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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Feb 2021 | 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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My Father has been with his Brazil girlfriend and in the first month of meeting her got married to her. The wedding certificate is in Brazilian but he never went to Brazil for the wedding and she didn’t as well is this really a legal wedding.
Maz - 25-Feb-21 @ 11:04 PM
I want to marry my bf who is British, what is the process for this if we do it in the uk and if we get married outside the uk, will our marriage be legally recognised here?
Dee - 28-Dec-20 @ 3:29 PM
My partner and I want to marry we have been seeing each other 3 years he’s Nigerian we wish to marry corrrctly and this is not for him to stay here it’s so I don’t have to keep going to Nigeria until the law allows us to live together as I’m working in London and he’s now at university in Cyprus
Zulu - 12-Nov-20 @ 9:27 AM
I have met a British man who intends to marry me next year. He wants us to marry in the UK. I live and work in Zambia what type of Visa would you advise we get. I await your advise on this matter.
Mule - 22-Sep-20 @ 2:03 PM
Hi, I am planning to do civil partnership with my bf when he arrives next month from India. He will be here for 6 months university Level 4 course and on tier 4, 6 months student Visa. What's the best option to have if we can apply marriage Visa as we havent got married yet. He is going to Westminister University next year, what are the options for us to pre empt or think off before he gets here? Also as I am British citizen, can he not use public fund as homes student for marrying me? Or is he only allowed once he receive His Infident leave to remain and how long does he require to love in the UK to obtain one Kind regards, Hugo
Hugo - 14-Sep-20 @ 3:32 PM
I want to marry my long term Russian partner in the UK. She lives and works in Russia, but has a five year visa so can currently come and go freely. So my question is can she marry whilst on this visa, or does she still have to get a marriage visa, And if she gets the latter does she lose the former (ie can she have two visas).
The doc - 11-Sep-20 @ 7:02 PM
I want to get married to a foreign girl why I like the way foreign girls dress and chit.
Amit - 29-May-20 @ 8:28 PM
I am a UK citizen and will be marrying my Brazilian partner in Brazil in March 2021. Is it then possible for us to both return to the UK together (him on a tourist visa) and then apply for the spouse visa whilst he is here?
Rose - 31-Mar-20 @ 11:33 PM
I knew someone who switch her marriage visitor Visa into a spouse visa within UK and she got granted so how come this happened? She even used her 2 years expired English test (A1) on processing the spouse visa that was done inside the UK while on Marriage visitor visa, how this things happened? Is very unfair! Someone could explain this? Everyone was shock about it! We paid the right amount and followed the right steps and she didn't follow the rules! And Home office said yes to her application!
Jane - 5-Feb-20 @ 7:27 AM
I met my partner in Ghana whilst I was volunteering, we have been together and maintaining a long distance relationship, he is coming on a visitor visa in a few months and I believe he wishes to propose! This whole situation is very new to me and I feel like a fish out of water. I am a UK born citizen like the generations before me, I wish to marry him in Ghana but then both of us live here in the UK. I am so confused and have no idea how the system works or what we need to do to achieve our goal of living together. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
Rom - 31-Jan-20 @ 11:12 AM
At best... few of those commenting, wont be a drain on the UK, if they get their way. At worst, some will cost us more than just money.
Johnny - 26-Jan-20 @ 7:16 PM
I was an illegal immigrant in U.K from India hen I met a British born woman who I had been in a relationship for many years. I then meet another British born woman &got married to her. I have been married for less than a year & am very unhappy & very depressed. I want to get a divorce & my wife says if I leave her she kill herself. I been in this country for 16 years & was givengrant of leave to remain ten year partner route with two2 half year visa when I got married . I have ID card, national insurance number . Will all this be taken away from me when I divorce. My first girlfriend & I want to live together. Can I get a divorce & then live with my first girlfriend. How do I go aboutapplying to stay in U.K.so wecan be together .
