Fiancée visas and coronavirus
If you are in the UK on a fiancée visa then you are probably feeling guilty that one of your major worries during the global Covid 19 pandemic is the effect of coronavirus on your wedding plans and your immigration status. In this blog we look at fiancée visas and coronavirus.
Online Immigration solicitors
If you are in the UK on a fiancée visa and worried about your immigration status or have questions about making a visa extension application or any other aspect of personal immigration law then the specialist fiancée visa and spouse visa immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors can offer visa advice and Immigration help. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to arrange a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment.
Fiancée visas and the marriage requirement
If you were granted entry to the UK on a fiancée visa then one of the visa requirements is to marry within six months. That is proving difficult for some engaged couples because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Fiancée visas last for six months. That timeframe normally gives the engaged couple a six month window of opportunity to get married. Usually that is log enough but fiancée visa and spouse visa solicitors are hearing reports of how wedding plans have had to be put on hold because:
One of the couple has Covid 19
One or both of the engaged couple is in a self-isolating household or shielding
The wedding venue has cancelled the wedding because the hotel where the wedding was due to take place has had to close.
Fiancée visa solicitors have been asked by engaged couples ‘’if our wedding had to be cancelled because of Covid 19 can we go ahead with our planned spouse visa application as the wedding cancellation was down to the global pandemic and therefore our control?’’.
The Immigration Rules say that if you are in the UK on a fiancée visa and you don’t comply with the requirement to get married within six months then you don’t meet the spouse visa eligibility criteria. There is however an answer for worried engaged couples fearing that their failure to get married will invalidate their fiancée visa or create an Immigration status problem.
Apply for a fiancée visa extension
If you are here in the UK on a fiancée visa then it may be possible for you to apply to the Home Office to extend your fiancée visa provided that you meet the eligibility criteria for a fiancée visa extension application.
The Immigration Rules say that you can apply for an extension of your fiancée visa to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place if:
You are in the UK on a fiancée visa and there is a good reason (and evidence in support) about why your marriage or civil partnership didn’t take place during the six month period of your fiancée visa
You have evidence to show that your marriage or civil partnership will take place during the next six months.
Whilst you may think that it is self-evident why your marriage or civil partnership had to be delayed during the coronavirus outbreak, immigration solicitors advise that it is still best to provide as much evidence as possible to the Home Office to avoid your fiancée visa extension application being refused.
What amounts to a ‘’good reason’’ for a delayed marriage or civil partnership isn’t spelt out in the Immigration Rules. Each case is decided by Home Office officials on a case by case or individual merits basis. Therefore whilst it may be accepted that your marriage or civil partnership could not take place because you or your partner has an underlying health condition that meant you have had to shield for twelve weeks and were therefore prevented from going ahead with your planned marriage or civil partnership, an excuse that the wedding could not take place because the best man could not fly into the UK from China may not be ‘’good enough’’.
In addition, remember that you need evidence to support your fiancée visa extension application so do remember to keep the letter that your partner received from the National Health Service advising of the need to shield or the email received from the wedding venue advising that the wedding venue was temporarily closing.
In addition to evidencing that you had arranged your marriage or civil partnership and evidencing why it had to be cancelled you also need to evidence that you are planning to get married in the next six months. Whilst you may not want to book another expensive venue, in case of continued lockdown measures, you may be able to evidence that you have arranged a small scale ceremony in line with current government guidance. Hopefully holding a bigger party when you know that the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown measures are completely behind us.
Eligibility criteria for a fiancée visa extension
In addition to being able to explain why you haven’t been able to get married over the six months of your fiancée visa and being able to evidence your plans to do so, you will also need to be able to demonstrate that you still meet all the eligibility criteria for a fiancée visa, such as the fact that you are in a continuing genuine and subsisting relationship with your fiancée. The Home Office may question this if you have not got married and you may have to address why you spent time apart ( for example, because of Covid 19) so it is best to detail any reasons for living apart and to evidence the continuing genuineness of your relationship with one another.
Alternative options to applying for a fiancée visa extension
There are a few alternative options to applying for a fiancée visa extension application namely:
Seeing if you can get married under the current government wedding restrictions whilst you are in the UK on a valid fiancée visa
Going overseas and applying again from overseas for a fiancée visa
Getting married overseas and then applying for a spouse visa.
The route that is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances so immigration solicitors say that it is best to take legal advice if you are worried about your fiancée visa and your marriage or civil partnership plans going astray because of Covid 19.
Online Immigration solicitors
If you are in the UK on a fiancée visa and need advice on your immigration status or making a visa extension application or have a personal immigration law question then the specialist fiancée visa and spouse visa immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors can offer visa advice and Immigration help. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to arrange a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment.
OTS Solicitors are recommended for immigration law in the Legal 500 publication of leading UK lawyers and in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in immigration law.