- Overview of the Marriage Visitor Visa
- What Can I Do With a Marriage Visitor Visa?
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria?
- How Do I Apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa?
- What Documents Do I Need to Apply?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
- What Happens After I Apply?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the Marriage Visitor Visa
The UK Marriage Visitor visa (or Marriage Visit visa) allows foreign nationals to travel to the UK to get married, enter into a civil partnership, or to give notice of intention to do so.
Marriage Visitor visas are usually valid for up to 6 months. You cannot stay or settle in the UK after your visa expires.
You won’t need a Marriage Visitor visa to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK if any of the following apply to you:
- You have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- You have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, and are awaiting a decision
- You’re an Irish citizen
Additionally, you won’t be eligible for a Marriage Visitor visa if you qualify for British citizenship.
What Can I Do With a UK Marriage Visitor Visa?
With a Marriage Visitor Visa, you can:
- Marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival
- You must do this at a licensed venue
- Pass through the UK in transit on your way to another country
Note that you cannot:
- Access public funds, such as benefits
- Bring in family members or dependants with your Marriage Visitor visa
- If you wish to bring family members with you to the UK, they must apply for their own visa separately
- Live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits
- Extend your visa or switch to another visa
- Work – except for permitted activities related to your work or business overseas, such as attending meetings
What Are the Eligibility Criteria for the UK Marriage Visitor Visa?
To be eligible for the Marriage Visitor visa, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- You’re 18 or over
- You’re free to give notice of marriage, to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival
- You’re in a genuine relationship
- You’ll be visiting the UK for less than 6 months
- You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
- You’ll not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home
- You’re able to support yourself during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
- You’re able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
- You have proof of any other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules
Note that you must also provide at least 28 days’ notice of your intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership at a designated registry office.
How Do I Apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa?
You must apply for the Marriage Visitor visa online through the Gov.uk website before you travel to the UK.
You must also apply for your visa no more than 3 months before you plan to travel to the UK.
As part of the application process, you will need to book an appointment at a local visa application centre to prove your identity and provide your documents. You will also have your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and photograph taken at this appointment.
Note that your nearest visa application centre may be located in another country, so you will need to ensure that you allow plenty of time to attend your appointment.
Your partner must also apply for their own Marriage Visitor visa and pay the fee if you both need one. If you have a child or children who will travel to the UK with you, they will each need to apply as a standard visitor if they need a visa.
You may apply on behalf of your partner and child if they can’t apply for themselves. However, they must attend their own appointment at a visa application centre.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply?
You will need to provide a range of documents when applying for your UK Marriage Visitor visa, including the following:
- Valid passport or travel document
- Proof that you’re planning to get married in the UK, such as a booking confirmation or emails between you and the venue
- Details of the marriage or civil partnership and proof that you’ve paid money for some of its costs
- Details of where you intend to stay in the UK
- Evidence of future plans for the relationship, such as where you intend to permanently reside
- Proof that you can support yourself financially throughout your visit
- Proof that you’re able to marry or form a civil partnership if you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before
- This may be through something like a decree absolute or a death certificate of a previous partner
Note that depending on your personal circumstances, you may also be expected to provide additional documents not listed here.
You must also provide translations of any documents that are not in either English or Welsh.
What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the Marriage Visitor visa?
It costs £100 to obtain a Marriage Visitor visa.
If you need to cancel your application, it’ll only be possible to receive a refund if the application hasn’t been processed yet.
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your application within 3 weeks. However, this period of time may be longer depending on how busy the Home Office is when processing applications.
You can check up-to-date waiting times by consulting the UK government’s page on visa decision wait times.
What Happens After I Apply for a UK Marriage Visitor visa?
After your Marriage Visitor visa application is processed, you will receive an email or a letter stating whether your application has been approved or refused.
If your application is approved, you will receive either a sticker (called a vignette) that goes in your passport, or access to view your immigration status information online if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity.
These will show you the type of visa you’ve been granted, the start and end dates, as well as the conditions of your visa.
If your application is refused, you will receive a letter or an email outlining the reasons why.
This letter will also explain if you have the right to either an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal, if you feel like your visa refusal was unjust.
How Can IAS Help?
The Marriage Visitor visa is a useful visa for those who only wish to travel to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership. However, obtaining this visa, and any UK visa in general, isn’t always an easy process. Several people apply for UK visas every year without success.
If you’re interested in applying for a Marriage Visitor visa, IAS can help. We can provide you with a smooth experience while we handle the work of ensuring your eligibility is proven without doubt and increase your chances of success.
We are expert legal advisers specialising in UK immigration law and can advise you if you need to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK. We can help establish your eligibility for the visa, help assemble your application and supporting documents, and help guide you through the process of travelling to the UK and conducting your ceremony.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:18 am
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The Marriage Visitor visa only allows people to marry or enter into civil partnerships in the UK. It does not allow people to live or settle in the UK long term.
Meanwhile, people with a fiance visa are allowed to live and settle in the UK after they get married or enter into a civil partnership. They can do this by applying for a spouse visa before their initial fiance visa expires.
If you wish to enter into a marriage or civil partnership, you must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa. UK standard visitor visas do not allow you to get married.