Both the marriage visitor visa and fiancé visa enable individuals to come to the UK in order to marry. However, to a large extent, this is where the similarities between the two visas end. In this article, we explore the requirements for a marriage visitor visa as opposed to a fiancé visa.
Before applying for a marriage visitor visa, it is important for applicants to be aware that the visa is primarily a short-term visa. It is designed to enable individuals from outside the EU to enter the UK for up to six months in order to marry or register a civil partnership. At the end of the six month period, the individual must leave the UK.
A marriage visitor visa is not therefore suitable for those applicants who wish to come to the UK to marry their British partner and to remain in the UK once married. Applicants seeking to do this may instead wish to apply for a fiancé visa.
UK marriage visitor visa: requirements
The requirements to be met in order to obtain a marriage visitor visa are set out within Appendix V of the Immigration Rules.
The main requirement that applicants must meet, and often one of the most complex, is to demonstrate that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit.
In cases where the British partner intends to move overseas, evidence of that intention should be provided, for example, a job offer abroad. However, if the British spouse intends to remain in the UK and the couple intend to pursue a long-distance relationship post-marriage, this requirement can be problematic.
In such circumstances, the Home Office would generally expect to see evidence as to why a couple will be living apart, whether this is due to work or family commitments or some other reason. The applicant would also need to provide strong evidence of their ties to their home country such as:
- work, education or family commitments to return to;
- property ownership or rental agreements;
- that they have future commitments at home; and/or
- that they have family who rely on them in their home country.
An applicant will also need to demonstrate that they are in a genuine relationship and genuinely intend to marry in the UK within the six months validity of their visa.
In addition to the above, an applicant may need to show that they are free to marry, have sufficient funds to support their trip and the cost of their onward journey. Applicants must also be at least 18 years old.
When seeking to enter the UK for the purpose of marriage, it is vital that an individual carefully considers their plans for the future in order to apply for the correct type of visa from the outset.
UK marriage visitor visa: How we can help
We are often approached by couples who have obtained a marriage visitor visa but, once married, want to remain in the UK together. Unfortunately, in such cases, the non-EU spouse is generally required to leave the UK and then apply to re-enter, often resulting in unnecessary time apart. Before applying for a marriage visitor visa, an applicant should therefore ensure that it is right for them.
If you require legal advice about a UK visa application or wish to discuss your options, our immigration specialists are available for an initial consultation and can be contacted here.