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Can I marry my partner from overseas?

This information applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If your fiancé or proposed civil partner is not from the EEA and they want to come to the UK to get married to you and live with you permanently in the UK, they will first need to get a fiancé visa, known as entry clearance. You will both have to prove that you have a genuine relationship. You yourself have to be British or have settled status in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain.

To get a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa, you will also have to prove that:

  • you and your partner are 18 or over at the date of your application
  • your partner must not be related to you in a way that means you could not marry under UK law
  • you and your partner must have met in person
  • your relationship must be genuine and subsisting;
  • you must be seeking entry to the UK to allow your marriage or civil partnership to take place
  • any previous relationship must have permanently broken down (this does not apply to certain polygamous relationships)
  • you and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK
  • you must meet the financial requirements, and
  • you must meet the English language requirement.

Further information is on the UKBA website at www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Once your fiancé is in the UK, they will be given 6 months' to stay here during which you must get married or have a civil partnership ceremony. You will need to give notice to marry or register your civil partnership at a designated register office.

Once married, your new spouse or civil partner must apply on a UK Border Agency form for permission to remain in the UK as a spouse or civil partner. There are strict requirements that your partner will have to meet to satisfy the immigration authorities that the marriage is genuine and that they should be allowed to stay in the UK.

If you applied to stay in the UK as a spouse or civil partner before 9 July 2012, then you can apply to stay in the UK permanently once you have been here for two years. If you applied on or after 9 July 2012, you have to have been here for five years before you can apply for stay here permanently. This is known as applying for settled status. In all cases, you'll have to continue to prove during that time that you met the rules for spouses and civil partners Further information is on the UKBA website at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.

UK immigration law is complex and getting it wrong has serious consequences. You should always consult a specialist adviser. To find out more see Help with immigration problems.

Other Frequently asked questions about immigration: