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Category: UK Immigration Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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My girlfriend is a Russian citizen and is currently in the

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My girlfriend is a Russian citizen and is currently in the UK with me on a Type C Multi-Entry Visa (valid for 6 months).

For background, she applied online for this visa before we had met, we met a couple of weeks later in Portugal, when she returned to Russia she attended her appointment for this application and 2 weeks later got her visa.

My question is, can we get married in the UK whilst she is on this visa (obviously she will then have to return to Russia to apply for a Spouse Visa) or will this count against her getting a spouse visa (even though there was no intention to marry in the UK at the time of applying for her Visitor Visa) and would she therefore be better returning to Russia and applying for a Fiancée Visa?
Thank you for your question. the critical issue with either a spouse visa or fiancee visa application is to establish that there is a genuine relationship. I.E the marriage is not simply a device to obtain a UK residence visa. Apart form that there are a number of criteria that need to be met. You will need to have appropriate finances and your girl friend needs to meet the language requirement. These are the same whether you apply for a fiancee visa or a spouse visa.

If you got married whilst she is here as a visitor it would perhaps be strong evidence that the relationship is genuine and the fact that she left of her own accord in accordance with the rules and applied for a spouse visa from her home country would certainly not harm her application and could benefit it. What the UKBA really takes exception to is people trying to bend the rules. IT is perfectly legal to marry whilst her as a visitor you simply cannot remain as a spouse.

The only word of caution I would suggest to you is that you need to be certain that you want to get married after a relatively short relationship and that your future wife will actually qualify for the visa. You might be better to make sure she can get the fiancee visa and meet the requirements before getting married.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your quick response.


My question was about the legality of the situation (as well as the practically). The UKBA website is quite conclusive, but it contains some statements that seem to be interpretations, rather that hard facts.


For example, it states that you cannot get married in the UK on a Visitor Visa - "There are restrictions on what you can do in the UK in these visitor categories. For example, you cannot get married."


I would really welcome some clarification that I could reference.


And thank you (genuinely) for your caution, but I am a CEO, she is a lawyer with an MBA, and we are of the same age!



Thanks for the follow up.
The statement on the UKBA website is slightly misleading. When someone applies for a visitors visa than the conditions include the fact that they do not intend to do a number of things here including work or get married - so a visa can be refused if the UKBA believes that is the intention. There is a separate visa for people intending to come to get married.
It will not however affect the legality of any marriage. It used to be the case that if someone was subject to immigration control then they needed a certificate of approval to get married. This rule has been abolished and whilst you will need to give notice at the register office, you no longer need approval to marry and any marriage will be valid.

As long as your girlfriend did not intend to get married when she applied, there is no problem and it will have no impact on her ability to get a spouse visa as long as she returns home to apply. There is an express rule ( as a result of the human rights legislation ) that prevents any previous breaches of immigration rules being used to bar spouse applications. In any case she will not be n breach of the rules if it was not her intent to marry when she applied.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you (again). That is extremely welcome news - can I just clarify:


We can marry here whilst she is here as a visitor (having applied originally as not knowing anyone in the UK - as was the case at the time), and after returning to Moscow she simply needs to complete an application as a spouse (together with all documents necessary)?


One final question, how long should the spouse visa take (I know it is not possible to give a indicative answer, but she has travelled frequently and always within visa requirements).


Many thanks

Your understanding is correct, yes.

Current figures for visas suggest all such visas are processed within 60 days in Russia but please bear in mind she needs to satisfy the language requirement see here :

she needs to have either got a degree taught in english or pass a english test . There is not point in applying until she can satisfy that test.
Senior Partner, Solicitor
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