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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 18 Oct 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]
Hi ..am an asylum seeker with a pending case. My boyfriend is a british citizen and we intend to marry, however i wanted to know, if am allowed to & what the requiremnts are for us to do so? Id greatly appreciate your advice :)
rae - 18-Oct-17 @ 1:05 PM
@Mike EU citizens are only eligible for permanent residency in the UK if they have lived in the country for a continous period of 5 years or more exercising EU treaty rights for example working.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 1:39 PM
@Adam it is unlikely that you will be granted permission to marry in the UK and you will alert the authorities to your partner's status. It will be easier for her to leave the UK voluntarily. If you do get married in her country she may apply for a family visa if you meet the many requirements.
TJ. - 15-Oct-17 @ 1:35 PM
I am a UK citizen living in Manchester. I met my partner 5 months ago, we have a genuine relationship and wish to get married. She is from South America and her young children still live there. She cannot speak English to any great extent. Her visa has expiredand so she has been an overstayer (for less than a year). We do not yet live together. Can we get married in the UK? If we marry in her home country, can she apply for a spouse's visa while she's other home and travel back to UK under that visa? If our marriage breaks down will I be responsible for paying maintenance for her children? Thank - you.
Adam - 14-Oct-17 @ 10:34 AM
Emm - Your Question:
Hello I am a British citizen born and bred 28 years. I met my Jamaican boyfriend in England 3 years ago. he was deported for commiting a crime and now I travel out 3 times a year to see him but don't really leave the house when over there as it so dangerous and I'm scared to. Is there any way he can come back? How can I get him back? could he come back if he came to live with me? I hope someone can help me thank

Our Response:
Changes to the general grounds for refusal under part 9 of the Immigration Rules came into effect on 13 December 2012. The changes provide for mandatory or discretionary refusal of entry clearance and leave to enter or remain where the applicant has a criminal history or due to their character, conduct or associations. The length of time for which refusal will remain appropriate will depend on the date and length of sentence imposed, and the person’s character, conduct or associations. You can see mroe via the gov.uk link hereon page nine.
AboutImmigration - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:51 PM
Hi, I am a french citizen, living and working continuously in the UK for almost 3 years now. I am married to a british citizen since January 2016. I would like to get the British nationality by early next year. I know that having a permanent residency is a pre-requirement to get british nationality so can you confirm that I can apply for the permanent residency now? Thanks in advance
mike - 13-Oct-17 @ 10:38 AM
Vee - Your Question:
Please I'm a student with a tier 4 Visa expiring in Sept 2018. My boyfriend proposed and wants us to get married in April 2018. I want to find out what processes to go through and if at all we both can get married without any issues. We are both over 18.

Our Response:
If you’re already in the UK), you and your partner must give at least 28 days’ notice at a designated register office if both the following apply to either of you: you’re from outside the EEA or Switzerland and/or you’re subject to immigration control, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 12-Oct-17 @ 11:21 AM
Please I'm a student with a tier 4 Visa expiring in Sept 2018. My boyfriend proposed and wants us to get married in April 2018. I want to find out what processes to go through and if at all we both can get married without any issues. We are both over 18.
Vee - 10-Oct-17 @ 7:24 PM
Max - Your Question:
Hi, I am a US citizen and my fiancee is from the UK and is coming here so we can get married and then I plan to fly back with her so we can live together. What do I need in order to get to the UK and become a resident after marriage?

Our Response:
If you do not wish to apply for an independent visa and if your partner is currently living in the UK, you would have to fulfil the requirements laid out here .
AboutImmigration - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:35 PM
Hi, I am a US citizen and my fiancee is from the UK and is coming here so we can get married and then I plan to fly back with her so we can live together. What do I need in order to get to the UK and become a resident after marriage?
Max - 9-Oct-17 @ 7:04 AM
Hello, I am an international student, currently on my second masters in msc accounting and finance. Prior to this I had had an MBA before extending to further specialised more in the finance sector. But currently I can no longer make it through the course reasons being it's become two tough and have been able to make it through just with one paper out of the 13 and thus face the risk of being withdrawn from studies if i don't make it at my last attempt. So my question is, can i apply to other universities to change my course, say do something like msc in human resourcesfor my family is able to pay the international fees. Just wondering if my request will be granted at by the home office. Thanks and hope to hear from you
Saz - 6-Oct-17 @ 4:52 PM
Anna - Your Question:
Hello , I would like to ask regarding my boyfriend.we are planning to get married.I am from Romania and I am 18 years old and my boyfriend is from Libya. Does he has the right to get a residency uk because I will be his wife. please advise as soon as possible.thank you in advance

