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Thomas Chase Immigration - UK Spouse Visa
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Marriage Visitor Visa – What is it and when should you get one?

I received a call from an applicant who wished to travel to the UK to marry her partner currently based in this country and was considering applying for a marriage visitor visa.

Mary had searched (and searched) the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) website and thought she had everything pretty much sussed. Her partner, Jonathan, also searched the internet and they were both agreed on what they both needed to do and began completing the online application form.

Until, that is, Mary called the Consulate in her home country with a query about processing times and received differing information about the application type and process, leaving her and Jonathan somewhat confused, frustrated and a understandably, a little fed up.

In defence of staff at the Consulate, it can be difficult to guide applicants through the correct process without having a clearer understanding of the needs of the person.

So back to Mary who sought information about Marriage Visitor visas.

Marriage Visitor visas are just that. They allow the overseas applicant from outside of the European Union (EU) to travel to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK.

Criteria

To qualify for a Marriage Visitor visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Free to give notice of marriage, to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of their arrival
  • Be in a genuine relationship
  • Intend to visit the UK for less than 6 months
  • Intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
  • Be in a position to support themselves without working in the UK or requiring public funds to do so, and that they can be supported and housed by relatives or friends
  • Must be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey to their home country or country or residence
  • Not be in transit to a country outside the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

Documents

Such applications require numerous original documents to be submitted. They include:

  • An original current passport or other valid travel identification
  • Proof that the applicant can support themselves during the entirety of their trip. Such evidence include:
    • Bank statements; or
    • Pay slips for the last 6 months
  • Proof of the applicant’s future plans for the relationship. This may include documents to show where they intend to live
  • Details of where the applicant intends to stay and their travel plans
  • Evidence that arrangements have been or are being made to marry or form a civil partnership or give notice of the intention to do so this during the visit. This may be a letter from a registry office

Additional documents

Depending on the applicant’s circumstances, it may be necessary to provide further documents to meet the eligibility requirements. For instance, if the applicant had previously been married, submitting the following may be necessary:

  • Decree absolute
  • Death certificate of a previous partner

Cost

The visa costs £87. There may be additional nominal fees for extra services payable to the Visa Application Centre.

Timing

Applicants may apply for a Marriage Visitor visa and submit their application to UKVI 3 months before the intended date of travel to the UK.

Processing times

Applications can take approximately 3 weeks to be concluded. However, processing times will vary depending on the Consulate location and individual circumstances. It is therefore strongly recommended that all required documents be submitted with the application to avoid delay at best.

Length of the visa

Marriage Visitor visas are issued for up to 6 months only. During that time, the applicant will be expected to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK. At the end of the visa, the visa holder must leave the UK and return to their country of origin or country of residence.

Is the Marriage Visitor visa the right visa?

The Marriage Visitor visa does not allow applicants to do the following:

  • Claim public funds
  • Bring in family members or dependants. They will need to apply separately
  • Reside in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits
  • Extend the Marriage Visitor visa or switch to another visa category
  • Take up employment – except for permitted activities related to the applicant’ work or business overseas. This may include activities such as attending meetings
  • Take up studies for more than 30 days.

Mary’s immediate and longer terms plans appeared to suggest that the Marriage Visitor visa was not the most appropriate option for her. Jonathan is a British Citizen living in the UK and Mary had expressed a desire to reside with Jonathan in the UK following their marriage.

Having set out the options to Mary, it became clear to her that the Marriage Visitor visa was too narrow for her needs. Such a visa would not enable her extend her stay in the UK beyond 6 months and make a life for herself with Jonathan, a British Citizen. Instead, we discussed the option of applying for a fiancée visa, which you can read about in my other blog post.

Needless to say, by talking through her immigration concerns with an expert, Mary saved herself further frustration and making a visa application that would not have met her immediate and longer term needs.

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Join the discussion

  1. Andrew

    Hi there. I am British and my girlfriend is Brazilian. she is currently living in Dublin.

    We want to live in the UK indefinitely.

