Can getting married stop deportation?
Getting married can not stop deportation or removal that has been ordered by the UK’s Home Office. There is a process that must be followed for people who wish to marry legally in the UK, and an immigration check will be undertaken on the partners wishing to marry.
In most instances, it is extremely unlikely that an undocumented immigrant living in the UK will be able to get married. However, this is made even more unlikely when there has been a deportation order issued.
There are some instances where a deportation order can be challenged or appealed. In these cases, an individual may be granted leave to remain, and if they fulfil the eligibility criteria, may be allowed to marry their partner.
This article covers who may be at risk of deportation, the situation for a spouse or family member, and how to challenge or appeal deportation.
If you need urgent assistance with your case, contact our immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375 for a discussion on how we can assist you.
Who is at risk of deportation?
Deportation means that an individual must leave the UK and until they leave the country, they may be held in a detention facility while the arrangements are being made.
There are a number of grounds under which an individual may be deported from the UK. If some of the following instances apply to a case, a deportation order may be prepared:
- If the person is living in the UK without a valid immigration status
- If the person is not a British citizen and has been convicted of a criminal offence that carries a custodial sentence
- If a court makes a judgement that it would be conducive to the public good for this person to be deported
- If they have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 12 months or more
British citizens, some Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK (with the right of abode in the UK), or citizens who have lived in the UK for five continuous years are exempt from deportation orders.
What are the options to stop deportation?
If an individual has been issued a deportation order, it does not automatically mean that they will be forcibly removed from the UK.
There are instances whereby a person may challenge or appeal deportation. It is highly recommended to engage the services of a specialist immigration lawyer to assist with your case.
If you are issued with a deportation order, you will receive an official letter from the Home Office outlining the circumstances of the case and whether you have the right to appeal.
For a person wishing to stop a deportation, they must act quickly as the process moves very fast. The first point to ascertain is whether it is legal to challenge the order.
Potential reasons for overturning deportation include:
- The removal is in breach of the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees
- The individual has lived in the UK for several years and would mean separation from family
- If a court has ordered you serve your sentence in a psychiatric facility
- If you have strong ties connecting you to the UK
- If you were under the age of 18 when convicted
- If you are a national of an EEA country
Spouse and family members
If you are facing the possibility of deportation, your spouse and any dependent children may also be at risk of deportation unless they hold indefinite leave to remain or have been living away from you. In this instance, getting married would not stop the deportation.
If an individual commits a crime and is given a sentence of more than 12 months but less than four years, the Home Office guidelines state that deportation would be a proportionate action.
In order for the order to be revoked, it must be shown that removal would result in a breach of Article 8 rights to private and family life.
The following must be true:
- The person must show that they have a child under the age of 18
- There is a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’ with the child
- The child is a British citizen
- It would be ‘unduly harsh’ for the child to have to live in the country in which the parent is being deported
- It would be ‘unduly harsh’ for the child to remain in the UK without their parent
In the case of the partner who has been issued a deportation order, the following must be true:
- There is a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship with a partner who is a British citizen or holds indefinite leave to remain
- The relationship was formed when the person was living in the UK lawfully
- It would be ‘unduly harsh’ for the partner to live in the country where their partner is being deported
- It would be ‘unduly harsh’ for the partner to remain in the UK without their partner
How to challenge or appeal a removal decision
An official letter will outline whether you have the right to appeal against a deportation order. If you have the right to appeal, you will have 28 days to submit your appeal. However, if you have been placed in detention, you will only have five days.
If the order is lifted following a successful appeal, you may apply for leave to enter at a UK port in order to stay in the UK legally.
However, if your appeal fails, you will still have some options available to you. You may be entitled to make a further appeal or a judicial review application.
If you do not have the right to further appeals, you may be forcibly removed from the country. If this is the case, you may be refused re-entry for up to ten years. Using the services of a specialist immigration lawyer can benefit your case as they can work quickly to prepare the documents required and liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.
If you need urgent assistance with your immigration case, or you have been detained, contact the Immigration Advice Service for immediate support and advice. We have worked with people on a range of immigration cases and look forward to supporting you.
Citizenship by marriage route
If you are not married but have been issued with a deportation order, it is important to note that getting married will not stop the deportation process.
If you are an undocumented immigrant who wants to get married in the UK, it will be difficult to achieve this without coming to the attention of the Home Office immigration officials.
However, if you are eligible to marry a British citizen (or person with valid leave to remain), you may be eligible for British citizenship by marriage.
You must have held indefinite leave to remain for at least three years in order to be eligible to apply for citizenship (also known as naturalisation).
There are other eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to have your citizenship application approved, including English language ability, having passed the life in the UK test, and holding good character, among others.
Do you need immigration advice?
Our immigration lawyers are on hand to discuss your case with you and help you achieve your desired outcome. We provide extensive support and help throughout the process.
We will assess your eligibility for the visa application or immigration route you are applying for, and provide comprehensive guidance on the forms and documents you will need to submit as part of the process.
We will also advise you on the Life in the UK test and make sure that your application is filled out to the highest standard to maximise your chances of an approved application.
Contact us on 0333 305 9375 for a confidential discussion about how we can support you. You can also use the contact form to speak with one of our friendly advisers about how to apply for British citizenship by marriage.