Moving to the United Kingdom with your partner? Planning a beautiful marriage in the UK, surrounded by family and friends? Or maybe a quiet ceremony at a local registry?
You should consider applying for a ‘Fiancé visa’ if you are looking to enter the UK to marry or enter a civil partnership with a UK citizen (or someone who has settled status) and you plan to live together long term in the UK.
This blog covers the details involved in applying for a fiancé visa, including the processing time, eligibility requirements and how to prove the genuineness of your relationship.
Fiancé visa: A detailed view
The UK fiancé visa is a category of visa that allows a non-UK citizen permission to enter the UK either to get married or register a civil partnership with a person who holds indefinite leave to remain, refugee status or humanitarian protection, status under the ECAA provisions, EU settled or pre-settled status or someone holding UK or Irish citizenship.
The visa allows you to get married or register a civil partnership within six months of gaining entry into the UK.
A UK fiancé visa will be issued to enable you to travel with your partner, who is returning to the UK after living abroad. It can also be applied for where your settled partner is already living in the UK and wants you to join them from overseas.
The idea is that you will marry within the UK within the 6-month validity period of the visa. If you are unable to get married within this period, for good reason or due to circumstances out of your control, an in-country extension can be submitted to give more time for the marriage to take place. You must show that you will be reasonably able to get married within the following 6 months.
The fiancé visa does not give the holder permission to work in the UK, however, once you qualify for a spouse/civil partner visa (i.e. after you get married/register your civil partnership), you can apply from inside the UK for leave to remain as a spouse/civil partner and will be allowed to work under the spouse/civil partner visa.
Check your eligibility for a UK fiancé visa.
You and your partner must fulfil specific prerequisites to apply for a UK fiancé visa.
Below mentioned are the general qualifying criteria:
- You and your partner must be of 18 years of age or above.
- Your partner should be a UK citizen or someone with settled status.
- You must prove that any of your previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended, where applicable.
- Both of you must have a strong intention and plan to get married within the six months of entering the UK with a fiancé visa (and supply evidence of relevant bookings relating to your wedding plans).
- You must show a strong intention to live with your partner in the UK after you are married or have entered into a civil partnership.
- You need to provide evidence to show that you have adequate financial means for yourself and your partner and won’t become financially dependent on public funds.
- You must, in most cases, demonstrate that you have an income of at least £18,600 per year.
- You must also prove that you have suitable accommodation to live in with your partner and your dependents (if applicable).
- You need to demonstrate English Language proficiency which in some cases may require you to take an approved English test to show that you can listen, understand and communicate in English to the level of A1 as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) (beginners level).
What are the documents required to apply for a UK fiancé visa?
The documents and information required for a fiancé visa include:
- A valid passport with blank pages. If you do not have a blank page in your passport, then you may consider applying for a fresh passport.
- Copies of the photo page and any UK visa or entry stamps in your previous passports
- Proof of your legal immigration status in your country of application (if you are not a national of the country you are applying from)
- Information on your previous UK immigration applications
- The details of any criminal convictions
- UK National insurance number (if you were ever issued with an NI number in the past)
- Your parent’s dates of birth and nationality
- Home Office approved tuberculosis test if you belong to a country where you are required to take a TB test as a mandatory requirement of the visa application
- A certified translation of any such document that is not in English or Welsh.
You must also give details of:
- Any person you or your partner were previously married to, in a civil partnership with or had children with
- Documentary evidence of marriages ending, such as a divorce certificate
- Details of whether your partner is financially supporting anyone else, for example, parents or children.
Proving your relationship is genuine and subsisting
The “Genuineness test” is used by Home Office caseworkers to determine whether your relationship is real and ongoing. Failing to prove the genuineness of your relationship could result in your fiancé visa application being refused.
There are various questions on the application, designed to establish the genuineness of the relationship (and to rule out that the possibility that the visa will be used as a “vehicle” to help someone stay in the UK for other primary purposes). Subjects include:
- Your relationship with your partner, for example, how you met and how often you see each other
- How long you’ve lived together (in additional, you’ll need to provide proof of cohabitation, such as council tax bills or utility bills addressed to you and your partner)
- Things you pay for together (i.e. joint financial commitments, such as mortgage payments)
- Whether you’re your partner’s carer (are you in a genuine relationship with your sponsor…or are you using the visa for the purpose of entering as a domestic care worker).
You and your partner must have evidence that you meet the minimum annual income threshold set by the Home Office, to support yourself and your family in the UK without needing to rely on state benefits.
You must be able to show a gross income of £18,600 per year for yourself and your partner.
If you have any children who are applying for visas as your dependants, then you must show an additional £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each child after the first child.
Evidence of income can include, but is not limited to:-
- Evidence of salaried or non-salaried employment
- Evidence of self-employed earnings (employment as a Director, Partnership or Sole Trade)
- Any other additional pay such as maternity, paternity or adoption pay
- Personal cash savings (which can also be combined with salaried employment)
- Income from selling stocks or shares
- Pension income
- Property income
English Language Requirements
You need to demonstrate English Language proficiency at beginners level to qualify for the visa.
Unless you are meet the requirement in another way, or are exempt, you need to take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) test to show that you can listen, understand and communicate in English to the level of A1, as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
You are exempted from needing to sit an English test if you meet any of the following criteria:
- You are the national of a majority English language speaking country
- You possess a qualification at degree level or higher, taught in English at an educational institution in the UK or overseas
- You are above 65 years of age
- You have a qualifying disability that prevents you from sitting a test.
Application process, visa fees and processing time
You need to make an online application and submit the required documents as outlined above in the blog. You must also book and attend a Biometric appointment to enrol your photo and fingerprints. You will not normally be required to attend an interview with a caseworker but this is always a possibility, and you (and or your sponsor) would be contacted for interview sometime after enrolling biometrics, if the Home Office did wish to interview you.
A UK fiancé visa costs £1,523 if you apply from outside the UK. Inside the UK visa costs £1,033, plus a £19.20 biometric enrolment fee (if you are applying to extend a previously granted fiancé visa).
Generally, it takes about two to three months before for a decision. Some locations offer a “settlement priority service” where you can receive a decision sooner, for an additional fee.
Conclusion: The blog covers everything you need to know about your Fiancé visa application. One must carefully consider the requirements before making the application. The process requires rigorous attention to detail. If your dream is to have your special wedding day in the UK and to continue marital life in the UK, start by planning your fiancé visa application.