In order to apply for a spouse visa, partners can be of the same or different sex, but a prerequisite is that they must be married to a British citizen or resident. It allows you to apply for permanent residency after 5 years of living primarily in the UK as a spouse if you meet certain criteria (the period of residence on a fiance visa or fiancé visa in England does not count).
The spouse visa allows you to study or work in the country. It is issued for 30 months if applied for in the UK and for 33 months if applied for in an overseas diplomatic mission, and is renewable thereafter.
Prerequisites for a fiancée visa or spouse visa to the UK
Refusal of one of the UK family visas is unavoidable if you, as a fiancé or spouse of a permanent resident or British citizen, do not meet all of the requirements below:
One of the spouses/partners has permanent residence status in England or a British passport.
Both partners are of legal age (over 18).
Both partners have met in person and know each other well.
Their relationship is real and does not lead to the suspicion of a sham marriage in the U.K. for the purpose of moving to the country.
All previous marriages of both partners are legally annulled.
Marriage is not prohibited by law (e.g. cases of incest and marriages between blood relatives).
The spouses/partners plan to live together permanently in the United Kingdom.
How do I get married if one of the partners is British?
If one partner is a UK resident and the other does not have UK or European citizenship, you can choose one of the following marriage options before getting married:
Wedding in England.
This requires a wedding visa or a bride (groom) visa. If you choose the wedding visa, you will have to leave the country after marriage and apply for a spouse visa to the UK from your country of residence. The separation from your loved one is slightly offset by the lower cost of the visa, minimal application documents and no additional financial requirements. Bride’s visa to England allows the non-resident partner to stay in the country immediately after marriage and apply for a spouse visa. However, its registration will cost significantly more. There are also financial restrictions: the British spouse must show annual earnings of at least £18,600.
Weddings abroad in the UK
It can be the country of residence of the partner who is not a British resident, as well as any other country. But it is better to choose any of the European countries: then the British spouse will not need a visa and additional evidence of the relationship (as in the case of the bride visa). The package of documents is collected once and provided after the marriage, when the foreign partner applies for a spousal visa to England from the country of residence. In addition, such a wedding is often significantly cheaper.
Getting married abroad in the UK
Obtaining permanent residency and citizenship on a conjugal visa
The standard path to British citizenship for a foreign spouse usually takes 5 years. Conventionally it can be divided into the following stages:
Obtaining a spousal visa and moving to England.
After 2.5 years of marriage (if applied for domestically) – extension of the spousal visa.
After 5 years from the date of arrival in the immigration status of the spouse and residence in the Kingdom – permanent residence permit.
Immediately after permanent residency – British citizenship and British passport.