Fri | Nov 15, 2019

How do I get a marriage visitor visa?

Published:Tuesday | October 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
John S. Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I would like to apply for a marriage visitor visa, and would appreciate any advice that you can offer. Thanks in advance.

- JP

Dear JP,

A person can apply for a marriage visitor visa if he or she would like to get married or register a civil partnership in the United Kingdom. It may also be used if the parties want to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in United Kingdom. The person should not be planning to stay or settle in the United Kingdom after completing the marriage or civil partnership.

A person can use this visa to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom within 6 months of his or her arrival in any location that is licensed for this purpose.

The person in possession of this type of visa is not allowed to get public funds; bring in family members (dependants) - they must apply separately; live in the United Kingdom for extended periods through frequent visits; extend this visa or switch to another visa; work or carry out any business; do a course of study; and/or come to the United Kingdom specifically for private medical treatment.

The applicant must prove that he or she is18 years or over; free to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom within 6 months of his or her arrival; visiting the United Kingdom for less than 6 months; leaving the United Kingdom at the end of his or her visit; able to support him or herself without working or receiving help from public funds, or that he or she can be supported and housed by relatives or friends; able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and not in transit to a country outside the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The applicant will need to provide a current passport or other valid travel identification; 2 passport-size colour photographs; proof that the person can support him or herself during the trip, for example, bank statements or pay slips for the last 6 months. The applicant will also need to provide details of where the person intends to stay and his or her travel plans. Please note that the British authorities have advised that the applicant should not pay for accommodation or travel until he or she has obtained the visa.

In support of the application, the applicant can also provide details of the marriage or civil partnership and proof that he or she has paid money for some of its costs. Also, it is necessary to show proof that notification of marriage to the register office in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland has been given.

If the applicant has been married before, he or she will need to show proof that he or her is free to marry or enter into a civil partnership again, for example: decree nisi; decree absolute; or a death certificate of a previous partner. In addition, the applicant will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh. Please remember that it may be necessary to provide additional documents depending on the person's circumstances.

A person must apply from outside the United Kingdom and apply online for a marriage visitor visa. He or she will need to have his or her fingerprints and photograph (known as 'biometric information') taken at a visa application centre as part of his/her application. The length of time to be able to get the visa faster or other services will depend on what country you are applying from. Generally speaking, a person can apply for a visa up to 3 months before his or her date of travel to the United Kingdom. The applicant should get a decision on the visa within 3 weeks. The cost to apply is £83 and the successful applicant can use this visa to visit the United Kingdom for 6 months.

All the best.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator; and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.).