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Hello all, I'm new to this board so I was hoping I could get some advice from you fine people :)

I am currently in the UK on a Tier 4 visa (Doctorate Extension Scheme - as I finished my PhD in the UK and applied for this visa that allows me to stay in the country for 12 months looking for work). I have been applying for jobs in the hopes that I can find a job that will ideally sponsor me for a switch to Tier 2 on a work visa, however it's been months of applications since I finished my PhD and all to no avail so far..

I am in a relationship with a British man, who I have known and been friends with for 10 years (we met during our undergrad as we both studied in London), but we only started dating in November 2016 and I have only officially been living with him since March 2017 (in terms of the date on the tenancy agreement). We are so in love and we speak about marriage and since we are both in our 30's, we are interested in getting married and starting a family sooner rather than later..we wasted too much time just being friends! ;) Haha.

My Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa expires end of April 2018. I know there is still a chance I could get a job before this, that may sponsor me to work and then we could get married a bit later. However I was wondering what the options were in terms of marriage:

1. Can I get married (civil ceremony) to him whilst on my current visa (Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme), and then apply to switch to a visa that would allow me to remain in the UK after we got married? If possible, this would all need to be done before end of April 2018 I assume? Is this feasible?

2. Does it make more sense to return to the USA sometime next year, temporarily, and then come back to the UK on a Fiancee visa to marry him? Would this take a long period of time? I have seen this, but do not understand then if I have to leave again after we are married and apply to come back from the USA or if I can stay once we are married and switch from the Fiancee visa to a visa that would allow me to remain in the UK?

3. I realise there is also an option for him to come to the USA if I returned there, temporarily, next year and for us to get married in the USA if he came on a tourist visa, is that right? But then is the process of trying to get a visa for myself to go to the UK and settle there with him once married then going to be more difficult/take a long time?

I realise that's a lot of questions! But I am wondering what our best options are, in terms of what we should consider. We want to stay in the UK and we ideally wouldn't want to be forced to be apart too long, if possible, during the whole process whatever it may be. Also, in terms of finance he is fine in regards to meeting the threshold to support me if I was to settle in the UK with him as his spouse.

Thanks for any help/advice/personal stories that are relevant!

xxx
 

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Hello all, I'm new to this board so I was hoping I could get some advice from you fine people :)

I am currently in the UK on a Tier 4 visa (Doctorate Extension Scheme - as I finished my PhD in the UK and applied for this visa that allows me to stay in the country for 12 months looking for work). I have been applying for jobs in the hopes that I can find a job that will ideally sponsor me for a switch to Tier 2 on a work visa, however it's been months of applications since I finished my PhD and all to no avail so far..

I am in a relationship with a British man, who I have known and been friends with for 10 years (we met during our undergrad as we both studied in London), but we only started dating in November 2016 and I have only officially been living with him since March 2017 (in terms of the date on the tenancy agreement). We are so in love and we speak about marriage and since we are both in our 30's, we are interested in getting married and starting a family sooner rather than later..we wasted too much time just being friends! ;) Haha.

My Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa expires end of April 2018. I know there is still a chance I could get a job before this, that may sponsor me to work and then we could get married a bit later. However I was wondering what the options were in terms of marriage:

1. Can I get married (civil ceremony) to him whilst on my current visa (Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme), and then apply to switch to a visa that would allow me to remain in the UK after we got married? If possible, this would all need to be done before end of April 2018 I assume? Is this feasible?
Your current visa allows you to marry. The catch is that your case may be referred to the Home Office (as it is not a "pre-vetted" fiance visa or marriage visit visa) and the notice period extended to 70 days rather than the usual 28. So, if you go this route make sure you give yourself enough time before your visa expires.

2. Does it make more sense to return to the USA sometime next year, temporarily, and then come back to the UK on a Fiancee visa to marry him? Would this take a long period of time? I have seen this, but do not understand then if I have to leave again after we are married and apply to come back from the USA or if I can stay once we are married and switch from the Fiancee visa to a visa that would allow me to remain in the UK?
The easiest and cheapest thing for you to do is to get married before your current visa expires. You will save the cost of the fiance visa. A fiance visa gives you 6 months to marry and you must apply for FLR (M) from within the UK after you are married and before your fiance visa expires.

3. I realise there is also an option for him to come to the USA if I returned there, temporarily, next year and for us to get married in the USA if he came on a tourist visa, is that right? But then is the process of trying to get a visa for myself to go to the UK and settle there with him once married then going to be more difficult/take a long time
?

Yes, you can marry in the US and he doesn't need a visa other than the tourist visa issued at the border as long as he intends to return to the UK. You would then apply for a spouse visa to join him. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months as processing times vary for a lot of reasons.

I realise that's a lot of questions! But I am wondering what our best options are, in terms of what we should consider. We want to stay in the UK and we ideally wouldn't want to be forced to be apart too long, if possible, during the whole process whatever it may be. Also, in terms of finance he is fine in regards to meeting the threshold to support me if I was to settle in the UK with him as his spouse.

Thanks for any help/advice/personal stories that are relevant!
Again, getting married in the UK before your current visa expires is the most cost and painless option.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, thank you so much! Your advice has been great :) :)

It seems like it would make the most sense, from all your advice, to get married in the UK whilst still on my Tier 4 visa and then switch to FLR(M) once we got married. Whilst marrying in the USA is still an option to consider, my sisters live in France and his family is in the UK so even if we did a small ceremony it would be easier to have our family come to the UK (my parents could easily fly to the UK from the US and see my sisters on the trip as well!), versus us trying to get everyone to fly to the US --or risk not being able to have some family there. But still, it could be an option!

Again, thanks so much! I feel a lot less stressed now haha :)
 
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