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Marrying a UK Resident

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 20 Feb 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]
My fiance is with italian permanet stay and I get leave to remain UK and work permit resident can I get marry with him in UK?
Debby - 20-Feb-18 @ 9:38 AM
Hi sir Nex 1 month i can applay for a indifinite in the uk From last year im living with my civil partnership .she is a asylum seeker Can i marry her legally?What do i need to do ? Thanks
Nima - 19-Feb-18 @ 4:45 PM
OK I'm from new Zealand,my English partner holds an indefinite returning visa we have been together for more than ten years,we want to go back to the UK and get married. Then travel back to nz. I've applied for a visit visa to reduce the wait time but been advised my documents did not demonstrate that I intend to give notice to marry. How do I do this. As I read I have to be in the country 9 days before I can give notice.. Help so confused
Josef - 19-Feb-18 @ 5:35 AM
I have a friend who is coming with a student visa for 11 moths, she met a guy from Hungary and they are planing to get married while she is with the student visa. Can they get married with her student visa and stay in the UK? Or Does she need to back to her country to get married?(non EU) Thanks
Latina - 18-Feb-18 @ 10:30 PM
ladylady - Your Question:
Can an asylum seeker in UK get legally married with someone on visit visa in UK?

Our Response:
If an individual is undocumented in the UK, then they would not be able to marry in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 16-Feb-18 @ 9:39 AM
Jk - Your Question:
I have a friend who is an overstayer but he has a child with a British citizen.What are his chances to get permission to stay in the UK

Our Response:
Any person overstaying for more than 30 days, as of 6 April 2017, faces deportation and a re-entry ban which is dependent upon whether they are deported at the expense of the Home Office, or whether they leave the UK voluntarily at their own expense. Your friend's best option is to leave the country and apply legally for a visa to return.
AboutImmigration - 15-Feb-18 @ 11:04 AM
Can an asylum seeker in UK get legally married with someone on visit visa in UK?
ladylady - 15-Feb-18 @ 9:45 AM
I have a friend who is an overstayer but he has a child with a British citizen. What are his chances to get permission to stay in the UK
Jk - 14-Feb-18 @ 9:29 AM
Maggie- Your Question:
My fiancee lives on Jamaica, and I am registered as disabled and born in England what do I need to supply

Our Response:
If you wish to apply to bring your partner to the UK to marry, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Feb-18 @ 3:14 PM
My fiancee lives on Jamaica, and I am registered as disabled and born in England what do I need to supply
Maggie - 13-Feb-18 @ 10:09 AM
R - Your Question:
Please helpMy son is a British citizen and has lived in Canada for the last 11 years. He has been married to a Canadian for over 5 years and have 2 daughters and wants to move back home tomorrow be with us. What dos he need to do and how long will it take

Our Response:
The requirements you would have to fulfil can be found via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 12-Feb-18 @ 3:17 PM
@R - your son can come to the UK anytime he chooses and if he was born in the UK he can apply for British passports for his children to join him. His wife has to apply for a family visa as a spouse which takes between 3 - 6 months to process depending on if they meet the requirements.
TJ. - 9-Feb-18 @ 7:26 PM
Please help My son is a British citizen and has lived in Canada for the last 11 years.He has been married to a Canadian for over 5 years and have 2 daughters and wants to move back home tomorrow be with us . What dos he need to do and how long will it take
R - 9-Feb-18 @ 6:55 PM
Olly - Your Question:
Hi, I’m a British citizen And my fiancé is Russian. We wish to marry and for her to come and live in the UK and work here and live with me. What’s the first step in doing so? Is there anything in particular to be cautious about when applying for the paper work?

