There are several visa categories for foreign nationals who are getting married to a UK citizen or settled person:
There is also a Marriage Visitor visa – a special immigration category designed for those who want to come to the UK and get married or engaged with no plan of staying or settling here. If a UK marriage Visitor visa holder intends to stay in the UK with their spouse, they must apply for a UK spouse visa from outside the country.
The first two visa categories mentioned above allow you to apply for indefinite leave to remain and UK citizenship in the future.
An overview of different UK family visas: application process and requirements
You can apply for this visa both from inside and outside the UK. This visa route covers same-sex partners as well.
A UK spouse and civil partner visa will give you an unrestricted right to work and study in the UK.
If you want to apply for a UK spouse and civil partner visa, you must meet the following criteria:
If a non-UK spouse or partner does not comply with one or several requirements of the Home Office, there will be exceptional circumstances that will allow them to apply for a UK family visa or extend their current visa.
If your UK spouse and civil partner visa is refused, immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal can provide legal support and assistance: we will prepare and submit your appeal and represent you in the UK Immigration Tribunal – an independent court responsible for handling this kind of issues.
You must provide a certified translation of any document that is not in English. The best you can do to save yourself time and effort is to book a consultation with experienced immigration advisors who will prepare all necessary documents and cover letters, help you gather evidence, fill in all necessary forms and submit an application for a UK spouse and civil partner visa on your behalf in full compliance with the Home Office requirements.
A UK spouse and Civil Partner visa is issued for 2.5 years if you apply from inside the UK and for 2 years and 9 months if you apply from outside of the country; it is subject to extension. If you want to extend your visa, you must apply before your current visa expires, but not earlier than 28 days before the expiry date.
The Home Office considers a relationship outside of marriage just as important as a matrimonial one.
Home Office requirements for an applicant of a UK visa for unmarried or same-sex partners and their British partner (including a same-sex partner) are similar to those for applicants of a UK spouse and civil partner visa:
This immigration category is designed for fiancés, fiancées and same-sex proposed partners who are going to marry a British citizen or settled person.
A UK fiancé, fiancée and proposed civil partner visa is issued for six months, and you can only apply for it from your home country. During the six months, the partners must get married and apply for a UK spouse and civil partner visa from inside the country.
You cannot run a business or get a job in the UK under this visa route.
This immigration category is not a type of a UK family visa; a UK Marriage Visitor visa is a subcategory of a UK Standard Visitor visa, designed for those who plan to get married in the UK but have no intention to stay in the country.
A UK Marriage Visitor visa is issued for six months and cannot be extended. You cannot study, work, run a business or get public funds and benefits in the UK under this visa route.
To become eligible for UK indefinite leave to remain (ILR), or settlement, you need to live in the UK for five years without any considerable periods of absence as a spouse/partner of a British citizen or settled person. The period you stayed in the UK as a fiancé/fiancée is not included. You also need to meet the following criteria:
A UK settled person has almost the same rights and freedoms as a British national. But if you need a British passport – for example, for travelling – you do not have to wait for 12 months and can apply for British citizenship straight after obtaining ILR. You must comply with the following criteria:
If you plan to get a UK family visa, get married in the UK or relocate to the UK to join your spouse, book a consultation with our immigration advisors to take all the hassle out of the process of getting a UK visa and to make sure that your celebrations are not ruined by a visa refusal.
Experienced regulated immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal can offer high-quality legal assistance to those who plan to get a UK Marriage Visitor visa, a UK Fiancé, Fiancée and Proposed Civil Partner visa, or a UK spouse and Civil Partner visa. Contact us right now to begin the preparation of your application. Here is a timeline for a UK family visa application: it only consists of three steps.
Timeframe: 1 day
Experts at Imperial & Legal are UK regulated immigration advisors. You can have a consultation with one of them in our office or over the phone or via Zoom/Skype. During the consultation, the immigration advisor will evaluate your circumstances, answer all your questions and help you choose the UK family visa route you need. Once a service agreement is signed, our experts will start working on your case.
Timeframe: 1–3 weeks
Immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal will be your official representatives until you get a decision on your visa application. Our experts will prepare a personalised list of documents you need to submit to get a UK family visa, arrange for certified translation of your documents into English, prepare detailed cover letters, complete a visa application, fill in official online forms, and pay a fee and submit the application. They will then book an appointment at a UK visa application centre for you to submit biometric information and will upload all the necessary documents.
Timeframe: 1–2 months
It may take the Home Office up to two months to process your application for a UK Fiancé, Fiancée and Proposed Civil Partner visa or a UK Spouse and Partner visa. As soon as your application is approved and you have obtained your UK family visa, you can enter the UK. Depending on your visa route, you will be able to stay and work in the UK or will have to leave the country in due time.
Our services are not limited to support in getting a visa – we offer comprehensive assistance in relocation abroad and we can help you find a convenient place to live or a nice nursery or school for your children.
If you are applying for a UK family visa, be prepared to answer the following questions while completing an online form:
The UK Home Office requirements do not apply to married couples only; they also apply to unmarried partners as well as engaged couples. However, in the latter case, only the UK partner is required to bear the costs.
This financial requirement applies to every stage of the immigration journey: from your first application for a UK family visa to your settlement in the UK.
To get married in the UK you need to provide the following documents:
Non-UK partners can include children as dependants in their application for a UK family visa, provided they comply with the following simple criteria:
1. The children are under 18 at the moment of application. If you are going to extend your visa, you can also include children who came of age while your first visa was valid.
2. They rely on you financially and do not live an independent life. From a legal point of view, your child lives an independent life if they have moved out of your accommodation, found a job, got married or had children.
3. If you have a child from a previous marriage, you need to provide evidence that the parent they live with takes all the decisions about and is responsible for the child’s life and health.
Regulated immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal will help you get a UK Marriage Visitor visa, a UK Spouse and Partner visa or a UK Fiancé, Fiancée and Proposed Civil Partner visa. Contact us to begin the preparation.
Visas to the UK
Appeal your UK visa refusal
Translation and interpreting
Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
How to obtain UK citizenship