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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 8 Dec 2017 | 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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[Add a Comment]
@Perez as long as your friend stays married to the EU citizen her visa status will not be affected by her pregnancy.
TJ. - 8-Dec-17 @ 7:57 PM
Hi i just want to find out for a friend. Is it a crime according to the United Kingdom, for a woman to be married and pregnant for another man? My friend is Married to an EU citizen and has a five year visa to remain in UK. Three months ago, she had an affair and got pregnant and is worried about using the biological father's name on the child and if her visa will be revoked because she is having a child for another person.
Perez - 8-Dec-17 @ 10:24 AM
@Winks if your partner is receiving disability allowance benefit you may still be able to apply for a family visa as a spouse once you get married if you can show the case worker that the household has sufficient income for you not use public funds
TJ. - 6-Dec-17 @ 12:03 PM
I need to ask something, I am Serbian and I am in relationshipwith English man, we want to marry in UK but I am using tourist visa to visit him, I live and work in Serbia and traveling to UK every month, my husband is not working, he is on currently on benefits for sick, he does not have minimal financial requirements for my residence, what we can do? Thanks in advance
Winks - 6-Dec-17 @ 2:30 AM
@Perez you do not need his mother's permission to be granted a visa however if your boyfriend was granted a permit based on his dependency on his mother then your marriage will put his current position at risk. Your marriage will be taken to mean that he is no longer dependant on his mother and could lead to his permit being revoked. You will also not be able to apply for leave to remain in the UK based on his permit.
TJ. - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi I'm a student in the UK and have 6 months left on my visa. My Boyfriend wants to marry me but his visa is currently under his Mother who is an EU citizen (family member of an EU citizen). He is 28 and i know he doesn't need his mom's permission to marry, But. What i want to know is, will he require his Mother's permission in order to give me a stay in this country? Or will the home office require his Mom's permission to grant me a stay (visa)
Perez - 5-Dec-17 @ 10:47 AM
@Trey your wife's HIV status will not affect her immigration to the UK. There is also no mandatory test or disclosure requirement of HIV status when applying for a visa.
TJ. - 3-Dec-17 @ 8:36 PM
I'm a UK citizen and I would like to bring my non British wife to live with me she isand HIV positive . Does her status affect the application
trey - 3-Dec-17 @ 1:23 PM
@Imi your son and his partner can apply for a marriage visa first and then once in the UK they can notify the registry and the Home Office of their intention to register a marriage. Or they can officially register the marriage in the country they are in or Canada which will be recognized in the UK.
TJ. - 29-Nov-17 @ 3:10 PM
My son who is a British citizen (born 1991 in UK), has had a religious marriage ceremony not recognised in Britain abroad to a Canadian girl.I understand they now need to get their marriage registered at the Registry Office.Do they need to give notice and then the Home Office will need a further 70 days to complete their checks?Will she be issued with a spouse visa automatically or is this something they will need to apply for after or before they get married?
Imi - 29-Nov-17 @ 1:03 PM
I want to marry a Syrian lady refugee I met in cypress who now lives in Brussels should I get married in Brussels or how do I get her to London to marry what is easier
Gels - 24-Nov-17 @ 12:20 AM
Hi... My husband is Albanian n i am from Poland. We married together for more than 3 years here in UK. Do I or my husband can apply for residentur now? how many years married need to got residenture? Please contact me URGENT( i ask because i need go back to Poland for few months, family reason)
kati25 - 23-Nov-17 @ 7:57 PM
Myself and my partner (a british citizen) moved to the UK in august 2013, i originally entered on a 2 year youth mobility visa. In july 2015 i extended my visa by switching to a spouse visa, on a 5 year route. My current spouse visa (which was awarded for 2.5 years) is expiring in Feruary, so i must extend it. In the time i have been on my spouse visa, my partner and i have gotten engaged and had a baby (our baby is a british citizen). We are due to marry in january, but i wonder what are my best options in light of all of this? Should i continue extending on the unmarried spouse visa for another 2.5 years, or change to a married partner visa, or mother of a britosh citizen visa? I would like to obtain residency as soon as possible so i am safe in the knowledge that i can reside in the uk with my family indefinitely. Any advice would be much appreciated!
