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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 4 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
Marrying A Uk Resident

UK residents who are over the age of 18 and are either permanently settled in the UK or are returning there to live may bring with them their wife, husband or civil partner. UK residents with more than one spouse may only bring one to live with them in the UK under these provisions.

Entry Requirements

Before the wife, husband or civil partner of a UK resident may join them in the UK they will have to obtain entry clearance. This should be applied for in their own country before they travel to the UK.

To be entitled to live in the UK as the spouse or civil partner of a UK resident the spouse will have to satisfy the relevant immigration authorities that they are legally married to, or have entered into a civil partnership with, the UK resident. In addition they will also have to prove that:

  • They are aged at least 18;
  • They will live with the UK resident permanently once they get to the UK;
  • They have actually met the UK resident; and,
  • Together with the UK resident they will be able to support and house themselves, as well as any dependents they may have, without having to rely on help from public funds.

The Immigration Status of a UK Resident’s Spouse

In most cases the wife, husband or civil partner of a UK resident will be allowed to live and work in the UK for an initial two-year period. If the couple is still together towards the end of the two-year period, the husband, wife or civil partner of the UK resident may apply for permanent UK residence.

In the case of couples who have been married or joined in civil partnership for at least four years the husband, wife or civil partner may be granted permanent resident status as soon as they arrive in the UK. However, the couple will have to prove that they spent the four years of their union living together and that they are now returning to the UK to settle there permanently.

Couples Who Wish to Get Married in the UK

The fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner of a UK resident who lives permanently in the UK, or is returning to the UK to live there permanently, may join them in the UK if they can prove that:
  • They intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership within a “reasonable period” after coming to the UK. A reasonable period is usually considered to be six months;
  • They intend to live with the UK resident permanently once they are married;
  • They have met the UK resident; and,
  • Pending the marriage or civil partnership they have somewhere to live and that they can support themselves and any dependents without having to work or rely on public funds.
They must also apply for fiancé / proposed civil partner entry clearance or a visa before travelling to the UK. The current fee for this is £500.

If they satisfy the above requirements they will be allowed to stay in the UK for an initial six-month period during which they are not allowed to work. Once they are married to the UK resident they may apply for further leave to remain in the UK. If the application is successful they will be given permission to live and work in the UK for two years. Towards the end of those two years they may apply for permanent residence if they are still married to or in a civil partnership with the UK resident.

The Certificate of Approval for Marriage

In some cases foreign nationals in the UK who wish to marry there will have to apply for a Certificate of Approval in order to do so. Foreign nationals who have permission to be in the UK for six months or more, and have three months of that permission remaining, may apply for a Certificate of Approval and must do so before they give notice to a registrar of their intention to marry. Obtaining a Certificate of Approval is only a preliminary step in obtaining permission to marry and live in the UK. A non-refundable fee of £295 is currently payable. Those who intend to marry in an Anglican church do not require a Certificate of Approval.

