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Marriage Visa Advice

Spouses of UK citizens or permanent residents (mainly those with indefinite leave to remain) may come to the UK under marriage visa category, and are able to work as soon as a visa is granted. You will need to meet the following marriage visa requirements:

  1. If you have been together for less than four years you are granted a marriage visa for a probationary period of two years. If you are still married and living together at the end of two years in the UK permanent residence (properly known as indefinite leave to remain) will usually be granted.
  2. If you have been together for four years or more outside the UK and you have passed the Life in the UK test, you are eligible for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) in the UK without having to live in the UK for two years.
  3. The UK citizen or permanent resident must have actually met their non-UK spouse. This is to prevent a situation that occurs sometimes in arranged marriages where the husband and wife have never met. 
  4. You must intend to live together permanently with your spouse in order to obtain a spouse visa.
  5. You must possess sufficient funds to pay you and your spouse's living expenses and those of any dependants without claiming public funds. Public funds cover various benefits paid by the Government if you are currently looking for work, if you are on a low income and if you are in various other situations.
  6. Accommodation for the couple, and any dependants, must be suitable and available.
  7. Spouses seeking to come to the UK on the basis of marriage to a UK national should apply for entry clearance before entering the UK.
  8. If you have a visa valid for six months or less in the UK you cannot change status to a spouse visa.
  9. Children of the marriage who are under 18 years old are allowed entry to the UK as dependants, and can make their application at the same time as the main applicant.
  10. After a total period of three years in the UK if you meet the residence requirements you may then apply for UK citizenship.

Unmarried / Same Sex Partners

It has been possible since 1997 for unmarried partners both in a heterosexual and same sex relationship to gain entry to the UK using an unmarried partner’s visa. Applications for unmarried partner visas tend to be more difficult than those based on marriage as you need to show that you have been together for two years and that it is a permanent relationship. The requirements since April 2003 are as follows:

  1. You have to show that any previous relationship whether in marriage or as an unmarried couple has ended.
  2. You should have been living together for at least two years in a relationship similar to marriage. You will need to provide documentary evidence confirming that you have been living together for this time.
  3. If you have been together for less than four years you are granted a visa for a probationary period of two years. If you are still living together at the end of two years in the UK permanent residence (properly known as indefinite leave to remain) will usually be granted.
  4. If you have been together for four years or more outside the UK you will be granted indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) in the UK without having to live in the UK for two years. Again, you will need to provide documentary evidence proving this.
  5. You must intend to live together permanently with your partner.
  6. You must possess sufficient funds to pay you and your partner's living expenses and those of any dependants without claiming public funds. Public funds cover various benefits paid by the Government if you are currently looking for work, if you are on a low income and if you are in various other situations.
  7. Accommodation for the unmarried partners, and any dependants, must be suitable and available.
  8. Children of the unmarried partners who are under 18 years old are allowed entry to the UK as dependants, and can make their application at the same time as the main applicant.
  9. After a total period of five years in the UK if you meet the residence requirements you may then apply for UK citizenship.

Fiancé of a UK Citizen, Permanent Resident or EU Citizen

The requirements for immigration to UK as a Fiancé are very similar to the rules for married couples.
You may wish to consider whether it is more suitable to marry first and then apply for entry as this will avoid the necessity of making a fiancé application and then a second application to remain as a spouse. The basic requirements for immigration to UK are as follows:

  1. Unless you are engaged to an EU Citizen with a five year residence permit you must apply for entry from outside the UK. If you wish to apply from within the UK in other circumstances your application is likely to be refused unless you can show exceptional reasons why the application should be granted.
  2. You are granted entry to the UK for a period of six months during which time you must marry your fiancé in the UK. If there are exceptional reasons for delaying marriage until after the initial six months and extension to stay in the UK may be granted.
  3. You will not be permitted to work in the UK on the fiancé visa, and you and your fiancé must show that there will be sufficient funds and accommodation in the UK without requiring public funds before and after the marriage. Public funds cover various benefits paid by the Government if you are currently looking for work, if you are on a low income and if you are in various other situations.
  4. You must have met your future spouse.
  5. You must intend to live together permanently with your future spouse once you are married.
  6. Children of the overseas fiancé who are under 18 years old are only allowed entry to the UK as dependants if it can be shown that it would cause serious problems if they are not allowed entry at the same time. Therefore this sort of application will be difficult to make, and in many cases it may be best to wait until after the marriage and then apply for entry of dependents.
  7. You should apply for a marriage visa from within the UK when you are married, and will then be eligible to work freely in the UK.

Family Reunion Visa

This category is for applications made by family members who want to be reunited with a person in the UK who has been:

  1. Recognised as a refugee, or
  2. Granted humanitarian protection;

There are immigration rules in place which allows a person who has been granted asylum status in the UK, or has been given humanitarian protection, to be reunited with his/her family by having them join them in the UK. 

You may be eligible to be reunited with your spouse if:

  1. The applicant is your spouse
  2. The marriage was subsisting prior to the sponsor claiming asylum
  3. Each party intends to live permanently together in the UK as a married couple

You may also be able to be reunited with your unmarried/same sex partner if:

  1. The applicant is the unmarried/same sex partner of a sponsor who was granted refugee status in the UK after 9th October 2006
  2. The parties lived in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years
  3. The relationship must predate the sponsor leaving their country in order to seek asylum
  4. Each of the parties intends to permanently live together in the UK and that the relationship is subsisting

Children may also join their parent if that parent has been recognised as a refugee in the UK:

  1. The biological child is under the age of 18
  2. Is not leading an independent life and is unmarried, and has no family unit of his/her own
  3. The relationship must predate the sponsor leaving their country in order to seek asylum
  4. The child would had to have been recognised as the child of the sponsor parent before he/she left their country to claim asylum

Contact Sultan Lloyd Solicitors 

If you need help with Family Visas, call us on: +44 (0)121 248 2850, by mobile on: +44 (0)7961 314 247 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, click here to make an online enquiry.

We are open from 9am till 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. If you work full time and can’t see us during the week, we offer pre-arranged Saturday appointments for your convenience.

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