If you have permanent settlement status in the UK, such as British citizenship or Indefinite leave to remain, and you are engaged to or would like to marry someone from abroad in the UK rather than in their home country, and settle permanently here after the wedding, you may sponsor your partner’s application for what is known as a Fiancé(e) Visa.
If instead you are a same-sex couple and you wish to acquire legal status in the UK by formally recognising your bond as a civil partnership in view to settle here permanently, you should apply for a Proposed Civil Partner Visa.
In order to qualify for admission as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner, you will need to meet the following requirements:
• the sponsor is present and settled in the United Kingdom, or is to be admitted for settlement at the same time the applicant arrives in the UK;
• you are both aged 21 or over;
• you intend to live permanently with each other as a spouse/civil partner after the marriage/civil partnership;
• you actually have met;
• adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds will be available for the applicant until the date of the marriage/civil partnership;
• after the marriage/civil partnership there will be adequate accommodation for you and any dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation which you own or occupy exclusively;
• after the marriage/civil partnership you will be able to maintain yourselves and your dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.
• both parties are free to marry
If your partner is currently in the UK with temporary permission to stay in a different immigration category (for example, as a student), they cannot switch into this category.
A substantial amount of documentation must be submitted to support a visa application in these categories. Among these, divorce certificates or a death certificate in the case of a late spouse to prove you are free to marry.
The appropriate form is always Form VAF4A – settlement (see page 7 of the form). Please note that form VAF1F, instead, is meant for marriage visitors, who want to marry in the UK, but not settle here after the wedding.
Form VAF4A can be downloaded from: http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/resources/en/docs/1903073/vaf4a
Terms of leave
If your application is approved, you will gain entry clearance as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner.
You will initially be admitted to the United Kingdom for 6 months.
You cannot take up employment until after the marriage or civil partnership. Once the marriage or civil partnership has taken place, you will need to make a further application to the Home Office to request a variation of your visa status from fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner to that of a spouse or a civil partner.
Once this application is approved by the Home Office, a 2-year probationary period visa will be granted. During this time, you can live and work freely, but you will not be able to claim public funds. After satisfactory completion of the 2 year probationary period, you will need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
After 3 years and assuming the marriage/civil partnership is continuing, you may make an application for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Extension of leave
You may apply for an extension of your visa if:
• you can show good cause why the marriage or civil partnership did not take place within the initial period of leave granted; and
• there is satisfactory evidence that the marriage or civil partnership will take place at an early date; and
• you still meet the original visa requirements (listed above).
If your extension of stay is granted, the prohibition on employment will remain as per the original visa.
Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.