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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Jun 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, I'm an American and I've been living in the U.K. for 3 years now as an international student but my boyfriend and I wish to get married as my student visa expires soon. Does the 3 years I've already lived here count towards this?
cacook - 21-Jun-17 @ 8:27 AM
lauradee - Your Question:
Hello,I'm Italian and my so is my boyfriend who has been studying and working in UK for more than 10 years, he hold Bitish passport. This summer I wish to come and start living with him and get married. When will I be able to obtain British passport? Italy is a member of EU

Our Response:
You still have freedom of movement through Europe until the Brexit negotiations for the UK are concluded and come into force. However, you would not be entitled to apply for British citizenship until you had lived in the UK for more than five years.
AboutImmigration - 20-Jun-17 @ 12:34 PM
@Perla - even if you get married, your bf would still have to keep to the terms of his visa and return home when it ends. You would then have to apply for a spouse visa for him. But there is no guarantee you would get this either as the pre-requisites are pretty strict. What I'm trying to say here is that just because you marry, it doesn't give you any additional rights that will allow him to stay on.
Xian. - 20-Jun-17 @ 12:08 PM
Rors - Your Question:
Hi. I live in northern Ireland & my Brazilian partner lives in Portugal we are going to get married.what do we have to do so he can live with me & work? Man thanks

Our Response:
Please see link here which will give you more information.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jun-17 @ 3:47 PM
Luca - Your Question:
Hello. I'm Italian and my girlfriend is a Kiwi (New Zealand) we both live in uk for more than 1 year. We want to get married and also we wouldn't like to leave the country once she finish the visa( still she have 11 months of working visa) so my question is: once get married is possible for her to get another visa being family and to stay longer in uk?

Our Response:
As a rule, your girlfriend would have to return home and apply for her visa anew, please see link here. Much also depends on what visa she has as to whether she can apply to extend it, pease see link here and here for more information.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jun-17 @ 3:19 PM
Raj - Your Question:
Hye there, I am from India in a relationship with my british fiancee for the past 4 years. She lives in UK and I work on ships. Every vacation I go to see her in UK for 2 months minimum. We want to get married in Mauritius. After marriage can I get a ILR in UK visa based on my marriage with her if not what is the other way to live and work in UK with my partner.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jun-17 @ 3:07 PM
Rekz - Your Question:
Hi,I'm an overstay Mauritian immigrant and has been living together with my boyfriend for more than 6 years,can we get married here or in Mauritius?If we get married in the UK would I be eligible to work or if we get married in Mauritius would I get a spouse visa and come back with him and eligible to work straight away?Please could you adviseMany thanks and Regards Rekz

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which tells you all you need to know about marrying in the UK. A marriage visa is considered a visitor's visa and you would not be allowed to work. Plus, you would have to return to your home country at the end of the visa and apply afresh to come to live in the UK. If you wish to work, you may be able to apply for a family of a settled person's visa, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jun-17 @ 10:05 AM
Hi... I live in northern Ireland & my Brazilian partner lives in Portugal we are going to get married...what do we have to do so he can live with me & work? Man thanks
Rors - 19-Jun-17 @ 2:34 AM
Hello. I'm Italian and my girlfriend is a Kiwi (New Zealand) we both live in uk for more than 1 year. We want to get married and also we wouldn't like to leave the country once she finish the visa( still she have 11 months of working visa) so my question is: once get married is possible for her to get another visa being family and to stay longer in uk?
Luca - 18-Jun-17 @ 11:49 PM
Hye there, I am from India in a relationship with my british fiancee for the past 4 years. She lives in UK and I work on ships. Every vacation I go to see her in UK for 2 months minimum. We want to get married in Mauritius. After marriage can I get a ILR in UK visa based on my marriage with her if not what is the other way to live and work in UK with my partner.
Raj - 18-Jun-17 @ 1:36 PM
Hello, I'm Italian and my so is my boyfriend who has been studying and working in UK for more than 10 years, he hold Bitish passport. This summer I wish to come and start living with him and get married. When will I be able to obtain British passport? Italy is a member of EU
lauradee - 17-Jun-17 @ 4:46 PM
I have been living in the Uk since 1998.However, I did not apply for permanent residence as I am European. The person I have a relationship with is from Pakistan and has been living in the Uk for several years while he was studying.He has applied for a visa to stay but it has been rejected.Despite having a child with a British citizen.However, the mother does not allow him to see the child and I believe that although his name is on the birth certificate, the child doesn't carry his surname. After a year of relationship we have decided to get married but I do not know whether this is possible. Can you please advise me or guide me on to whom I need to talk to?I thank you in advance.
Perla - 17-Jun-17 @ 10:55 AM
mymy - Your Question:
Hi I'm from Philippines and my boyfriend is British. We're planning to get married this year. and he want me to stay with him in UK. what visa do I need to apply? and what are the requirements do we need to provide? thanks!

