I have overstayed my visa but want to marry a British citizen

Do I need to apply need to apply to the Home Office for permission to marry?

Question: I have overstayed my visa in the UK and have met a British man who I would like to marry. I have heard that I need to apply to the Home Office for permission to marry, is this true?

Answer: Following a Court of Appeal judgement in 2007, the Home Office are now considering applications from individuals who do not have valid leave to enter or remain in the UK to still apply for permission to marry their British partners – partners who are residents in the UK, so long as they can prove that there are – exceptional, passionate circumstances for granting a certificate of approval.

A certificate of approval permits an individual who has no legal status in the UK to apply for permission from the Home Office to marry their partner in a registry office within the UK. However, it should be noted that successfully obtaining a certificate of approval and subsequent marriage does not equate to an individual then automatically being granted leave to remain in the UK on the basis of their marriage as they would need to satisfy the requirements for overstaying a visa.

The Home Office will consider exceptional, compassionate circumstances where an individual has been present in the UK for a lengthy period of time, has cohabited with their partner (and can provide evidence through documents such as utility bills, joint correspondence) where there are children of their relationship, who themselves have legal status in the UK and where it would be disproportionate to refuse an application for permission to marry. The certificate of approval application itself is straightforward- there is no Home Office fee which needs to be paid for it to be processed, though it should be noted that it may take several months for the Home Office to provide a decision in such applications.

By Greenfields Solicitors,

Please note that the above article does not relate to nationals of the European Union. The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation with a Solicitor on 020 8884 1l66.