This page is for people who want to get married in the UK and neither of the applicants has permanent residence status or British citizenship. This category includes, for example, people who are in the UK under one of the Point Based System categories or another long-term category (excluding visitors).

Marriages of foreign nationals can be registered at any of the UK Registry Offices (Register Offices).

Getting married in a church

A couple can get married in a church. In the UK, this can be done in the Anglican Church in England or Wales. Such a marriage will be considered valid. The UK Border Agency does not recognise other types of religious marriages, i.e. such marriages will not be considered valid.

Getting married at your country’s embassy

Under the Marriage Act 1994, marriages performed in the embassies of their respective countries are accepted as valid. A couple can contact their country’s embassy to find out whether they can help with the marriage or not. Sometimes this is very important because if the marriage is concluded at the embassy and depending on the immigration situation of the applicants, they may have the chance to apply to the UKBA for permission to grant temporary leave to remain in the UK.

Opportunity to marry for people without legal status in the UK

The UK High Court judgment of 30 April 2006 found that the Home Office had improperly barred people without status from marrying in the UK. Such a decision was found to be contrary to the Human Rights Act and deeply discriminatory.

Therefore, due to the above High Court decision, the following couples should not be refused permission to marry:

An illegal alien with an expired visa and an EEA national;
a couple with an Exceptional Leave to Remain
A pregnant asylum-seeking woman and her refugee fiancé with permanent resident status
It is well known that the British court system is precedent-setting. This means that the UKBA must abide by the High Court’s decisions and must deal with applications from nationals in similar situations.

Fiancee Visa – What do you do if your fiancee visa expires but you have not yet been married?

This visa is issued for a period of 6 months during which you must enter the country and get married. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for marriages to be performed within this period. Due to ignorance of immigration rules, applicants often violate the law by staying illegally in the country without seeking professional help.

In the meantime, if a marriage cannot be concluded within the time limit set by the visa, all is not lost. If there are good reasons and an appropriate letter from an immigration lawyer clearly explaining these reasons, the UKBA can extend the Fiancee visa for another 6 months.

It is worth mentioning that the UKBA will not extend this visa indefinitely. This is due to the fact that if the visa had to be extended more than 3 times, then the couple could apply for what is known as an unmarried partner visa. This is a completely different category to the one for which the applicant had previously applied before entering the UK.

In addition, the Fiancee visa is considered to be temporary. This means that holders of such a visa are not allowed to work, and the stay on this visa does not count towards the period required for permanent residency.

The specialists at our firm will be happy to answer any questions you may have about getting married in the UK.

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