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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Aug 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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Hi, My fiance is a European citizen wants to move to UK And I am in usa at the momentstill not granted the permenant residence Our plan is to get married soon and move to the UK .. My questions are , Will he be granted settle status as a European citizen or it will effect his status because of the brexit issue !? If it's ok with him to stay what will happen to me after we are married ,will I be able to get permenant residence there as I am married to a European citizen! ? Thanks ,
Lorain - 16-Aug-17 @ 2:57 AM
My husband is Canadian and I am from the UK. He is coming with me to UK in mid October, will he be able to apply for a long stay visa when he is in the UK.
Lulu - 15-Aug-17 @ 11:04 PM
Hi im a filipina working in hongkong and my boyfriend is a european from serbia but he us living in Uk,he only hold a french citizenship,i want an advice whats the good thing to do as my boyfriend want me to get in Uk ? It is possible that we can apply for fiancee visa for Uk? Thank you very much
Gel - 15-Aug-17 @ 2:29 AM
Hi , i am dutch and have being living in the uk for 7 years now and would like to bring my iraqi boyfriend over here to life and get maried together what are the requirments and would i be able to bring him to uk while am not british myself ?
Roya - 13-Aug-17 @ 11:54 AM
Hi.. I am a permanent resident of the UK.. I am currently studying in SA.. And my girlfriend is here.. I will be completing my studies I'm 2 years and wish to bring my girlfriend home with me and get married.. How do I go about this?
Ad35 - 13-Aug-17 @ 11:34 AM
I am a British citizens, my partner is Thai.we plan on getting married and him eventually moving to live with me here in the UK. He is a Doctor in Thailand but has to complete his three year hospital contract in Thailand before he can live practice in the UK. Can he come over to Britain to marry me, but then return to Thailand to complete his training, or will we have to wait until he is ready to live here before we can get married? We are a gay couple. So can't get married in Thailand. Thank you for your advice in advance
justne - 13-Aug-17 @ 11:18 AM
My husband and i have been married 10 years, he is a pakistani citizen who has permanant leave to remain in Uk , i am a British citizen since birth. My question is, we would like to travel to europe for a holiday, can my husband travel without schanghan visa with me been a Brit citizen or does he need one. Forgive my spelling. Thank you
Hayles - 12-Aug-17 @ 7:05 PM
LK - Your Question:
Hello, I am an Austrian citizen and my fiance is a British citizen but we both live in Istanbul, Turkey as we are also dual Turkish citizens. We hold all citizenships from birth. We would like to officially get married in the UK as my fiance's grandmother is old and will not be able to travel to Turkey. Is this possible? If so what are the requirements as I am an EEA citizen and he is a British citizen but without residency?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 11-Aug-17 @ 2:19 PM
lululuck - Your Question:
Hello!I am an American Citizen and I met my boyfriend in October 2014 when I lived in the UK for a year while completing a masters course. We have been dating since October 2014 so almost 3 years now (1 yr together in the UK and 2 yrs long-distance). I am planning to move to the UK again to do my PhD (3 yrs) and plan to live with him. I am wondering if I will be able to apply for a visa as a partner after 2 years of living together while I am studying? The Spouse or Partner visa says you need to prove you have lived together for 2 years before you apply.any help would be greatly appreciated!

Our Response:
If you come to the UK to study for your PhD, then you would have to keep to the terms of this visa and leave the UK when the tems of your study visa finishes. If you wish to apply for a family visa, then you would have to apply afresh from your own country. However, if you satisfy the requirements of the family visa regarding living together and the pre-requisite financial ones, you will be eligible to apply, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 11-Aug-17 @ 12:21 PM
Hello, I am an Austrian citizen and my fiance is a British citizen but we both live in Istanbul, Turkey as we are also dual Turkish citizens. We hold all citizenships from birth. We would like to officially get married in the UK as my fiance's grandmother is old and will not be able to travel to Turkey. Is this possible? If so what are the requirements as I am an EEA citizen and he is a British citizen but without residency?
LK - 11-Aug-17 @ 11:29 AM
Hello! I am an American Citizen and I met my boyfriend in October 2014 when I lived in the UK for a year while completing a masters course. We have been dating since October 2014 so almost 3 years now (1 yr together in the UK and 2 yrs long-distance). I am planning to move to the UK again to do my PhD (3 yrs) and plan to live with him. I am wondering if I will be able to apply for a visa as a partner after 2 years of living together while I am studying? The Spouse or Partner visa says you need to prove you have lived together for 2 years before you apply....any help would be greatly appreciated!
lululuck - 11-Aug-17 @ 12:59 AM
SA - Your Question:
HiI have been married to a Moroccan man for over 8 years we have a four year old daughter. My husband has been living in France over 11 years he has a permanent French residence card. I have recently moved back to the uk and have twice applied for a visa for him and both times has been refused. I really don't understand why I have lived in France with my husband for over five years worked and study there. He as also worked and study in France and has a PhD in physics. Really desperate for the right advice

