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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7430
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I am a 69 year old American citizen resident in the United

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I am a 69 year old American citizen resident in the United States. I am engaged to a 69 year old English citizen. We are both retired. I have known her since 1985 and we have spent much time together. We plan to get married. I am a retired United Methodist minister. How do I go about the process of properly moving to and living in England? Thank You. Dr. David F.Mahoney

Hi David,


Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. Where do you intend to marry - UK or US?

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We intend on getting married in the UK, but if getting married in the US will simplify the process we are open to that avenue. David Mahoney




Sorry it's taken a while to get back to you David, I've been away from home over the weekend and had connectivity problems.


You can choose where to get married. You can either marry in the US and then apply directly for a spouses visa at the UK embassy there; Once application, one application fee.

Alternatively, you can apply for a fiance visa so that you can come here specifically for the purpose of marrying. Once married she would then have to apply for a spouses visa (settlement). Two applications, two application fees.


The eligibility criteria is largely similar for both applications. The advantage is that if your fiance visa is refused then you are not married. If you marry and you spouses visa application is refused initially and then on appeal then you are stuck being married but in different countries. However, I've generally found that spouse visa applications have a higher degree to success.


Here is the criteria you would need to fulfill for a fiance visa, as I say the criteria is largely the same for a spouses visa. If you meet this you will almost certainly not be refused a spouses visa:-


  • You plan to marry within 6 months of her arriving here
  • You plan to live permanently together here
  • You have met each other
  • You can support each other without the need for public funds
  • You have suitable accommodation which is owned or lived in only by you or your household and where you and your dependents can live without any help from public funds
  • That neither of you are younger than 21 years of age. (birth certificates, passports)

You have to produce to the UKBA documentation that proves the above. This would be some of the following:-

  • If you are to apply for a fiancé visa you will have to show evidence of your intention to marry, so things like purchase of a ring, evidence of having met (photos correspondence etc), booking of a wedding venue, evidence of invites etc.
  • Bank statements from both you and your wife going back 6 months showing the income/capital you have available
  • Payslips (6 month of) and a letter from your employer stating that you have a permanent job, contract of employment
  • Documentary evidence of any other assets you hold (eg. Shares, evidence of ISAs or bonds)
  • Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, passport
  • Evidence of correspondence between you and your wife showing that the relationship is credible and genuine (eg. Emails, letters, evidence of previous trips, photos showing you together, phone records
  • Evidence of the accommodation where you will live (ie. land registry officials copies of the property that you own, mortgage documentation, copy tenancy agreement if you rent, council tax statements, house report by a solicitor, letter from landlord confirm he is happy to give you a further tenancy agreement
  • Evidence that she can speak English:
  • You should also include job adverts showing jobs available that you could do when you come here (if you are to work)

Further information here:-



The application will have to be supported by evidence proving the above eligibility criteria. They key to a successful application is producing well-collated documentary evidence for the above criteria. You will also have to produce statements made by both of you explaining and supporting how you meet the eligibility criteria.


You will need to apply for fiance/spouses visa using form VAF4 which is available for download from the UKBA website


Generally, I've found that persons considering applying for fiancé/spouse visa are surprised by the documentary requirements and complicated nature of the application preparation.


You should consider instructing a immigration solicitor based here in the UK to prepare an application for her (whichever way you decide to do it). You can find local solicitors via:-

It should cost around £1000-1500+ VAT. It will save you money in the long run, in all probability.


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I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


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