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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there,

I need a bit of advice regarding the best route to take regarding the whole marriage > EEA FP vs EEA2 process.

Background: My boyfriend (Spanish) and I (US Citizen) moved to the UK on 9 January 2016 after living in Costa Rica together for 6 months, where he was working remotely for a London-based company. Prior to that, he was living and working in London for 1.5 years, and I was in Barcelona. I joined him here in hopes of finding a job/sponsorship. We've been together just over a year.

A week before we came here--while visiting Barcelona--he surprised me with a proposal. Therefore, we had no chance to obtain a fiancee or marriage visitor visa before arriving, and I'm here on a standard 6-month stamp.

Now we are trying to figure out what makes the most sense. We have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday at our local register's office to "Give Notice for Marriage"; however, because I'm a non-EEA national without a marriage visitor or fiancé visa, we will have to be referred to the Home Office, who will take 70 days simply to approve whether or not we can marry.

After those 70 days--and upon approval--we aim to get married at the local register's office. However, that is simply the first step. From there, I understand that as we are already in the UK, we can bypass the EEA Family Permit and apply straightaway for the EEA2. However, I've heard this can take up to 6 months to process. At that point, I will have been in the UK for at least four months, leaving me only 2 months before I need to leave the country.

The other option is for me to go back to the US and apply for the EEA FP there. I understand the approval process on this is much quicker? However, we are thinking that if I have to go to the US anyway, we might as well go together (sooner than later), get married there without dealing with the 70-day marriage approval process, and do the EEA FP application process while there.

If you're still with me (and thanks for bearing with me thus far!)--I just need advice on what is the best option here.

So what makes the most sense?

1) Go to the US, get married, apply for the EEA FP there, come back to the UK, immediately apply for the EEA2. (If this is the case, will I be able to work here in the UK while on the EEA FP? I've heard mixed reports about this, employer acceptance, etc.)

2) Give notice here to get married in UK, wait 70 days, get married here, apply for the EEA2. (Is this even possible without enough time left on my 6-month "visa"? Will I be able to stay in the country beyond that point while the EEA2 is being processed, or will I have to leave? And if I leave, will the EEA2 processing continue? Also, does it really take up to 6 months?)

3) None of the above.

What's most important to me is not raising any eyebrows by our unconventional way of doing things, ie being here on a visitor's stamp, the speed with which we are applying, etc. Also, the sooner I can start working, the better. The idea of waiting 70 days to get married, and then waiting another 6 months for a visa beyond that is excruciating. But, we want to be as economical as possible, so not having to fly back to the US and forking out money on accommodation in NYC for a few weeks would be wonderful.

Thanks so very much in advance for all your help and for working your way through this novel!

Tiffany :juggle:
 

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I don't believe you can do #2 at all. While on a visitor visa, you can't give notice. How did you get a six month visitor visa to begin with? What did you tell them when you arrived? Did you say you were planning to stay for six months? They don't very willingly give six month visitor visas to the unemployed, no evidence of returning to home country.

Your best choice would be to marry in the US (much cheaper and quicker) and proceed from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Salix,

I'm not here on any official "Visit Visa"...I have the entry stamp upon arrival that states: "Leave to Enter for Six Months: Employment and Recourse to Public Funds Prohibited".

Also, I understand that as of March 2015, this has been in effect:

Foreign nationals and the Home Office referral scheme

For couples where at least one person is a non-EEA national that gives notice without having proof of diplomatic or settled status or right of abode or a marriage, fiancé(e) or civil partnership visa then they will be referred to the Home Office Immigration for further investigation. Those within scope of the referral scheme will be charged a higher fee for their notice. Those within scope may have their notice period extended from 28 days to 70 days.​

Therefore, it IS possible to give notice--it's just not so easy.
 

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That refers to people who are here on other long term visas like Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student and Tier 5 YMS. In other words, visas in excess of 6 months and not specifically for the purpose of marriage or civil partnering . salix is right. You won't be able to give notice without an appropriate visa much less get married. You can't marry on a visit visa.
 

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And I wanted to say, I just reread my response and it almost sounded snippy, not what I meant at all.

What I was getting at, did you tell them you wanted to stay for six months when you entered the country? If you said less, say two weeks or a month and then you end up staying the full six months granted, this will cause you problems in the future. This is viewed by the Home Office as deceptive. Whatever you tell them at the border is recorded on your entry record, even if your passport is stamped "leave to stay for six months".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks nyclon--the information is so ambiguous. And here I was thinking that I'd found a loophole. Even when I spoke to the local register's office about my situation, they said it was no problem, but we'd have to be referred to the Home Office for final approval. Looks like getting hitched in the US is the best option...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Salix--no worries! And thanks for that advice--I had no idea. I think I told them three months because I had no clue how long I would be here, and I didn't want to look suspicious by stating the entire 6 months. Those guys scare me. I'll definitely make sure I'm out before the 3-month mark, then!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So we go the "Get married in the US" route...and I apply for the 6-month EEA Family Permit while there. Am I entitled to work in the UK with this permit? This is another topic that seems full of ambiguity...
 

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You're allowed to work but you'll probably find that employer's are reluctant to hire you until you have EEA FM which is basically the residency card which good for 5 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi guys, again thank you so much for your help so far. I'm hijacking my own post as I get deeper into all this research. I'm now thinking that getting married in Denmark might be a better bet for us financially and logistically. Could I then apply for The EEA Family Permit from there, then join my partner in the UK once approved?

Alternatively, could I just come back into the UK after we've married on another visitor stamp, and then apply for the EEA2 Residence Card? Or is that not possible on a visit visa?

Thanks again guys....so helpful x
 
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