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I am currently applying for a marriage visitor visa for UK and am wondering if we could have our religious wedding (Church Blessing with a certified Minister who has already accepted to give us the blessing) in England more than 6 months after our civil wedding. I would be entering the country as a tourist (Brazilian national)for the religious blessing+celebration with family and friends then, since the marriage visa would have expired by then (post our civil wedding). Is this illegal, which I am trying to understand in order to avoid any breach of immigration law? Many thanks for your assistance,

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A Marriage Visa is only required if you are getting married in a legal sense. If you are having a ceremony of blessing, which does not confer any legal status, then you do not need the visa. UK does not recognize a "service of blessing" as having any legal status, especially if you are already legally married in a civil ceremony. Hence you do not need a special visa for it.

To avoid confusion I would take extra care to always refer to the ceremony as something other than a wedding when dealing with UK immigration, or anyone they might be in contact with. This is especially true when arriving in the UK. Do not say you are here to be married, even if you privately consider the religious wedding to be the real one, and the legal wedding just a formality. I would also make sure you have a document with you that proves you are already legally married that you can show to immigration. Make sure when you apply for visa that you refer to each other as 'spouse'.

I am assuming that the civil ceremony has happened before the religious one, and that it is legally binding and recognized in UK law.

  • Thank you DJClayworth, this is very clear and something I suspected. I am being extra careful with our application and don't want to say things that could give room to doubt. My british fiance reckons we should include the paid invoice with the booking of the venue in the UK where we will have the ceremony at the end of the year after our civil wedding in June (also in UK) in my marriage visitor visa application to help prove ours is a legitimate relationship/marriage, but I am afraid like you said yourself that this will create confusion with the Immigration officials. What do you think? – L.Fitz Feb 5 at 7:54
  • This is just my opinion, but in your application for a marriage visa I would not muddy the waters by talking about plans to return to the UK after the wedding. From UK immigration's point of view the main point of a marriage visa is to be certain that you will leave the UK after the marriage. You don't want to give any hint that you might not do that. – DJClayworth Feb 5 at 14:43
  • Thank you, this is right. Better to concentrate on the relevant points for the purpose of this visa. – L.Fitz Feb 5 at 20:03

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