Our Response:
You don't say what grounds the visa was refused on. There are a number of reasons why your visa may be refused such as not fulfilling the application requirements, missing documents such as bank statements etc or even the likes of submitting copies instead of original documents.
AboutImmigration - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:11 PM
Hi I have been married to a Moroccan man for over 8 years we have a four year old daughter. My husband has been living in France over 11 years he has a permanent French residence card. I have recently moved back to the uk and have twice applied for a visa for him and both times has been refused. I really don't understand why I have lived in France with my husband for over five years worked and study there . He as also worked and study in France and has a PhD in physics. Really desperate for the right advice
SA - 9-Aug-17 @ 6:13 PM
Bleri - Your Question:
Hi , I'm from Albania , and my wife is English ,I came here illegally way here in uk before 5 years, we have been together for 3 years now, and we done everything on behalf of ours lawyer, we contacted home office and they believe everything,they give us permission to get married here in uk, 6 months is nearly coming to an end for us and still no answer. How Much chance do we have to win the visa.

Our Response:
We cannot anticipate what the Home Office may decide.
AboutImmigration - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:12 PM
Reese - Your Question:
Just had my permanent residency and plan to bring over my common law partner from the philippines.but my partner's marriage from his previous relationship hasnt been annuled yet even though they've been separated for 15yrs now.is it still possible that I can bring him here even he is still married to anothet girl?

Our Response:
If you fulfil the requirements laid out in the family visa link here you would be eligible to apply.
AboutImmigration - 7-Aug-17 @ 3:51 PM
Hi , I'm from Albania , and my wife is English ,I came here illegally way here in uk before 5 years, we have been together for 3 years now, and we done everything on behalf of ours lawyer, we contacted home office and they believe everything,they give us permission to get married here in uk, 6 months is nearly coming to an end for us and still no answer. How Much chance do we have to win the visa.
Bleri - 7-Aug-17 @ 9:53 AM
Just had my permanent residency and plan to bring over my common law partner from the philippines.but my partner's marriage from his previous relationship hasnt been annuled yet even though they've been separated for 15yrs now.is it still possible that i can bring him here even he is still married to anothet girl?
Reese - 6-Aug-17 @ 5:24 PM
Ammar - Your Question:
I came to London one month ago on visit visa and got attached with a girl.now we are in love and want to marry.I have visit visa for six months can I marry her and be allowed to live in London permanently.?if not then what's the procedure ?because I have only five months left on my visit visa.please help me.I am very upset.just help me.I can pay fees of the government procedure.please help I don't want to lose her.please

Our Response:
You would have to keep to the terms of your visa and return home in order to apply for a new visa. However, while you may be allowed to marry in the UK, please see link here , this does not allow you to live in the UK. You would have to fulfil the requirements laid out in the link here in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 4-Aug-17 @ 12:05 PM
kat - Your Question:
Hi, I'm EEU national living in London till from 2006, however, I cannot satisfy the requirement of 5 continuous years as a qualified person that would allow me to apply for the permanent resident card. I'm living in a durable relationship with my partner from 2011. My partner has been issued with a permanent residency card more than a year ago and currently, he is preparing himself for the 'life in the UK' test to apply for the British citizenship. We have 2 children together and they both have British passports (dual citizenships). I am a full-time university student classified as a Home student (I had to prove that I live in the UK for the last 3 or 4 years (sorry I don't remember) to be accepted on the same basis like the students that were born in the UK). I started my study in 2013 (with a 1-year break to give birth to the second child) and I'm still a student (soon I will start my final year and I'm planning a postgraduate study). Before I was self-employed. I have a European Health Insurance Card but it was issued in the UK (therefore is not qualified as comprehensive sickness insurance). I couldn't apply for the permanent resident card in my own rights because I cannot satisfy the requirement of being a qualified person for the 5 continuous years. I tried to apply as an unmarried partner of EEU national with my partner as a sponsor but was refused. Now we planning to legalise our relationship by marriage and my question is if as a legal wife of EEU resident (soon hopefully British citizen) I will be able to acquire a permanent residency card? just to add that we are both from different EEU countries, we met in the UK, our children were born here, we have more links with the UK than our birth countries, there is a centre of our lives and here we plan to build up our future together. Help please! how can I get my residency card (and British citizenship after)??

