Do I need a Fiance visa or a Marriage Visitor visa?

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In this post, we briefly explain the difference between the fiancé(e) visa and the marriage visitor visa.

This is because we have seen at least one person make the wrong application. It is a sub-post of our main How to apply for a partner visa post.

This post is intended to provide general background on the relevant issues. These rules can be complex, and the requirements of the route will vary from application to application.

Whilst we have done our best to ensure that the information here is accurate at the time of writing, the UK immigration rules change frequently, so you should always check the position at the time you make your application.

This post was written by Nick Nason, director of Edgewater Legal. Book in a free initial call with Nick if you want to discuss getting help with your application, or would like to explore what getting help looks like.

What is a UK fiancé(e) visa?

A fiancé(e) visa is a species of partner visa. It used to have its own route, so people still refer to it as a fiancé(e) visa, but now it is part of the partner visa route. For ease of reference we refer to it as a fiancé(e) visa here.

If you are engaged to be married and intend to move to the UK to live with your British citizen (or settled status, see our main post for the full list) partner, the fiancé(e) visa allows you to enter the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership.

After you have married, you can switch into the main partner route from within the UK. For more information on this process see our post Making a UK fiancée application and extending as a spouse.

What is a UK Marriage Visitor visa?

A marriage visitor visa (also known as a marriage visa) is not the same thing.

The marriage visitor visa allows individuals to be in the UK in order to get married or enter into a registered civil partnership.

It is a visa to come to the UK with the sole purpose of getting married, after which you must leave the UK.

The application currently costs £115 and typically a decision will be made within 3 weeks, although processing times vary.

Can I apply for a partner visa once I’m married on the Marriage Visitor visa?

If eligible, once you have returned to your home country, you can theoretically apply for entry clearance as a partner.

I say theoretically, because if you already had a partner based in the UK who could sponsor a partner visa application (e.g. who was a British national) and the plan was for you to live in the UK together, then it is unlikely that you would have applied for the Marriage Visitor visa, and more likely that you would have applied for a fiancé(e) visa then enabling you to switch into the main partner route.

But in that very unlikely scenario, the key point is that the rules do not currently enable you to ‘switch’ into the partner route from within the UK whilst holding permission on the marriage visitor visa route.