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Hi, I’m engaged to an American woman. We have been dating for five years and we have decided to marry and live in the U.K.I am English. She is bringing her 2 boys aged 8 & 10. Is it best to get a spouse visa and then apply for family visa once she is here or apply for family visa first. The fees are expensive once you include the nhs fee. Any advice would be great. Thank you.
Jase - 4-Jun-19 @ 12:47 PM
I can applay for settle for the moment if i can pay a fee .but im living with my failed asylum partner for a 2 years. I have told to homa office from her first interview she lives with me and i gone marry her.all her paper from homa office comes to my addreess and i can prove with thousent picture and tex and later she lived with me.now can i say to homa office i want to marry her .some thing like a permashion.should i tell them or any better idea.thanks
Rezland - 22-May-19 @ 3:32 AM
My us boyfriend & i wish to marry and settle in uk However he has no recieved his divorce papersfrom his first marriage Can i still apply for spouse visa for him to marry him in uk?I can fully support him Secondly i wish to employ him as a live in carer formy father who suffered a stroke im.am able to pay his wages and find accomodation is that option available for us Plzkindly advise on how we shpuld proceed Many thanks kindest regards Sarah
Sarah - 15-May-19 @ 10:51 AM
My daughter with two child living in uk.All are British citizen.She is divorcee.She was suffered with domestic violence by her husband..Social people helped her.She is living alone with her two kids since last three years.Now she wants to marry with an Indian guy living in UK since last ten years.His status is illegal.He lives my daughter & her kids.He is ready to fulfill parental responsibility as well.Please guide me the procedure to be followed for their marriage registration and their living together.They went to follow immigration rules.Please help them by giving valuable guidance.
Akku - 14-May-19 @ 1:29 AM
Hi I am dating a Colombian guy in Spain we are hoping to marry in Spain next year. Is he allowed to come to uk and live with me after we marry?
Marky - 11-May-19 @ 12:08 AM
Hi I'm from Afghanistan I have five years Italian permesso did soggiorno and residents card for 10 year my wife she is a British citizens she will come in 3 days to marry me in Italy do I have right travel with her to uk with marriage certificate without visa
Khan - 24-Mar-19 @ 3:32 AM
Please could You help guide me - I have been with a Welshman for over two years now. I am from New Zealand. So I can only stay for Six months at a time. I am 37 years old and a Yoga Memory Maintenance Teacher. And also a trained chef. If we marry am i able to stay longer in the UK? I would like to settle and create a life with him. He has three children so is not able to move to New Zealand. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Faye - 15-Mar-19 @ 1:27 AM
Hi I’ve been dating a Serbian women for 2 years know and we won’t to get married if we do will she have same rights as me I’m from England
John joe - 15-Mar-19 @ 12:57 AM
Ive been with my Albania boyfriend for a while now and his visa runs out at the end of April would I have time to marry him for him to stay in the UK
Amywoo - 8-Mar-19 @ 7:54 AM
I have been dating an American man for a year. I have recently returned from a visit to American to see him. We have talked about him coming to live in the UK with me due to my work and family commitments. How would we go about starting this?
Emmyjay - 7-Mar-19 @ 9:37 PM
@Ruby - His son's can join you if they are below 18 and dependant on you two.
TJ. - 26-Feb-19 @ 12:43 PM
I'm a British citizen, would like to get married to a South African man - he has two sons - would they be able to join us living in the UK should we get married? Thanks.
Ruby - 25-Feb-19 @ 1:06 PM
@Siergoth - If you get married in Uruguay you can apply for a family visa as a spouse and come to the UK if you meet the requirements. This visa will allow you to work without restrictions.
TJ. - 22-Feb-19 @ 11:20 AM
@sab - please follow this link for guidance. gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/giving-notice-at-your-local-register-office
TJ. - 22-Feb-19 @ 11:18 AM
Hello,I am Uruguayan and my girlfriend is a UK citizen,if we get married in Uruguay,can I move there and work right away ?
Siergoth - 22-Feb-19 @ 6:42 AM
My boyfriend is a British citizen and I'm from Belgium I moved in the uk 4 months ago and my boyfriend asked me for an engagement , my question iswhat can we do to get married in the uk and that I can stay here in the UK ? Or can we marry in Belgium to and what are the rules and how to apply in the uk ? Can we get a phone number from someone to apply or can we only do it online ? I really like this country and I'm so happy to have my boyfriend as future husband.
Sab - 19-Feb-19 @ 7:36 AM
Is it possible to get married to a asylum seeker in the UK. I am now in Sri Lanka and she has got the asylum approved in the UK. Will I be able to come to UK and work and settle with her. Thx
Kolla - 29-Jan-19 @ 3:48 PM
I have a permanent visa UK. My boyfriend it’s on tourist visa ( Brazilian nationality) . We are planning to get married in Denmark ( Aerokosbing city) so we enter in Uk with married certificate. Can we apply for his visa in here? Or He needs to apply in Brazil? Thanks
GG - 28-Jan-19 @ 7:12 PM
@Igigc - You can apply for settled status if you have continuously resided in the UK for at least 5 years.
TJ. - 28-Jan-19 @ 10:18 AM
I am a German pensioner and married to an English pensioner. We live in England. Can I apply for settled status? I would like to becomea British Citizen but it is too expensive.
lgigc - 27-Jan-19 @ 6:34 PM
@Jacko - As an EU citizen, once you get married preferably outside the UK all you would have to do is apply for an EEA family permit and she will be granted residency for 5 years. You must however do this before the UK leaves the EU.
TJ. - 22-Jan-19 @ 10:25 AM
I am Irish man, living in Scotland since 2012, I am ex army, British army, I am currently in recipient of ESA,pip, due to long term mental health issues, my Girlfriend who we intend to marry, is Colombian, can you please offer me some advice about her comming to Scotland, for us to live as man and wife, Many thanks,
Jacko - 19-Jan-19 @ 11:44 PM
Hi there my name is Timothy Turner I have just come back from living in South Africa for almost 40 years , I’m a British citizen and have always had a British passport, my problem is my wife of nearly ten years cannot come with and my stepson who is 18 her grandfather was British and went to Zimbabwe, it’s now been almost 3 months since we have seen each other could you advise what are the possibilities of bringing my family here my contact details are 07444123251Kind regards.Tim Turner
Tim - 7-Jan-19 @ 4:02 PM
Hay my brother is on student visa but now he wants to marry his british girlfriend.can he apply visa from here after getting marry or he should go back to home country and get visa?please reply
Somi - 20-Dec-18 @ 8:14 PM
My finance is Turkish but I am UK citizen is he eleable to stay in uk as resident
Bernice - 23-Nov-18 @ 6:32 PM
Hello, I am German and have lived in the UK for 25 years.I have been together with a Turkish academic for 10 years. Recently he has claimed asylum in Greece and has been told that his claim is very likely to get accepted. My question: if he comes to the UK , will he be sent back or is there a way he can stay even though his first claim was Greece? Is it helpful if we marry in Greece first?
Satsuma - 10-Nov-18 @ 12:21 AM
Hello i need adviceim british and my fiancé is serbian. I visit her once a month in serbia. Im wondering if theres any i can bring her to the uk with me to stay for a couple of months at first and then hopfully permanent. Ive looked at the visa requirements etc and they all seem confusing has anybody been through this process. Thanks any advice is much appriated ??
The-deputy-1 - 6-Nov-18 @ 4:23 PM
Hi, I have ILR but want to marry a US citizen, either here or in the USA, would my status affect their eligibility to remain at all, or do they have to apply for a settlement visa though some other channel?I have not gotten my British citizenship despite living here many years. Thanks!
Brenda - 4-Nov-18 @ 9:03 PM
Hi My son is a Uk citizen working in Dubai. His fiancé is a Serbian national also working in Dubai. She has a 5 Year tourist visa as working for Emirates. They want to marry in Uk then go back to Dubai. Is this possible and if so what do they need? Many thanks Janet.
Jan - 3-Nov-18 @ 10:29 AM
Hai I’m living in Spain to illigel. But my girlfriend lives in London. We want to get married together as soon as possible. She is a British citizen.what should we do now
Afzal - 1-Nov-18 @ 3:30 PM
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