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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 4 Dec 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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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
Like Gershon, I've become used to my French wife after 47 years, 2 adult kids and 5 grandchildren. She's the only one without a UK passport. I can't any documentation that describes our case!
PeterP - 24-Sep-18 @ 11:15 AM
@Alex - You need to apply for a family visa as a Fiancee which will allow you to remain in the UK after you get married This can take up to 8 weeks to be approved. Depending on whether you meet the minimum requirements for your visa it can take either 5 years if you meet the requirements and 10 years if you don't meet the requirements to apply for Permanent Residency and citizenship.
TJ. - 22-Sep-18 @ 4:28 AM
I'm 21 years old and engaged to a British citizen who is 22, I live in Australia, we have not met in person but have been in contact for three years, we plan on getting a civil partnership in the UK, how long will it take to get a visa and how soon can I apply for citizenship? (also what are the costs and ways to go about this?) I'm a little lost and really need help with this, as I want to be with the love of my life.
Alex - 22-Sep-18 @ 12:11 AM
I am a dutch and married to a British husband for 6 years and my daughter is british and I have studied here in uk , I want to apply for permanent residence,is this the right way ?
Dana - 20-Sep-18 @ 6:06 PM
Hi, I have been living with my partner for 2 years we have a 16 months old baby. He has applied for residency and the case has gone to court, the judge dismissed the case on the grounds that my my private health insurance wasn't comprehensive enough because it didn't cover GP and E&E visits, maternity and childbirth checks. So we appeal against the decision. My question is, we want to get married here in UK, Does he need a visa permit or residency before we can get married? I'm from Portugal and he is from Cameroon.
DC - 19-Sep-18 @ 12:45 AM
@Band - Before you can marry a British citizen in the UK you will have to give a minimum 28 days notice to the registry. Thereafter you may have to wait up to 70 extra days to obtain approval from the Home Office
TJ. - 12-Sep-18 @ 5:17 AM
@Cath - If you don't meet the income requirements then you can apply for a spouse visa under the 10 year route.
TJ. - 12-Sep-18 @ 5:13 AM
I am a US citizen, currently employed in the US (visiting UK for short period) , planning to marry my fiancée during this visit (she is a UK citizen) .I am not planing to apply for residence in UK for now. Any advice ?
Band - 11-Sep-18 @ 11:38 PM
Me and my Albanian bf are getting married next month. I'm pregnant and due baby in December. He needs to apply for spouse visa but we won't meet the financial income requirement. I think it will get rejected so how can we definitely be granted our family can live together in UK?
Cath - 11-Sep-18 @ 9:20 PM
@Gershon - Your wife will be able to apply for settled status after March 2019 and this will confirm her permanent residency in the UK. This will cost £65
TJ. - 10-Sep-18 @ 1:33 PM
My French wife of 53 years , were married in uk . She has worked for 53 years. We have 1 son 53 and 1 daughter52, 4 grandchildren, all uk citizens. My wife has never applied for uk citizenship because there has been no real need. What is her standing as fas as staying in the country . I gave got used to her. Gershon
Gershon - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:46 AM
I have a British national partner and have two kids, ages 3yrs.old and atwo months baby and got already right to abode visa on their passport..and we are planning to get married in a civil ceremony but i got only a visit visa on my passport.my question is can i still marry him legally in the UK? And after the marriage what sorts of visa do i have to apply in order to remain in the UK?
Dell - 23-Aug-18 @ 8:32 AM
Can an asylum marry a British citizen in the U.K.? If so, what is the legal process
Kat - 23-Aug-18 @ 6:39 AM
Hello, I am a Canadian citizen currently in UK for a 2 year working visa. I am halfway through and I am wanting to marry my partner (who has UK and Portuguese citizenship) who I have been with even before I moved to the UK to work, in order to stay in the UK. However we eventually want to move to France to work, not soon but in the long term. Does Brexit affect any of my rights to move elsewhere in Europe later on? Should we get married before March 2019? I heard through a Canadian friend who married British citizen that it costs a few thousand to apply for a extended visa and can take up to a few months but I would have to save up for a few months before I can even apply. Thank you so much
willisbb - 17-Aug-18 @ 11:57 AM
@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
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