Acarroll - 23-Nov-17 @ 7:21 PM
Hi. I’m English My husband is Albanian he is illegal here in UK we asked home office for permission to get married they give it to us. So we r married now, he has never had any criminal record or anything, we have been waiting going for 10 months now and no decision yet so already we been waiting 10 months and he just received a letter to go to signevery 2 weeks and they stated that he isn’t allowed to work for 6 months until a decision is being made, its so stressful waiting and waiting when it could be years for a decision Any advice would be appreciated what we can do? Thank you
BM - 23-Nov-17 @ 10:04 AM
@Nick you will need to give 28 days notice of marriage to the registrar and your application will be referred to the Home Office for a further 70 days because you are a non EEA national. Contact the registration office in your area of residence for more information.
TJ. - 23-Nov-17 @ 9:18 AM
@Annie if you do not meet the minimum income requirement for a family visa it is next to impossible to get an approval. Your options are to wait until you are earning sufficient income in the UK or the other option is to move to another EU country like Ireland and apply for a 5 year EEA family permit for your husband which has no minimum income or other requirements. This permit will be recognized in the UK so you can return as long as you have been living in Ireland for more than 6 months and have some roots there e.g. register as a voter, apply for a driver's license.
TJ. - 23-Nov-17 @ 9:13 AM
Hi there, Currently i am a student in UK and i am from India. My girlfriend is from Romania but she has PR status in UK. we have been dating each other for almost 18 months now and we are sure about our future. we are planning to get married in March when she will be graduated too. i am doing my Masters degree and my visa will expire on 31st august. we did not want to hurry because of our study, but now is the time that we decided to be together and start a new journey. But we have not got any idea how do we start preparing for this, becausei have heard from my friends that there are many tests that we will have to go for this as i am an Asian and she is PR of UK? So please will you advice me something related which can help me to start the process. What are the requirements ?
Nick - 22-Nov-17 @ 4:46 AM
My husband is nigerian and has been living in the uk for 8 years.we have be married 1 and a half years..im working full but unfortunately my husband lost his job while renewing his visa so we didnt earn enough to apply spouse visa anymore we are 4000 a year out but we still coped without public funds..so we applied for other form of visa based in other cicumstances......but got refused his visa although they believe or marriage and relatiibship is genuine..they feel theres no enstenuating circumstances for us to live permantly here and we have no kids yet either..we were appealing this due to my hardships and why i cant move to nigeria...unfortunately my hasband had an emergency family matter and had to visit nigeria quickly a week ago..with no visa to get back to me ..please how to i get him back to me as soin as possible..my salary is 14000 yearly i cant get spouse visa on that...what else can we do?..
Annie - 21-Nov-17 @ 4:46 PM
Hi. My husband is Albanian he is illegal here in UK we asked home office for permission to get married they give it to us. So we r married now, he has never had any criminal record or anything, we have been waiting going for 10 months now and no decision yet so already we been waiting 10 months and he just received a letter to go to signevery 2 weeks and they stated that he isn’t allowed to work for 6 months until a decision is being made, its so stressful waiting and waiting when it could be years for a decision Any advice would be appreciated what we can do? Thank you
Em - 21-Nov-17 @ 2:25 PM
Raj - Your Question:
Hi. I am a Malaysian who has ILR in the U.K. wanting to marry a Russian woman. It is near impossible to get a CNI from the embassy here to marry in Russia, who say I need to travel to Malaysia to get the document (which takes forever). How can I legally marry the lady or bring her to the U.K. to get married?

Our Response:
You can apply for a marriage visitor visa, to bring your partner to the UK, please see link here . However, this does not mean she can live in the UK. She would have to return to her home country at the end of her visa term. You would then have to apply for a family visa, please see link here. In order to apply for this visa, you would have to fulfil the requirements laid out.