Our Response:
We cannot answer questions on specific personal issues as we do not have the remit. For this you would have to seek independent immigration advice, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 4-Aug-17 @ 10:01 AM
Lorena - Your Question:
I am a British citizen but have been resident in Tenerife for over three years. My partner of two years is Nigerian and we hope to get married next year. I would love to get married at home with all my family. Is this possible and if so what documents are required. All help would be appreciated

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 4-Aug-17 @ 9:48 AM
I came to London one month ago on visit visa and got attached with a girl .now we are in love and want to marry .I have visit visa for six months can I marry her and be allowed to live in London permanently .?if not then what's the procedure ?because I have only five months left on my visit visa.please help me.I am very upset.just help me.I can pay fees of the government procedure.please help I don't want to lose her.please
Ammar - 3-Aug-17 @ 10:13 PM
Pete - Your Question:
I'm English and I'm marrying my Filipino girlfriend in November this year in the Philippines. Do I need to wait till after the wedding to apply for the visa for her to come and live in the uk with me? If so how long after the wedding can we apply, how long does the process take, what is the cost thanks for you help

Our Response:
Being married doesn't automatically give you the right to bring your wife to the UK. Partners can be eligible too. Much depends upon your personal circumstances and eligibility, please see link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:27 PM
Hi, I'm EEU national living in London till from 2006, however, I cannot satisfy the requirement of 5 continuous years as a qualified person that would allow me to apply for the permanent resident card. I'm living in a durable relationship with my partner from 2011. My partner has been issued with a permanent residency card more than a year ago and currently, he is preparing himself for the 'life in the UK' test to apply for the British citizenship. We have 2 children together and they both have British passports (dual citizenships). I am a full-time university student classified as a Home student (I had to prove that I live in the UK for the last 3 or 4 years (sorry I don't remember) to be accepted on the same basis like the students that were born in the UK). I started my study in 2013 (with a 1-year break to give birth to the second child) and I'm still a student (soon I will start my final year and I'm planning a postgraduate study). Before I was self-employed. I have a European Health Insurance Card but it was issued in the UK (therefore is not qualified as comprehensive sickness insurance). I couldn't apply for the permanent resident card in my own rights because I cannot satisfy the requirement of being a qualified person for the 5 continuous years. I tried to apply as an unmarried partner of EEU national with my partner as a sponsor but was refused. Now we planning to legalise our relationship by marriage and my question is if as a legal wife of EEU resident (soon hopefully British citizen) I will be able to acquire apermanent residency card? just to add that we are both from different EEU countries, we met in the UK, our children were born here, we have more links with the UK than our birth countries, there is a centre of our lives and here we plan to build up our future together. Help please! how can I get my residency card (and British citizenship after)??
kat - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:20 PM
Khush - Your Question:
Hi I am a British citizen n want to marry my boyfriend who is living in Poland and hold temporary residence card. Want to get married so can I get married in Poland and would he be able to come to uk. Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 3-Aug-17 @ 11:29 AM
I am a British citizen but have been resident in Tenerife for over three years. My partner of two years is Nigerian and we hope to get married next year. I would love to get married at home with all my family. Is this possible and if so what documents are required. All help would be appreciated
Lorena - 3-Aug-17 @ 11:26 AM
I'm English and I'm marrying my Filipino girlfriend in November this year in the Philippines. Do I need to wait till after the wedding to apply for the visa for her to come and live in the uk with me? If so how long after the wedding can we apply, how long does the process take, what is the cost thanks for you help
Pete - 2-Aug-17 @ 12:20 AM
Hi I am a British citizen n want to marry my boyfriend who is living in Poland and hold temporary residence card. Want to get married so can I get married in Poland and would he be able to come to uk. Thanks
Khush - 1-Aug-17 @ 9:04 PM
Gando - Your Question:
Hi My wife is Yemani living in Saudi I want to bring her over to uk I'm EU citizen living in uk for 18 years, the problem is she doesn't have a passport but she was born in Saudi and she has a Saudi residence card is that enough for her to join me Thank you guys

Our Response:
Your wife would have to have a valid passport and apply for a visa if you wiish to bring her to the UK to live. You would have to apply for the visa via the link here and fulfil all the requirements before you are eligible to apply.
AboutImmigration - 1-Aug-17 @ 10:08 AM
Milly - Your Question:
Hi ,I'm from Bulgaria and I'm married to British citizen ,I leave in UK 10 years and the last 4.5 years I have been full time employed ,I will apply for British citizenship next year because of the restrictions I have to wait for 5 years, but I'm very confused do I still need residence card before I apply and what exactly I need to do first Kind Regards Miliana

Our Response:
The gov.uk link here should tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 31-Jul-17 @ 1:58 PM
Hi , I'm from Bulgaria and I'm married to British citizen ,I leave in UK 10 years and the last 4.5 years I have been full time employed ,I will apply for British citizenship next year because of the restrictions I have to wait for 5 years, but I'm very confused do I still need residence card before I apply and what exactly I need to do first Kind Regards Miliana
Milly - 30-Jul-17 @ 1:13 PM
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