Fiance Visa: an entry clearance that allows the holder to enter the UK and marry their sponsor. The visa runs for 6 months and can only be secured from an overseas visa issuing post, typically a British Consulate General or a British High Commission.
The holder of a fiance visa may not undertake employment, even unpaid volunteer work but may use the NHS. The fiance may also take courses and apply for a driving permit. Time spent in the UK as a fiance counts towards the residency requirement for naturalisation (i.e., British citizenship).
Once married, the holder of a fiance visa is entitled to switch into a spouse visa from within the UK. This is done by submitting an application by post or in person at an authorised Public Enquiry Office.
This is a representative checklist that covers most of the requirements, but it should not be taken as authoritative. Some items are not appropriate for every case (divorce certificates for example), and excluding an item does not result in automatic refusal. Similarly, including all items below does not guarantee success.
The evidence needed for fiance visa applications shares many common features with spouse applications. Please refer to that page for more detail on the above items.
Do you intend to work the UK?
Over the years, this question on the form has been regarded as suspect by fiances because fiances are not allowed to work, and the natural reaction is to treat this as a "trick question". To be fair, however, the form is designed to accommodate a large variety of applicants and many of these are entitled to work from the moment they arrive in the UK. More to the point, this information is valuable in assessing a couple's financial viability, and this is why the question appears on the form.
If you have a skill, or if you plan to work after you are married, you can indicate this by checking the "YES" box and including a statement like "...Once my immigration status permits work, I will seek employment as a hairdresser (etc)..." and provide a summary of your experience and credentials.
When did you first meet your sponsor? When did your relationship begin?
This question refers to the first time you met your sponsor in person, and not the first time you "met" on the internet. In the traditional view maintained by many ECO's, people first meet in person and a relationship ensues sometime after that. In a contemporary view that embraces the internet, people begin a relationship before they actually meet in person. We suggest sticking with the traditional view for this series of questions whilst simultaneously not concealing anything of relevance.
The off-shore honeymoon
The question which arises from non-visa nationals often runs along the lines of
After I have married, my partner and I would like to take a honeymoon on the continent. Is it ok to travel on my fiance visa after I am married?
Historically, the fiance visa was a single entry visa that enabled the holder to enter the UK and participate in their wedding ceremony. It was later changed to a multiple entry visa in order to accomodate the shifting social demand for mobility. And the question itself was largely irrelevant prior to 2003 because the majority of people who used fiance visas were visa nationals who were usually required to have a visa for any destination in the EU; and such visas were easier to obtain if the applicant was a spouse rather than a fiance.
In 2003, the rules were changed such that switching from visitor to spouse was no longer allowed and this change required a lot more people to get fiance visas, but the question of post-marriage travel was never addressed. Recognizing that these changes left an ambiguity in policy, we (i.e., Transpondia) approached the UKBA policy unit in 2004 asking for clarification.
Their response was unequivocally clear that the fiance visa was not to be used after the marriage because the person's immigration status was no longer that of fiance. Therefore the answer was no, it is NOT ok to travel on a fiance visa after the marriage has taken place. Sadly, this response was never elevated into the guidance, and the ambiguity remains.
We have seen cases where sharp-eyed case workers have refused to treat FLR(M) applications as straight-forward where the applicant has travelled on a fiance visa because the applicant has forfeited their status as a legal entrant. This has caused annoyance and upset to both applicants and sponsors. On the other hand, we have never heard of a married person getting bounced for attempting to enter the UK on a fiance visa; and we have never heard of an FLR(M) application being refused on these grounds. So this leaves the worst case scenario as the one where the FLR(M) applicant loses their in-person application fee because an alert case worker questions the applicant's status as a legal or illegal entrant.
What all of this amalgamates to is that there is no governing rule or policy that is consistently enforced. Our advice is that fiances should switch into FLR(M) status before travelling. And our rationale is that the person's passport will document them as an EEA/British spouse and this may be important in the event of unforeseen exigencies arising either in the UK or abroad.
To follow up on any of this information, check our Internet Resources page...
Reviewed 9 June 2012