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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 24 Mar 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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Rach - Your Question:
I previously posted our situation and no one has replied.Original post - Hi, hoping for some help here. I am a UK Citizen and my fiance is Pakistani. We have been together since 2014, lived together in Scotland until December 2015 and then moved to Ireland. My partner is currently in and Asylum process and we have applied to get married here in Galway but our marriage has been refused as they think its a marriage of convenience and now we are at a stop and dont know what to do. Has anyone ever been through this who can give us advice? Would it be worth going back to the UK to get married there and stay there? If so, can anyone advise on the procedure. Many thanks in advance.Can someone please please help us?

Our Response:
At About Immigration, we can only give general, non-specific advice. In a case such as this, which is more complex, it may be more helpful if you obtain some professional immigration advice in order to fully explore your options - please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 23-Mar-17 @ 11:16 AM
I previously posted our situation and no one has replied. Original post - Hi, hoping for some help here. I am a UK Citizen and my fiance is Pakistani. We have been together since 2014, lived together in Scotland until December 2015 and then moved to Ireland. My partner is currently in and Asylum process and we have applied to get married here in Galway but our marriage has been refused as they think its a marriage of convenience and now we are at a stop and dont know what to do. Has anyone ever been through this who can give us advice? Would it be worth going back to the UK to get married there and stay there? If so, can anyone advise on the procedure. Many thanks in advance. Can someone please please help us?
Rach - 22-Mar-17 @ 4:29 PM
Spammy - Your Question:
Hi. I an a UK national and have only been going out with my boyfriend for six months. He is from Maroc and is married to a UK woman, which is how he came to be here. They split in 2015 and have now agreed to divorce. Unfortunately, his visa runs out in October. Clearly we haven't been together for two years, but we want to stay together. He has a job and good English and I am well paid and can support us both. We do not want children. Is there any Visa option open to us so he can stay, and ideally continue working? I would even consider some of the business ones if we could set something up together, if they exist? He has been advised that even if we wanted to marry, he would have to leave the country.

Our Response:
If his visa was dependent upon sponsorship of his spouse, then as specified in the terms of his visa he would have to return to his home country if the circumstances have changed. From there he would have to apply for a fresh visa to enter the UK. I'm afraid there is no way around this, as he will not qualify for a visa extension if his previous relationship has broken down.
AboutImmigration - 22-Mar-17 @ 1:50 PM
rose - Your Question:
I have been dating my fiance for almost 3 years we met online and phone each other all the time we Skype and we send each has other gifts n cards at Xmas valentines n birthdays we want to meet so much but he applied over a year ago but was refused entry the reasons were because he has changed his job only recently at that time and because he was taking a lot of money with him against his monthly wage I was his sponsor as he was going to stay with me during his visit the reason he was taking a lot of money was to buy my engagement ring. When the news came that he couldn't come we were both devastated all our dreams n plans were in ruins. I was very sad becos of this he paid a lot of money into my bank account so that I could get my ring he had promised me and to stop me feeling so sad we love each other so much I am not wealthy and nor is he but he helped me out a few times when I was short of money. we don't know what to do as he was refused n we so want to be together n marry in the future I am divorced with a child of 11 and 19 so I want him to come here to uk as I can't leave my family he wanted me to come to his country but as I can't he would come and live here but we have no clue how to go about things he has a business masters degree and is intelligent n we have spoken of him trying to get qualified in an area to aid him getting over here he is from india n I am British from uk n live in UK have done all my life can you help can you tell us what to do it seems so impossible but we want to be together so much n hopefully we will meet this year and if he can't get a visa I am going to meet him there but I'd rather he came here please please help and advise we are the genuine couple n I know he loves me we love each other can you help me please thank you.

