Marrying A Foreigner In England Is Not A Simple Process
Too much red tape for my liking
My partner Natália is from Brazil and I reside here in England. We always knew that if this long-distance relationship went well we would most likely have to get married to live together here. It still seems very old fashioned with these rules today but, if that’s what we have to do then fine.
Fortunately, I actually want to marry Natália and after 4 and a half years I proposed a couple of weeks ago. Which certainly made me a happy person.
She Said Yes — On A Mountain In Snowdonia
A huge step forward for our long-distance relationship
Late last year we sat down and had a Zoom chat with an immigration lawyer to get some feedback and advice about our situation. This was very helpful and cleared up a few things. It cost £150 and last about 45 minutes. We were then sent a detailed report afterwards explaining our options and what we would need to do.
For us to live together we need a spouse visa. This can be obtained in two ways.
The first is where Natália is already living and working legally in England on a work visa, we meet and start living together. After two years of a credible history and proof of this relationship together we could then apply for a spouse visa.
The second option is to get married first to then obtain the spouse visa.
The first option is a no go as Natália doesn’t have a work visa nor have we been living together for two years. Marriage is our only option. However…
If we want to marry in England there are some hurdles to get over first. Like the annoying and very expensive fiancé visa.
Obtaining the fiancé visa
This visa needs to be obtained through the Gov.UK website. It comes under the ‘family’ visa, the same as the spouse visa. I’ll leave this link below for you which gives all the details of what you need to do before applying.
Family visas: apply, extend or switch
To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
A brief overview…
- It takes 3 months to be processed
- We need to prove the relationship is legit
- I must be in steady employment for at least 6 months earning over £18,600
- Fiancé visa fee of £1523 through the Gov.Uk site
- Fiancé visa only lasts 6 months and we must get married in that time to apply for the Spouse visa
- More costs for translating documents through third-party services
- Natália needs to apply when in Brazil and enter England on that visa
It’s not too difficult filling out the form online to be fair. I think we completed most of it within an hour or so. All our evidence will be inputted through a third party website that we were directed to from the Gov.Uk site. There will be additional fees and this is where Natália would need to organise meetings in Brazil to get this completed.
Once the visa has been issued Natália can then travel to England. We would then have 6 months to get married. Before we can get married we both need to give notice at the local registry office. This will be a simple meeting to go through all the paperwork and make sure the legal side of things is complete. Both of us have to be present for this meeting. This is a quick meeting and costs around £70. This needs to happen wherever the marriage takes place in this country.
Book early. The soonest we could get was the end of May and we made the booking beginning of January. This has been a huge pain for us but more on that in the next post.
Before we give notice Natália will need to be in the country for 7 clear days. That’s 9 days if we include the day of her travel here and the day of the actual meeting. It is a legal requirement to have this 7-day resident period.
Once the notice has been given a further 28 days wait is needed before we can get married. As you can see, the dates and the timeline can be very tight to get everything sorted as we only have 6 months to get it all done and dusted.
The marriage ceremony takes place and you have a wonderful day. The spouse visa can now be applied for. Basically, we will be changing the fiancé visa to the spouse visa. Another £1523 fee for the visa application and another £1560 for an NHS fee to access the medical system. More money!
Again, this will take up to 3 months to be issued. After it’s been issued Natália would then be able to work and live in England, finally. There is a lengthy and unenjoyable process ahead of us. Just so we can live together like a ‘normal’ couple. We will get through it for sure, it’s just the next adventure for us.
I am planning on doing some follow up posts to this one as there have been some changes in our decision making. I will explain all in future posts and leave this post here. Thanks for reading and I’ll speak soon.