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My fiance is a US citizen and we intend to get married in the UK. We recently spoke to a lawyer (pro-bono) and she told us that as he is legally in the UK, the stamp in his passport shows he has been cleared to enter, that he does not need to apply for any marriage visa or any visa for us to get married. This issue is completely separate to what we will do after we get married- hopefully apply for a family member visa for the UK.

I can't find anything that supports what we have been told by the lawyer - does anyone have any information on this?

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    Do you have any reason to doubt the lawyer? – Johns-305 Nov 27 '17 at 19:11
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    The GOV.UK page on marriage visas seems to be pretty clear that you do need a visa. – Daniel Roseman Nov 27 '17 at 20:20
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    Ah, actually this page seems more relevant. It confirms what you say: if he's already in the UK, he shouldn't need one. – Daniel Roseman Nov 27 '17 at 20:23
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    How did he enter the UK? On a Standard Visitor visa, or on some other, longer-term, visa? – MadHatter supports Monica Nov 27 '17 at 22:40
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    @MadHatter as a US citizen, he's most likely to have entered with no visa at all. – phoog Nov 28 '17 at 3:58
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A US national who is already in the UK does not need a visa to give notice or to marry in the UK. This assumes the partner is a British national or settled in the UK.

What does affect you and your fiancé is the change that came into effect in the Immigration Act 2014, and as explained in a Ministerial Statement published on 24 Nov 2014, which says. in part:

All proposed marriages and civil partnerships involving a non-EEA national with limited or no immigration status in the UK, or who does not provide specified evidence that they are exempt from the scheme, will be referred to the Home Office. Where we have reasonable grounds to suspect a sham, we will be able to extend the notice period in these referred cases to 70 days in order to investigate and take appropriate enforcement or casework action where we establish a sham. A couple will be unable to get married or enter into a civil partnership on the basis of that notice if they do not comply with an investigation under the scheme.

It means your notice period will be 30 days, with a possible extension of up to 70 days. Not every case is delayed.

You stated that:

I can't find anything that supports what we have been told by the lawyer - does anyone have any information on this?

Your lawyer is correct. You can read the act linked above or review Parliament's debates on the subject. A comprehensive briefing is available to the UK legal community (behind a paywall) on the topic, which is quite probably the reference cited by your lawyer.


Once your marriage is celebrated, your new spouse will be able to apply for a settlement track in the FLR (FP) route. If successful, your spouse will be on the 10-year route to permanent residence (rather than the 5-year route).

  • "If successful, your spouse will be on the 10-year route to permanent residence (rather than the 5-year route)." How is 10 years better than 5? – Crazydre Nov 29 '17 at 19:53
  • @Coke it's a procedural twist: 5-year is better, of course, but the 10-year route is for those who use FLR (FP) from within the UK. When accomplished the 'proper' way and obtaining a fiance visa, they put you on the 5-year route. – Giorgio Nov 29 '17 at 20:37

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