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Marriage Visas – a UK guide

Marriage Visas in the UK require skill and care from an immigration solicitor or immigration lawyer. Hassan Padhani, one of our immigration lawyers specialising in marriage and spouse cases explains:

There are two main categories that fall under the marriage route;

– Those Married to a British citizen
– Those Married to an EEA national

When considering making an application under the marriage route to a British citizen, you may apply either In-Country or Out-of-Country depending on various factors. In Country means applying inside the UK, Out of Country means applying from the home country of the foreign spouse.

When making an In-Country UK based application as a married partner of a British citizen, you have to satisfy many requirements, but two main requirements tend to be checked by our lawyers first:

– you must be married to a British citizen
– you must have certain valid leave to remain in the UK, ie be legally in the UK (usually most categories bar the visit visa)

Once the two main requirements are satisfied, then you can proceed to ensuring that you both satisfy all the 6 sub requirements under section 281 of the Immigration Rules.

If you are not married; the initial stage is giving notice of intention to get married to a registrar in the UK.

Following this the registrar will invite you and your intended spouse to an
interview where they will determine whether it is a genuine relationship, if the registrar is satisfied it is a genuine relationship you will be able to set a date
in order to get married.

Following the marriage ceremony, you may proceed to make an application for leave to remain as a spouse of a British national having to satisfy the requirements under
Section 281 of the Immigration Rules, these include amongst others;

– The applicant has sufficient knowledge of the English Language
– The applicant and his wife/civil partner have met
– The applicant and sponsor intend to live permanently together as spouses/civil partners
– The marriage/civil partnership is still subsisting
– There will be adequate accommodation for the applicant and sponsor, including any other dependants
– The applicant and sponsor are able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds
– The applicant does have not any criminal convictions within the meaning of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

In the alternative, if the applicant does not hold valid leave in the UK or on a visit visa in the UK then it is strongly recommended that you make the marriage application
via the British Embassy in your country of residence.

This entails the same criteria as above, except that the application will be submitted to the British Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence under form Vaf 4,
rather than the FLR (M) route which is made In-Country.

If the visa is issued, the applicant is normally granted a 24/27 month visa for leave to remain in the UK as a spouse of a British national. This is normally referred
to as the probationary period, and at the end of this period if you are both still together at the end of this period you can make an application for indefinite leave
to remain in the UK, and subsequently 12 months later you may then proceed to apply for British nationality.

Please note that if you make the application In-Country without a valid visa then there is normally an element of discretion that will be expected to be applied by
the Home Office, on the basis that you are unable to return back to your country of residence, usually this must be an extremely good reason. If it is granted you
will be granted a 3year visa and then another further 3 years, subsequently meaning that after the end of the 6 year period you can apply for Indefinite leave to remain
in the UK, and subsequently 12 months after apply for British nationality.

This is clearly a longer route when trying to attain permanent residence in the UK.

Please stay tuned for our next blog when we discuss marriage to an EU national.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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