Our Response:
His only other option would be to apply for a work visa to come to the UK, please see visa link here. I'm afraid there is little else you can do but for him to continue to apply for a visitor visa. Bringing someone to live in the UK, is not easy. You may have to apply again when he has been in his new job for some time and you can convince the Home Office he will not attempt to stay in the UK beyond the terms of his visa.
AboutImmigration - 22-Mar-17 @ 12:49 PM
Hi. I an a UK national and have only been going out with my boyfriend for six months. He is from Maroc and is married to a UK woman, which is how he came to be here. They split in 2015 and have now agreed to divorce. Unfortunately, his visa runs out in October. Clearly we haven't been together for two years, but we want to stay together. He has a job and good English and I am well paid and can support us both. We do not want children. Is there any Visa option open to us so he can stay, and ideally continue working? I would even consider some of the business ones if we could set something up together, if they exist? He has been advised that even if we wanted to marry, he would have to leave the country...
Spammy - 22-Mar-17 @ 4:56 AM
I have been dating my fiance for almost 3 years we met online and phone each other all the time we Skype and we send each has other gifts n cards at Xmas valentines n birthdays we want to meet so much but he applied over a year ago but was refused entry the reasons were because he has changed his job only recently at that time and because he was taking a lot of money with him against his monthly wage I was his sponsor as he was going to stay with me during his visit the reason he was taking a lot of money was to buy my engagement ring. When the news came that he couldn't come we were both devastated all our dreams n plans were in ruins. I was very sad becos of this he paid a lot of money into my bank account so that I could get my ring he had promised me and to stop me feeling so sad we love each other so much I am not wealthy and nor is he but he helped me out a few times when I was short of money. we don't know what to do as he was refused n we so want to be together n marry in the future I am divorced with a child of 11 and 19 so I want him to come here to uk as I can't leave my family he wanted me to come to his country but as I can't he would come and live here but we have no clue how to go about things he has a business masters degree and is intelligent n we have spoken of him trying to get qualified in an area to aid him getting over here he is from india n I am British from uk n live in UK have done all my life can you help can you tell us what to do it seems so impossible but we want to be together so much n hopefully we will meet this year and if he can't get a visa I am going to meet him there but I'd rather he came here please please help and advise we are the genuine couple n I know he loves me we love each other can you help me please thank you.
rose - 21-Mar-17 @ 11:07 PM
Den - Your Question:
Hi. I'm an illegal living in the uk for 2 years now and currently pregnant.My partner us British and we're thinking to get married before the baby is born.Am I going to have problems if I get married.is it even possible to get married being illegal?Thanks!

Our Response:
Yes, you will need ID in order to get married and it is likely you will be questioned if you cannot prove your legal status in the UK. If you are found to be overstaying, you will face automatic deportation, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 21-Mar-17 @ 2:32 PM
Hi i am a British citizen currently living in southern Ireland with my wife for the last 2 years. She has a 5 year spouse visa and is originally from Iraq. I would like to settle down in uk what is the process and are we eligible? Thanks
Ash - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:56 PM
Hi... I'm an illegal living in the uk for 2 years now and currently pregnant. My partner us British and we're thinking to get married before the baby is born...Am I going to have problems if I get married...is it even possible to get married being illegal? Thanks!
Den - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:31 PM
frankben - Your Question:
Hi my girlfriend is a permanent resident in uk fulltime profesional , im a moroccan national living in morocco , we have met and visited each other and do have a 3 years relationship by now ,planning to get married and both live in the uk ,but we dont know where to startthe marriage process from ,can you please help us what documents do we need better to get married in morocco or in gibraltar ???

Our Response:
We do not hold any documents about getting married in other countries. We only have details of UK-based applications to marry, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 20-Mar-17 @ 2:03 PM
hi my girlfriend is a permanent resident in ukfulltime profesional , im a moroccan national living in morocco , we have met and visited each other and do have a 3 years relationship by now ,planning to get married and both live in the uk ,but we dont know where to startthe marriage process from ,can you pleasehelp us what documents do we need better to get married in morocco or in gibraltar???
frankben - 18-Mar-17 @ 11:17 AM
Kat - Your Question:
Hi my bf lives in America , we met online and have been coming and going to see one another , over the past year , I can't leave Uk because I have children , he is willing to move here but I don't know what visa he should come on ? I want him to be able to work when he comes , he's no professional ? We plan on marrying if things work out. If he comes here in a visitor visa he will have to leave before 6 months , can't work etc and flights are pricey too.I work full time but my wage is only 17k a year.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here. However, you as his sponsor would have to fulfil the financial requirements of earning over £18,600 per year in order for your partner to be able to apply. His only other alternative would be to see if he is eligible to apply for a work visa independently of you. Please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 17-Mar-17 @ 12:42 PM
Hi my bf lives in America , we met online and have been coming and going to see one another , over the past year , I can't leave Uk because I have children , he is willing to move here but I don't know what visa he should come on ? I want him to be able to work when he comes , he's no professional ? We plan on marrying if things work out .If he comes here in a visitor visa he will have to leave before 6 months , can't work etc and flights are pricey too.I work full time but my wage is only 17k a year .
Kat - 16-Mar-17 @ 11:41 PM
fizzy - Your Question:
Hi I need some advice, I am a UK citizen my partner is here on a visiting visa from the Caribbean and we are now engaged. He doesn't have a fiance or marriage visa we was told that we have to go back to his country to get married then he can come back? is this the only way forward is there not something else we could do? I cant believe how hard it has got for the genuine couples like myself to have a marriage relationship.Anyway what happens once we get married abroad can he come back with me after 3 weeks?

