UK Fiancé Visa Application and Requirements
Everything You Need To Know About UK Fiancé Visas
If you are planning on marrying a British citizen or permanent resident, you will need to apply for a UK fiancé visa. This is a short-term visa that allows you to enter the UK prior to your marriage. You do not have to live with your fiancé prior to marriage but arriving at least a few months prior to your wedding can be helpful in planning your wedding. Here is everything you need to know to get started.
How Long Are UK Fiancé Visa’s Good For?
Fiancé visa is good for 6 months. The visa is not designed for unions in which the couple has not yet met. Unlike most family-type visas, fiancés are not required to live together prior to their marriage—but will need to prove that they intend to live together. The UK citizen or permanent resident will act as a sponsor. The visa does not permit the applicant to work or go to school prior to obtaining their marriage visa, so you will need to prove that you or your fiancé are able to cover housing and cost of living.
When Can You Apply for A Marriage Visa?
Once married, you can apply for a marriage visa. However, it is essential that the marriage date and marriage visa application is submitted before the fiancé visa expires. Most couples plan on getting married about 2 months (or more) prior to the expiration of their fiancé visa. A marriage visa is not the same as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or naturalisation but does allow married partners to work and go to school. Marriage visas must be renewed every 33 months, and the visa holder may need to wait a total of 60 months before applying for ILR. After receiving an ILR, applicants must wait another 12 months before naturalising.
What If You Need To Extend Your Fiancé Visa?
If you can prove extenuating circumstances for extending your fiancé visa beyond the 6 months, you can apply to switch to a family visa. You must wait to apply until 28 days prior to your current visa’s expiration date. If your plan is to stay in the UK, you will need to apply in person for same day premium service turn around. If you apply by mail you will not have a response for approximately 8 weeks, which will be past the expiration date of your current visa—meaning you will need to leave the country. Unlike the fiancé visa, with a family visa, you are required to live with your sponsor.
What If The Applicant’s Fiancé Has Children?
It can be challenging to bring children who are not biologically related to the sponsor into the UK under a fiancé visa. However, if you can prove that it would cause serious problems if a child under the age of 18 is not allowed to enter the UK at the same time, then it may be possible. Otherwise, you will need to wait until you are married and apply for a family visa for your children. Reach out to a member of the Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors name team to help increase your odds of entering the UK with a dependent.
If a child is biologically related to the sponsor, they can apply to enter the country under a family visa. We can assist with this process too.
Do You Have To Apply For An Fiancé Visa If You Are Engaged To An EEA National?
EEA immigration laws are expected to change at some point in 2018, in preparation of Brexit on or after March of 2019. Currently, if you are an unmarried partner in a lasting relationship with an EEA national who has settled in the UK you can apply for an EEA family permit.
Do I Have To Apply For A Fiancé Visa If I Qualify For Another Type Of Visa?
The answer to this question depends on your circumstances. For example, if you already have a job or have been accepted to a school in the UK. You don’t want to violate the terms of your visa, so it may be best to enter the country under the UK fiancé visa requirements. Either way we should discuss all your options and identify a legal path to citizenship.
Filling out the fiancé visa application, or any visa or immigration application is something you can do on your own—but is always better if you have a UK immigration lawyer helping you through the process. The Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors team will walk you through the application process, and drastically reduce your odds of being denied. At the very least, reach out to us if you or your fiancés application is denied.