Home > Residency > Marrying a UK Resident

Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 23 Nov 2018 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
HAFI - 1-Nov-18 @ 12:56 PM
Hi im just wondering when it says income you need £16,000 worth of savings does this mean the both of us combined or do we both need 16,000 each thanks in advance
Jack - 27-Oct-18 @ 9:31 AM
Hi, I'm a bulgarian citizen living in the UK, my partner is an asylum seeker in Belgium. We are 6 years together but I cant get job in Belgium and cant stay there for a long time. According to belgian law any of us should have a permanent job in Belgium which nobody of us can obtain there. Can he get a marriage visitor visa so that we could get married or how we can get married please advise?
Emma - 22-Oct-18 @ 2:48 PM
@Ibrahim - If you applied for a spouse visa under the 5 year route then you can apply for ILR once you have lived in the UK for at least 5 years. If you applied under the 10 year route then you can only apply for ILR after 10 years living in the UK
TJ. - 21-Oct-18 @ 2:50 PM
Hi my name is fahd I’m from Egypt and I’m married from Uk and I’m here in Uk and I have spous visa 2 and 6 month can you tell me I can apply for indefinite leave to Remain or I have to get anther 2 years and 6 month Thank you
Ibrahim - 20-Oct-18 @ 1:57 AM
@Raza - You can apply for an EEA family permit using the Surinder Singh route
TJ. - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:36 PM
Hi I got married in pakistan with a British citizen And i m living in italy i have 5 years italian residence card. I also registered my marriage in italy and i have attested certificate. Now how can i enter in England by boarder Shell a need a visa first or from boarder i can get a visa.
Raza - 14-Oct-18 @ 9:50 PM
if a person has overstayed for almost 2years with no rights for the uk and had a baby in the uk will he able to get married to sombody who has rights residency up here? IF yes how can they do it and IF not how can they go
MK - 12-Oct-18 @ 8:06 AM
@Dario - If you are illegally in the UK you must leave the country first and apply to regularize your status from outside the country
TJ. - 2-Oct-18 @ 1:23 AM
Hello,I’m albanian citizen and I want to apply for visa here in uk ,I’m not legally here I have three year I stay with my gf she’s British but she don’t have job or house to guarantee me !what I need to do ? Thanks
Dario - 1-Oct-18 @ 1:04 PM
@Soda bread - You are already a Permanent Resident in the UK. All you need to do is apply for settled status after March 2019 and this will allow you to continue living in the UK without any restriction. As soon as you get settled status you can also apply for British citizenship.
TJ. - 30-Sep-18 @ 9:02 PM
Hi, I am a Swedish national who has lived in the UK since 2000 and I am married to a British national since 2007. We have 3 children, all born in the UK. What do I / we have to do after brexit? Thank you.
Soda bread - 30-Sep-18 @ 7:55 PM
@Moss - This year the Supreme Court ruled that Civil partnerships between heterosexual couples was legal however the government is yet to make laws that make this possible. A civil marriage remains an option for you as this has nothing to do with religion. To apply for a spouse visa under the 5 year route your spouse must earn at least £18,600 per year. If she can't meet this requirement you will need to apply under the 10 year route.
TJ. - 13-Sep-18 @ 11:57 AM
Hi, I am from Pakistan living in uk on student visa since 2016. My girlfriend is from Spain and we are living together since past 1 and half year. Is it possible to form a civil partnership with her as she doesn't believe in marriages because she is atheist. If so, then where can we form civil partnership as a piece of evidence so I can send my application to home office. Does she need to show income threshold. She works now and earns around £12000. I would really appreciate if you can asnwer my query please. Thanks a lot.
Moss - 13-Sep-18 @ 8:40 AM
Moniz - Your Question:
Hi I’m from East Timor I work permanent here.and I have one daughter with my boyfriend but they are both live in East Timor,it’s hard to live far from them.My question is Can I bring them to UK?

Our Response:
You would have to be deemed eligible to apply for a family visa. The requirements can be found here .
AboutImmigration - 4-Sep-18 @ 2:02 PM
I got married in iran to Iranian lady, she has been in the uk few times with tourist visa and family visa. Our daughter is leaving with me in Uk. My daughter was born in uk and has a British passport. I can’t get my wife over on spouse visa. She has been rejected twice for visit visa. Please help me
Aliy1290783 - 4-Sep-18 @ 2:10 AM
Hi I’m from East Timor I work permanent here.and I have one daughter with my boyfriend but they are both live in East Timor,it’s hard to live far from them.My question is Can I bring them to UK?
Moniz - 29-Aug-18 @ 2:57 PM
@Desssi - Embassies do not conduct wedding ceremonies. You will have to find out how to get married in Egypt through the local authorities there. Once married, you can apply for an EEA family permit so that you can both return to the UK.
TJ. - 28-Aug-18 @ 1:52 PM
@motordave - If you do not meet the requirements for a spouse family visa you can apply for one under the 10 year route.
TJ. - 28-Aug-18 @ 1:50 PM
Hi I’m Bulgarian woman living in uk 14 years I want to marry Egyptian man I’m really confused where how? We went to Bulgarian embassy in Cairo they said we can’t marry please help me to find out
Desssi - 28-Aug-18 @ 12:27 PM
Hi I am a 25 year old British citizen who has fell in love and wish to marry my Albanian illegal boyfriend! Would he have to return to Albania and we marry there or can we do from U.K.??? Thankyou
Lozza - 27-Aug-18 @ 9:35 PM
Hello, I'm a UK citizen, my partner is Canadian. What would the process be for us to get married and would he be allowed to come to the UK?
Prentis - 23-Aug-18 @ 7:54 PM
Hi, can an asylum seeker marry british citizen please. Thankingyou kindly.
rumple - 23-Aug-18 @ 6:27 PM
@lbd - Bulgarian citizens can live, study and work in the UK without any restrictions or visas
TJ. - 21-Aug-18 @ 10:35 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments