Every year, numerous individuals opt to tie the knot in the UK, yet some have no plans of residing in the country afterwards. Whether one of the partners is British or not, it is crucial for anyone contemplating marriage in the UK to refrain from doing so if they entered the country as a Standard Tourist, Leisure, or Family Visitor. This includes individuals with multi-entry visas and those who are non-visa nationals.
The Immigration Rules prohibits individuals entering the UK as visitors who have the intention to marry, enter into a civil partnership, or give notice for such commitments unless they ender under the Marriage Visitor category. If you decide to give notice for marriage or actually get married while in the UK as a Standard Visitor, there is a risk that the Home Office will deem it deceptive, as you failed to disclose this intention upon entry. Consequently, this could impact your future ability to return to the UK.
Overview of Marriage Visitor Visa
The Marriage Visitor Visa specifically authorises individuals to marry or form a civil partnership, as well as to give notice of marriage, while in the UK. When evaluating an application in this category, the Entry Clearance Officer must ensure that the person has no intention of participating in a sham marriage. This provides UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) with the opportunity to assess the authenticity of any relationship before granting entry to the UK, a scrutiny not possible if a person enters as a visitor without the endorsement for marriage or civil partnership.
Non-visa nationals, who typically do not require a visa for UK visitor entry, must apply in advance if they intend to marry. Those entering under this category can stay for up to six months but are generally unable to switch to another category from within the UK. They must also demonstrate their intention to leave the UK at the end of their stay. If a longer stay is desired, other categories more suitable for the circumstances may be available. Having an early conversation with your partner about the wedding location and post-wedding residency plans can help avoid making an inappropriate application.
As the Applicant, you will need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
Be aged 18 or over;
Be free to give notice of marriage, to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival;
Be in a genuine relationship with your partner;
You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
Visit the UK for less than 6 months and plan to leave at the end of your visit;
Be able to support yourself during your trip, and be able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have sufficient funding from someone else to do so);
Have proof of any other activities that you want to do in the UK. More information on this can be found on the government’s list of permitted activities for victors;
Marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK at a licensed venue.
It can also be helpful to supply the following information to help support your application:
Details of the marriage or civil partnership that you are intending on entering into, and proof that you have paid money for some of the ceremony costs.
Provide proof that you are planning to get married in the UK. This could be a booking confirmation, emails between yourself and the venue or other people involved in the wedding.
You must apply online before you come to the UK. You will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre to prove your identity and provide the necessary documents. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel, and your decision will usually arrive within 3 weeks.
If you require assistance with making an application for a Marriage Visitor Visa or your circumstances are not covered in this blog post, contact us today to discuss your specific needs.