Visa and immigration rules for UK marriage

Looking for a spouse visa so you can join your husband, wife or civil partner in the UK? Then you’d need a visa to join or accompany your partner to live in the UK.

To discuss your spouse visa and marriage visitor visa options, quickly reach out to us at and get help.

In this post, our immigration experts consider the immigration rules on getting married in the UK.

To get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK, you may need either a:

The UK fiancé (e) visa

This comes to fore if you are engaged to a:

  1. British Citizen in the UK, or
  2. person present and settled in the UK, or
  3. person in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection; or
  4. person in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU or
  5. person in the UK with limited leave as a worker or business person under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay

and you want to get married and live with your partner in the UK. This visa is granted for six months and you will need to be married and then apply for a spouse visa before the expiration of the visa.

The eligibility criteria for a fiancé visa are:

  • You and your partner are both over the age of 18 and
  • You have met your partner in person and you are both free to marry. (This means you or your partner are not already married or in a civil partnership and any previous relationship has broken down). In other words, your relationship is genuine and isn’t a ‘sham’ and
  • You intend to marry within six months of arrival in the UK and intend to live together permanently in the UK and
  • You have adequate accommodation in the UK and the means to fund yourself without reliance on public funds and
  • You meet the English language requirement and
  • In some cases the Tuberculosis requirement

In summary, the marriage visa is only right for you if you don’t want to live in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership.

If you intend to stay in the UK after your marriage then the fiancé visa is probably the best visa option for you provided that the person you are engaged to is either a British citizen or is classed as having indefinite leave to remain or settled status under the immigration rules.

Applying for a spouse visa after marrying in the UK

Here are the rules.

  • If you enter the UK on a marriage visitor visa then you can’t apply for a spouse visa whilst in the UK on the marriage visitor visa.
  • To secure a spouse visa, you will need to leave the UK and apply from overseas for a spouse visa.
  • If your intention is to settle in the UK then Spouse Visa Solicitors recommend that you take legal advice on your best visa options before applying for a marriage visitor visa.
  • If you enter the UK on a fiancé visa and you want to stay in the UK for more than six months then you must make your application to stay before your fiancé visa expires. Note that the application will be for a spouse visa and you will need to meet the financial requirement.

It is best to check spouse visa eligibility criteria before applying for a fiancé visa. For example, to see if you will meet the financial requirement or if you will be exempt from it because your partner is in receipt of certain state benefits on a prescribed list.

In all honesty, when it comes to getting married in the UK and applying for a spouse visa, it is best to be organised and to have an understanding on the UK immigration rules on getting married in the UK before you make the decision to marry in the UK.

Need help with your marriage visa, fiancé visa or spouse visa? Feel free to get in touch. Please contact for further information.

Recommended Posts