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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7432
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I am illegal immigrant. I came ashore from ship in Southampton

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I am illegal immigrant. I came ashore from ship in Southampton a number of years ago on 3 day pass to get to Heathrow to return to Philippines. Needless to say, I did not go to airport. I recently renewed my passport at Philippine Embassy.

I have a girlfriend with whom I live and want to marry. She is born Philippines but now a UK citizen. I would like to marry her here, but think best way is for me to return to Philippines and come back on fiancée visa or marry her in Philippines and return as husband visa.

If I just go to airport and get on plane – will I be stopped at passport control on exit? And if I do – will I be arrested and banned from returning. What should I do?

I do not want to be illegal – just want to be legal and get married. Please can you advise?

What is the reason for not marrying her here before you leave the UK?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Because I thought you had to submit your passport etc in order to get married. That would show me as illegal immigrant - no?

Thanks. Drafting your answer now. 5 mins.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK - thank you. I would really like to marry her here if possible, but don't want to get into trouble. Regards


Thanks for your patience.

You do not have to submit your passport to the UKBA in order marry any longer, this is because the certificate of approval scheme as long since been abolished. Confirmation here:-

This means that you do not need the UKBA’s permission to marry.

It is technically at the registrar of the registry office where you are to marry whether to marry you but almost all will even though you do not have leave to remain in the UK.

So, if you wish to marry then you can.
There are two ways of making an application. You can apply for a fiance visa (you’re your home country so that you can come here specifically for the purpose of marrying. Once married you would then have to apply for a spouses visa (settlement – Further Leave To Remain). Two applications, two application fees.

Alternatively, You can either marry in the and then apply directly for a spouses visa at the UK embassy there; Once application, one application fee.

The difficulty is that because you have overstayed they will be much more vigilant with the application that you make. There is a higher evidential burden when applying for a fiancé visa because you have to prove that you will marry, rather than just that you are already married (ie. where you can simply submit your marriage certificate). Because of this more fiancé visa applications fail than spouse visas.

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.

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
• Meet the financial requirement (salary threshold):
& here:

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 fiance 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 fiance 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

• You should also include job adverts showing jobs available that you could do when you come here and show, via your CV, that you have the qualifications and work experience that you would be a viable candidate for those roles
Further information here:-

You will also have to pass an Englsh Language test:-

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.

The fact that you have overstayed means that when you leave the UK you will receive a re-entry ban of 1 or 2 years, however your human right (article 8) to a family and private life overrides this so you will still be able to apply regardless of the ban. However because of the complication with the overstay I would strongly advise that you instruct a solicitor here in the UK to assess whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria based on the documents are you able to produce to them and thereafter instruct them to prepare an application for you to take with you when you return home to make the application.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi - thank you very much indeed for that very detailed response. Sorry to trouble you more, but does that mean I can marry her here and then just stay and apply for stay visa here after say 6 months?


No, I'm afraid not. Because you do not have leave to remain it means that the UKBA would reject any application you made from within the UK. This means that you would have to appeal and you would not have a good starting position for this.

It would probably be quicker and easier for you to have an application prepared in the UK by a solicitor to take with you to your home country and apply from there.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But I could marry her here first, then return to the Philippines and apply there for husband visa then is what you are saying?

(Sorry to keep troubling you - just want to make sure I make the right move)

Very best regards

Correct, but you need to instruct a solicitor before you marry.

Please rate my answer.

Kind regards

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