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 Help - I want to marry my American Girlfriend!

Forum General British immigration issues, visa, citizenship, EEA forms, marriage and dual nationality discussions.: General British immigration issues, visa, citizenship, EEA forms, marriage and dual nationality discussions.

Help - I want to marry my American Girlfriend!

Postby tim_caesar » Tue May 06, 2008 12:49 am

Hi there,

I wondered if the good people of this forum could help me out. I am a British Citizen, lived in the UK all my life and wish to marry my American girlfriend. We met online in 2000, met in real life in 2004 and have been visiting each other 5 or 6 times a year (I go to the US, she comes here). Last year she came to the UK for 2 months on a visitors visa.

In Feb of this year, she came to stay with me on a 6 month visitors visa, and we have decided to get married. She wants to live with me in the UK.

I have looked online and it seems that in order to marry her here in the UK, we would need to apply for a Certificate of Approval as she entered the UK on a visitors visa. Is this correct? I am really trying to avoid her having to go back to the USA to apply. I should add that her visitors visa runs out in August.

If anyone could give us advice, that would be great,

Tim.

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Re: Help - I want to marry my American Girlfriend!

Postby thsths » Tue May 06, 2008 2:44 pm

tim_caesar wrote:I am really trying to avoid her having to go back to the USA to apply.
It may seem tough, but that is exactly what she will have to do. You cannot switch from a tourist visa while in the UK. Write to your MP if you think this is unfair, because he/she is responsible for the law.

The best thing to do would be for her to go back and apply for a fiance visa. Then she can get married in the UK and switch to a spouse visa.

Tom

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Postby knightlie » Tue May 06, 2008 7:06 pm

I'm marrying my American girlfriend in July, and we're getting married in the US. By getting married over there she can then apply for a Spouses visa instead of a Fiance one and move over here already married. As I understand it getting a Fiance visa means she will need another visa once you get married over here, which is double the hassle and cost.

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Postby seraphina » Sun May 18, 2008 6:41 pm

I got married in March of 2006, went back to the UK on a visitor release afterwards to look for a place to live with my husband. I think the only reason I got away with that was because I had my plane tickets and date for my visa application appointment and I could show the custom's officials this.

I stayed with my new partner until June 2nd 2006, two days after my birthday, I flew by myself, back to the USA to go to the Chicago Consulate for my appointment on the 9th. I knew going through this would be hard enough, but having to do it alone...I was definitely nervous.

I got my spousal visa approved and I was in and out of the consulate in less than 3 hours. I was extremely well prepared for the interview. I went back to the UK on the 30th of June, overnighted via American Airlines, and I arrived July 1st 2006.

I missed my Partner to bits and pieces, it was the hardest, longest month of my entire life. I feel that it actually made me appreciate my spouse more. That's my opinion, but if you feel like it'd be insane being away from your SO, you can be in the USA and apply with your SO. :)

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Postby bird77 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:09 pm

hi. i have a question related to this. i am american, just got engaged to my boyfriend (UK) and we were thinking of doing the fiance visa for six months, then getting married in may of 2009.

tim, you said your girlfriend lived with you for six months on a tourist visa. i was thinking that i might do this instead of the fiance visa since the fiance visa costs $1000. if we americans stay in england on a visitors visa (and has the time limit changes from 6 months to 3?), do we have to spend a certain amount of time in america before we are allowed to return to england? Thanks for your response! hope you are having luck with yours!!!
robyn

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Postby seraphina » Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:44 pm

I hope you understand that by obtaining the Fiance visa, you are allowed to wed in the United Kingdom once a Certificate of Approval is applied for and received.

By just entering as a tourist, you will not be able to get married in the UK.

I would reccomend getting married in the USA, you don't have to have any special visa for this, just make sure your fiance says he's visiting disneyland or some other landmarks in the area. They wont let him in if they know its to get married.

After the marriage, you can apply for the spousal visa, which, when I applied two years ago was around $500 for an in person appointment at the consulate.

If you want, the fiance visa will give you 6 months to get married, then you can change your status without having to leave the country.

Both visas will grant you the ability to look for work when you touch down in the UK.

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Postby bird77 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:56 pm

Thank you Seraphina for the advice! We are planning our wedding in the US next spring. Then going to the NYC consulate and getting a Spousal Visa. That is crazy that customs won't let a person in the country if they are intending to get married. I am glad you told me that.

It is really just a question of whether or not the fiance visa is worth the money. Did you do the Fiance Visa before you were married? are the only advantages that you are able to get married in the UK without having to return to the states? (and the ability to use the NHS? saw forum regarding this on the site.) Also, i know you cannot work on the Fiance visa, but can you volunteer somewhere? Any idea? Thanks again!!

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Postby seraphina » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:10 pm

Apparently, the sooner you get it done, the better, right after I posted that last post, I found this on the BBC's Website.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7521408.stm

:(

Obviously I can understand you speak english, its the age thing though. I got married when I was 17, and got my visa when I was 18...

I hope everything works out for you!

sorry, in my rush, I didn't see your post after mine! lol

As for the NHS, as soon as you enter on either visa, you are considered "ordinarily resident" This gives you the same access to the NHS as a resident of whichever area you are in..(Ie in wales, you don't pay for anything, in England, you'll pay for scripts and other minor things)

Once you get to the UK, you will need to start looking for work and apply for a national Insurance Number, which will ultimately enable you to start working.

In my honest opinion, the Spousal visa worked best for my situation. I had already purchased the ticket back to the UK for July 1st 2006, so getting my spousal visa and not having to worry about any big weddings to plan for the here and now was a great deal off my shoulders.

We are currently planning a proper poofy gown/tuxedo cladden wedding ceremony for 2009. We figured we'd save up for awhile before we went ahead with spending all of that money :)

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Postby tim_caesar » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:00 pm

Hi there,

Well as a followup to my question, I am pleased to say that my lady got her fiance visa approved. She lived with me for 6 months on a visitors visa (from Feb this year) and returned to the USA in August to start the application process. All UK finace visa applications now have to be done online. Once the application had been completed, she had to go to a designated office in Virginia to have her biometrics done (photo and fingerprints). Once this was completed, she was able to send all her paperwork and evidence to the New York City cons-ular office for it to be processed. They emailed her when they had received the paperwork, and a week later wanted some more paperwork which she send to them via Fedex.

She then sent was sent an email to say that the application had been approved, and a UPS tracking number for her passport and paperwork to be returned. The cost of the fiance visa was £515, and it took approx 6 weeks from beginning to end.

We are planning on getting married in the next month or so, as soon as we find a registry office who can marry us at short (ish) notice. What I didnt realise is that not all registry offices can marry people with a finace visa. There is about a dozen or so in London.

To answer Robyn's question, my girlfriend came here as a tourist, and as far as I know having a 'proper' visa means you can travel immediately, and you don't have to stay a certain time in the USA before you return to the UK.

My next question is when my girlfriend returns to the UK (in the next couple of weeks) do we have to do anything else before we approach the registry office? Is it just a case of going to the registry office and setting a date?

Also, once we are married, what is the process for turning her finace visa into a spousal one? I have read on a few sites that you can apply, but where is best to do it? Can we go to the home office and have it issued the same day?

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Marrying my indonesian gf

Postby GREATking54 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:38 pm

Umm ok well we want to get married in febuary of 2009 and she is still 17 tho untill june but she is coming here on a vistors visa and is there like any possible way we can get married? yea im american 20 years old and she is indonesian but only 17 still !! any1 have any ides to help me please

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