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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 14 Aug 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]
@Jason - Were you born or naturalized in the UK? If yes, your son is a British citizen and is eligible for a British passport. As for your wife, she must try again and apply for the standard visitor visa and address the reasons as to why it was declined the last time
TJ. - 14-Aug-18 @ 10:40 PM
I am a UK citizen lived and lawfully worked in Kenya for 7 years. I am married to a Kenyan by civil marriage and have a 1 year old child. We wish to visit the UK to see family for a month or so. what visa will my wife require and for my 1 month old son? Our previous attempt for a tourist visa last year was declined. Does this have a bearing on subsequent visa applications. Thanks in advance
Jason - 14-Aug-18 @ 12:53 PM
@Robbie - EU citizens are allowed to move to the UK to live, work or study without any restrictions until June 2021. If you were born in the UK your child is a British citizen
TJ. - 14-Aug-18 @ 12:01 AM
I am in the British forces posted in Germany and I am planning to get married to a german citizen we have a registered child in Germany together how will this affect us moving back to the uk in September 2019
Robbie - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:36 AM
Aus - Your Question:
My ukrainian fiancee and I wish to marry in the Ukrain, would she be allowed into the uk , after our marriage as she is my wife.?

Our Response:
Once you are married, your wife would have to apply for a visitor, or spouse visa to enter the UK. If you wish to bring your wife to live in the UK, you would have to satisfy the visa requirements via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 7-Aug-18 @ 12:45 PM
My ukrainian fiancee and I wish to marry in the Ukrain, would she be allowed into the uk , after our marriage as she is my wife..?
Aus - 4-Aug-18 @ 8:21 AM
My fiance is Nigerian and he is here on a family visa because we have children together. How do we go about getting married please?
Love - 3-Aug-18 @ 7:57 PM
I am in a long term relationship with a British citizen. When the UK leaves the EU I have to leave him as I do not automatically qualify for resident card. I didn't want to get married with the pressure of Brexit, but I don't know British law well enough to know, how likely or unlikely I would be able to stay with him if we get married before Brexit?
Stefanie - 31-Jul-18 @ 2:12 PM
J - Your Question:
Someone I know has faked being married to a Bangladeshi man so he can have a uk citizenship. How serious of a crime is this ?

Our Response:
Immigration fraud is considered a serious crime, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 30-Jul-18 @ 12:08 PM
Someone I know has faked being married to a Bangladeshi man so he can have a uk citizenship. How serious of a crime is this ?
J - 27-Jul-18 @ 11:43 PM
Shirley McHendrie - Your Question:
My friend married a Philippines girlShe came to the UK with her son they married in March 2017 in the Philippines She came to the UK in December 2017They split up in February 2018She is staying with different people Moving around Should she not tell the relevant people she and her UK husband has split up and go home to her country

