Should I Apply for a Fiance Visa or a Marriage Visitor Visa UK?
If you’re planning on getting married in the UK, you have to start by looking at options for getting a UK visa so that you can lawfully enter the UK to register your marriage. The type of UK visa you apply for depends on your plans after you register your marriage. You can do this by applying for a Marriage Visitor visa UK or a Fiance visa. This guide will explain the difference between Fiance Visa or a Marriage visitor Visa UK and the eligibility criteria you have to meet for a Fiance Visa or Marriage visitor Visa. Legafit Immigration Experts UK has many years of experience assisting individuals with their immigration matters.
What Are The Differences Between The Fiance Visa or Marriage Visitor Visa UK?
The Fiance Visa and Marriage Visa UK are both visas that allow you to enter the United Kingdom for the purpose of registering your marriage. The difference between these two Fiance Visa and UK Marriage Visa is that the Fiance Visa will enable you to apply for a Spouse Visa without having to leave the UK as long the spouse visa application is submitted prior to the expiry of the fiance visa. The Marriage Visitor Visa allows you to marry your fiance in the UK but you will not be permitted to apply for a Spouse Visa from within the UK; you will need to leave the UK and apply for a spouse visa from outside the UK.
Getting Married in the UK with a UK Marriage Visitor Visa.
Many people chose the UK as the place to register their marriage without any intention of staying in the UK after their marriage has been registered. Even those with partners who are British or are permanently resident in the UK may wish to get married in the UK without wanting to settle in the UK after they are married.
The UK Marriage Visitor Visa or Civil Partnership Visa allows people to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK. The Marriage or Civil Partnership Visa will also allow you to give notice of your intention to marry in the UK. When assessing an application for the Marriage or Civil Partnership Visa, the Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that the Applicant is not asking for a Marriage Visa to enter into a sham marriage. To assess the genuineness of the Applicant’s relationship with their spouse, the Entry Clearance Officer will want to see evidence of the couple’s relationship prior to granting them a Marriage Visitor visa UK or Civil Partnership Visa. The Entry Clearance Officer must also be satisfied that you have no intention of staying in the UK at the end of your Marriage Visitor Visa.
As stated above, if you have been granted a Marriage Visitor Visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for a period of up to 6 months, but you will not be able to apply for a Spouse Visa or to apply for a Visa in any other category without leaving the UK. If your plan is to stay in the UK after registering your marriage to your partner, there are other immigration categories that will enable you to stay in the UK and obtain permanent residence at some point in the future.
Getting married in the UK with a UK Fiance Visa
The Fiance Visa UK category allows partners of British citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or with limited leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme (Pre-Settled Status) to enter the UK for the purpose of registering their marriage to their partner. The added benefit of securing a Fiance Visa is that you will be able to stay in the UK after registering your marriage and applying for a Spouse Visa.
Unlike the UK Marriage Visa, you do not need to demonstrate that you have the intention of leavening the UK once your fiance visa expires as the expectations of the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) will be that you will be applying for a spouse visa prior to the expiry of your fiance visa.
When applying for a fiance visa, however, you will be required to meet additional eligibility requirements that you don’t need to demonstrate when applying for a UK Marriage Visitor Visa. The eligibility requirements of a fiance visa is very similar to the eligibility requirements of a Spouse Visa.
The additional eligibility requirements of a fiance visa require you to demonstrate that:
- Your partner is a British citizen, has indefinite leave to remain or has pre-settled status;
- Your partner has gross annual earnings of at least £18,600 (from salaried employment or self-employment) or has cash savings of at least £62,500;
- You can demonstrate knowledge of the English language at Level A1 (CEFR);
- You have a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner and you are not planning to be a party to a sham marriage.
The main disadvantage of applying for a fiance visa is that you will be applying for a spouse visa within 6 months of entering the UK on a fiance visa. As a result, you will effectively go through the UK application process twice in a very short space of time and more importantly, you will need to pay two separate sets of application fees. Given that the Home Office Application fees for Fiance Visa and Spouse visa are in excess of £1,500 and the Immigration Health Surcharge is £1,560, making two applications in a short space of time will work out to be quite expensive.
If you want to avoid paying two sets of Home Office application fees, you may wish to consider registering your marriage outside the UK and applying for a Spouse Visa from outside the UK after you have registered your marriage.
Is Marriage Visitor Visa the same as Standard Visitor Visa?
A standard visitor visa allows people to come to the UK for the specific purposes of tourism, leisure and visiting their family and friends, whilst the Marriage Visitor Visa category is designed to enable people to enter the UK for the specific purpose of getting married in the UK.
The key difference between a standard visitor visa and a marriage visitor visa is that those who enter the UK with standard visitor visas are not permitted by the Immigration Rules to give notice of their intention to marry, enter into a marriage or form a civil partnership. The Marriage Visitor Visa category on the other hand is specifically designed to enable people to get married in the UK.
If you enter the UK on a standard visitor visa and attempt to give notice of your intention to marry or try to register your marriage, this will amount to a breach of the terms of your visit visa. As a result, if you were to attempt to get married in the UK whilst you are in the UK with a Standard Visitor Visa, it is highly likely that any future application to enter the UK will be refused by the Entry Clearance Officer on the basis that you exercised deception.
Therefore, if you plan to get married in the UK it is very important to apply for a UK visa under the right immigration category.
How To Prove That The Requirement Is Met?
The best way of showing that you have satisfied the requirements of a fiance visa application is to make sure that you provide the necessary documents in support of your application. The Home Office’s policy guidance has provided a list of specified documents that must be provided in order for your Fiance Visa application to be successful.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the necessary documentary evidence has been provided in support of your application to demonstrate that:
- Your partner is a British citizen, has indefinite leave to remain or hold Pre-settled status;
- Your partner has gross annual earnings of at least £18,600 or has cash savings of at least £62,500;
- You have passed the English language test at Level A1 (CEFR);
- You are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner;
- Your partner has adequate accommodation in the UK;
Is There Any Way UKVI Can Make The UK Finance Visa Application Process Quicker?
The UKVI Priority Service is a premium service that aims to reduce delays and administrative burdens for applicants. If you are planning to travel to the UK with your partner, you can use the priority service to apply for your UK fiance visa faster than through normal channels.
The priority service is available to all eligible applicants who have met all requirements for their application. If you’ve already filled out your form but haven’t sent it in yet, you can still use this service to send it in within three business days of sending it online or by mail.
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