Changes to marriage and civil partnership regulations

On the 2nd March 2015, changes were made to the notice period of marriage or civil partnerships in the UK.

The UK has, unfortunately, seen many sham marriages and civil partnerships throughout the years in a bid to make the immigration process more straightforward. A sham marriage or civil partnership consists of a couple that go through the process of legally joining themselves together under UK law, but are not in a genuine relationship in order to gain immigration advantage for one or both of those involved, or to get around current UK immigration policies.

The process has now been changed, with the changes made aiming to prevent false spousal arrangements that are forged specifically to fool the immigration system.

The notice period for a couple to marry or form a civil partnership has been extended to 28 days in England and Wales. If couples where one or both persons is a non-EEA national with limited or no immigration status, the notice period could be extended to 70 days, allowing authorities adequate time to investigate whether the union is false.

Changes to marriage regulations & immigration

If you and/or your fiancé are non-EEA national with a limited or no immigration status in the UK, or if you or your partner do not provide thorough evidence of your immigration status, your planned marriage or civil partnership will now be passed onto the Home Office where you should expect the notice period to be extended to 70 days pending further checks.

Both parties of the relationship will be informed in writing by the Home Office on their decision of whether the marriage/civil partnership can take place or not. If a false marriage or civil partnership is suspected and your notice period has been extended, you will be required to comply with any investigation carried out by the Home Office to prove that your relationship is valid, and that you’re not attempting to get around UK law.

If one or both of the parties is a non-EEA national, they will be required to refer all marriage and civil partnership notices to the Home Office including:
-Settled status in the UK (leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain)
-An EU law right of permanent residence in the UK
A marriage or civil partnership visa
-Exemption from immigration control

As the UK’s leading immigration solicitors, our specialists have a wealth of experience accompanied with a strong track record of success with partner and spouse visa applications. Find out how we can help you.