AboutImmigration - 21-Nov-17 @ 12:15 PM
Dot - Your Question:
Hi. My fiance is Romanian and I am a UK citizen living in Wales. He has been living here for 2 years. We are getting married next year amd he wants to take my name. What does he need to do in order for this to happen? I know here we can just change name with deed poll but not sure what needs to be done for Romanian citizen. Thanks in advance

Our Response:
Your husband can take your name by Deed Poll. This is a different matter with regards to obtaining British citizenship and has no relevance. If your fiance has been in the UK for two years, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 20-Nov-17 @ 2:22 PM
I intend to bring my fiance (US citizen) to the UK on a family visa. I understand we need to get married within 6 months of her obtaining her approved visa. Do we need to conduct the wedding ceremony in the UK or does it not matter as long as we're legally wed? (i.e could we get married in the USA or within Europe and that would be OK?)
Simon - 19-Nov-17 @ 9:10 PM
Hi. My fiance is Romanian and i am a UK citizen living in Wales. He has been living here for 2 years. We are getting married next year amd he wants to take my name. What does he need to do in order for this to happen? I know here we can just change name with deed poll but not sure what needs to be done for Romanian citizen. Thanks in advance
Dot - 19-Nov-17 @ 3:45 PM
Hi. I am a Malaysian who has ILR in the U.K. wanting to marry a Russian woman. It is near impossible to get a CNI from the embassy here to marry in Russia, who say I need to travel to Malaysia to get the document (which takes forever). How can I legally marry the lady or bring her to the U.K. to get married?
Raj - 18-Nov-17 @ 9:24 PM
Uy - Your Question:
My boyfriend is illegally in the UK as an overstayer for almost 2 years. Im a british citizen and We are intending to marry, what should we be aware of and what is the safest option?

Our Response:
If your boyfriend is undocumented, then he would not be given permission to marry in the UK. Likewise, if he is discovered in the UK, he is liable for deportation. Your only recourse would be to seek advice from an independent immigration adviser who would be able to advise further, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 16-Nov-17 @ 2:11 PM
My boyfriend is illegally in the UK as an overstayer for almost 2 years. Im a british citizen and We are intending to marry, what should we be aware of and what is the safest option?
Uy - 15-Nov-17 @ 10:21 PM
Hi..my boyfriend is a latvian citizen living in UK for9years , we intend toget married in Philippines but we need to figure it out how he can being me to UK...what type of visa should i apply for me to be with him ? And What are the requirements? Thanks
Leiyh - 10-Nov-17 @ 3:02 PM
Hi, I was born in England and have dual U.S./UK citizenship but have not lived in the UK for many years. My husband is a U.S. citizen - we married in 2012 in the U.S. We've been traveling for the last year and have not been earning during this time but have some savings. We don't plan on returning to the U.S. and would like to settle in the UK. Can we can apply online (which is preferable) while we travel or is it best for us to go to the UK and for me to reestablish residency? If its the latter, how would we arrange for my husband be able to stay with me during that time? Thanks for your advice.
M.I. - 9-Nov-17 @ 6:51 PM
Hello, I am a Canadian citizen who is currently in the UK under visitor status after meeting my boyfriend of 2 years when I was working on a tier 5 Visa.We now need to figure out our best option for staying together and wondered if the unmarried partner visa would work as I have sent an application and it’s been completed, I have yet to sign the declaration since we are shy a few months of living together for two years.Also, marriage isn’t out of the question, but do we have to apply for a certificate of approval first THEN give notice to registrar to be married in town hall? Just looking for best options. Thanks!
N.Marie - 7-Nov-17 @ 1:47 PM
Deano - Your Question:
Hi I would like to ask, I would like to bring my girlfriend who is from Nigeria to stay with me in the UK, we want to get married and start a family here, I am going out to see here at the end of the year and to also get engaged, I was born and have living in Britain all my life, I work full time and intend on supporting her till we are married. What I want to know how do I go about bringing her over Thanks Dean

Our Response:
As @TJ says, you can apply for a visitor visa, via the link here . However, your girlfriend would have to keep to the terms of the visa and return to her home country once the visa is due to expire. In order for your girlfriend to live long term in the UK, you would have to satisfy the requirements laid out here in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:16 PM
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