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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 18 Jan 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]
Smithers- Your Question:
I'm a UK Citzen I have a met my love in NYC she wants to live in the U.K. Study her law school here and also bring her two kids with her, which is going to be the easiest way to get her in to the UK with her two kids she has full custody of them any advice much appreciated thanks

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 18-Jan-17 @ 2:00 PM
I'm a UK Citzen I have a met my love in NYC she wants to live in the U.K. Study her law school here and also bring her two kids with her, which is going to be the easiest way to get her in to the UK with her two kids she has full custody of them any advice much appreciated thanks
Smithers - 18-Jan-17 @ 12:02 PM
Hi there I have am South African and live in the UK on an Ancestry visa. This expires in October and I am now looking into applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, I have 2 holidays booked, I'm returning home for 2 weeks in March/April and then at the end of July I'm travelling to Tenerife, so will need my passport. Please advise me as to what to do - I'm not sure if the time in between holidays is sufficient to apply for ILR, or perhaps do I need to get a temporary travel document to of sorts? Thank you very much.
Nadine - 15-Jan-17 @ 1:57 PM
Hello I m a UK born male and met my prospective wife in Ghana (she is Ghanian).2 years ago and have lived together for 18 months in Ghana. It's our intention to marry this July in Ghana then apply for her to live with me in UK. Is this a favourable procedure Regards Roger
Roger - 11-Jan-17 @ 8:50 PM
Hello , :) Just ask! It is possible to get married in Spain. I am from Philippinesand my husband to be his from Scotland ? Thanks! :))
Shen - 11-Jan-17 @ 8:30 PM
Jayb - Your Question:
Hi, I am an Italian citizen married to a non eu and would like him to join me in the uk. I am 20 weeks pregnant and working part time in the uk so I don't meet the financial requirements to sponsor my husband. I anyway have a brother who is working full time, can he sponsor my husband as a brother in law?

Our Response:
Unless you have Permanent Residence status, are a British citizen, then you cannot apply.
AboutImmigration - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:52 PM
Hi, I am an Italian citizen married to a non eu and would like him to join me in the uk. I am 20 weeks pregnant and working part time in the uk so I don't meet the financial requirements to sponsor my husband. I anyway have a brother who is working full time, can he sponsor my husband as a brother in law?
Jayb - 11-Jan-17 @ 7:46 AM
Hello im a british citezen But i have been living in spain for the last 10 years , my boyfriend is from morocco But Also lives in spain but he has no paperwork, only a morocco passport we have been together nearly 3 years And now what to get married And i what to move back to the uk.thank you
Aa - 27-Dec-16 @ 4:00 PM
Hi I'm British citizen and I want to marry my gf and she's overstayed here in uk. Pls tell me what to do? The procedures? We're living together for 5 yrs now and she's been here for 9 yrs.
jay - 27-Dec-16 @ 2:48 PM
ay - Your Question:
Hae if I am invited to UK to visit my sister probably if I meet the requirements a will be given a 6 months visa during that period can I Mary my fiancee in UK please advice

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 9-Dec-16 @ 2:48 PM
B - Your Question:
Hie my brother has bipolar and went to Bangladesh and got married 2011 she is now gained full visa to remain in the U.K. And has made a decision to divorce him does my brother have any ground to argue and send her back as she only married him to get over to England and my brother very naive failed to understand her conspiracy

Our Response:
If your brother's wife is dependent upon her visa as part of the marriage and the marriage breaks up, your brother would have to notify the Home Office, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 8-Dec-16 @ 11:54 AM
Hie my brother has bipolar and went to Bangladesh and got married 2011 she is now gained full visa to remain in the U.K. And has made a decision to divorce him does my brother have any ground to argue and send her back as she only married him to get over to England and my brother very naive failed to understand her conspiracy
B - 7-Dec-16 @ 6:05 PM
My wife is Lithuanian and we have been married 7 years and live in uk for past 10 years. I'm British and we have 2 children. Does my wife need to become a British citizen or can we continue to live and work as we do without problems?
Willie - 6-Dec-16 @ 11:32 PM
hae if I am invited to UK to visit my sister probably if I meet the requirements a will be given a 6 months visa during that period can I Mary my fiancee in UK please advice
ay - 3-Dec-16 @ 9:40 AM
Haz - Your Question:
Hi, I am British, my partner is Canadian. we are due to Marry in a few months after 8 years together in the U.K. He works through a working visa issued from June-may each year, where we then fly back to Canada to get it reissued.Once we are married what visa should he apply for to allow him to stay in the country for longer then his working visas allow him? Can he apply for this visa whilst he's living in the U.K.? We have a 13 month old and would ideally like him to stay in the U.K. Without us all having to fly back to Canada every May/June time