Our Response:
I'm afraid the 'spouse' visa is the only way your partner can apply, please see link here. This means your partner has to leave the country in order to be able to apply. There have been many complaints about this particular visa and the financial requirements required for the UK sponsor to be able to apply. However, the terms have recently been upheld in the Supreme Court, despite the fact many have deemed the terms unfair.
AboutImmigration - 16-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
Winstonio - Your Question:
Hi, I am a UK citizen and like many people since brexit announcement am worried as my partner is from Holland we have been together for 13 yrs and she has 3 Daughter 21, 24, 25 who came over from Holland with her in 2004, My partner is very anxious about her right to stay in UK and obviously our relationship in Uk. She has suggested getting married even though we have always said that we didn't need to get married to be happy, and have been all this time. does anyone know if we got married would that give her a right to stay in UK and how would we go about it.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 16-Mar-17 @ 2:19 PM
Hi, I am a UK citizen and like many people since brexit announcement am worried as my partner is from Holland we have been together for 13 yrs and she has 3 Daughter 21, 24, 25 who came over from Holland with her in 2004, My partner is very anxious about her right to stay in UK and obviously our relationship in Uk. She has suggested getting married even though we have always said that we didn't need to get married to be happy, and have been all this time. does anyone know if we got married would that give her a right to stay in UK and how would we go about it.
Winstonio - 16-Mar-17 @ 10:52 AM
Zoe1984 - Your Question:
Hi.I am English,living in the UK with my partner of 13 happy years.He is Portuguese.We have a son who will be 6 in May and a daughter who is 2 and a half. I work full time while my partner has been the full time stay at home parent.I support him financially.Obviously we are both extremely scared and anxious regarding the Brexit decision about EU nationals right to stay in the UK.We have spoke about marriage for many years,but we never saw the urgency to do it as it wouldn't change anything,so it just never happened. Would marrying now "secure" his rights to stay in the UK with his family? Very sad situation our country has sank into,I'm almost ashamed to call myself British.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you your partner's options.
AboutImmigration - 14-Mar-17 @ 12:57 PM
Hi I am philippino and married a uk citizen, ee have been married for 3 years. He now works in nee zealand and i am still in uk, do i have a right to stay while he is abroad? We have 1 child who is uk citizen
kazsmit - 14-Mar-17 @ 9:52 AM
Hi.I am English,living in the UK with my partner of 13 happy years.He is Portuguese.We have a son who will be 6 in May and a daughter who is 2 and a half. I work full time while my partner has been the full time stay at home parent.I support him financially.Obviously we are both extremely scared and anxious regarding the Brexit decision about EU nationals right to stay in the UK.We have spoke about marriage for many years,but we never saw the urgency to do it as it wouldn't change anything,so it just never happened. Would marrying now "secure" his rights to stay in the UK with his family? Very sad situation our country has sank into,I'm almost ashamed to call myself British.
Zoe1984 - 13-Mar-17 @ 9:15 PM
Robby671 - Your Question:
Hi I am uk citizen and my girlfriends is Filipino and we want to marry and live together in the UK. The only thing we might struggle with is the money bit where I have to earn £18,600. I work full time 39 hours at minimum wage so how can anyone earn that much. Even a supervisor job wouldn't earn that much so how can normal working person in a genuine relationship earn that amount which is just ridiculous as that is going to stop relationship. What if we don't earn that much does that mean we can't be together?

