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Marrying a UK Citizen

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Aug 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.

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My son is planning to marry a Japanese girl he has been seeing for sometime.They want to marry in Japan and come back here to live.He lived in Japan for some years but came home for family reasons.Is this possible?He is a British national.
Concerned mother - 16-Aug-19 @ 1:34 PM
I lived in UK nearly my whole life. I left when my mum died 10 years ago. I was a permanent resident. My whole life. I've even got an NHS number and UK bank account still. I applied for a UK passport, they denied me after 6 months, and kept my money, said cos I was born before 1983!! My mum and grandmother where UK born and raised as was my son. I'm treated like crap. I wonder if I went over if they'd know?
Zaura - 23-Jul-19 @ 9:13 PM
If you are studing in the UK and want your spouse to be in the UK so should you leave your studies and start to work or your spouse can come without that.
Sam - 21-Jul-19 @ 3:13 PM
@Nadia - If you are on a spouse visa then you are entitled to work or study immediately. However to be considered a Home student, you need to have lived in the EU for the last 3 years.
TJ. - 9-Jul-19 @ 5:09 PM
Hi, i am married with a British citizen and i wold like to know after being settled in UK, when can i start my study/work there and would i be count as a home student?
Nadia - 7-Jul-19 @ 10:37 AM
I'm married to a Gambian man i live there with his family I'm back in England now and he wants to be able to provide change for his family which we are doing now can he leave me and Go to Italy and does he need another visa
Nora - 22-Jun-19 @ 7:04 PM
Hello there can someone please help me. My american boyfriend is coming to the uk to see me and a load of friends. He wants to marry me but this will be the first time in the uk. But we are a tad confusrd on what we would have to do so he wouldny need to go bk to america and be put as a uk citizen.
Random girl! - 11-Jun-19 @ 5:30 PM
hi i am an international student(indian) in u.k. and my boyfriend is from india too. We want to register our marriage in u.k. We can get married in india too but due to my studies i can not leave this country right now. is it possible if he can come to u.k. and we can get married here.
magg - 27-May-19 @ 9:41 AM
Hi have married a British citizen hi am a Jamaica he is 71 years old can he file for me
Simone Hallimanhi - 17-May-19 @ 3:39 AM
Hi, Im South African and my partner is a British Citizen, obviously we want to move to England and live there as he has family there. Is it better for us to be married here in SA then go over married with spousal Visa or go over now with partner Visa? Or I could have his mother be my sponsor and my partner will be able to just walk in. Whats the best way to go about this(and cheapest)
Outrage - 15-May-19 @ 9:07 AM
Hello, am applying for visa of a settled person in the UK. Can my fiance give notice for our civil wedding at the registrar cause i need to put this in my application. In how many days can i get married civilly there? Thanks
Yara - 10-May-19 @ 10:42 AM
Hi . I'm from syria (syrian ) 27 years old , im makeup artist looking for man or women to get marry me , thank you
Hmk - 8-May-19 @ 11:14 PM
Hi I am intending to marry my russian wife and would like to understand the process to enable her to live with me. I am a UK national. Should I invite her to the UK and marry her here or marry her in her own country or other place. She's currently working in Ethiopia. I'm hoping to get married within 9 to 12 months. Can someone please advise 5 me what is the most practical way. Thanks Al
Al - 5-May-19 @ 9:02 AM
Hi there my name is Bilqis from Afghanistan living in India tree year ago I got married with UK citizen he is also Afghanistan . In first year of marriage things didn't work for us so I didn't want to go with him and I want divorce but he didn't give me divorce . He is living in UK and i am in India . We didn't talk for two years and I didn't get my divorce . Know what can I do to get my divorce form him. He just left me with no further . Please give me advice....
Bilqis - 4-May-19 @ 6:56 PM
Hi Am boy friend is UK citizen and I am Indian. We are planning to marry in India and live in UK. Am not working too. Is that complicated for me to get visa in UK To live along with my partner? Kindly help.
SZ - 28-Apr-19 @ 6:56 AM
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
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