Our Response:
In order to apply for a spouse visa which would allow your partner to stay in the UK for a longer period, please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 30-Nov-16 @ 11:44 AM
Hi im a uk citizrn and Im going to marry a non-eu citizen and work abroad in the EU. Can they come live with mr where I work outside of the uk in order to satisfy residency requirements; will they be allowed to work in either my host eu country or in the uk itself? Thanks in advance.
Pete - 30-Nov-16 @ 8:40 AM
Hi, I am British, my partner is Canadian. we are due to Marry in a few months after 8 years together in the U.K. He works through a working visa issued from June-may each year, where we then fly back to Canada to get it reissued. Once we are married what visa should he apply for to allow him to stay in the country for longer then his working visas allow him? Can he apply for this visa whilst he's living in the U.K.? We have a 13 month old and would ideally like him to stay in the U.K. Without us all having to fly back to Canada every May/June time
Haz - 29-Nov-16 @ 4:53 PM
Hi I'm looking to marry my Filipino fiancee in 2018 a ceremony will be held there but what I'm wondering is would I need to have a marriage ceremony here in uk or will the marriage certificate in the Philippines be good enough
ANDREW - 24-Nov-16 @ 3:36 PM
ihave a canadian living with me over the past 2years we have made 2 applications to the home office for a uk visa for her to stay in the uk she entered the uk in august 2014onvisitors visa iam going to marry this lady can i marry herewhat sort of visa does my lady need
josh - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:46 PM
Hello, I am marrying my fiancé who is from New Zealand in February next year. He has previously lived and worked in the Uk and I am trying to find out if once we are married he is then entitled to remain there? If not what is the process? Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you
emiloon - 21-Nov-16 @ 4:52 PM
mel - Your Question:
Hi. I've been living in UK for the last 28years. Don't have polish passport and can't get british. the reasen I can't get Polish passport my marriage has not been regesterd in Poland and I have difficulty of doing so. As polish embassy has not been very cooperative. Was wondering how can I go about obtaining travel documents so I can go Poland and sort my passport out. Any information will be greatfuly reciverd. I do have leave to remain from British homeoffice thanm you

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk site here which may help.
AboutImmigration - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:35 PM
Ahmed - Your Question:
Hi, I'm a british citizen and my wife is holding Iraqi passport, we got married and live together outside the UK for five years. We got two children whom they have british passport. We would like to return to the UK and stay their permanently. What is the quickest way?Thanks.

Our Response:
You would have to be classed as 'ordinarily resident' in the UK in order to be able to apply for your wife and children to join you, please see gov.uk link here , which will outline the requirements you would need to fulfil in order to be able to apply.
AboutImmigration - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:30 PM
Laura - Your Question:
Hi. My partner is from South Africa and I am a British citizen.He is currently on a 6 month visa here in the UK and is due to fly back to South Africa next month. We both want him to come back and live with me on a longer term visa and have the permission to work in the U.K. What visa do I apply for or where can I get more information?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you what eligibility requirements you would need to fulfil.
AboutImmigration - 18-Nov-16 @ 11:55 AM
Hi .. I've been living in UK for the last 28years .. Don't have polish passport and can't get british . the reasen I can't get Polish passport my marriage has not been regesterd in Poland and I have difficulty of doing so .. As polish embassy has not been very cooperative .. Was wondering how can I go about obtaining travel documents so I can go Poland and sort my passport out .. Any information will be greatfuly reciverd .. I do have leave to remain from British homeoffice thanm you
mel - 18-Nov-16 @ 10:54 AM
Hi, I'm a british citizen and my wife is holding Iraqi passport, we got married and live together outside the UK for five years. We got two children whom they have british passport. We would like to return to the UK and stay their permanently. What is the quickest way? Thanks...
Ahmed - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:02 AM
Hi. My partner is from South Africa and I am a British citizen. He is currently on a 6 month visa here in the UK and is due to fly back to South Africa next month. We both want him to come back and live with me on a longer term visa and have the permission to work in the U.K. What visa do I apply for or where can I get more information?
Laura - 17-Nov-16 @ 7:33 PM
worriedaboutbrexit - Your Question:
I am a British Citizen and have been married to my Italian husband for 16 years, we have lived permanantly in the U.K and have 2 children. He wroks fulltime and earns a good salary enabling me to be a stay at home mum With impending Brexit does he need to apply for residency or ciitizenship to remain here or will he have an automatic right to remain or will my family be ripped apart, will we be forced to sell our home? Please explain what steps we must take as thei ris no clear guidance on this and friends of mine in a similar situation are worried they or their partners will be forced to leave. How can a date be decided, if you have lived here x years and being married x years you can stay if not you must leave. thank you Worried about brexit

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will give you more information.
AboutImmigration - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:19 AM
I am a British Citizen and have been married to my Italian husband for 16 years, we have lived permanantly in the U.K and have 2 children. He wroks fulltime and earns a good salary enabling me to be a stay at home mum With impending Brexit does he need to apply for residency or ciitizenship to remain here or will he have an automatic right to remain or will my family be ripped apart, will we be forced to sell our home? Please explain what steps we must take as thei ris no clear guidance on this and friends of mine in a similar situation are worried they or their partners will be forced to leave. How can a date be decided, if you have lived here x years and being married x years you can stay if not you must leave. thank you Worried about brexit
worriedaboutbrexit - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:55 PM
Mikey - Your Question:
My wife and I have been together nearly 10 years and married for 4 years. I'm from New Zealand and she's Scottish. We met and live in Australia and we've both been increasingly thinking of moving back to Scotland to be closer to her family. I have two trades, as an electrician and as a Master Brass and Woodwind repair technician, Heather has her own Hair Salon here in Sydney. What is the best way for us to move there as it seems to be prohibitaly expensive from what I've been able to uncover. CheersMike

Our Response:
Unless you applied for a work visa independently, your wife would have to be classed as ordinarily resident, plus, be earning the required amount (or you both hold the required amount of savings) in order to be able to apply for a spouse visa, please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:29 PM
My wife and I have been together nearly 10 years and married for 4 years. I'm from New Zealand and she's Scottish. We met and live in Australia and we've both been increasingly thinking of moving back to Scotland to be closer to her family. I have two trades, as an electrician and as a Master Brass and Woodwind repair technician, Heather has her own Hair Salon here in Sydney. What is the best way for us to move there as it seems to be prohibitaly expensive from what I've been able to uncover. Cheers Mike
Mikey - 14-Nov-16 @ 7:48 AM
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