Marriage Visitor Visa Guide
Table of content
- Credibility assessment
- Assessing your personal circumstances
- Travel/ immigration history
- Maintenance and accommodation
- Maintenance and accommodation provided by a third party
- Visa application, cost and timeframe
- Conditions of the visa
- Supporting documents
This visa is a subcategory of the standard visitor visa enabling visitors only to get married in the UK and leave the country on the expiry of their visa; it should not be confused with fiancée visa which is intended to those who want to settle in the UK after their wedding.
You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if:
- you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK
- you want to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in UK
- you’re not planning to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership
- you meet the other eligibility requirements
You do not need a Marriage Visitor visa to convert your civil partnership into a marriage – you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
You must prove that:
- 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’re 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
If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to show proof that you’re free to marry or enter into a civil partnership again, for example a decree absolute or death certificate of a previous partner
You are expected to satisfy the Home Office (HO) that you are a genuine visitor. While considering your application, the HO will assess your credibility and intentions to visit the UK as a visitor and decide whether you meet the requirements in the Visitor Rules.
The burden of proof is on you to show that you meet the validity and eligibility requirements in line with the Visitor Rules.
The Home Office will consider the following factors:
- your personal circumstances,
- your stated purpose of visit,
- your travel history and record of compliance and
- whether you have adequate funds to cover the costs of your trip and stay
Your supporting documents should back up statements made on the application form.
Types of UK Visas
Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for your visa.
Assessing your personal circumstances
The following factors will help to assess if you are a genuine visitor:
- previous immigration history, including visits to the UK and other countries,
- the duration of previous visits and whether this was significantly longer than you originally stated on your visa application or on arrival,
- your financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background,
- your personal and economic ties to your country of residence,
- the cumulative period of time you have visited the UK and your pattern of travel over the last 12-month period, and whether this amounts to ‘de-facto’ residence in the UK.
- whether, on the balance of probabilities, the information and the reasons for the visit or for extending your stay you’ve provided are credible and correspond to your personal, family, social and economic background.
Travel/ immigration history
The Home Office will consider your travel history in your passport or travel document and a pattern of travel that shows that you have previously complied with UK immigration law may indicate that you are likely to be a genuine visitor, in the same way if you’ve also travelled to other countries, especially the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Schengen countries or Switzerland.
If you have previously failed to comply with another country’s immigration law, for example if you have been removed from another country, or if you have been refused entry to another country, this may suggest that you are not likely to be a genuine visitor (depending on the circumstances).
However, it should be noted that your travel history will not be the only consideration to take into account in deciding whether you are a genuine visitor or not as there may have been a change in circumstances since your previous travel. This is the reason why they will consider all relevant information for each application including any social and economic factors and any locally held information.
Maintenance and accommodation
The Home Office will check if you have access to sufficient resources to maintain and accommodate yourself adequately for the whole of your planned visit to the UK or for the period of any application for permission to stay.
There is no set level of funds required for an applicant to show this.
At the border you may be asked where you will be staying and for evidence that you have access to funds to cover the costs you are likely to incur during your visit. They will also consider the likely cost of your stay and assess any sources of revenue that will continue to be available to you whilst you are visiting the UK.
They will also take into account any ongoing financial commitments you may have in your country of residence such as rent/ mortgage payments and any dependants who you support financially, including those who are not travelling with you.
Your income or savings, minus your financial commitments, must be sufficient to meet the likely costs you will incur in the UK and be reasonable expenditure in light of your financial situation.
Maintenance and accommodation provided by a third party
Maintenance and accommodation support can be provided by a third party, including family members, friends and other people with whom you have a genuine personal or professional relationship. If the third party is in the UK, they must not be in breach of immigration law.
In order to assess whether the relationship with the third party is genuine and whether the third party intends to provide support, the HO will consider:
- the third party’s previous history of ‘sponsoring’ visitors – for example, previous
failures to support visitors may call into question their intention and ability to do so for this application,
- the relationship between you and the third party
- where and how you met
- how often and by what method you communicate
If the third party is an individual such as a friend or family member providing financial support to you, they must demonstrate that they have enough funds available to adequately support themselves and anyone normally dependent on them, as well as yourself.
If you wish to find out more about your immigration matters, our team of experienced lawyers is happy to assist.
Visa application, cost and timeframe
If you need a visa, you must apply online before you travel to the UK and it costs £95 to apply for this visa. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
As part of your online application, you need to book an appointment at a visa application centre. You’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at your appointment. The visa application centre may keep your passport and documents while processing your application.
Once you’ve applied, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks; however, depending on what country you’re in, you may pay an extra to get your visa decision faster.
Your partner must apply for their own Marriage Visitor visa and pay the fee if you both need one. Your child will need to apply as a standard visitor if they need a visa.
Conditions of the visa
You can use this visa to visit the UK for up to 6 months.
With this visa can:
- marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival – you must use a venue licensed for this purpose
- pass through the UK in transit (on your way to another country)
- get public funds (benefits)
- bring in family members (‘dependants’) – they must apply 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
It is your responsibility to ensure that you provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the Home Office that you meet the Visitor Rules.
You must provide relevant evidence and information in support of your application including:
- a passport or travel document.
- details of the marriage or civil partnership and proof that you’ve paid money for some of its costs
- proof that you’re planning to get married in the UK, for example a booking confirmation or emails between you and the venue
- Maintenance fund
- Proof of divorce or death certificate if you had a previous partner.
You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Your application may be refused if, on the balance of probabilities, you did not provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the Home Office, that you meet the requirements of the Visitor Rules.