UK Immigration Law
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No, if you currently have leave to remain in the UK which is more than 6 months then you are able to apply for a Spouse Visa in the UK without having to leave the UK.
Once you have obtained a divorce you are able to marry in the UK and then submit an application for further leave to remain using form FLR M please see following link to the form and guidance:
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Thank you for your reply.
The problem with what you are suggesting is that you have to divorce first and then apply. If you divorce which usually takes around 6 months in UK when you divorce is complete you are no long a dependent of you wife and you will no longer be her husband, so at that point you will have become an overstayer, however the UKBA usually allow you 28 days leeway to submit an application. Unfortunatley once you have become an overstayer it usually means that the application will be totally at the discretion of the UK. It would therefore be advisable to submit as much evidence as possible regarding your connections to the UK and reasons why you should be not sent back to the US to submit your application. I would suggest you read the case of Chikwanba for clarification which can be found at the following link:
I would therefore advice you to enter into marriage the day after you have received your divorce certificate and submit your application thereafter.
This would be the best scenario to follow to avoid returning to the US to submit an application form there.