Our Response:
A person must tell the Home Office when they divorce or separate from their partner if the visa is based on their relationship, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-18 @ 1:47 PM
My friend married a Philippines girl She came to the UK with her son they married in March 2017 in the Philippines She came to the UK in December 2017 They split up in February 2018 She is staying with different people Moving around Should she not tell the relevant people she and her UK husband has split up and go home to her country
Shirley McHendrie - 27-Jul-18 @ 12:21 AM
@Windermere - If your friend advises the Home Office in time about the divorce and leaves the UK this will not affect any future visa applications
TJ. - 26-Jul-18 @ 7:29 PM
Windermere - Your Question:
A Gambian friend has come to the UK through marriage to a British Citizen.After only 6 months the marriage is failing and they are considering leaving.If they were to end the marriage and return home what are their chances of getting a visa to return ever again? Are the chances messened if they were to apply for a second marriage or work visa given the first failed marriage or does it not make a difference? They are concerned the first marriage would look like a sham marriage which is not the case.Just simply broken down.Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear about the breakdown of your friend's marriage. However, the case is currently academic as your friend would have to meet, marry and spend a few years with the person before he/she could apply again. The Home Office will treat each application on a case-by-case basis.
AboutImmigration - 26-Jul-18 @ 10:30 AM
A Gambian friend has come to the UK through marriage to a British Citizen.After only 6 months the marriage is failing and they are considering leaving.If they were to end the marriage and return home what are their chances of getting a visa to return ever again? Are the chances messened if they were to apply for a second marriage or work visa given the first failed marriage or does it not make a difference? They are concerned the first marriage would look like a sham marriage which is not the case.Just simply broken down.Thanks in advance.
Windermere - 25-Jul-18 @ 1:10 PM
I am wanting to marry my Trinidadian girlfriend.She lives in Trinidad but the plan is for her to live with me in the UK after our wedding. I have heard that VISA and solicitor fees can be as high as £30,000.Is this true?
Azi - 23-Jul-18 @ 9:58 AM
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kim - 20-Jul-18 @ 8:20 PM
LEILA - Your Question:
I am a British citizen but I currently work in Nigeria. If I marry my partner (who is Nigerian) would we be allowed to enter the UK as a family (spouse visa) or would I have to work for 6 months again in the UK before we are allowed to apply? If I had a child within this time, would I have to come back with the child and work 6 months before applying?Thank you

Our Response:
Yes, you would have to be living, working and earning in the UK in order to be able to apply. However, savings and other forms of income can also be considered, please see the link here .
AboutImmigration - 19-Jul-18 @ 3:36 PM
@Toshi - Your wife will only have to apply for settled status which will open it March 2019 and will cost £65. This settled status will give her permanent residency in the UK.
TJ. - 18-Jul-18 @ 11:11 AM
Hello there, I am a French citizen and my wife is British, we both live in the uk and have been married for ten years, what do I need to do in order to be legal here after Brexit. We got married in France. Thank you for your help
Toshi - 18-Jul-18 @ 9:10 AM
I am a British citizen but I currently work in Nigeria. If I marry my partner (who is Nigerian) would we be allowed to enter the UK as a family (spouse visa) or would I have to work for 6 months again in the UK before we are allowed to apply? If I had a child within this time, would I have to come back with the child and work 6 months before applying? Thank you
LEILA - 17-Jul-18 @ 7:02 AM
Rob53 - Your Question:
I am a UK citizen with an American fiancée. We don't know whether we will initially live in the UK or US and ideally would like joint nationality. We would be happy to get married in the UK or the US - we just need someone who can talk us through the various routes so that we can make an informed decision on how best to start this process.any advice really appreciated.

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the specific sites for each, which will tell you all you need to know. Please see the links here and here. You have to be currently resident in the UK and earning a specific amount in order to apply for a family visa for your fiancée.
AboutImmigration - 16-Jul-18 @ 10:26 AM
I am a UK citizen with an American fiancée. We don't know whether we will initially live in the UK or US and ideally would like joint nationality. We would be happy to get married in the UK or the US - we just need someone who can talk us through the various routes so that we can make an informed decision on how best to start this process...any advice really appreciated...
Rob53 - 15-Jul-18 @ 12:30 PM
David - Your Question:
My fiancee who is from the Philippines but is living and working in Dubai. How do I start the process of applying for her visa so we can marry and live in the uk

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK, please see link here and here , which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 13-Jul-18 @ 9:55 AM
My fiancee who is from the Philippines but is living and working in Dubai. How do I start the process of applying for her visa so we can marry and live in the uk
David - 12-Jul-18 @ 9:36 AM
Want to get married to Australian fiancée in wales so we can live and settle in Australia how do I do this
Daz - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:24 AM
I want to marry an Israeli man. He wants to live here with me in the UK.I want to have duel citizenship and go to Israel with him. What do we need to do.
Redhead - 6-Jul-18 @ 9:25 PM
The mother of my fiancé (Brazilian) is due to marry a British man next month, after they marry, is my fiancé then entitled to apply for a uk citizenship i any kind of visa? I am British.
Melm - 1-Jul-18 @ 5:19 PM
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