A Guide to the UK Fiancé(e) Visa
The fiancé(e) visa allows British citizens and those with indefinite leave to remain to bring their fiancé(e) to the UK in order to get married.
Fiancé(e) visa applications are considered under paragraph EC-P of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
Requirements for a fiancé(e) visa
In order to make an application for entry clearance as a partner (including fiancé(e)s), the applicant:
- Must be outside the UK (fiancé(e) applications cannot be made from within the UK despite ‘fiancé(e)’ meeting the definition of partner);
- Have made a valid application for entry clearance as a partner;
- Must not fall for grounds of refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-EC: Suitability – entry clearance; and
- Meet all of the eligibility requirements below.
E-CP.2.1. Sets out the relationship requirements for entering the UK as a partner.
The sponsoring partner must be:
- A British citizen in the UK; or
- Present and settled in the UK; or
- In the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.
Other requirements include both parties being over 18 and not being in a prohibited degree of relationship. Whether a couple is in a prohibited degree of relationship is set out in the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986
The Applicant and Sponsor must also have met in person and their relationship must be genuine and subsisting. Whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting can be difficult to evidence as no mandatory evidence is required. This blog looks at this requirement in more detail.
It is advisable to include evidence of wedding plans as this demonstrates that the Applicant and Sponsor do intend to get married once the Applicant has been granted entry clearance and has entered the UK.
Unlike applications for leave as an unmarried partner, there is no requirement for the Sponsor and the Applicant to have lived together before making the application. A fiancé(e) meets the definition of ‘partner’ under GEN.1.2.
Any previous relationship between either party must also have broken down permanently. If either party has previously been married, therefore, a copy of the divorce certificate should be included.
Finally, the Applicant and Sponsor must intend to live together permanently in the UK. Again, this is difficult to evidence, but evidence of future plans and relationship evidence can be used.
As with applications for leave to enter as a partner, the couple must meet the financial requirement.
E-ECP.3.1. sets out the financial requirements to be met in order to be granted entry clearance as a fiancé(e).
There are many ways in which the financial requirement can be met, through:
- Salaried employment;
- Non-employment income (such as from property rental, dividends or shares)
- Specified savings; and
- Pension income.
It is also possible to rely on a combination of the above.
In rare cases, other sources of income are taken into consideration if the applicant falls short of the required amount.
Whatever income is relied upon, E-ECP.3.3.(b) states that:
“the applicant must provide evidence that their partner is able to maintain and accommodate themselves, the applicant and any dependants adequately in the Uk without recourse to public funds”
Any income relied upon should be evidenced from the sources listed in E-ECP.3.2. and all specified evidence as set out in Appendix FM-SE must be included. Failure to adequately evidence the income relied upon and failure to submit specified evidence is likely to result in a refused application.
It should also be noted that there are additional financial requirements when there are dependants upon an application. The financial requirements when children are involved are set out in this blog.
An Appendix 2 form setting out the finances relied upon for the application must be completed and submitted with the application.
E-ECP.3.4. States that applicants must also provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds.
Accommodation will be adequate if:
- It is, or will be, overcrowded; or
- It contravenes public health regulations.
English language requirement
As with many other types of visas, fiancé(e)s are required to prove their ability to speak and understand English to a certain standard.
Some fiancé(e)s will need to sit an English language test at an approved test centre, unless:
- They are a national of a majority speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6; or
- Have an academic qualification, either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK; or
- If awarded by an educational establishment outside the UK, is deemed by UK NARIC to meet or exceed the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, and UK NARIC has confirmed that the degree was taught or researched in English to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or above;
- Those who are exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-ECP.4.2.:
- Over 65 years old; or
- Has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or
- there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK.
All other applicants will be required to sit an English Language test CEFR level A1. The test must be taken at an approved test centre.
Grants of leave to enter as a fiancé(e)
If an applicant is granted leave to enter as a fiancé(e), the applicant will be given a grant of leave for 6 months. It should be noted that a person in the UK with leave to enter as a fiancé(e) is not permitted to work.
During this period of leave, the applicant and sponsor must get married.
Once married, an applicant will be able to apply for leave to remain as a partner. Such applications need to be made before the expiry of leave as a fiancé(e).
To make an application, an applicant does not need to leave the UK and re-enter as a spouse. The application can be made from within the UK.
Contact Our Partner Visa Barristers
If you would like further advice on an application for entry clearance as a fiancé(e) or leave to remain as a partner under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, or in relation to any other immigration matter, then please contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or email firstname.lastname@example.org