UK fiancee visa help: frequently asked questions

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I would like to marry my British fiance(e) in the UK, how do I go about doing this?

Firstly, you must apply for a fiancee visa from overseas. This visa category is specifically designed for British citizens and legal permanent residents who wish to bring their foreign fiancee to the UK. The settlement fiancee visa must not be confused with a marriage visitor visa which is used by non EEA/EU nationals to come to the UK to marry only with no intention of staying in the UK after the wedding.

How long is the fiancee visa valid for?

The fiancee visa is valid for six months from the date of issuance. The marriage must take place in the UK within six months. Settlement fiancee visa holders are eligible to switch into the spousal visa (further leave to remain or FLRm) category from inside the UK.

I am currently in the UK on a fiancee visa, but have had to postpone the wedding outside of my six month time frame, will this cause a problem?

Normally, the fiancee visa cannot be extended beyond the six month period unless the couple have a legitimate reason for requesting an extension, such as injury, illness or family emergency. If you have had to postpone your wedding, it is advisable to seek legal assistance so that you do not breach the conditions attached to your visa. Unlawful presence (overstay) can hinder your chances of getting the spousal visa (further leave to remain) from within the UK, even if you are legally married to your sponsor.

Can I work in the UK on my fiancee visa?

Fiancee visa holders are not allowed to work in the UK. No exemptions. If you take up employment or work as a self-employed person you will be in breach of your visa conditions.

Do I need to take any tests before applying for the fiancee visa?

Most applicants must take an English language test to prove their proficiency in the English language before they can apply for the settlement fiancee visa, except for applicants who have a degree which was taught or researched in English and recognised by UK NARIC as meeting or exceeding the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK. Nationals of a majority English speaking country are also exempt from the English language requirement.

Some applicants must undergo a mandatory TB test.

I am currently in the UK visiting my fiancee, can I apply from here?

A settlement fiancee visa application can only be made from outside the UK.

How long does the fiancee visa process usually take?

Visa application processing times vary considerably from country to country and from Consulate to Consulate. On average the fiancee visa process can take two to three months. Some countries, such as Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, Canada and the US have an expedited service. Premium applications, where available, are normally processed within 10 to 15 days.

We have submitted our application to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) but I need my passport returned urgently, will this pose a problem?

Should you wish to have your passport returned, your application will be deemed withdrawn.

The relationship between my fiancee and I has terminated- what happens now?

If your relationship has terminated the UKBA can be advised of the situation. If you don’t get married within six months of the fiancee visa validity period, you will have to leave the UK.

I was in the UK on the fiancee visa, but our relationship did not work out at the time and I went back to my home country. My former fiance and I have been in touch since then and now want to re-apply for the fiancee visa. What are my chances?

The second fiancee visa will be more difficult to obtain. You and your fiance must be prepared to explain to the examining UK Border Agency officials why your relationship did not work out the first time and why you believe it will lead to a marriage the second time. Your application may be refused, if the UKBA examiners suspect that you are using the fiancee visa as a way to spend time in the UK, which would normally require a general visitor visa, with no intention to marry and settle in the UK together in the foreseeable future.

I have a valid visitor visa for the UK. Can I enter the UK as a visitor and marry my fiance?

The visitor visa is not designed for this purpose. If you plan on getting married in the UK within six months, you must apply for a suitable settlement fiancee visa or visit for marriage visa. Hypothetically, even if you were able to get married in the UK on a visitor visa, you would be required to leave the country to apply for a spousal visa to settle in the UK with your partner as visitor visa holders are not eligible to switch into the spousal visa (further leave to remain or FLRm) category from inside the UK.

Will I be allowed to travel outside the UK after the marriage?

The initial fiancee visa is valid for multiple entries up until the point of marriage. You must not leave the country after the wedding as the minute your marry your loved one in the UK, your fiancee visa technically becomes invalid for reentry. You must apply for the spousal visa (further leave to remain or FLRm) to extend your permission to stay in the UK. You will initially be granted a provisional or “conditional” visa with an option to apply for residency (indefinite leave to remain or ILR) in approximately five years.

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