Marriage Visitor Visa Guidance
For many couples from around the world who are planning to get married or enter into a civil partnership, the UK is a dream destination for their ceremony. From the stunning lakes, lush countryside, the rugged mountains to the quaint chocolate box villages and places of immense historical significance, the UK has everything to offer. If you are planning to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK but you don’t intend to live here, you will need to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa. In this article, we explain the purpose of the Marriage Visitor visa, the eligibility criteria, the conditions attached, and how to apply.
What is the UK Marriage Visitor visa?
Unlike the fiancé/fiancée visa, which is available under the family migration route and allows a foreign national to come to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership with a British national or person who has settled here the Marriage Visitor visa, if just for the purposes of having a ceremony.
A UK Marriage Visitor visa is specifically for those who wish to:
- get married or register a civil partnership in the UK
- give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in the UK
- but not plan to stay or settle in the UK after the marriage or civil partnership
It is important to note that if you are coming to the UK to convert your civil partnership to a marriage, then you only need to apply for a standard visitor visa.
When you come to the UK, you will need to use a venue that is licensed for marriage or civil partnership ceremonies.
What does it mean to ‘give notice’ if I plan to get married in the UK?
‘Giving notice’ is simply part of the legal process of getting married or entering into a civil partnership in the UK. It involves completing a legal statement at a register office in the UK to formally state that you intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership. Notice has to be given at least 29 days before the ceremony.
Both partners are required to give notice at the same time; this does not apply, however, if you both:
- are British or Irish citizens
- have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, and you are still waiting for a decision from the Home Office.
Who does not need a UK Marriage Visitor visa?
You will not need to apply for a UK Marriage Visitor visa if you have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, and you are still waiting for a decision or you are a national of Ireland.
What are the conditions attached to a UK Marriage Visitor visa?
If granted, your Marriage Visitor visa will typically be issued for up to six months. This means you will have six months from when you arrive in the UK to get married. You will need to depart the UK before your visa expires.
Under the conditions of your visa, you will not be able to:
- study at a school, college, or university.
- gain access to public funds such as state benefits
- bring your dependant family members with you on your visa; they will be able to join you, but they have to apply separately
- reside in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits
- extend your visa
- switch to a different visa type
- work (the exception being that you may be able to undertake some business activities if they are related to your work or business overseas)
What are the eligibility criteria for a UK Marriage Visitor Visa?
To be eligible for Marriage Visitor visa for the UK, you must be:
- aged 18 years or over
- free to give notice of marriage
- free to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months of your arrival here
- in a genuine relationship
- intending to visit for less than six months and depart the UK before the expiry of your visa
- not intending to reside here for extended periods by making frequent or successive visits
- not intending to make the UK your main place of residence
- able to financially support yourself during your trip (it is also possible to receive funding from another person for this purpose, but you will need to prove this is the case)
- able to fund your return or onward journey
- intending to undertake other activities which are permitted by a Visitor visa.
How do I apply for a UK Marriage Visitor visa?
Your application for a UK Marriage Visitor visa can be completed online, and this must be done before you make your journey to the UK. As part of the application process, you will also need to:
- Book and attend an appointment with a visa application centre to provide your biometrics (fingerprints/photo) and provide them with any documents required by the Home Office as evidence of your eligibility (see below for a list of these documents)
- Pay the application fee of £95.
The Home Office advises that you cannot apply earlier than three months before the date you intend to travel here, and you will typically receive a decision within three weeks of applying.
The documents you may need to provide to support your application for a Marriage Visitor visa include:
- details of the marriage or civil partnership ceremony
- evidence that you have paid for some of the costs of the ceremony
- proof that you’re planning to get married in the UK (such as a booking confirmation or emails between you and the venue)
- If you have been married or in a civil partnership in the past, evidence that this has formally ended, and you are free to enter into a new marriage or civil partnership.
How we can assist with your UK Marriage Visitor visa
Reiss Edwards is a top-tier immigration Solicitors in the UK and has the experience and expertise to handle all aspects of your Marriage Visitor visa. We can quickly assess your eligibility, advise if there are other options available based on your immediate and long-term plans, prepare your application and documents, and deal with any questions raised. If you have been refused a UK Marriage Visitor visa, we can also seek to have this overturned on your behalf, giving you the best chance of gaining the permission you need to realise your plans.