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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 23 Apr 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.

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[Add a Comment]
I'm a British national & very happily married to ukrainan woman for 6 yrs now but due to unforscene circumstances I'm unable to return back to our marital home in ukrain for legal reasons which r nothing to do with my wife.we have been separated for over 2yrs now please tell me if she needs a visa to join me in u.k to live as my wife or dose she only need to apply for entry clearance.she has a biometric. Passport & proof we have been married & living together for past 6 yrs been together 8yrs now please advise me the quickest way to obtain entry clearance u.k & reunite me & my wife & family.
turf ! - 23-Apr-18 @ 12:26 AM
Hi I am a British citizen, lived in the uk since birth. My fiancé is russian and we are getting married this year in Russia. What documents will she need/visa to enter the uk and be able to live and work etc. Thanks
Luke40 - 22-Apr-18 @ 6:43 PM
I am came two years. I wantmarry some one . How to I get applications . And Iwantexplan
Selvi - 22-Apr-18 @ 8:00 AM
I am Spanish, resident in the UK for over 25 years.20 years ago I met my partner we been together since.He is British so if we get married would that give me the UK residency?
Mayte - 21-Apr-18 @ 7:55 PM
My Jamaican boyfriend and I have been together for a year. I have visited him twice since we first met. He applied for a visa to visit me here in the UK last August and it was denied (the authorities didn’t believe he had reason to return to Jamaica?) He has a 2 year old son and his family rely on him to support their household etc... I have my own 6 year old daughter from a previous relationship also. We are very serious about each other and want to get married and start a family, but not for the purpose of gaining him entry. What can we do and what are our best options?
Miss Lucy - 21-Apr-18 @ 3:31 PM
Hi my partner live in ghana and i wish to know how can i marry him and so he can travel to the uk to live with me permanently. Or if is possible for him to come to uk and marry here.
Sandra - 18-Apr-18 @ 11:31 PM
My boyfriend is a Belgian national, I live in the UK as a British National. We want to get married but it's a minefield. If we got married would we be able to live together or woukd he have to return to Belgium at some point?
Belle - 18-Apr-18 @ 11:02 PM
Matt - Your Question:
Hi, I am a UK resident and lived for a while in Indonesia. I met my partner there and the hope is to get him to the UK to get married next year. I am hoping to get a visit visa for him in July so that he can come and meet my family.My question is, if he comes here on a fiancé next year and we get married, does he have to return to Indonesia to obtain a spouse visa or can he just stay in the uk and apply for the spouse visa here in the UK

Our Response:
Your partner would have to return to his country in keeping with the terms of his visa and apply afresh for a spouse visa, if eligible.
AboutImmigration - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:36 PM
Hi, I am a UK resident and lived for a while in Indonesia. I met my partner there and the hope is to get him to the UK to get married next year. I am hoping to get a visit visa for him in July so that he can come and meet my family. My question is, if he comes here on a fiancé next year and we get married, does he have to return to Indonesia to obtain a spouse visa or can he just stay in the uk and apply for the spouse visa here in the UK
Matt - 16-Apr-18 @ 10:06 PM
I am just wondering about the fanicial income needed for my wife to stay in the UK it says cash savings of 16,000 does that mean i have to have that amount or can we both contribute to the 16,000 for example she has 8,000 and i have 8,000? Thanks in advance
Jack - 12-Apr-18 @ 6:18 PM
Hi there. My boyfriend is a British Citizen..He is currently findingjob in UK. And I am Malaysian Is there any other ways to solve our problem,if we can't meet the minimum requirements. He is also receiving Carer Allowance in the UK. Can anyone explain a bit more on 5 and 10 year route in the UK.. Thanks in advance
Sb - 8-Apr-18 @ 7:06 PM
I’m a refugee withindefinite leave to remain. I would like to get married to a non UK resident in South Africa later this year. How do I go about it.
Tess - 5-Apr-18 @ 8:50 PM
Churu- Your Question:
Hi,I am from Sri Lanka and I’m not a rich man. I currently have a girlfriend in the UK. Our relationship has lasted a year, and we have plans for her to come see me soon. She is a UK resident and starting university September 2018 to study medicine. We are looking at entering a civil partnership in December 2018 with the hope I can get a visa to stay in the UK for 2 years and then extend it. How should we arrange a civil partnership and then go forward to getting a spousal visa? We are unsure about the whole process, and just need a little guidance.Thank you for your help.