Our Response:
If your future husband wishes for you to join him to live in the UK, you/he would have to apply for the visa here. However, you both will have to be able to fulfil all the requirements laid out in the eligibility section before you would be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 16-Jun-17 @ 11:14 AM
Hi,I'm an overstay Mauritian immigrant and has been living together with my boyfriend for more than 6 years,can we get married here or in Mauritius?If we get married in the UK would I be eligible to work or if we get married in Mauritius would I get a spouse visa and come back with him and eligible to work straight away? Please could you advise Many thanks and Regards Rekz
Rekz - 16-Jun-17 @ 7:28 AM
hi I'm from Philippines and my boyfriend is British. We're planning to get married this year. and he want me to stay with him in UK. what visa do I need to apply? and what are the requirements do we need to provide? thanks!
mymy - 15-Jun-17 @ 6:18 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I'm an American and my husband is english, if I wanted to move to Germany for a year would I be able to as Brexit won't have an impact for a matter of years? I would be moving there by myself as he needs to be in New York for work. Would I be able to live and work there? How?

Our Response:
Yes, we are still a member of the EU which allows freedom of travel to live and work in other EU countries.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-17 @ 3:51 PM
Deen - Your Question:
My fiance is an European passport holder and living in UK for the past 7 years,we intend to get married this year and I move with her to Uk,can I be granted UK resident permit after our marriage outside UK,even though she did not have a british passport but European passport?

Our Response:
You would not be able to apply for British citizenship until you have been living in the UK for longer than five years.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-17 @ 3:38 PM
Soni - Your Question:
Hi I am an Indian married to a British woman in 2010 and register in marriage 2011 in India.we don't hve a baby.she want divorce.is there any provision for uk visa.

Our Response:
If you are going through a divorce, you would not be able to apply for a UK visa dependent upon your wife's British nationality. You would have to apply for a visa independently.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-17 @ 3:29 PM
My fiance is an European passport holder and living in UK for the past 7 years,we intend to get married this year and i move with her to Uk,can i be granted UK resident permit after our marriage outside UK,even though she did not have a british passport but European passport?
Deen - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:14 AM
Katie- Your Question:
I've been living in the uk for 12 years I am originally from Latvia and I'm 19 years old, I still hold a Latvian passport but would like an English one , my boyfriend that I've been with for nearly a year wants to marry me , if we get married will that qualify me to get an English passport ?

Our Response:
As Latvia is a member of the EU and you have exercised treaty rights in the UK, you can apply for British citizenship independently of your future husband by first applying for permanent residence. Please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:10 AM
Hi I am an Indian married to a British woman in 2010 and register in marriage 2011 in India.we don't hve a baby.she want divorce.is there any provision for uk visa.
Soni - 15-Jun-17 @ 6:10 AM
I'm an American and my husband is english, if I wanted to move to Germany for a year would I be able to as Brexit won't have an impact for a matter of years? I would be moving there by myself as he needs to be in New York for work. Would I be able to live and work there? How?
Sam - 15-Jun-17 @ 3:46 AM
I've been living in the uk for 12 years I am originally from Latvia and I'm 19 years old, I still hold a Latvian passport but would like an English one , my boyfriend that I've been with for nearly a yearwants to marry me , if we get married will that qualify me to get an English passport ?
Katie - 13-Jun-17 @ 3:01 PM
linnie - Your Question:
My fiancée is Australian living in Australia, he wants to come to england to live so we can be married what does he need to get here and stay. We don't want to live in Australia we want to stay in my country. Help

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know and the requirements you/he will have to fulfil in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 13-Jun-17 @ 2:01 PM
Lori - Your Question:
My friend who is Brazilian has a visa from Germany she has lived there 4 years and works she has a British husband and there child has British citizenship could she get a visa to become a British citizen

Our Response:
Your friend cannot apply directly for British citizenship, she would have to have spent a period of time in the UK on a British visa before being allowed to apply.
AboutImmigration - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:44 PM
so as an england born and bread citizian over 18, I can marry my girlfried who is ouside the eu and she can live with me and my parents as they support me, as im at university atm.
Lordee - 8-Jun-17 @ 10:32 AM
My fiancée is Australian living in Australia, he wants to come to england to live so we can be married what does he need to get here and stay. We don't want to live in Australia we want to stay in my country. Help
linnie - 6-Jun-17 @ 11:16 AM
My friend who is Brazilian has a visa from Germany she has lived there 4 years and works she has a British husband and there child has British citizenship could she get a visa to become a British citizen
Lori - 6-Jun-17 @ 12:14 AM
Hey I have a question I'm engaged to a man in Erbil Iraq and he is 24 years old I have been living in London for 6 years I have a Swedish passport I want to bring him to London so we can get merried here I want to ask I'm allowed to bring him to uk ??
Aroa 17 - 4-Jun-17 @ 12:51 PM
Hello am engaged to a polish man that lives in the uk and we want to get married. I live in canada..we want to be together finally and I was going to go to the uk but should we apply for marriage visa? Or can I go to the uk and apply with him? Help
Bean - 26-May-17 @ 6:18 PM
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