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 6-Oct-17 @ 3:31 PM
Hello I am a British citizen born and bred 28 years. I met my Jamaican boyfriend in England 3 years ago. he was deported for commiting a crime and now I travel out 3 times a year to see him but don't really leave the house when over there as it so dangerous and I'm scared to. Is there any way he can come back? How can I get him back? could he come back if he came to live with me? I hope someone can help me thank
Emm - 6-Oct-17 @ 12:28 PM
Hello , I would like to ask regarding my boyfriend..we are planning to get married ..I am from Romania and I am 18 years old and my boyfriend is from Libya .. Does he has the right to get a residency uk because I will be his wife .. please advise as soon as possible ...thank you in advance
Anna - 6-Oct-17 @ 2:08 AM
englihgirl - Your Question:
Hello thank you for this site and help.my boyfriend from morocco is filling visa and we not sure what is best visa to do we been in relationship more than two years ! we expecting our child this january.we confused as we cant find the finace visa option.there is just marriage visitor visa PLEASE HELP thank you

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here , which should help answer your question. However, you would have to fulfil the financial and other requirements before you are allowed to apply.
AboutImmigration - 5-Oct-17 @ 4:06 PM
Hello thank you for this site and help ...my boyfriend from morocco is filling visa and we not sure what is best visa to do we been in relationship more than two years ! we expecting our child this january . we confused as we cant find the finace visa option ...there is just marriage visitor visa PLEASE HELP thank you
englihgirl - 4-Oct-17 @ 11:50 PM
Slucxy - Your Question:
Hi. I am married and base in London but I've been having issues with my wife dou we live together but do not act now behave lik married couples but we live together because of our son. I hav a girlfriend who lives in Africa and I want to rent a place in London and bring her to live with me. how can I go about dis whole thing pls. tank u

Our Response:
You would not be able to apply to bring your girlfriend to live in the UK, while you are married. Even if you are no longer living with your wife, you still may not satisfy the requirements laid out in the link here.
AboutImmigration - 2-Oct-17 @ 11:55 AM
Hi... I am married and base in London but I've been having issues with my wife dou we live together but do not act now behave lik married couples but we live together because of our son... I hav a girlfriend who lives in Africa and I want to rent a place in London and bring her to live with me... how can I go about diswhole thing pls... tank u
Slucxy - 1-Oct-17 @ 6:54 PM
Hi , I live in N Ireland and am engaged to a Brazilian national I met who is living in Dublin under a work/ study visa. We are having a baby together and I want her to move in with me in Ireland but I don't know how to approach applying for a visa and worried whether she would receive medical treatment in the North.The CAB have not been able to advise me. What sort of visa application should she becompleting? We plan to marry as soon as possible but don't know whether we will be allowed to marry in the UK. Any advice would be so appreciated.
Danny - 29-Sep-17 @ 8:22 PM
Hi. I've been living in UK for over 25 years. Married to British citizen. We have 4 children who all are born in UK. I have recently passed my life in the UK test. My question is. Will i need to apply for British nationality in order to apply for a British passport?
Yaz - 29-Sep-17 @ 5:58 AM
Pete - Your Question:
Hi there,I am a 33 year old English man, myself and my Japanese girlfriend would like to live together in England, we have been dating for 16 months and see each other every 3 months (either in Japan on England), we both want to marry and start a family together, will she be able to live with me in England? Do we need to get married 1st? What is the best course of action I/we can take? Any advise will be greatly appreciated.P.S - I have my own company in England and easily earn enough money to support ourselves and our planned family together.