Our Response:
If you wish to have your civil partnership in the UK, then please see the link here. At the end of the term of the visa you would have to return to your home country and apply for a spouse visa, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:08 PM
@Aisha - Islamic marriages are not recognized in the UK for immigration purposes. However since you have lived together for over 2 years, he might be eligible for a family visa as an unmarried partner.
TJ. - 4-Apr-18 @ 6:22 PM
Hi, I am Islamicly married to my husband and have been living with him in France for the past 3 years. We have a child together. I am a British citizen and so is my son. My husband is a refugee in France. He has been in France for almost 13 years and works here too. Is there any way we can move to England permanently?
Aisha - 4-Apr-18 @ 1:17 AM
Lhr-UK - Your Question:
Hi there, I'm living in Lahore Pakistan. 27 yearsMy girlfriend lives in UK. 20years old. We are planning to get married. I have never visited UK before and she is a UK citizen who has taken a student loan and is currently studying there. Do I have to visit UK and then get married, or can I call her Pakistan and get married here. I need legal advisor and assistance in initiating legal process for me to move to UK and live with her. Can you assist in this matter and what will be your consultation fees? Thanks

Our Response:
I can only point you in the correct direction of the UK-based information regarding marrying in the UKhere. Plus, see link here for more information on requirements needed to apply to stay/live in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 3-Apr-18 @ 12:50 PM
Hi, I am from Sri Lanka and I’m not a rich man. I currently have a girlfriend in the UK. Our relationship has lasted a year, and we have plans for her to come see me soon. She is a UK resident and starting university September 2018 to study medicine. We are looking at entering a civil partnership in December 2018 with the hope I can get a visa to stay in the UK for 2 years and then extend it. How should we arrange a civil partnership and then go forward to getting a spousal visa? We are unsure about the whole process, and just need a little guidance. Thank you for your help.
Churu - 3-Apr-18 @ 10:42 AM
Hi there, I'm living in Lahore Pakistan. 27 years My girlfriend lives in UK. 20years old. We are planning to get married. I have never visited UK before and she is a UK citizen who has taken a student loan and is currently studying there. Do I have to visit UK and then get married, or can I call her Pakistan and get married here. I need legal advisor and assistance in initiating legal process for me to move to UK and live with her. Can you assist in this matter and what will be your consultation fees? Thanks
Lhr-UK - 2-Apr-18 @ 5:32 AM
@Licia - You should have come to the UK on a marriage visitor visa. To get married now you will have to give the registrar 28 days notice and a further notice of 70 days to the Home Office for your marriage to be approved.
TJ. - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:42 PM
Kindly advise on what to do. I have a validvisiting visa and I am currently in the uk to see my boyfriend of one year. He is Italian citizen (E.E) Living and working in the UK.can we get married here in uk and what is the first thing we should do. (My nationality is Nigerian) Thanks
Licia - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:18 AM
@Jake - If she applies for a family visa as a spouse under the 10 year route then you do not need to meet the minimum income requirement. However you will still have to prove that she will be capable of working and living the whole time without access to public funds.
TJ. - 28-Mar-18 @ 6:53 AM
@Jack - If she applies before her current visa expires she will be able to do it in the UK.
TJ. - 28-Mar-18 @ 6:50 AM
@Bellavita - it will depend on how long ago your husband was sentenced to prison and for how long. Any prison sentence of 4 years or more will mean a lifetime ban from the UK.
TJ. - 28-Mar-18 @ 6:49 AM
Hi. I’m disabled person and profoundly deaf, unable to work. South African woman does want to get married with me and move in the UK permanently but there is a problem with the rules about earnings 18,600 a year so I don’t think I can do it, I need help. Thanks you.
Jake - 27-Mar-18 @ 9:54 PM
What circumstances would they be under?
Jack - 27-Mar-18 @ 9:41 PM
Hello If my husband who is from the USA has a criminal record for something that was a long time ago would he be allowed into the united kingdom to live here permanently with me, I am a uk resident.
Bellavita - 27-Mar-18 @ 8:38 PM
@Jack - ideally she should leave the country first to apply for a family visa as a spouse. However there are circumstances that will allow her to apply in the UK.
TJ. - 27-Mar-18 @ 7:31 PM
My girlfriend is studying in the UK at the moment and we are planning to get married. Her student visa ends in january will she need to go back home and then return for her to stay here permantly? Or can she extend her visa or change it whilst she is here Thanks
Jack - 27-Mar-18 @ 5:53 PM
@meem - it is unlikely that any illegal immigrant will be allowed to marry in the UK. Even if they are allowed to marry, their marriage will not change his status as an illegal.
TJ. - 22-Mar-18 @ 8:24 PM
My sister got asylum in the UK two years ago. She wants to marry a person in the UK who has been living here legally since 16yrs and has recently submitted an asylum application. How can they marry? if they have a relgious ceremony only how will they register and will her husband get visa status because of her? thank you
meem - 22-Mar-18 @ 6:55 PM
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