Yesterday, we reported on the disturbing case of Michael Wright, who sold his disabled sister to a man hoping to secure UK residency through a marriage visa. Today, we switch tacks and outline six basic things you need to know before you apply to obtain a UK marriage visa, or any other kind of partner visa, legally.
1. There are three ways to stay in the UK
For those in a relationship with a person in the UK, you may be able to apply to live in this country as his or her:
(Click on the above links for more information.)
2. Rules for a husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried/same-sex partner
If the UK Border Agency grants your application to remain in the UK as a husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner, you will initially only have permission to enter and live here for two years. Shortly before the end of these two years, however, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
3. Rules for a fiancÈ(e) or proposed civil partner
If the UK Border Agency grants your application to remain in the UK as a fiancÈ(e) or proposed civil partner, you will initially only have permission to enter and live here for six months to give you time to get married or register your civil partnership. After you get married or register your civil partnership you can then apply to switch into the category of husband, wife or civil partner.
4. What happens if my relationship breaks down?
If you have permission to enter or remain in the UK in one of the above categories, you must tell the UK Border Agency if your relationship breaks down before you receive indefinite leave to remain. (Before you do this, however, you may want to speak with a solicitor.)
5. Minimum age of 21
The UK Border Agency will not grant you a visa if either you or your partner is under 21 on the date when you would arrive in the UK or the date when your permission to enter or remain would be given. Learn more by reading UK Immigration: New Marriage Law Hits Headlines.
6. Rules for partners of foreign workers and students
Partners of people who have limited permission to enter or remain in the UK as a worker or a student should visit the UK Border Agency website or consult a solicitor because the rules are different and quite complex.
** Additional information & advice about UK immigration law**
Alternatively, you may want to speak with a solicitor. You can find a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.