Billy - 26-Jan-20 @ 3:04 AM
I was an illegal immigrant in U.K. then I met a British born woman who I had been in a relationship for many years. I then meet another British born woman &got married to her. I have been married for less than a year & am very unhappy & very depressed.I want to get a divorce & my wife says if I leave her she kill herself. I been in this country for 16 years & was givengrant of leave to remain ten year partner route when I got married . I have ID card, national insurance number & visa for two & half years. Will this be taken away from me when I divorce. My first girlfriend & I want to live together. Can I get a divorce & then live with my first girlfriend. How do I go aboutapplying to stay in U.K.so wecan be together . Please help
Billy - 26-Jan-20 @ 2:55 AM
Hi I am a british citizen born here like all my generations have been . I am in a long distance relationship with a kenyan girl . I plan in going there to visit in April and get engaged , and when I have got the money , perhaps next year we plan on getting married either here in uk or in Kenya . How do I go about applying to get her here , either to visit ay first then eventually to stay here . I am employed and always have been . Would our marriage be better made here in uk or kenya or indeed both . Thanks I await your repliev
Jimmy - 20-Jan-20 @ 10:07 AM
I want visa for my wife please please help me
No - 14-Jan-20 @ 5:09 PM
I have married my Indonesian girlfriend on11/12/2019 we won't to live in uk 4 months of the year and live in Indonesia the rest of the year won't to know what visa we need to get how to go about it. I own my own house I am retired
Ken - 31-Dec-19 @ 4:07 PM
I have just married my Indonesian girlfriend 11/12/2019 in UK.we want to live in uk for 4 months of summer and in Indonesia the rest of the year. She speaks perfect English we have known each other for over 20 years want to no what visa we need to get how to go adout geting it. I am retired own my own house but not a lot of savings
Ken - 31-Dec-19 @ 4:01 PM
My girlfriend is a Philippines citizen who had had residence in Spain for 10 years. I am British national living in UK. We have been together 2.5 years. We wish to be together here in UK, for her to be able to with here, and For us to be married. Can you tell me the best route for visa please.
James - 29-Dec-19 @ 6:38 PM
Can I marry a girl who is on visitors visa in the UK right now and I am intending to have a long term relationship with her or is it better to marry in India and apply for a spouse visa .
Bobby - 19-Dec-19 @ 7:56 PM
Am David Ohene from Ghana i want to marry inUK am single
Chairman - 1-Dec-19 @ 4:15 PM
Hi!I love in Canada and my boyfriend lives in the UK. He is a retired RAF pilot suffering from PTSD. We are planning on getting married in the UK while I am there for six months. What and how is the best way to gain UK citizenship to be able to look after my soon to be new husband? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated more than you know. Thank you, Mel
Kat - 28-Nov-19 @ 12:41 PM
I'm in a 2 year long distance relationship with a woman in the USA. We have spent time together 4 times (twice a year). We are engaged with the eventual aim of living together in the UK. What is the best way to go about this? Getting married then applying for a marriage visa or bringing her here to study then marrying later? Or some other route?
Aine - 28-Nov-19 @ 1:08 AM
I'm an Indian and fell in love with a British guy who born and bred over there.It's been a year now and now we decided to get married so i just simply wanted to know what is the procedure we should follow to live with him permanently.
Sam - 26-Nov-19 @ 5:05 AM
My Kenyan wife was granted leave to return in 2006 and we were married in 2016 and have a four year old son, my wife has worked and paid taxes here in the uk but still has a Kenyan passport . She has attempted the life in the uk test several times but even I failed it and I’m born and bred English and know nothing about Diwali or Ramadan or how long winston Churchill’s cigar was .is it possible that my wife can just simply apply for a UK passport?
RICHARD - 25-Nov-19 @ 10:29 AM
My friend took her UK tourist/visit visa in Dubai. She live/work in Dubai for 10yrs now this is her 3rd UK tourist visa. initially she got 6mons. last 2016 then she applied and got her 2nd UK/tourist visa last 2017 for 2yrs and then she got new for the 3rd time again for 2yrs. She visited UK every year since 2016. Now before the year ends she wants to visit to the UKbut her residence/working visa got expired and both parties refused to renew as she would like to apply for another job but is she allowed to visit the UK? when her residence visa in Dubai just cancelled yet she have still remaining 18mons running UK tourist/visa? she wants to know if she can enter the UK without her residence visa in Dubai?
aika - 21-Nov-19 @ 10:41 AM
I'm A Filipino citizen but working with residence visa in Dubai for 12yrs now. I met a British Citizen whos working in the UK but came in Dubai for a work meeting he visit me again after that and we continue to communicate for very close to one year now. we planned to get married here in Dubai. what would be the procedure/ process for us to do so I can come/live with him and stay/work in the UK together as couple/family?
aika - 21-Nov-19 @ 10:18 AM
I want marriage UK ???? grili am from India I am 24 years old
ansari - 16-Nov-19 @ 1:21 AM
I have met my partner who is indonesian Christian. We are extremely happy, I was just enquiring how one would bring partner to uk to live with me here? We are engaged but I dont know the process that much
zac - 10-Nov-19 @ 2:49 AM
I'm a US citizen and I have fallen in love with a man in the UK. What is the best way for me to be able to move there and be with him? I also have children who will be going with me. I do plan on being in my own place until I find out if it will work between him and I?
BeckyB - 7-Nov-19 @ 3:43 AM
I divorced my husband and i am a British citizen, can i marry a Filipino citizen in UK who is legally separated in Philippines.
My - 5-Nov-19 @ 6:59 PM
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