Our Response:
I'm afraid so. Only recently this very matter went to the Supreme Court, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 13-Mar-17 @ 11:32 AM
Hi I am uk citizen and my girlfriends is Filipino and we want to marry and live together in the UK. The only thing we might struggle with is the money bit where I have to earn £18,600. I work full time 39 hours at minimum wage so how can anyone earn that much. Even a supervisor job wouldn't earn that much so how can normal working person in a genuine relationship earn that amount which is just ridiculous as that is going to stop relationship. What if we don't earn that much does that mean we can't be together?
Robby671 - 12-Mar-17 @ 8:38 AM
Hi, I'm a Filipina and marrying a UK citizen here in Dubai. I just want to ask if we get married here in Dubai, can we marry again in UK? His family can't attend our ceremony here so plan to do a simple wedding here and fly to UK and get married again there with the presence of his family. What would be the procedure for that?Hope you can help. Thanks
Janice - 12-Mar-17 @ 4:17 AM
I am a NZ citizen, married for three years to a UK citizen and we are wanting to move to the UK to be closer to my wives family. I am a mathematics teacher so will be seeking employment as a teacher in the UK. I am unsure if I am allowed to enter the UK as a visitor and then find a teaching job or if I have to have a job before I am allowed to enter. Is it true that I will have to leave the country to apply for a visa if I get offered a job? thanks
Pat - 11-Mar-17 @ 9:24 PM
Hi i need some advice, i am a UK citizen my partner is here on a visiting visa from the Caribbeanand we are now engaged.He doesn't have a fiance or marriage visa we was told that we have to go back to his country to get married then he can come back? is this the only way forward is there not something else we could do? i cant believe how hard it has got for the genuine couples like myself to have a marriage relationship. Anyway what happens once we get married abroad can he come back with me after 3 weeks?
fizzy - 11-Mar-17 @ 12:04 PM
Ash - Your Question:
Hi, im a uk citizen. I am currently living in NZ and am married to a NZ citizen for year and a half. We are looking at going back to the UK and working for 2 years. I was wondering what visa he would have to apply for? Also we have two children are they accepted as british citizens or do they have to get visas as well. Thank you

Our Response:
You would have to apply for the visa laid out in the article here and both of you would have to qualify for all the requirements. This includes you as the British citizen being classed as being ordinarily resident in the UK. Plus, either having savings of over £62,500 or earning a salary of £18,600 (more if you have children) before you are eligible to apply.
AboutImmigration - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:58 PM
Hi, im a uk citizen. I am currently living in NZ and am married to a NZ citizen for year and a half. We are looking at going back to the UK and working for 2 years. I was wondering what visa he would have to apply for? Also we have two children are they accepted as british citizens or do they have to get visas as well. Thank you
Ash - 10-Mar-17 @ 1:35 AM
Hi, I'm a NZ citizen and have been married in the uk to a British citizen for 27 years. I live here, we have four children and I obtained a degree here. I work full time for the local authority. I have only ever had a NZ passport with U.K. residence permit, currently on my expired passport so when travelling I always bring the new one and the expired one with the permit, it's never been an issue coming into the country. However - I have recently changed jobs and they say I need this to be on my current passport or have uk citizenship. I've looked on gov.uk and am SO confused as to what I need. Is right to abode same as resiendce permit? If I go for citizenship do I (seriously!) have to take the test - have also read it can cost almost £2000 - please advise what my choices are, and which is the less costly! Thanks very much!
Nats - 9-Mar-17 @ 9:13 PM
hi am muyiwa from nigeria the woman I wanted to get married too she a uk citizens and I plan to relocate and stay with her in uk and get married please enlightened me
oba ajewole - 9-Mar-17 @ 4:58 PM
Maxim - Your Question:
Hi I am British citizen and I have my fiancé here in uk who's a filipino but working in dubai he visit me here and we got married is he supposed to go back to dubai even if we're married now?thank you.

Our Response:
Yes, your husband will have to stick to the terms of his visa and return to his home country. If he wants to return to the UK, then he would have to re-apply. If he wants to apply to live in the UK, then you would both have to satisfy the terms of the visa requirements here .
AboutImmigration - 8-Mar-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi i am British citizen and i have my fiancé here in uk who's a filipino but working in dubai he visit me here and we got married is he supposed to go back to dubai even if we're married now?thank you.
Maxim - 7-Mar-17 @ 2:58 PM
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