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Fiancé(e) visa: Failure to marry within 6 months

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. 

If an applicant is granted leave to enter as a fiancé(e), the applicant will be given a grant of leave for 6 months. During this period of leave, the applicant and sponsor must get married, before applying for leave to remain as a spouse. But what happens if you fail to marry in this period?

In-country fiancé(e) extension

In some circumstances it may be possible for applicants to apply for an in-country extension of their fiancé(e) visa. 

The Immigration Rules state:

“E-LTRP.1.11. If the applicant is in the UK with leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during that period of leave, there must be good reason why and evidence that it will take place within the next 6 months“. [Emphasis added]

Applicants making in-country extension applications will need to show, therefore, that there was a good reason why they could not get married in the UK during their initial grant of leave. The Immigration Rules do not explain what constitutes a ‘good reason’, neither does Home Office guidance. It is to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Whatever the reason for failing to marry in the specified period, applicants need to include extensive evidence of the reasons why they could not marry within the initial grant of leave. In addition, applicants will need to provide evidence that the wedding will take place within the next 6 months. Applicants should consider including evidence of any plans or preparations or evidence that their wedding will take place within the next 6 months. 

As before, applicants will also need to demonstrate that all the other requirements for leave as a fiancé(e) are met, including the relationship, financial and accommodation requirements. 

Applicants will particularly need to show that they continue to be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their fiancé(e). Although the Home Office will have already accepted the relationship as genuine in the application for entry-clearance, because the applicant and their sponsor did not get married during the grant of leave, the Home Office may look into the genuineness of the relationship with more scrutiny than previously. For this reason, it is essential that applications are prepared and presented properly. 

Entry clearance fiancé(e) application

The other option is for an Applicant to return to their country of origin and make a further application for entry clearance as a fiancé(e). 

Like with an in-country extension application, an Applicant would need to address why they were not able to get married to their partner during the last period of leave. It is possible that the Home Office may question an Applicant’s relationship, intention to get married, and their ability to get married within 6 months, given that they did not do so during the initial grant of leave. Applications should also include details of their plans to marry within 6 months of arrival.

The entry clearance application pursuant to Appendix FM would need to address everything again, including the following requirements:

  • You as Sponsor are British;
  • You are both over 18;
  • You have met in person;
  • You are both free to marry;
  • Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • You intend to marry within 6 months of arrival;
  • Any previous relationships have broken down;
  • Your fiancé(e) will be adequately maintained;
  • Your fiancé(e) speaks and understands English to the required level;

If successful, the grant of leave would again be 6 months and the Applicant would need to get married in this period. Following their wedding, the Applicant would then need to apply for leave to remain as a spouse of a British citizen prior to their visa expiring. 

Entry clearance as the Spouse of a British citizen

If an Applicant did not marry their fiancé(e) during their initial grant of leave, they should consider their reasons for this. If they are unlikely to be able to marry in the UK in a 6 month period, either following an extension or new entry clearance application, or there is no ‘good reason’ for their failure, applicants should consider marrying outside the UK and instead making an application for entry clearance as the Spouse of a British citizen.

Applicants would need to show how they meet the Immigration Rules of Appendix FM for entry clearance as a spouse, including:

  • You as the Sponsor are British;
  • You are both over 18;
  • You have met in person;
  • Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • Any previous relationships have broken down;
  • She will be adequately maintained, that is that you meet the financial requirement;
  • She speaks and understands English to the required level;

As with an application to extend leave as a fiancé(e), or for entry clearance to the UK as a fiancé(e), applicants will need to evidence why they did not get married during their initial grant of leave, and how their relationship is genuine even if they are now married. The Home Office may wonder why the marriage was delayed, which could lead to questions regarding the genuineness of the relationship.

If granted entry clearance as a spouse, applicants will receive a grant of leave of not more than 33 months, at the end of which they will be required to apply for an extension.

Contact Our Partner Visa Barristers

It is advisable to seek legal advice if you were unable to get married within the initial grant of leave as a fiancé(e). The Home Office will likely view any of the above applications with enhanced scrutiny given that you failed to marry your partner within the initial grant of leave. It is essential that these applications are prepared properly and carefully in order to give the application the best prospects of success. 

If you would like further advice on any of the above options, and which is best for you,  contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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