Immigration Corner: Marriage on my mind
Dear Mr Bassie:
My boyfriend would like for me to go to England and marry him over there. I would like to know if I would need to apply for a particular type of visa.
Persons must apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa if: they want to get married or register a civil partnership in the United Kingdom; they want to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in United Kingdom; they are not planning to stay or settle in the United Kingdom after the marriage or civil partnership; and if the other eligibility requirements are met.
Persons do not need a Marriage Visitor Visa to convert civil partnership into a marriage. such persons can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. Also, persons cannot apply if they qualify for British citizenship, even if they can have dual nationality. They must apply for British citizenship instead.
Persons may apply up to three months prior to date of travel and, in terms of the length of time that it takes to get a Marriage Visitor, Visa, applicants should get a decision on the visa application within three weeks.
However, it should be noted that different countries have varying processing times. Persons should check the guide for processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in that particular country. The cost of applying is £87.
If the applicant is successful then he/she can use this visa to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months and use this visa to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom within six months of arrival at any location licensed for this purpose.
However, persons cannot get public funds or bring in family members, they must apply separately. The successful applicant will not be allowed to live in the United Kingdom for extended periods through frequent visits, extend the visa or switch to another visa.
Persons will not be permitted to work except for permitted activities related to their work or business overseas, for example, attending meetings. Such a person will not be able to study for more than 30 days, and studying cannot be the main reason for the visit.
Persons who are eligible must prove they are 18 years of age or over; free to give notice of marriage, to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom within six months of arrival; be in a genuine relationship; visiting the United Kingdom for less than six months; leaving the United Kingdom at the end of the visit.
Applicants should also be able to support themselves without working or help from public funds, or that they can be supported and housed by relatives or friends. In addition, they should be 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.
When making the application persons will need to provide certain documents such as - a current passport or other valid travel identification; proof that persons can support themselves during the trip, for example, bank statements or pay slips for the last six months.
It will also be necessary for persons to show proof of their future plans for the relationship, for example, documents to show where they will live.
Persons will need to provide details of where they intend to stay and their travel plans. It is not advisable that persons pay for accommodation or travel until receiving their visa.
In addition, the application should be supported by: details of the marriage or civil partnership and proof that the applicant has paid money towards some of its costs; proof that notification of the marriage has been given to the register office in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
If a person has been married before, he/she will need to show proof that he/she is free to marry or enter into a civil partnership again, for example a decree absolute or a death certificate of a previous partner. Where necessary, persons will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh. In addition, persons may need to provide additional documents depending on the circumstances.
Persons must apply online for a Marriage Visitor Visa and they will need to have their fingerprints and photographs, known as 'biometric information', taken at a visa-application centre as part of their application.
- 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 (UK).