What can you do with a Marriage Visitor Visa?
With a Marriage Visitor Visa, you can get married or start a civil partnership within 6 months of arriving in the UK. The ceremony must happen in a place that has been given a licence. You can also stop in the UK on your way to or from another country.
A Marriage Visitor Visa can only be given for a maximum of six months. During that time, you will have to get married or start a civil partnership in the UK. After that, you will have to go back to your home country or where you live. But if there will be a long time between giving notice and the marriage or civil partnership, the officer in charge of entry clearance can give a multiple-entry visa that is good for up to a year.
With a Marriage Visitor Visa, you can’t plan to live in the UK for long periods by going there often or back and forth, and you can’t do things like work or study that aren’t allowed by the visa.
You also won’t be able to switch to a different type of visa or stay longer in the UK if you have a Marriage Visitor Visa. When your current visa runs out, you will have to leave the UK and go back home to apply for a different type of visa.
If you want to live and work in the UK after getting married or entering a civil partnership, you might be able to get a different kind of visa. Get advice about your situation and possible other ways to move there.
As a holder of a Marriage Visitor Visa, you won’t be able to work, use public funds, or study for more than 30 days (though studying can’t be your main reason for going).
Should I apply for the Fiancé Visa or the Marriage Visitor Visa?
If you want to get married or start a civil partnership in the UK, you should think carefully about whether the Marriage Visitor Visa is right for you.
If you want to stay in the UK after you get married or form a civil partnership, you can’t use the Marriage Visit visa. Instead, you should look into other options. For example, you might look into the fiancé(e) visa if your partner has settled status in the UK, such as ILR.
By talking to immigration experts about the different visa options you have, you can find the best one for your immediate and long-term needs.
Marriage Visitor visa requirements
Under the Marriage Visitor Visa, you can come to the UK if you are:
- Aged 18 or over
- In a real relationship with the person you want to marry or become a civil partner
- Free to get married, start a civil partnership, or announce a marriage or civil partnership in the UK while their visa is still valid.
- Planning to get married or start a civil partnership, or telling someone about it
Note that it is against the law in the UK to get married or start a civil partnership without giving at least 28 days’ notice at a designated registry office.
If you want to come to the UK as a tourist to get married or start a civil partnership, you must also meet the following general entry requirements for UK tourists:
Be trying to get into the UK for a short time, no more than six months, and planning to leave when that time is up.
Be able to support yourself and find a place to live without using public funds or getting a job in the UK.
Be able to pay for your trip back home or to your country of residence or home country.
How to apply for a Visitor Visa for Marriage
You can apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa before you go, as long as you meet the requirements. You should apply on the website of the UK Home Office no more than three months before you plan to travel.
In order to apply, you have to make an appointment at a visa processing centre near you and show up for it. At the appointment, you will need to bring your supporting documents and explain, among other things, why you want to visit and what your plans are for the future with your fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner.
You will also need to go to a visa application centre to have your fingerprints and a picture taken. This is called “biometric information” about you.
Keep in mind that the application centre may keep your passport while they process your application.
Marriage Visitor Visa supporting documents
When you apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa, you will need to send in a number of documents, including, but not limited to:
- Your original and up-to-date passport or another valid form of travel ID.
- Tell them where you plan to stay and how you plan to get there.
- Details about how the marriage or civil partnership will be made known, such as a letter from the registry office.
- Information about the plans you have made or are making for your wedding or civil partnership to take place in the UK while you are there. This could be a confirmation that the wedding venue has been booked or proof that a deposit has been paid.
- Proof that you can take care of yourself for the whole time of your visit, like bank statements or paystubs.
- Proof in writing of your plans for the future of your relationship, such as where you plan to live after you get married or form a civil partnership.
Depending on your situation, you may also be asked to provide more proof. For example, if you’ve been married before, you might need to show a decree absolute or a death certificate for your ex-spouse to prove that you’re free to get married again or start a civil partnership.
How long does it take to get an application?
Your application for a Marriage Visitor Visa can be sent in three months before you plan to go to the UK. This is the earliest you can apply, and you should get a decision within 3 weeks. However, processing times can vary depending on the caseload of the application centre or other issues that affect service delivery, such as backlogs and any public health restrictions that may be in place at the time of your application.
For an extra fee, some processing centres offer fast-tracked processing.
Need some help?
Atty Magsino is a lawyer /solicitor who helps people move to the UK. We help people with their UK immigration needs and can help you through any Home Office process, such as an application to come to the UK to get married. Please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the Marriage Visitor Visa.