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US Citizen marrying a UK citizen: UK partner visa options

If you are a US citizen wishing to settle in the UK with your British partner, you will need to apply for a UK spouse visa. US nationals who are not married or in a civil partnership with their British partner can apply for unmarried partner visa.

Alternatively, if you plan to get married to your British partner, you can apply for a fiancé visa. With a fiancé visa, you can come to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership and then switch to a spouse visa.

The UK Spouse visa is currently the most commonly used immigration route for US citizens who are in a relationship with a UK citizen and moving to the UK. This applies to those who are unmarried, married, or in a civil partnership.

As a US national, you can apply for a UK partner or spouse visa if your UK-based partner is able to sponsor you. They can sponsor you if they are:

  • A British or Irish citizen, or
  • A person who has settled in the UK – e.g. if they hold indefinite leave to remain, EU Settled Status, or
  • From the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and hold pre-settled status, or
  • A Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa holder, or
  • A person with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Spouse visa for US citizens

US citizens applying for a UK spouse visa must be in a marriage or civil partnership with their partner and:

  • Meet the English language requirements (you will meet this automatically as a US citizen).
  • Meet the financial requirements. You and your UK-based partner will need to show evidence of a combined annual income of £18,600 or more. If you have children, you will need an additional annual income of £3,800 for your first child and an additional £2,400 for any further children.
  • Meet the spouse visa accommodation requirements.

As a spouse visa holder, you will be able to stay for an initial period of 33 months. During this time, you are free to live, work, study, and travel. This can then be further extended for another 30 months. After 5 years of continuous residence, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain and then British citizenship.

Fiancé visa for US citizens

As an American who is a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner of a British citizen, you can apply for a fiancé visa. In this case, you must genuinely intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership within 6 months of arrival in the UK. In addition to the financial requirements outlined above for the spouse visa, you also need to prove that any prior marriages or civil partnerships have formally ended.

It is important to note that you will not be permitted to work in the UK on a fiancé visa.

If your fiancé visa is approved, you will be able to stay for up to 6 months and then switch to a UK spouse visa.

Unmarried Partner for US citizens

If you are a US citizen who is not married to their UK-based partner (and you do not intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership, you can still apply for a spouse visa as an unmarried partner. To do so, you will need to prove to the Home Office that you have been living with your partner in a relationship for a period of at least 2 years as of the date you apply. You will need to provide evidence such as a joint tenancy agreement, joint bank account, or joint bills which show you have been living together for this time. You will also need to meet the financial requirements outlined above for the spouse visa.

As with a spouse visa, as an unmarried partner visa holder, you will be given permission to stay in the UK for 33 months initially. You will also be able to live, work, study, and travel freely. And as with the spouse visa, you can further extend your stay for another 30 months, at which point you can apply for indefinite leave to remain and then British citizenship.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leading immigration solicitor based in Central London. If you are a US national who wishes to settle in the UK with your UK-based partner, we can assist with any aspect of your UK immigration, including:

  • Checking your eligibility for a UK spouse visa as a US citizen who is married to a UK citizen and moving to the UK or marrying a British citizen.
  • Advising if you have any other immigration options available to you, such as through the UK ancestry visa as a US citizen.
  • Handle your application for a partner visa on your behalf as a US citizen.
  • Advising how to overcome any issues with your application for a United Kingdom marriage visa as well as handle a spouse visa refusal.
  • Advise on settling permanently in the UK with your partner and gaining British citizenship.

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Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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