Common Visa issues
UK Spousal & Partner Visas for US Citizens
Under UK Immigration Law, American citizens do not require a pre-approved Visa to visit the UK as tourists. As a result it is often a common and expensive misconception made by US Passport holders that a UK Spousal or Partner visa can be obtained within the UK whilst they are holding a UK tourist visa entry stamp. This is not permitted by the UK Immigration authorities and it is a mandatory requirement that US citizens hold the correct Visa in advance. US Citizens are one of the very few nationalities that can visit the UK without a pre-approved tourism visa or an “ESTA” type electronic approval. They are simply given an on-entry visa approval stamp by the Immigration Officer at a port of entry in the UK that is valid for 6 months. If you do end up marrying in the UK at an approved marriage venue whilst holding a tourist visa stamp, then you will still be required to return back to the USA to submit your UK Spouse Visa application. In such cases we can prepare the application before you return back home, so that precious time is not wasted.
American citizens coming to the United Kingdom to marry or are already married to UK citizens / Legal Residents, will require entry an clearance visa from UK Immigration authorities before coming to the UK. The Entry Clearance visa is basically a pre-approved Visa sticker that is placed in your passport. It permits you to travel for the purposes of living in the UK with your Spouse or to legally marry in the UK. Under this situation, you will normally have to wait in the USA during the processing of your UK Spousal or Marriage visa.
If you fail to obtain the correct UK entry clearance prior to your arrival it is likely to result in refusal of entry at a UK port of entry and immediate detention.
American and UK Citizenship
Your American citizenship is not affected in any way by marrying a UK national. You will not lose your American citizenship, however you will not automatically obtain British citizenship by marrying a British citizen. UK citizens will not acquire American citizenship simply by marrying an American citizen. A UK Citizenship naturalisation certificate and a UK passport is normally granted after 5 or 6 years of legal residency.
US Spouses, Unmarried Partners and Dependants of UK Citizens
If you are a spouse/fiancé/partner and you are travelling to the UK for purposes other than as a tourist or business visitor, then you will not be allowed to enter or remain in the United Kingdom unless you have been granted the correct visa from the UK Immigration authorities prior to travelling to the UK. It should be noted that American students that are studying in the UK for more than 6 months and hold a visa that is valid for longer than 6 months are permitted to marry and remain in the country and do not have to travel back to the USA to obtain the correct pre approved UK entry clearance visa. The same rule applies to work permit holders.
UK Settlement Visas
You can learn more about UK settlement visas by visiting the links below:
UK Spouse / Marriage Visa Requirements
The sponsor and applicant must be legally married to each other / in a civil partnership with each other
Conditions of the UK Spouse / Marriage Visa
Applicants will be given a 2 and half year conditional visa to live and work in the UK, after which, if the relationship is still in place
UK Fiance / Fiancée Visa Requirements
The sponsor and the applicant must intend to get married within a six month period in the UK.
Conditions of UK Fiancée / Marriage Visa
Successful applicants are granted a 6 month visa in which to come to the UK and get married. They are not allowed to work whilst on this visa.
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