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a family visa and fulfil all the requirements laid out in the link here.
AboutImmigration - 9-Feb-18 @ 3:37 PM
I am married to a kenyan wife and am about to apply for our spouse visa. My wife has a daughter of 3 from a previous relationship and I have 2 children from a previous marriage. For the visa we are requested to give details of all children as well as any court orders for shared care etc. We are providing, passports, birth certificates and everything they have requested. They also ask us to provide details of extended family but they don't explain what details are required. They specify the details required for the children but not for extended family. We are only applying for a visa for my wife and stepdaughter- not extended family. Do you know what extended family details are required for us to provide? Thanks
hubby - 9-Feb-18 @ 1:36 PM
@Viv - Your husband's visa application to return to the UK will be refused for at least 5 years since the sentence was imposed.
TJ. - 5-Feb-18 @ 7:35 AM
@Any - You can only qualify for permanent residency in the UK after at least 5 years of legal residence.
TJ. - 5-Feb-18 @ 7:29 AM
Hi I am a British citizen, married to a Nigerian. My husband was once in the UK, he got into trouble with the law was sentenced to 10 months, after which he voluntarily left the UK as his visa ran out. Now we are married for almost 2yrs, and expecting our first child. Can I apply for a spouse visa for him to re-enter the UK. And how likely will they grant this to us. Any advice?
Viv - 4-Feb-18 @ 10:58 PM
Hi, My husband has permanent residency, we’ve been married for 3 years, living and working in uk. Can I apply for permanent residency because I have more than 2 years or I have to wait until I have 5 years? Thank you Any
Any - 4-Feb-18 @ 9:56 PM
@Abs - If she comes to the UK on a visitor visa she will not be able to work on that visa and she will still probably be required to leave the country before she can apply for a family visa as a spouse.
TJ. - 2-Feb-18 @ 10:29 PM
Hi there, I’m an Indian but permanent UK resident. I’m planning to marry an Indian girl in the next month but really unsure which Visa category she should apply. I’ve heard long delays with spouse/ fiancé visa so thinking to go for visitor visa for the initial 6 months then later on go for the spouse/ fiancé visa. What’s yours advice please?
Abs - 2-Feb-18 @ 8:29 PM
@Olly - She can apply for a family visa as a fiancee or she can apply for a marriage visit visa. If you decide to get married outside the UK then she can apply for a family visa as a spouse. The Home Office main priority is to ensure that the relationship is genuine.
TJ. - 31-Jan-18 @ 1:18 PM
@May - If you are not a dual Irish citizen and you are legally married you can apply for a simple EEA family permit for your partner valid for 5 years. If you are also an Irish citizen you would have to refer to Irish immigration law.
TJ. - 31-Jan-18 @ 1:15 PM
Hi, I’m a British citizen And my fiancé is Russian. We wish to marry and for her to come and live in the UK and work here and live with me. What’s the first step in doing so? Is there anything in particular to be cautious about when applying for the paper work?
Olly - 30-Jan-18 @ 11:20 PM
Hi please do help me with this. I am a British citizen living and working in ireland. I wanted to get my partner from Ghana as we have a child in Ireland together. Also have 3 siblings I look after in ghana . Would like to get all of them into Ireland this year. Any advice. Thanks
May - 30-Jan-18 @ 7:21 PM
@Danny - it is unlikely that a marriage in the UK to an overstayer will be approved. He should leave the country as soon as possible and apply for the appropriate marriage visa to avoid being deported and banned from re entering the UK
TJ. - 30-Jan-18 @ 8:59 AM
Hi, I’m a British citizen & my fiancé of Ghanaian citizen both reside here in the uk but his visa as run out and we want to get married. Not sure how to go about it and if we can get a certificate of approval to get married here. Any suggestions/ advice please. Thnx
Danny - 30-Jan-18 @ 8:05 AM
Hi, I'm a native Italian but have lived and worked in the UK for the past two years and plan to settle. My partner (a British citizen) and I would like to get married and continue to reside in the UK but are unsure what the requirements would be for this?
Daveeday - 29-Jan-18 @ 7:15 PM
Please do contact me , my name is sphumelele and I am 22 ,I have a potential spouse living in the UK , he has a status of " leave to remain " he is not a British citizen or EU national. We would like to get married and settled in the UK.
Sphumi - 28-Jan-18 @ 6:33 AM
@Nono - If your husband has an EEA family permit/residence card and you were working in Italy before returning to the UK he can join you under the same permit using the "Surinder Singh" route. Check the govuk website for more info on how to process this.
TJ. - 24-Jan-18 @ 5:47 PM
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