    Can she apply for a Marriage visa, marry here, then leave the UK to apply for a spouse visa in Brazil then move back?

    Thanks for any answers!

    • C. Thomas

      Hello Andrew,

      Unfortunately, we cannot respond to specific questions in this forum.

      The options available will depend on your and your partner’s circumstances, anticipated timescales and eligibility.

      Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] to arrange a telephone consultation or for assistance with an application.

  2. Sarah Mayrhofer

    hi, I have a question regarding this visa:
    I am a British citizen residing in Germany. I would like to marry my Moroccan fiance in England, where my mother lives, and then live with him in Germany.
    Would this visa be appropriate for my fiance?
    Thank you!!
    Sarah

    • C. Thomas

      Hi Sarah,

      We cannot provide immigration advice here.

      In general, marriage visitor visas are suitable where a non-EEA national is seeking to marry in the UK within 6 months of their visit. After their visit, the visa holder must leave the UK.

      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you would like to arrange a telephone consultation.

  3. Anastasiya

    Hello, David!

    I have this visa and now I’m in London.
    Can’t I study more then 30 days (course english language)? But maybe have I opportunity for continuing this study more then 30 days? because process of register our marriage became longer then we thought.
    Or is it impossible?

    Thank you!

    • C. Thomas

      Hi there,

      Sounds as if you require specific advice to ensure that you do not breach the terms of your visa.

      We would be happy to arrange a 30 minutes’ telephone consultation to discuss your specific circumstances and address any questions you may have.

      If that sounds like something you would be interested in, feel free to email us at [email protected].

  4. Medrin

    Hi, am looking to get married to my fiance and move to settle with him on the UK the marriage visa does not give the option of getting married and staying with my husband in the UK which visa do I need to apply for so that we are married and remain together in the uk?

    • C. Thomas

      Hi Medrin,

      The marriage visa is a form of visitor visa, that allows non-EEA nationals to enter the UK and marry.

      The marriage visitor visa does not allow a person to switch into another immigration category and gain settlement status.

      Instead, the fiancée/ fiancé visa is often the preferred visa category for those non-EEA nationals seeking entry to the UK to marry and settle with their partner.

      However, much will also depend on the applicant’s and their partner’s circumstances.

  5. Andy

    Will applying for a marriage visit visa affect a future application for a spouse/family visa?

    I wish to apply for a marriage visit visa and get married in the uk, then return to my home country for a bit. And then apply for a brand new spouse visa in a few months later.

    • C. Thomas

      Hi there,

      Much will depend on your and your partner’s specific circumstances.

      It may prove beneficial to talk through your situation with an immigration consultant to ensure that your longer terms aims are not compromised

      If you would like to arrange a 30 minutes’ telephone consultation, please contact separately at [email protected].

    • A.Gibson

      I am a British citizen my fiancé an American citizen . We were going to go down the fiancé visa then spouse visa route . But due to his work commitments for the next 12 months or so (which will stop him being in the uk for now ) we plan to get married in the uk on a marriage visit visa , then him leave to go back to America to work and both of us continue to travel back and forth until his work is finished and he can apply for a uk spouse visa . Would this cause any problems ?

      • C. Thomas

        Hi there,

        Sounds as if you require specific advice to ensure that you are choosing the best option.

        We would be happy to arrange a 30 minutes’ telephone consultation to discuss your specific circumstances and address any questions you may have.

        If that sounds of interest to you, feel free to email us at [email protected].

  6. David

    Thank you for your detailed explanation of the Marriage Visitor Visa. Please can you give more examples of documents required regarding the statement, “Proof of the applicant’s future plans for the relationship”?
    Your immediate response would be highly appreciated, thank you.

  7. David Olney

    Hello
    My fiance in the Philippines is applying for a marriage visitor visa, I will be providing for all her financial needs as she is unemployed at this time, is this okay for the visa requirements.

    Kind regards

    David Olney

    • C. Thomas

      Hello David,

      We cannot give specific individual advice.

      However, a sponsor may provide financial support to the applicant as long as this is clearly documented in application form and by way of supporting documents.

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