Updated: Oct 12, 2020
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"Should I consider applying for a Fiancé/Fiancée visa or a Spouse visa? "
"Am I eligible to apply for a Fiancé/Fiancée visa?"
"What are the benefits/shortfalls of these visas and which is a better visa to apply for?"
"Which visa has a greater chance of success - Spouse or Fiancé/Fiancée?"
During our consultations with clients, we regularly get asked these and similar questions. Below we have discussed the main considerations which will help you to decide which visa to go for. For ease of reference, we have used the term "Fiancé" for both genders.
A. Marriage Visitor Visa:
Sometimes, applicants confuse the Fiancé visa with the Marriage visitor visa. The Marriage visitor visa is only for Non EEA/EU nationals (from 1st January 2021-for everyone, except British Nationals/Settled Persons) to come to the UK get married and then leave the UK, it is very similar to a UK Tourist/Visitor visa which would be give the Applicant and his/her partner a maximum of six months entry in the UK, during which they are expected to get married in the UK and then return to their home countries. They would just be visiting the UK to get married, hence it is called as the Marriage "Visitor Visa".
B. Fiancé / Partner of EEA or European nationals
Firstly, please note that there is no provision in the UK Immigration Rules or the EEA Regulations or the EU Settlement Scheme for a Fiancé visa for the partners of an EEA or European nationals, hence, if you are the partner of EEA or European nationals, you only have the below two options: (with only one exception as discussed in point (iii) below)
(i) Spouse visa - Pre Settled status as a Family Member
- if you both are married or registered as Civil partners, for the list of document required, click here
(ii) Unmarried Partner visa(called as "Durable Partner Visa") - you can only apply for Pre Settled status as an Extended Family member,
since there are some loopholes in the EU Settlement Scheme, hence you will have to first apply for a Residence Card as a Durable Partner under the EEA Regulations latest by 31 December 2020,
and then latest by 30th June 2021, you should apply for Pre Settled status as a Durable Partner under the EU Settlement Scheme
For the application to be successful, the couple has to prove that they have lived together for at least a period of 2 years immediately before the date of application.
Further, considering the fact that the Brexit transition period is due to end on 31st December 2020, please note that the if you are planning to apply after 31st December 2020, the period of 2 years of cohabitation should have been completed on or before 31 December 2020.
The 2 years of Cohabitation(along with Cohabitation evidence, click here for examples) should be completed anytime upto latest by 31st December 2020(end of Brexit Transition period). If you will be short of the minimum 2 years Cohabitation by 31 December 2020, then, the applicant may have to apply under the British Immigration rules, the new rules will be declared before 31 December 2020, we anticipate that the rules would be very similar to paragraph C below and would involved considerable UK Government fees to be paid.
(iii) Fiancé visa:
If the Sponsor(EEA or EU national) has already obtained either Settled Status or Permanent Residence or Indefinite leave to remain or a British Passport, only then his/her partner can apply as a Fiancé under the British Immigration rules as discussed below in paragraph C, please note that there are considerable amounts of UK Government fees involved in this application, in the range of about GBP 1523(processing time: 60 days) to GBP 2096(processing time: 6 weeks), depending upon the type of service chosen.
C. Fiancé / Partner of British Citizens or Settled Persons
(Settled Persons are those who have Settled Status or Permanent Residence or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK)
Please note that this category comes under the British Immigration rules and involves considerable amount of UK Government fees to be paid as detailed below.
(a) Fiancé visa:
is given for 6 months
the applicant does not have a right to work in the UK when he or she is on a Fiancé visa
the applicant does not have a right to access any UK Government NHS medical services when he or she is on a Fiancé visa
couple are expected to get married in the UK within those 6 months and then apply for a Partner visa
this visa usually cannot be extended unless the applicant is able to prove as to the why the wedding could not take place during the 6 months of the Fiancé visa and it has to be a reasonable excuse and with some proof. If the UKVI is satisfied you will be given a further 6 months, however, you will have to pay the visa fees again when you file for visa extension application.
the time spent in the UK on this visa does not count towards the 5 years to qualify for Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK
the chances of success would mainly depend upon the proof of relationship, any wedding arrangements already made, etc. click here for detailed information and list of documents required for the Fiancé visa
UK Government fees involved in this application is in the range of about GBP 1523(processing time: 60 days) to GBP 2096(processing time: 6 weeks), depending upon the type of service chosen. Please note that when you file for the Partner visa after getting married (within about next 6 months), then you will again have to pay another fee of about GBP 2000 to GBP 2200 for a decision in 8 weeks, or GBP 2800 to GBP 3100.
(b) Partner visa:
Partner visa refers to either Spouse visa or Unmarried Partner visa or Civil Partner visa