Dear Mr Bassie,
My boyfriend is a British citizen and has asked me to marry him. He has told me that I can come to England and get married to him there and then reside with him. I would like to know if this is true and if so, how would I go about doing this?
If a person would like to go to the United Kingdom to get married and the person intends to enter the country within six months, he or she can apply for a specific visa to enter the country as a visitor for marriage. However, if the person who intends to marry while being there intends to live in the United Kingdom after the marriage then that person cannot enter as an ordinary visitor.
If a person intends on going to the United Kingdom for the purpose of marriage then he or she would need to enter under the 'visitor for marriage' category and this is for nationals of countries outside Europe. If this is the case, then that person will need to be able to show that he or she is over the age of 18; that he or she intends to visit the United Kingdom for no more than six months and that he or she intends to leave there at the end of his or her visit.
The person visiting for the purpose of getting married should show that he or she intends to get married during his or her visit; that he or she has enough money to support and accommodate him/herself without working or help from public funds, or that person and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends. In addition, the visitor must show that he or she can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and that he or she is not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' that is Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
If asked, the visitor must be prepared to produce evidence of the arrangements for his or her wedding ceremony that is to be held in the United Kingdom. Also, the person must also be able to show that, during his or her visit, he or she does not intend to live in the United Kingdom for extended periods through frequent or successive visits. Also, he or she should not take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public; enrol in a course of study; and/or carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor; or receive private medical treatment.
If the applicant is able to satisfy the authorities, then he or she will be able to marry in any location licensed for this purpose.
It should also be noted that he or she should provide documents to show that the above requirements are met and in addition, he or she must obtain a visa for the purpose of going to get married before he or she can go to the United Kingdom as a visitor for marriage.
I hope this helps.
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.). Email:email@example.com