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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this. I am hoping to gain some advice/information as to whether the options I am looking at work.

Backstory:

My fiancee and I are looking to marry. I am a UK citizen from birth, and she is a US citizen. We would be looking to settle in the UK due to me having an established career, which is able to support us early on.

Our original plan had been to marry in the US on an ESTA, with me leaving soon after and then applying to the UK for her to join me, on a family of a settled person visa, and hopefully settlement beyond that.

However, we are now looking at other options, that won't require so many flights back and forth.

Question:

What visa could we get to marry in England, but for her to stay after? I had originally believed we would need a marriage visitor visa, then she would have to leave, and we would then apply for a settled person visa, but as with the America plan, this would require more flights.

So looking into the family of a settled person visa, it would appear that she would be able to join me as my fiancee, and be able to get married on this? With an extension then applied for from within the UK prior to it's expiration. I cannot see anything on there that doesn't allow marriage, or the option to extend.

Given that there is a marriage visa, I am a little confused as to whether I am seeing that correctly?

My fiancee and I are in a legit relationship of close to 2 years, and would really appreciate any advice you're able to give on our options forwards. Our ideal scenario is for her to travel here, marry, and for her to stay from there, without the need to leave the country pending an approved extension.

I meet the financial requirement.

Many thanks for any and all advice/opinions received.
 

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You would need a Fiancée Visa in order for her to come to the UK to get married. She can stay in the UK for up to 6 months, but she will not be allowed to do any work of any kind, including volunteer work or working remotely for a US company.

After the wedding but before her Fiancée Visa expires, you apply (from within the UK) for her Further Leave to Remain (FLR(M)) visa, which is valid for 2.5 years.
When she receives her Biometric Residency Permit, she'll be permitted to look for work. She will have no recourse to public funds.

After that initial 2.5 years, she applies for a second FLR(M) visa (again, from within the UK), which is valid for a further 2.5 years.
She'll be issued a new BRP and permitted to continue to work. She is still not eligible to receive public funds.

After that visa has been used, then she can apply for ILR and citizenship, and will be able to access public funds.


You will want to weigh out the pros and cons of getting married in the US and then applying for a spousal visa vs her applying for a visa allowing her to come to the UK to get married and then applying for extended permission to stay etc and make your decision based on that.

Good luck to you!
 
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Whether it's a cost savings depends somewhat on where she lives. The cost of getting a fiancé visa first is around $1000-1500, then apply for the FLR(M). Going directly to the spouse visa is about the same as the fiancé visa, but then you are already approved for 2.5 years.

Figure in the cost of the flight. I was from CA, so my flight was basically the same as a visa. If she is from the east coast, it would be much cheaper.

It is also much cheaper, and simpler, to wed in the US than it is in the UK. Of course everything is changed depending on if you are having a big family wedding or a small civil service. Civil service is a fraction of the price in the US. A big wedding is going to be expensive wherever you are, but you need to factor in travel for guests.
 

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ETA: I applied for a Fiancée Visa 3 years ago this past Saturday and got married in the UK on the Saturday befoe Bonfire Night. I applied for my FLR(M) via the Visa Premium Service Centre at Solihull (appointments are available up to 6 weeks in advance of your preferred date) and was granted the visa on Bonfire Night. There is a surcharge for Premium Service in addition to the regular application fee. Please look here for the current fee schedule (which is updated every April)

Last October, I applied for ILR at the Visa Premium Service Centre at Croydon and was approved for that as well. Again, a surcharge is applicable.

As the rules changed exactly 3 years ago tonight, I am on a different timeline than you and everyone who applied for a visa on or after July 9, 2012 and as such, only had to wait for 2 years to apply for ILR and a further year to apply for citizenship whilst everyone who applied after 09 July '12 must wait a total of 5 years.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Huge thanks for the rapid responses!

I guess cost wise is not the most important factor (though certainly a factor), I guess we just want to close the distance as soon as possible (LDR's are harsh!).

She is from the East Coast, so flights are never too bad :)

I did take a look for the fiancee visa, but cannot see it listed anywhere? Whenever I have looked online for fiancee or spouse visa's I cannot find them on the gov website, so assumed they had all changed under the family visa's.

As mentioned before, the original plan had been for me to fly there on an ESTA, marry in a town hall, and for me to leave. Then she would apply to join me under the correct visa and eventually gain the ILR after 5 years.

Lots of food for thought here. It did seem simpler for marriage in the US though for sure.

I guess the choice as far as I can see is:

Marriage in the US, which is cheaper and simpler, then apply for a spouse visa (which is another I cannot find) VS Marriage in the UK on fiancee visa, and applying for remain to stays from there at a more costly rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the link :)

That's the exact visa I had tried to reference in my first post.

So based on your first reply, she could travel over on that, marry, apply to remain, gain the Biometric permit (is this automatic from the application?), work and keep extending until eligible for indefinite leave.

Which could work perfectly :)

Outside of that; I assume the option would differ to be:

Marry in the US, I return home, she applies for the spouse visa (same link?), joins me, and then we do as above; apply for remain FLR's until ILR is an option?

If I am clear on that, I can create a pro's and con's list as suggested.

Very thankful for all the help here. I have found Visa's to be a huge pain thus far!
 

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You marry in the US, she applies for a spouse visa and then comes over for 2.5 years, applies for another 2.5 year extension, then she's eligible for ILR.

You apply for fiancé visa, she flies over, marries, you apply for FLR(M) which lasts for 2.5 years, applies for another 2.5 year extension, then she's eligible for ILR.

With marrying in the UK, it requires one extra visa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You are both amazing!

Thank you so much. This is all beginning to be a much clearer picture :)

I can now at least set a plan, and then research all the bio metrics and documents involved, which I am sure will be nothing but fun :p
 

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Yes, the Fiancée Visa route does require one extra visa, but at least you can be together before you get married.

As there wasn't to be much of a life for my husband and I in Canada work wise (his job pays more than three times what my Canadian job paid me) had we chosen to live there, we got married in the UK - my family came over for the wedding... he did come over to Vancouver to get me and to meet the relatives who weren't able to come to the wedding... it was Canadian Thanksgiving Day long weekend (Columbus Day in the US), so I was able to spend one last holiday with my Dad's side of the family before I got married.

We got married in a small church in Victoria and had a small wedding breakfast at the County Hall (London Eye).
 

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Yes, despite the extra visa, we too chose to marry in the UK. We have very little family in either country so either way it was going to be us and our witnesses. I think the main decision for us is not using up any of his leave time that we didn't have to use.

The issue of whether I could work on a fiancé visa was meaningless. I'm already retired and have no plans to go back to work anyway. As a thirty year managerial government employee, my pension is comfortable as it is.

So really you just need to factor in all the options and choose what works best for you. We also paid for premium service at each of the steps. That added about $1,100 to our costs, but we had it and were willing to pay the extra.
 

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If you apply for a fiance visa after marriage she will apply for FLR (M)-further leave to remain. She will then be applying to remain with family:

https://www.gov.uk/remain-in-uk-family/overview

The documentation is basically the same but the form is different.
 
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