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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone, I was hoping to gain a bit of a sense of direction here, as my research is just further confusing me. This is my some what complicated situation:

1) I want to marry a woman I met about 4 years ago, who is a british citizen. We have maintained contact over the years, have visited each other frequently, etc. so recently I came on a visitors visa in order to properly introduce myself to her family and declare my intentions, etc. They have approved, so now we are ready to start the process.

2) She is a University student, I run several online businesses which make me completely self sufficient regardless of where in the world I am

3) My home country is the US, I plan to immigrate to the UK due to the fact that she has family, I do not.

So this is what I am trying to figure out,

what is the best way to play this off?

Should I go back to america, apply for a fiance visa, and then return, do the marriage, etc or could I apply for one here (Her and her family are ready to have the marriage done next month)? If so, she clearly can not sponsor me as a student, would I be alright as I have my own income and businesses that I can take with me? How would I have to prove this, and what are the income requirements (for example in the US I believe it is 125% above poverty level)? If I have to provide bank slips, etc, how long of a time frame must I prove it for? As a side question, I am ex (american) military, and am considering joining the british armed forces as I do miss the military lifestyle and got out simply to pursue this relationship further, I have heard that Americans can join without any residency in britain, can anyone confirm this or point me towards resources, I am a bit iffy about contacting recruiters while on a visitor's visa. Thanks everyone!

-one hell of a confused guy
 

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I can't answer everythg, but I can tell you that in order to marry you can either
a-return to America and apply for a fiancee visa which will allow you to stay in the UK for 6 mos in which that time you can apply for a spousal visa whilst in the UK
b- return to America and apply for a marriage visitors visa which does not allow u to remain in the UK
c- return to America with ur partner and get married here and then apply for spousal visa from the USa
anyway you look at it you must apply from the country you are a citizen of, u cannot legally marry without the proper visa
 

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Hello everyone, I was hoping to gain a bit of a sense of direction here, as my research is just further confusing me. This is my some what complicated situation:

1) I want to marry a woman I met about 4 years ago, who is a british citizen. We have maintained contact over the years, have visited each other frequently, etc. so recently I came on a visitors visa in order to properly introduce myself to her family and declare my intentions, etc. They have approved, so now we are ready to start the process.

2) She is a University student, I run several online businesses which make me completely self sufficient regardless of where in the world I am

3) My home country is the US, I plan to immigrate to the UK due to the fact that she has family, I do not.

So this is what I am trying to figure out,

what is the best way to play this off?

Should I go back to america, apply for a fiance visa, and then return, do the marriage, etc or could I apply for one here (Her and her family are ready to have the marriage done next month)? If so, she clearly can not sponsor me as a student, would I be alright as I have my own income and businesses that I can take with me? How would I have to prove this, and what are the income requirements (for example in the US I believe it is 125% above poverty level)? If I have to provide bank slips, etc, how long of a time frame must I prove it for? As a side question, I am ex (american) military, and am considering joining the british armed forces as I do miss the military lifestyle and got out simply to pursue this relationship further, I have heard that Americans can join without any residency in britain, can anyone confirm this or point me towards resources, I am a bit iffy about contacting recruiters while on a visitor's visa. Thanks everyone!

-one hell of a confused guy
There are several points that require explanation.

First, you can either marry in US or UK. To marry in US, your fiancée only needs to come over on ESTA/visa waiver (no special visa needed). Then you apply for a spouse visa to the British consulate in NYC. This gives you 27 months in UK and after 2 years you can apply for settlement (ILR).
To marry in UK and stay on, you apply for fiancé visa, travel to UK, get married and apply for further leave to remain (FLR) as spouse all within 6 months. That leave will be for 2 years, after which you apply for settlement, as above. So this involves two sets of applications and fees within a few months.

Secondly, about maintenance (finance). As things stand, combined resources of both parties can be taken into account, and the minimum requirement is £105.95 a week after paying for housing (mortgage or rent plus council tax). This translates to a pre-tax income of around £13,700 per year, so quite low. But the rules are expected to change in June (we are awaiting confirmation) and it is rumoured that only UK sponsor's income will be taken into account and the minimum is raised to £25,700 before tax. Also external sponsorship (e.g. from her parents and other family members in UK) is likely to be inadmissible. How your income can be taken into account, and under what circumstances, we just have to wait for announcement, but things don't look promising at the moment, as the government is determined to reduce immigration under family migration.

You have to be British citizen, Irish citizen, Commonwealth citizen (will require some period of UK residency prior to applying) or certain other kinds of British nationality in order to join the UK armed forces. You can apply for naturalisation as British citizen after living in UK for 3 years if you are married to a British national.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There are several points that require explanation.

First, you can either marry in US or UK. To marry in US, your fiancée only needs to come over on ESTA/visa waiver (no special visa needed). Then you apply for a spouse visa to the British consulate in NYC. This gives you 27 months in UK and after 2 years you can apply for settlement (ILR).
To marry in UK and stay on, you apply for fiancé visa, travel to UK, get married and apply for further leave to remain (FLR) as spouse all within 6 months. That leave will be for 2 years, after which you apply for settlement, as above. So this involves two sets of applications and fees within a few months.

Secondly, about maintenance (finance). As things stand, combined resources of both parties can be taken into account, and the minimum requirement is £105.95 a week after paying for housing (mortgage or rent plus council tax). This translates to a pre-tax income of around £13,700 per year, so quite low. But the rules are expected to change in June (we are awaiting confirmation) and it is rumoured that only UK sponsor's income will be taken into account and the minimum is raised to £25,700 before tax. Also external sponsorship (e.g. from her parents and other family members in UK) is likely to be inadmissible. How your income can be taken into account, and under what circumstances, we just have to wait for announcement, but things don't look promising at the moment, as the government is determined to reduce immigration under family migration.

You have to be British citizen, Irish citizen, Commonwealth citizen (will require some period of UK residency prior to applying) or certain other kinds of British nationality in order to join the UK armed forces. You can apply for naturalisation as British citizen after living in UK for 3 years if you are married to a British national.
Great response, thank you for that. I'm going to research this ESTA visa, I've spoken to an immigration solicitor here, he was very salesman-ish sketchy so I took everything he said with a grain of salt but he said If I apply through the embassy in NY I would most likely be approved in 15 days, can you confirm or clarify this? Thanks :)
 

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Great response, thank you for that. I'm going to research this ESTA visa, I've spoken to an immigration solicitor here, he was very salesman-ish sketchy so I took everything he said with a grain of salt but he said If I apply through the embassy in NY I would most likely be approved in 15 days, can you confirm or clarify this?
Typical processing time is currently 8 business days. You need to add the time for getting your biometrics done and sending and receiving back your supporting documents, which makes the total turnaround time around 3 weeks or 15 business days. Of course, depedning on the complexity of your case, it can take longer, up to 3 months, esp if it has to be referred to caseworkers in London.

ESTA is just a simple travel authorisation done online for a small fee, with almost instant response. All your fiancée needs is to get ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization) and just carry her passport. She should, in addition, carry some evidence that she will be returning to UK after the wedding, such as return ticket and letter from her uni about term dates.
 
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