Immigration and marriage: can a migrant marry?


The average person assumes that adults in the UK have a right to get married to whomever they want. However, when it comes to migrants and marriage the Home Office can have their say.

Top London immigration solicitors are often asked why a person’s marriage is of any relevance to the Home Office. After all, you would think that the Home Office is busy enough dealing with the implications of Brexit and refugees crossing the channel. 

However, the Home Office does have an interest in a migrant getting wed because a migrant’s marital status can make the difference to whether they have a legal right to stay in the UK. 
The best London immigration solicitors say that the husband, wife, or civil partner of an EU national who is exercising treaty rights in the UK automatically has a right to reside in the UK.
If a migrant marries a British or settled citizen, they will not automatically acquire the right to reside in the UK, but if a spouse is recognised as a “partner” under Immigration Rules, they can make an application to remain in the UK.
Therefore, migrants should get help from Top London immigration solicitors on the impact of marriage or civil partnership on their Immigration status.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

If you are thinking of marrying or entering a civil partnership and are concerned about your Immigration status, visa, or need advice on how your marriage or civil partnership will affect your right to remain in the UK, our London immigration solicitors can advise you on the complex Immigration rules and regulations. 
At OTS Solicitors, we provide bespoke joined up advice from Top London immigration solicitors. We also advise on associated family law matters such as prenuptial or civil partnership agreements to protect you. 
Please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors and expert London family law solicitors.

UK marriage law and the right to marry

Top London immigration solicitors will tell you that anyone has a right to marry in the UK if they do not fall within a list of exceptions, such as those who are underage. 
The right to marry is protected by the European Convention on human rights.

UK marriage law and giving notice to marry

If you want to marry or enter a civil partnership, you have to give notice of your intention to do so at a Register Office. 
If a fiancé is a non-EEA citizen, who is subject to Immigration control, notice should be given at what is called a designated Register Office. The rationale behind having designated centres is to ensure staff have experience in handling non-UK paperwork and documents.

UK marriage law and 7-day residence requirement

You cannot get married as soon as you enter the UK.
Notice of marriage can be given to a Register Office after both fiancés have been in the UK for at least seven days.

UK marriage law and documents   

When attending the Register Office, you need to take paperwork, such as:
 Evidence of name, age, nationality and address; and 
 If you have been married or in a civil partnership evidence of the termination of the legal relationship, namely a decree absolute of divorce or dissolution of civil partnership or death certificate; and  
 When one of you is a non-EEA national, a passport-size photograph.
The Registry Office will accept a number of different types of documents as evidence of identity and address. It is sensible to check current rules before attending a designated Registry Office.
In addition to providing paperwork a couple will also need to say when and where they intend to marry. 
They couple also will need to say what the Immigration status is of the non-EEA national and provide supporting documents. Again, spouse visa always recommend checking with the proposed Register Office about what paperwork will be acceptable, in order to avoid delay.

UK marriage law and publication of notice


Once fiancés have given notice, it is displayed in the Register Office for 28 days. This means the couple cannot marry for 28 days unless they obtain a special licence. UK marriage law and informing the Home Office of a planned marriage.
The best London immigration solicitors advise that under the Immigration Act 2014, the Register Office has to inform the Home Office if one or both fiancés are not exempt from notification.

Couples exempt from notification include:

 British citizens and EEA or Swiss nationals;
 Migrants with Indefinite Leave to Remain;
 Migrants with a valid visa to marry or to enter a civil partnership or fiancé visa;
 People exempt from Immigration control.


Home Office investigation of notice to marry – the referral and investigation scheme

The best London immigration solicitors advise that if one or both fiancés are not exempt from referral the Registry Office will inform the Home Office about the notice of planned marriage.
The Home Office will then investigate the planned marriage if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the forthcoming marriage is not genuine or a “sham” marriage.  
Normally the notice period is 28 days. However, if a planned marriage is referred to the Home Office, they can extend the time from 28 days to 70 days to give time to consider the case.

The benefits of a fiancé visa 

If a fiancé has a fiancé visa, then the process of getting married in the UK is easier. When deciding whether to grant the fiancé visa the Home Office will satisfy itself that the engaged couple is in a genuine relationship and are not planning to enter into a “sham” marriage for the purposes of avoiding Immigration control.
Once a fiancé visa is granted, the Home Office should not investigate the planned marriage again. The Top London immigration solicitors therefore say the advantage of securing a fiancé visa is that the couple will be considered “exempt” and the 28-day notice period applies.


Marriage in the UK 


For some, getting married in the UK is not straightforward. It may involve a visa application or the provision of lots of documents to your designated Registry Office, an extended notice period and Home Office investigation. 
However, Top London immigration solicitors say that with perseverance , and sometimes a bit of legal help, the majority of engaged couples end up saying “I do” at their chosen wedding venue.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

If you are thinking of getting married or entering a civil partnership and you are concerned about your Immigration status or you want to apply for a fiancé, civil partnership or marriage visa our leading London immigration solicitors can help you with the complex Immigration rules and regulations. 
OTS Solicitors are Legal 500 recommended immigration solicitors who also specialise in all aspects of family, marriage and civil partnership law. Our specialist approachable solicitors are able to provide seamless immigration and family law advice. Please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors and expert family solicitors.


Relevant People: 

For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK Immigration application, contact OTS Immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.


We are one of the UK’s top firms for Immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of Immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, student visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, Asylum and human rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, Entrepreneur visas and Investor visas.

Our top Immigration solicitors and lawyers are here to assist you.


Disclaimer: The information and comments on this page/site is made available free of charge and for educational and information purposes only. The information and comments do not amount to and are not intended to be adopted as legal advice to any individual or company. The use of this site should not be a substitute for specific legal advice, which we ask you to see our contact page or call our solicitors on 0203 959 9123.

By using this site you understand that there is no solicitor and client relationship between you/your company and the site owners or the firm. We make every effort to keep the published articles up-to-date and accurate, however the law changes very rapidly and the older the articles on this site, the more likely that the views in it have changed with the development of the law.