Can I get a UK fiance visa?
If you and your fiancé want to relocate to the UK to begin your new life together, and your partner is based in the UK already, you may be eligible to apply for a fiancé visa overseas. The fiancé visa allows foreign nationals to enter the UK for up to six months to marry or enter into a civil partnership with their UK-based fiancé in the UK.
Fiancé visa holders may not work in the UK while they are in the country with fiancé status and they may not access public funds while they are in the UK with their fiancé visa.
There are several eligibility requirements, but most importantly your fiancé must be:
- A British citizen in the UK in line with the UK immigration rules,
- A person who is "present and settled" in the UK in line with the UK immigration rules (which status includes European nationals with settled status in the UK and Irish citizens),
- A person with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection,
- A person with pre-settled status in the UK in line with the EU Settlement Scheme, or
in the UK with limited leave as a worker or business person under the immigration rules for Turkish nationals.
If you are the fiancé of a European national who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be eligible to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit overseas to come to the UK rather than a fiancé visa in the family migration rules. The requirements for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit are outside the scope of this article.
This article looks at the requirements for a fiancé visa in the UK family migration rules to help you understand whether you might be eligible.
Am I eligible for a UK fiancé visa?
The main requirements for a fiancé visa application overseas are that:
- The applicant must be outside the UK;
- The applicant does not fall for refusal under the Suitability rules (criminal convictions, immigration offences and similar complications in a person's personal circumstances would complicate their immigration matters);
- The applicant and their partner are both aged 18 or over at the date of application, they have met in person and they are not within the prohibited degree of relationship;
- The relationship is genuine and subsisting;
- The applicant is engaged to a person with an eligible immigration status in the UK;
- The couple will get married in the UK or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within the six month validity period of the fiancé visa;
- Any previous relationship of the parties must have broken down permanently and they cannot already be married to someone else;
- The applicant and their partner intend to live together permanently in the UK;
- The applicant can demonstrate English language skills to an acceptable level as specified by the Home office (currently listening and speaking at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), unless they are exempt from this requirement in the rules;
- The applicant can meet the financial requirements for their fiancé visa application overseas. This can be achieved in many ways in the rules, but the most common methods of meeting the financial requirements are: earnings of the UK-based partner of at least £18,600 per annum in line with the rules or cash savings belonging to the applicant and their partner of at least £62,500 in line with the rules.
Where the applicant's partner in the UK is receiving a qualifying benefit in the rules, the applicant must provide evidence that their partner is able to maintain and accommodate the couple and any dependants adequately in the UK without recourse to public funds;
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have suitable accommodation to live in in the UK in line with the rules, including for dependants if you have any;
- The applicant must provide a recognised TB test certificate (where applicable)
- The applicant must submit a valid immigration application overseas, paying the relevant UK Government fees for their fiancé visa application;
- The applicant must provide specified documentary evidence and their biometrics (a digital scan of their fingerprints and face) in support of their application.
As mentioned above, there are strict suitability requirements in the UK immigration rules which apply to a fiancé visa application overseas, but the details of these are outside the scope of this article. If the fiancé visa applicant has any criminal convictions, complications in their UK immigration history or similar issues in their unique personal circumstances, they should seek suitable, independent, properly regulated professional advice in their complex UK immigration matters.
How long does a UK fiancé visa last?
If you are granted a UK fiancé visa, this will usually be valid for a period not exceeding six months to enable you to marry your partner or enter into a civil partnership with them in the UK within those six months.
If you have not married your UK-based fiancé in the UK or entered into a civil partnership with them within the validity period of your fiancé visa in the UK, you should either leave the UK before your fiancé visa expires or you must apply in country for an extension of your fiancé visa for another six months' duration to be able to remain in the UK and get married to or enter into a civil partnership with your UK-based fiancé during the fiancé visa extension period. Examples of reasonable grounds to apply for an extension of your fiancé visa in the UK before it expires would be if your wedding is delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions or if your UK-based fiancé has a medical emergency in the UK.
You may switch to a spouse visa in the UK before your fiancé visa expires if you married your UK-based fiancé during the six-month fiancé visa period. There are also eligibility and suitability requirements in the UK rules which an applicant would have to meet to apply for a spouse visa in the UK. A spouse visa grants up to 30 months' residence in the UK and, in that time, you may seek employment or study in the UK without restriction.