This post relates to basic eligibility criteria and requirements for applying the Marriage Visitor Visa UK as an individual who intends to enter the United Kingdom for marriage or entering into civil partnership or giving notice of an intention to marry or forming a civil partnership is mandatory to have a valid marriage/civil partnership visitor visa.
Are Non-Visa Nationals Required to have a Marriage Visit Visa?
Yes, Non-Visa Nationals i.e. citizenships of those countries such as USA, Canada etc., who do not need a Visa for visiting the UK, have an obligation to apply for marriage visitor visa if they are intending to enter the UK for marriage or forming a civil partnership. Therefore, entry of a non-visa national, who does not hold a valid Marriage Visitor Visa, will be refused if that person is entering the UK for marriage, forming a civil partnership or giving notice of marriage/civil partnership without having a valid marriage visitor visa.
Changing/Converting Existing Civil Partnership to Marriage
If a non-visa national is entering UK to CHANGE/CONVERT an existing civil partnership relationship to a formal marriage, then he/she is not required to hold a marriage visitor visa. Such individuals can seek entry as a standard visitor. Visa nationals such as citizens of Pakistan, India, KSA, UAE etc. may apply for a standard visitor visa for the purpose of Converting their Civil Partnership to Marriage.
In the UK, a civil partnership/relationship can only be changed/converted to a formal marriage if it takes place under the prevailing laws of England, Wales or Scotland.
Applicants to Furnish Original Civil Partnership Certificate
A visa national is required to present the original civil partnership certificate as evidence to establish that a valid civil partnership exists. For non-visa nationals, the original certificate of civil partnership is required to be presented at the border at the time of entering the UK. If the ECO finds the certificate and bonafide of the person satisfactory for the purpose of visiting the UK for Converting/Changing the civil partnership to a formal marriage then permitted to enter/visa may be granted to such a non-visa national at the border.
For Marriage or Civil Partnership- Fresh Visa Application is Required
A visitor already holding a valid visitor visa to enter the UK can not visit the United Kingdom for the purpose of marriage or civil partnership. Such individuals are required to apply for UK Marriage Visa before entering the UK for the purpose of marriage and civil partnership.
To Convert Existing Civil Partnership to Marriage- Valid UK Visit Visa Holders Don’t Need to Apply for a Fresh Visa
However, as stated above, visa nationals may be able to enter the UK on their existing valid visitor visa if they intend to change/convert the existing civil partnership to a formal marriage.
Notice of Intention for Marriage or Civil Partnership
It is mandatory for a person visiting the UK for marriage or forming a civil partnership in the UK to furnish a formal notice at a register office before marriage, or civil partnership can be effectuated.
In England and Wales, a formal notice is required to be given in person; however, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, such a notice can be sent by post.
Documentary Evidence Required for UK Marriage Visitor Visa
- Notice of Intention – Details of Arrangements – If a person is intending to visit the UK for giving a notice at a register office then he/she is required to clearly establish this fact in the marriage visitor visa application by providing details of such arrangements. Therefore, the applicant is required to furnish the evidence of confirmation of a provisional advance booking for giving the notice. The evidence may include an appointment card or email correspondence with the register office;
- Marriage/Civil Partnership – Details of Arrangements – For individuals visiting the UK for forming marriage or a civil partnership need to give conclusive evidence regarding the necessary arrangements that have been made for effectuating marriage or civil partnership in the UK. The evidence that an individual may provide with his/her marriage visitor visa application must/may include:
- Payment Receipts for the Marriage/Civil Partnership Venue;
- Correspondence details with the register office for booking confirmation;
- Correspondence with Church/Mosque etc.;
- Any other relevant arrangements;
Refusal Under Paragraph V6.3(a) | Sham Marriage/Civil Partnership
The applicant in his/her application for a marriage visitor visa is required to provide necessary evidence that the marriage/civil partnership is bonafide and not a SHAM marriage/civil partnership. Since the onus of proof is on the applicant, therefore, an applicant is required to clarify the following points in his/her marriage visitor visa application:
- necessary arrangements made for the undertaking marriage or forming a civil partnership;
- how strong and genuine is the relationship of the couple – how and when they have met, what is their background, interests, education level, etc.;
- their future plans;
- what will be their living arrangements after marriage/civil partnership?
In case an applicant is unable to satisfy the ECO regarding the genuineness of intention for marriage/civil partnership then the application is likely to be refused under Paragraph V 6.3 (c) of Appendix V of the UK Immigration Rules for visitors.
Immigration Rules- Marriage or Civil Partnership Visit Visa UK
The Part 6 of Appendix V, Immigration Rules, relating to eligibility requirements of marriage/civil partnership visit visa reads as under:
PART V6. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR A MARRIAGE OR CIVIL PARTNERSHIP VISIT VISA
V 6.1 An applicant for a marriage or civil partnership visit visa must satisfy the decision maker that they meet the requirements at V 4.2 – V 4.10 and must be aged 18 or over.
V 6.2 On arrival in the UK a visitor coming to marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of this, in the UK must have a valid visit visa endorsed with this purpose and the name of the holder’s fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner.
Additional eligibility requirements for a marriage or civil partnership visit visa
V 6.3 An applicant seeking to come to the UK as a visitor who wishes to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, or marry or form a civil partnership, in the UK during that visit must satisfy the decision maker that they:
(a) intend to give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
(b) intend to marry or form a civil partnership; and
(c) do not intend to give notice of or enter into a sham marriage or sham civil partnership, within the validity period covered by their visit visa.