UK Immigration Law
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I am assuming that the person has no immigration status in the UK but the answer will be the same if they do have temporary status.
At present, in order to marry in the UK unless you either have Indefinite Leave to Remain or are a British Citizen, you need to apply to the Home Office for a certificate of approval. This is a free of charge application where you need to complete form COA available on the Home Office website and then submit it.
If the person has no leave or has less than 3 months remaining on a their visa, you will need to also submit affidavits about the relationship from both parties in order to 'prove' to the Home Office that your relationship is genuine.
If you have more than 3 months remaining on a visa that was granted for more than 6 months then you can simply complete the form and submit this to the Home Office along with your passports and passport photographs. Each person that does not have settled status will need to apply for a certificate of approval.
However, if you are planning to marry in an Anglican Church then a certificate of approval is not necessary. If you plan to marry anywhere else then currently, it is.
It can often take months for the Home Office to make a decision on them and even once they are issued, you only have a window of 3 months in which to marry.
They are however planning to scrap the certificate of approval scheme and this should be brought into effect in Spring 2011. See this news feed from the Home Office for details http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/32-coa-changes and so your other option is to wait a few months and see whether they abolish the need for one. It does not appear that they are going to replace it with any other scheme so it will make life a lot easier. They haven't released any more detail than this at the moment though so it's up to you how long you want to wait.
It should be noted that a certificate of approval will only give you permission to marry in the UK. It does not confer any leave at all and a separate application will need to be made for that which most likely will carry a fee.
The question would relates to someone with no immigration status and their passport is lost. I am concerned this will complicate things.
What would be the best solution (ie. quickest and most likely to be successful in terms of them being together in the UK)? Would it be for that person to return to their country and they marry there or would it still be possible for them to marry in an Anglican church?
This question refers to someone overstaying over a year on a student visa
So they came here on a student visa which ran out a year ago?
Well then the above advice applies in respect of getting a certificate of approval. They would then need to apply on form FLR(O) for further leave to remain in the UK and provide evidence of the relationship. They would need to provide article 8 ECHR arguments regarding private and family life. If made before 6 April the application will cost £500 and if made afterwards, will cost £550. It will probably take the Home Office a number of months to make a decision and then unless you can show a good reason why they can't return and make an application under the rules, there is a chance that it will be refused with no right of appeal since they have no current status to give a right of appeal. There is lots of good article 8 caselaw around at the moment though so if you do decide to make an in country application, I would advise you seek the assistance of a solicitor so that they can cover all the relevant law to try and persuade the Home Office to exercise discretion. If there are any children involved, this also needs to be strongly emphasised.
I agree that if you can, it may be a good idea to get a COA and then return to make a spouses application or alternatively go back and make a fiance application. Getting a COA to then make a spouse application will be cheaper as otherwise as soon as they return to the UK and marry, a spouses application will also have to be made and so you will be paying 2 lots of Home Office fees if you go down the fiance/spouse route as opposed to the COA/Spouse route since there is no fee for a COA but a fiance is the same cost as a spouse.
There is a re-entry ban that can apply where people have overstayed but if you are coming to join family then you fall into an exception and so the fact they have overstayed shouldn't prevent them from getting their visa.
Would marrying in Trinidad be a good option? If so what would the procedure be?
Regarding the re-entry ban, when you have stated that it wouldn't apply if you were joining family,does that mean wife?
Is it possible to obtain a COA over here if he has no passport or visa?
What constitutes evidence of a relationship?
It is entirely up to you where you marry, I cannot advise you on the procedure for marrying in Trinidad as I do not practice Trinidad law, you will need to contact the registrar or vicar in Trinidad that you wish to marry you and they will be able to explain.
Yes, family includes wife so the re-entry ban will not apply.
As mentioned above, you can get a COA if you have no leave (visa) but you will have to follow the procedure outlined in my first answer.
In terms of evidence of a relationship, you can use photographs of you together, phone bills/letters/cards showing contact and correspondence addressed to the same address to show co-habitation. If you have any children together then provide their birth certificate as long as it shows both of your names as a child together is good evidence of a relationship.
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