UK Marriage Visa

How does a UK Marriage Visa Work?

It is possible to marry your partner in order to join them living in the UK, however there are important rules and factors which you should make yourself aware of before doing so to avoid getting caught out and having your application refused.

UK immigration lawyers stress how important it is to make sure you apply for the right visa. If you apply for a visa category which doesn’t suit your intentions and plans, the Home Office will likely deny you entry, which can waste precious time which you could be spending with your partner or spouse.

UK Spouse Visa

If you apply to enter the UK on the basis of your spouse or partner is a resident, you will have to prove that your relationship is genuine. This can sometimes be difficult because you might not have saved up evidence of your relationship from over the years.

However, if you have lived with your partner in your home country or somewhere else outside of the UK, you might have proof of this. For example, joint tenancy agreements or joint bills can be used as evidence that your relationship with your partner or spouse is real.

Although it might seem a little invasive and over-the-top that you must provide proof of your relationship to the Home Office, there is good reason behind the requirement; this is to prevent illegal activities like human trafficking and forced marriages.

You will have to apply for entry clearance before you come to the UK if you’re applying for a spouse visa, which is the checking procedure immigration officials undertake in order to make certain you qualify for entry. If you are applying from inside the UK, you must have leave to remain on a visa which is valid for at least another six months. These requirements are very important to consider before applying for your visa.

Other spouse visa requirements

If you are looking to join your partner in the UK for an extended period of time and you are from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, then the UK spouse visa is right for you.

The requirements for this visa include:

  • Your partner to have a minimum income of £18,600 per year before tax
  • Proof of your English Language ability
  • You to have evidence of adequate accommodation from when you arrive in the UK
  • You and your partner to pass the ‘genuine relationship test’
  • You to be able to prove that you met each other and be legally married
  • You to have an intention to permanently live together
  • You to collectively have enough money to support yourselves and any children without claiming public funds

To be successful in your spouse visa application you will have to meet all of the above. You should note that it isn’t possible to switch to a UK spouse visa if you’re in the UK as a visitor for a period of less than six months.

Unmarried partners

Even if you and your partner aren’t married or in a civil partnership but they are from the UK or holds indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you should still apply for a spouse visa if you want to stay in the UK for over six months. However, if you want to stay for less than six months and aren’t married, you should apply for your own visa unless you plan to get married whilst in the UK.

If you aren’t married, you will have to prove that your relationship is real and that you have been living together in a relationship for at least two years.

Partners of European citizens

At the moment, if your partner or spouse is from the EEA or Switzerland but lives in the UK then you don’t need to apply for a UK visa. Instead, you need to apply for an EEA family permit.

You will still have to prove that you and your partner or spouse have a genuine relationship, and if you aren’t married you will have to give evidence of living together in a relationship for at least two years.

British citizenship

It isn’t possible to become a British citizen immediately by marrying a UK resident, but you have to have lived in the UK for five years or more as well as being married to them. You’ll also have to meet the criteria below:

  • Be over 18
  • Be married to a British citizen
  • Be able to speak English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • Demonstrate good character and have no criminal record
  • Have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or have EEA permanent residence
  • Haven’t have broken any immigration laws, including overstaying your visa
  • Meet the residential qualifying period (three years)

Getting married in the UK

If you want to marry your fiancé or proposed civil partner in the UK and they are a permanent UK resident, you should apply for a fiancé/proposed civil partner visa. With this visa, you will be granted an initial six-month period of leave in the UK, in which you won’t be able to work. Then, once you’re married you can apply for further leave to remain by applying for a spouse visa. You can do this from inside the UK.

If your spouse visa application is a success, you can then live and work in the UK for two years, after which you’ll be able to apply for permanent residency only if you are still married.

In order to be granted this visa, you’ll need to satisfy these requirements:

  • You intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership within six months of entering the UK
  • You plan to live with your partner permanently once married
  • You’ve met your partner previously
  • You have somewhere to live before and after the marriage
  • You can support yourselves and any dependents, for example, children, without working or relying on public funds

Marriage visitor visa

A marriage visitor visa will suit you if you want to get married or enter a civil partnership in the UK but don’t want to stay for longer than six months. You won’t be allowed to stay for longer than this, and if you decide that you’d like to live in the UK you will have to leave and apply for a spouse visa.

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