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Hello,

I recently married my partner in the UK while visiting under a general visa. [He holds a Tier 2 work visa and I'm a US citizen.] Our immigration lawyer said that while it's against immigration law to enter the UK under a general visa with the intent to marry, because we had arrived at the decision to marry within UK borders, we were fine.

Of course, my recent application to be added to his Tier 2 visa as a dependant was refused, for the reason that we did not hold a marriage visa at the time we married.

Our lawyer believes whoever handled our visa application misread the law. He is sticking with his rationale: intent to marry is specific to entry clearance. I entered the UK with no intention to marry, and did not break the law.

As we prepare to re-apply, in the hopes that the Home Office will re-examine their decision, I'm curious: has anyone out there been in a similar situation? Married under a general visa, and then successfully applied to be added to a Tier 2 visa as a spouse/dependant?

Thanks for any and all advice.
 

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Did you apply for a Tier 2 dependent whilst in the UK? If you did you were rightly refused as you can't switch from a visit visa to any other kind of visa.

It would be helpful if you typed out the refusal letter.
 

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Hi nyclon, thanks for your reply.

No, I returned to the US to apply for the Tier 2 Dependant. Our lawyer advised us that this could not be done from within the UK and I was near to the end of my 6-month general visa.

To your request, here's a transcript of "The Decision" as written in my refusal letter:

"In your application, you state that you and your partner decided to marry while you were visiting and helping him to relocate. Information available through the Home Office confirms that you were advised of the requirement for a visa to enter into marriage by the authorities in Edinburgh.** Despite this, you entered into marriage without the requisite visa. In support of your application, you have provided a letter from Morton Fraser which states that your visitor status did not prohibit you from marrying in the UK. However, this statement is at odds with the current Immigration Rules, which state that visitors may not give notice of marriage or civil partnership or enter into a marriage or civil partnership as a visitor and must have prior entry clearance for this purpose. As a result of these actions, you previously breached the conditions attached to your visit to the UK, and I therefore refuse your application under paragraph 320 (7B) of the Immigration Rules."

** when we lodged notice for our marriage at the Edinburgh Registrar, they advised us to obtain a marriage visa. We consulted our lawyer, who maintained that we were in good standing, having decided to marry within UK borders. I have to guess that this is what they're referring to, as we were not in contact with the Home Office or any other Edinburgh authority before our marriage.
 

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Your lawyer is on flimsy grounds. Unless you had never met before and never had known about each other before your visit to UK and suddenly decided to get married, it was assumed that marriage was part of your long-term plan and you just decided to bring forward your ceremony. Thus the presumptions are you were intending to marry when you entered UK, so by marrying you broke the immigration rule. Just your saying that you had no such intention when you came to UK doesn't hold water, and on the balance of probabilities they decided that you had such an intention.
Just another case of not relying on a lawyer's opinion. If you had consulted us, we would have told you not to go ahead and jeopardise your future applications.
This story further illustrates the firm line Home Office is now taking on rule violations. While in the past, you may have got way with it with just a slap on your wrist, now they use it as a reason to deny you visas.
 

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Hello all :)

this alarms me as I'm sort of in the same boat, going to apply for a spouse visa for my wife later this year.

When giving notice we made it very clear that my wife was on a visitors visa. Their advice was while we were doing nothing illegal, it was generally looked down upon.

My case is a little different however as I'm a UK citizen, would this have any effect on the outcome? We meet all the other requirements, I know any answers may follow the official line but no harm in asking.
 
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