Fiance Visa Vs Marriage Visa: Which is quicker?
Although the Spouse and Fiance visas are different visa types, the processing time for all types of family visas is the same. If you have applied for a Spouse Visa or a Fiance Visa you should receive a decision within 12 weeks, this time varies and you may receive a decision sooner. Ultimately, the processing time for spouse and fiance visas is the same and one is not quicker than the other.
If you intend to use one of these visas a route towards citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) then one will be quicker than the other. The fiance visa does not create a path to settlement so if you were to apply for a fiance visa first, you would need to marry your UK partner and switch to a Spouse Visa to be on a path towards settlement. Time spent in the UK on a Fiance visa does not count towards the 5 year residency requirement for ILR so obtaining a Spouse Visa first could reduce the time it takes to become eligible for ILR by 6 months.
What is the difference between a fiance visa and a spouse visa?
The Spouse Visa and the Fiance Visa are both part of the UK family visa category. Both visas allow you to join your partner in the UK. However, the Spouse and Fiance visa both have different eligibility requirements and grant you entry to the UK for different periods of time.
To be eligible for the Spouse Visa UK you must be married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone living in the UK with settled status. The Spouse Visa, also known as the marriage visa, allows overseas nationals to join their partners in the UK for 30 months, it can also be extended for another 30 months if the applicant continues to meet the requirements. The Spouse Visa also offers a route towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship. Spouse visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to remain after residing in the UK for at least 5 years, this will grant your permanent residency in the UK. Once granted ILR, Spouse Visa holders can apply for British citizenship.
To be eligible for a Fiance visa you must be in a relationship with a British citizen or settled person and you must also be planning to get married in the UK. The Fiance visa grants you entry to the UK for 6 months and you must get married in this time. If you do not get married you will have to return to your home country as Fiance visa extensions are very rare. Once you have married your British partner you will be able to switch from a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa if you wish to stay in the UK.
The Spouse and Fiance Visa application process
Both the marriage visa process and the Fiance visa application process are very similar. You must apply for either of these visas online using the form available on the gov.uk website. When applying you will also need to submit your supporting documents to prove that you meet the requirements, for both types of visas you will need to prove that:
- You have a good knowledge of the English language
- You can support yourself and any dependents financially whilst in the UK
If applying for the Spouse Visa you must prove that you are in a civil partnership or marriage that is recognised in the UK. If you are applying for the Fiance Visa you must prove that you intend to enter into a marriage or civil partnership within 6 months of entering the UK and that any previous marriages of civil partnerships have ended.
As part of the Spouse Visa application process you will also need to have your biometric information taken at a visa application centre. Your biometric information is your fingerprints and photograph and these will be used for your biometric residence permit (BRP) which you must collect within 10 days of arriving in the UK. You can use your BRP to prove your right to live, work and study in the UK. A BRP is only required for those who hold UK visas with a validity of more than 6 months so Fiance Visa applicants are not required to have their biometric information collected.
How to decide between a Fiance visa or marriage visa
When it comes to deciding between a Fiance Visa and a Spouse visa your decision will depend on your circumstances. If you are in a relationship with a British citizen or settled person but you are not married you have two options. You can either apply for a Fiance visa, marry your partner in the UK and then apply to switch to a Spouse Visa visa or you could get married outside of the UK and apply for a Spouse Visa to enter the UK. Getting married outside of the UK would mean that you would only have to go through one visa application process, saving you time and money. However, you may wish to marry in the UK to be near friends or family.
It’s also worth noting that the UK Home Office takes sham marriages for the purpose of a visa very seriously. If they suspect that you have married a British citizen or settled person for the purpose of obtaining a Spouse Visa then your application will be refused. No matter which option you choose you must prove that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your British partner, this means that you must have been together for at least 2 years. You can prove this using official documents such as marriage certificates, tenancy agreements or joint utility bills and other types of evidence such as photographs and holiday bookings.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Our immigration lawyers have helped thousands of clients to join their families in the UK, we are experts when it comes to partner visa applications. If you are unsure whether to apply for a Fiance Visa or a Spouse Visa one of our lawyers can discuss your situation with you, assess your eligibility for both visas and offer you professional legal advice about the best immigration route for you.
Once you have decided which visa you would like to apply for, your immigration lawyer will be there to support you through the process. They can help you to fill in the application form, gather all of the necessary supporting documents and will write you a Letter of Representation to support your application.
For more information about our other immigration legal services, speak to our team today on 020 4502 8582.
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