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Law

Marriage in the UK and the visa you will need

If you are wanting to come to the UK to get married, you will likely need a visa to allow you to do so. There are multiple options for couples who wish to marry in the UK, whether they want to simply come over for the marriage only or if they are planning to settle in the UK afterwards.

If you simply want to come to the UK to get married before returning to your home country, you can apply for a marriage visitor visa. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months, register for marriage or civil partnership and get married. While you are in the UK on a marriage visitor visa you are restricted in what you can and cannot do. Most importantly, you cannot work or study, and you do not have any rights to public funds. You can also not change visa while in the UK. If you would like to remain in the UK after your marriage visitor visa expires you must first return to your home country from where you can make a new UK visa application. You cannot apply for another visa whilst you are in the UK on a marriage visitor visa.

If you know you want to remain in the UK after your marriage before you apply for your visa you should instead apply for a fiancé visa. A fiancé visa allows you to stay in the country for 6 months to get married, register for marriage and civil partnership in the same way as you can on a marriage visitor visa, however, you may apply for a new visa from the UK whilst on a fiancé visa. Most newlywed couples would go through the UK spouse visa route. Once a couple is married the spouse that requires a visa to remain in the UK can apply for a spouse visa whilst still in the UK on their fiancé visa.

The UK spouse visa is a great option for those who wish to settle in the UK or live in the UK long term, as you can initially stay for up to 33 months, which you can extend with a further 30 months. Once you have been in the country on a spouse visa for 5 years you may also be eligible for indefinite leave to remain, and once you have held indefinite leave to remain for another year you may be eligible for British citizenship. When you are on a spouse visa you can work, and study and other restrictions are less limiting than those of a marriage visitor visa or fiancé visa.

Applying for a marriage visitor visa, fiancé visa or spouse visa can prove difficult as there are several requirements that need to be met before you can be successful. Many applications get rejected each year because of issues with meeting these requirements and can cost the applicant a lot of time and money. Always make sure you understand the application process clearly and provide all the necessary documentation when applying. If you are unsure about any aspect of the application, you should speak to an immigration solicitor.

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