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here which may apply. However, it is not easy to bring a spouse or partner into the UK. Alternatively, your girlfriend could apply for a visa independently of you if she is planning to work or study.
AboutImmigration - 28-Sep-17 @ 2:56 PM
Hello! I am a born and bred british citizen but my fiancè has a (political -not escaping war) refugee status (he has a refugee passport issued by Luxembourg) he has been living in Luxembourg for 2 years. We want to get married in luxembourg and live in the UK. My salary is currently 18k and will rise to 20k in 2 months. He has about 5-10k saved in his account. What is the likely hood that his visa will get rejected because of his refugee passport and not a country national?
Lalaland - 26-Sep-17 @ 5:37 PM
Hi, I had met my boyfriend 7 years ago during which time we were both in a long distance relationship. After 7 years of on and off dating due to studies/ work/ distance, we have come to a point where we are considering to move on to the next stage in our relationship. He is a British citizen and had been living in the UK his whole life. I am a dentist and would like to continue practising in the UK after obtaining the proper qualification to register under the council as a dentist. My question is, am I eligible to work in the UK ( preferably as a dentist after I have obtained the necessary requirements/registration/license to practise in the UK) after we are married? As dental professionals are not on the list of occupation shortages in the UK, will I also be subjected to the same rules as in Tier 2of working visa (need to find employers that would sponsor and hire me)? Or am I able to just apply for an available vacancy without being subjected to the rules under Tier 2? It is rather confusing due to the nature of the requirements of my profession (a lot rules, regulations, exams, registration, possible training, intention to pursue a master degree eventually) and then to be subjected to the rules when applying for a fiancee/spouse visa. I do hope the questions are not too confusing and you will be able to understand what I am trying to ask (as the whole situation is confusing me too). Thank you in advance for your kind attention and help. Any information will be greatly appreciated as I am not sure where/whom to reach out to at the moment for all my questions.
RLil - 26-Sep-17 @ 4:34 PM
Hiimapricess - Your Question:
Im a british citizen and my fiance is Iranian , the problem is that I am a full time student ? Would he be able to come to the uk even though I live on less than 18 grand a year , and how can he prove that he has enough money to support him self and will not become a burden to anyone ?

Our Response:
Unless you fulfil the requirements of the family visa, link here , then he would not be allowed to come to the UK. His only option would be to apply to visit the UK, but then he would not be allowed to work, or apply for a visa independently of you as his sponsor.
AboutImmigration - 26-Sep-17 @ 4:13 PM
Hi there, I am a 33 year old English man, myself and my Japanese girlfriend would like to live together in England, we have been dating for 16 months and see each other every 3 months (either in Japan on England), we both want to marry and start a family together, will she be able to live with me in England? Do we need to get married 1st? What is the best course of action I/we can take? Any advise will be greatly appreciated. P.S - I have my own company in England and easily earn enough money to support ourselves and our planned family together.
Pete - 26-Sep-17 @ 1:35 PM
Im a british citizen and my fiance is Iranian , the problem is that i am a full time student ? Would he be able to come to the uk even though i live on less than 18 granda year , and how can he prove that he has enough money to support him self and will not become a burden to anyone ?
Hiimapricess - 25-Sep-17 @ 10:53 PM
I am British and live in Scotland my fiancée is Turkish he has been granted a visa for 6 months we want to get married in Scotland does he have to be in the country a certain length of time before we can marry? If so how long? Thanks ??
Looloo - 20-Sep-17 @ 4:27 AM
Marty - Your Question:
I am a British citizen, I want to marry a girl from Ghana. Can she come to the UK and marry me and become a UK resident after a certain time, and apart from air fare, how much will it all cost. Regards. Martin Day

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know regarding the requirements needed to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 19-Sep-17 @ 11:57 AM
Ben.Hur - Your Question:
Hi I have bin with my partner now for five months and she is Turkish and she lived in Germany but now lives back in turkey we met when I was working in turkey but I over stayed my visa in turkey by two days and now banned for five years from turkey we see each other every three weeks I fly to Germany and she fly's from turkey to Germany to see me and we really want to get married but in turkey as her family are there is this possible if so how soon please reply thanks

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we cannot advise you here as we only deal with UK-based immigration law.
AboutImmigration - 18-Sep-17 @ 3:55 PM
I am a British citizen, I want to marry a girl from Ghana. Can she come to the UK and marry me and become a UK resident after a certain time, and apart from air fare, how much will it all cost. Regards. Martin Day
Marty - 18-Sep-17 @ 1:16 PM
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