whether after she becomes a British citizen I would be allowed too after we complete three years marriage and whether I could apply or not. Thanks a lot.
aosavessos - 18-Mar-19 @ 12:50 PM
Hello I live in uk since February 2015 I am married with a British citizen I am also from a European country I passed the life in uk test and English test, my questions is. I still need to have 5 years in uk ....... because on the Gov.uk site says yo you are 3 years in uk and your suppose is British you can apply. Thank you.
Lawrence - 13-Mar-19 @ 7:49 PM
@Coco7 - Your wife will have rights in the UK whether or not there is a Brexit deal. She will be allowed to live in the UK without restriction until 2021 and she can apply for settled status during this time.
TJ. - 11-Mar-19 @ 11:54 AM
Hi. I'm British and my girlfriend is Polish. We live in Poland but want to start our life in the UK which won't be until around July. Does she have any rights if there's a no deal brexit? What if there's a deal? I'm really worried about everything and need advice. What options do we have?
Coco7 - 9-Mar-19 @ 2:54 PM
I am Portuguese I have been married to my Algerian husband for over 1 year, he changed to a very strange person not social with me neither gives time to have a conversation or discuss my concerns, I am not happy with this marriage I don't feel my husband takes this marriage seriously, I feel that I am being used in this marriage. He travels a lot and stays out a lot, some times says he goes to work, I don't think this is always the case, basically he doesn't care much about our marriage, never keeps things tidy can't even wash a plate, every day I work a lot all day until late evening Monday to Friday normal hours, weekends some times I have property viewings just a walking distance from where we live,he goes to work at 4 am gets home at 13:00 pm,(some days goes out again) shower, eats, drinks cafe and smokes in the garden, seats on the bed looking at facebook for over 2 hours, sleeps sometimes, gets up around 20:00pm eats again seats in front of the TV watching football and sleeps without talking to me. Weekends I don't see my husband much, gets up at 4 am gets home lunch hour eats sleeps and goes to work until late so he says, I have no idea where he is most days, some times he gets upset because i call him so he doesn't answer the phone. So many times i asked to go out some where to relax fromwork life, and to work in our relationship, i get shouted at every time or the door closes hard right in front of my face, i have been like this so many month i feel isolated i wasn't like this before, i have a good happy positive attitudefor life, now i feel like crying every day, i am scared to talk with him, i feel that i don't want to continue this marriage, i would like to be free from this heavy life next to my husband, he doesn't love me, he doesn't respect me, all he cares is about his life here and in Algeria, i am a stranger he doesn't care about me. I get up early to work, I get home late many times from work mentally and physically tired specially knowing that my husband doesn't really help with our marriage and day after day this terrible life,I say hello my husband doesn't talk, I find nothing cleaned nothing cooked, I find my husband sleeping at 19:00 pm, he gets up goes to have a shower,doesn't even ask if I am ok, neither talks, gets a cafe and cigarette and stays in the garden talking on viber or facebook, he waits for me to cook, then gets a plate and seats without me, I clean cook wash and put clothes to dry, hover, dust week after week, I don't even sleep or rest like he does, that's not the way I decided to get married, he promised so many times that would be a nice husband, he also goes to work weekends, when he stays home either sleeps, facebook or football Tv, for a marriage to work it has to be a balance, we don't go any where together, all he cares about is the next holiday trip to Algeria, and packing big suitcases full of clothes shoes and other things to go and see the very big family, he doesnt go
Maria - 4-Mar-19 @ 5:26 PM
Thank you for all your information. I have met a Chinese lady here in the UK while she was here on the visitor visa. She needs to go back to the China very shortly so as not to overstay her current visa.I intend going to China to stay with her sometime between march and April just to see if there is any chance of a relationship we have already talked about getting married but we have to take one step at a time. Possibly when we are in China we can get to know one another better and then have a a plan to marry. I have been separated for 6 months from my wife I have good grounds for divorce and containers in a time period between 3 and 6. If the lady wants to marry me what visa would you need to apply for in order that we could get married in the UK and apply for leave to remain in the UK. There is no force pushing us into a relationship our relationship will be some love affection. Can you offer any advice or guidance. Thank you for your time Kenneth h Jones
Henri - 1-Mar-19 @ 2:03 AM
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
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments