Dear Mr Bassie,
I would like to go to the United Kingdom (UK) to marry my fiancé. Please advise me on what visa application I should make and how to obtain one.
Persons who are engaged to be married and would like to get married in the United Kingdom should make an application for a fiancé visa.
To apply for a fiancé visa, both persons will need to be 18 years old or over. The partner must also either be a British citizen who has settled in the UK – for example, he/she has indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence; or have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. Also, both persons must intend to live together permanently in the United Kingdom after applying.
Please note if the partner has settled status, the applicant may also be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or for a family permit.
Persons must be able to prove that they are a fiancé or fiancée and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom within six months of arriving. Persons will also need to prove that they have a good knowledge of the English language and can financially support themselves and their dependents.
If persons do not meet these requirements, they may still be able to apply for a visa if:
• Persons have a child in the United Kingdom who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for seven years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the United Kingdom;
• There would be very significant difficulties for the applicant and their partner if they lived together as a couple of outside the United Kingdom that could not be overcome
• it would breach a person’s human rights to stop him/her going to the United Kingdom or make him/her leave.
Persons who are applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner must prove that any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended and that they plan to marry or become civil partners within six months of arriving in the United Kingdom. It should be noted that those persons will not be able to work during the engagement.
If the application is successful, persons will get permission to stay in the United Kingdom for two and a half years, or for six months if they are applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner. After this period, they will need to apply to extend their stay.
Persons will need to prepare information and documents to provide with their applications. The applications completed by persons will depend on whether they are in the United Kingdom or not. In either case, the application must be made online.
The costs for a fiancé visa if persons want to live in the United Kingdom and they are marrying a UK citizen or settled person is £1,033 to £1,643. Please note that if persons cannot pay the fee, they should fill in the online fee waiver request form.
Persons can also request a fee waiver as well if they are unable to pay the fee because they:
• Do not have a place to live and cannot afford one
• Have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
• Have a very low income and paying the fee would harm their child’s well-being
With respect to children, persons can add children to their application as dependents if both of the following apply:
• They are under 18 years old when applying, or were under 18 when they were first granted leave
• They do not live an independent life
Just to be clear, a child is considered to be living an independent life if, for example, they have left home, got married and had children.
The earliest time that persons can apply to settle in the United Kingdom, this is called ‘indefinite leave to remain’, is after they have lived in the country for five years continuously with permission to stay, that is ‘leave to remain’, as a partner. Please note that persons cannot count any permission to stay in the United Kingdom as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney at law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org