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Howard
Howard, Immigration Lawyer
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 459
Experience:  Senior Partner with nearly 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law.
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I am a British national living in the Philippines. Ive been

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I am a British national living in the Philippines. I've been engaged to a Filipina national for almost a year now. I'd like to marry her in Asia so that her family is privy to the celebrations, and then travel back to the UK and Europe for our honeymoon to show her my hometown etc.

What would be the best place to get married in Asia, so as to form the strongest recognised civil partnership in the eyes of the United Kingdom?

I've heard that Hong Kong is great for this, and that her homeland Philippines not so great.

Ultimately, I'd like to live in the UK again when I'm bored of Asia and she will be coming with me, so I'd like to eventually get her a citizenship in the UK.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Howard replied 10 months ago.
There should not be any material difference in an application based on where you marry unless that marriage is not recognised under UK law. The history of Hong Kong might therefore mean that a marriage there is more likely to be recognised under UK law - this could be the reason for what you have heard?

If you are only going to be visiting the UK for a period up to 6 months then a visit visa might be sufficient for your purpose. This will obviously not allow her to travel to Europe - she would need a visa for any countries she will want to visit in Europe. The usual way of doing this would be to get a Schengen visa from the Embassy of the first country you will enter in Europe. This allows travel through the countries that are part of the Schengen agreement (the UK is not part of this).

In future you will want to get a Spouse visa - this would require that you meet the financial requirement based on current rules - a minimum income of £18,600 if there are no children and your wife will need to meet an English language requirement.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I heard that if I get married in Hong Kong, that the Shengen countries would instantly recognize my wife and allow her entry without needing to apply for a visa. This is incorrect, then?

Also, is it going to be a big deal if she is 20 years old and unemployed if she's applying for a visit visa to visit the UK? What would strengthen her chances of getting that visa?

I, on the other hand, make well over the amount required for the spouse visa criteria, just for reference.
Expert:  Howard replied 10 months ago.
Entry without a visa to countries is governed by nationality as stated in a passport. Marriage in Hong Kong would not change her nationality and would not confer any additional rights to enter countries that are covered by the Schengen agreement.

Being young and unemployed will not help the application at all. There are two key factors considered by the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer):

1. Can the individual afford the trip financially - this can be supported with funds or the funds of the person supporting the trip (often referred to as the sponsor, although this is not entirely accurate). A lack of funds could infer that work would be required to support the applicant financially and result in refusal.

2. Is the individual likely to return to their home country - having a job to return to, financial or family commitments, etc, all support the probability of the individual returning to their home country. Being young and having no job or commitments will not help the application and can result in refusal.

You will therefore see that both of the above together mean that there is a strong chance of refusal. There is always a chance of course and you should write letter confirming the purpose of the visit, how you will support the visit and that the individual will be returning home at the end of the visit. If you are going to be traveling back with her then having tickets booked already might help to support this. There is a chance of approval but I would not be surprised if the application is refused.

I hope that this answers your question - let me know.
Howard, Immigration Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 459
Experience: Senior Partner with nearly 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law.
Howard and other UK Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. That helps massively.
Expert:  Howard replied 10 months ago.
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