My visit visa has expired. Can I get married in the UK?

Question: I am a national of Uganda and am in the UK on a 6 month visit visa. Whilst I have been here, I have met a lovely British man and we want to get married. Can I get married in the UK?

Answer: You will need to apply for a “Certificate of Approval” from the Home Office to obtain permission to marry your British boyfriend. There is no fee payable when you submit the application for a “Certificate of Approval”.

However, the Home Office can take several weeks to process the application and therefore you should be mindful not to overstay your visit visa whilst awaiting a decision from them. At the same time, you should be aware that even if you are successful in your “Certificate of Approval” application and get married in the UK, this does not mean you can then successfully petition for a marriage visa whilst in the UK; the two issues must not be confused; marrying in the UK does not give an automatic right to then lawfully remain by way of obtaining a marriage visa. Following your marriage, it is likely that you will need to return to Uganda to apply for a spouse visa at the British Embassy to lawfully enter the UK, in accordance with the relevant immigration rules.

*Note: It should be noted that the Certificate of Approval Scheme is likely to be abolished in Spring 2011 as the scheme is deemed by the UK courts to be incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (read with Article 12). Further information from UKBA is currently awaited to provide guidance to Applicants after abolition of the scheme.

By Raheela Hussain,
Principal Solicitor,
Greenfields Solicitors,

* Please note that the above article does not relate to nationals of the European Union.

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 published.

You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation with a Solicitor:
Tel. +44 (0)20 8884 1166