As the world becomes more connected, cross-cultural relationships are becoming very common. In today’s globalised society, people from diverse cultural backgrounds are finding love and forming partnerships that transcend geographic and linguistic barriers. One instance of this is the increasing number of British men who are choosing Chinese women as their partners.
This trend is pushed by various factors, including an interest in Chinese culture, language exchange, and mutual attraction. However, bringing your Chinese wife or girlfriend to the UK can be complex. It is vital to understand the different immigration routes and requirements to ensure a smooth transition to your life together in the UK.
In today’s article, we will be taking a look at three different options for bringing your Chinese wife or girlfriend to the UK, which are a fiance visa, spouse visa, and civil partnership visa. We will also answer some of the essential queries that you may have about the procedure. Let’s get started!
Also Read: Bringing Your Husband or Boyfriend to the UK
The Fiancé Visa Route
If you’re planning to tie the knot in the UK, the UK Fiancé(e) Visa or Marriage Visitor Visa might be the perfect choice for you. This visa enables your Chinese girlfriend to stay in the country for up to six months and permits you to legally get married or enter into a civil partnership during your stay. It is distinct from a standard Tourist Visa as it facilitates the celebration of your union in the presence of your loved ones.
Eligibility Criteria for the Fiancé Visa
Both you and your partner must be at least 18 years old.
You must be legally free to wed or get into a civil partnership. This means that if either of you was previously married or in a civil partnership, you must provide a death certificate for the former spouse or partner or present the decree absolute from the divorce.
Duration of stay
The duration of your partner’s visit to the UK must not surpass six months and the wedding must take place in this six-month period.
The required financial threshold for all UK family visas is set to elevate from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024 and will increase again to £38,700 by early 2025. These financial thresholds are routinely adjusted by the UK government. Read our dedicated page on family visa financial requirements for up-to-date information and guidance or get in touch with us directly.
Your partner should be able to cover the cost of their return travel out of the UK. Neither of you should intend to establish permanent residency in the UK.
Marriage or civil partnership plans
You must provide details of the planned marriage or civil partnership, including evidence of any expenses already incurred, such as venue bookings or deposits.
You should be able to present proof of arrangements made for the ceremony, including booking confirmations for the venue or any other relevant service providers.
Couples have a distinctive chance to celebrate their love and commitment in the UK through the Fiance Visa. After obtaining the Fiance Visa and following the marriage or civil partnership ceremony, your Chinese spouse can transition to the Spouse Visa route.
Processing Time of Fiancé Visa
The processing time for a UK fiancé visa can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the application and the volume of applications being processed at the time. However, most applications are typically processed within a timeframe of 2-3 months.
By following this pathway, your partner will be able to reside, work, and eventually apply for a UK Spouse Visa after the wedding takes place, which then leads to indefinite leave to remain in the UK after a period of five years. To learn more about the Spouse Visa and its requirements, read below.
To get expert assistance for bringing your Chinese girlfriend to the UK under the UK Fiancé(e) visa route, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.
The Spouse Visa Route
If you are already married to your Chinese partner and plan to settle in the UK, the Spouse Visa is the most suitable immigration route. This visa grants your partner the right to reside in the UK for up to 2 years and 9 months, with the possibility of extending their stay without leaving the country.
Eligibility Criteria for the Spouse Visa
In order to be considered for the spouse visa route, you must satisfy these essential requirements:
Both you and your spouse must be at least 18 years old.
Citizenship or residency status
One of you must be a British citizen, hold permanent leave to remain, settled status, or be a permanent resident of the UK. Alternatively, one of you must have refugee or protected status in the UK.
Recognised marriage or civil partnership
Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK.
You must have already lived together for not less than two years.
English language proficiency
Your partner must demonstrate good proficiency in the English language.
In the UK, the financial criteria for obtaining family visas will undergo changes, with the threshold rising from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024 and then further increasing to £38,700 by early 2025. As these financial requirements are frequently altered by the UK government, for the latest guidelines and assistance, read our page on family visa financial requirements or contact us.
In order to meet the accommodation requirement for a UK spouse or fiancé visa, the sponsor must have suitable accommodation in the UK that meets the Home Office’s standards for the partner and any dependents.
Processing Time of Spouse Visa
While the processing time for a UK Spouse Visa can vary depending on various factors, the majority of applications are typically processed within a timeframe of 3 months. Following a decision, the applicant will receive notification of the outcome, and if the visa is approved, they can begin making arrangements to reunite with their partner in the UK.
The eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as the applicant’s country of origin, personal and financial situation, and other factors.
As the application process can be complex, it is recommended to seek assistance from Spouse Visa lawyers to ensure that you fully understand the specific requirements and to receive professional guidance throughout the application process.
For expert advice for bringing your Chinese wife to the UK with a Spouse Visa, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.
The Civil Partnership Visa Route
The Civil Partnership Visa is ideal for individuals who wish to enter or are already in a civil partnership with their Chinese partner. This visa grants the civil partner the right to live, work, and study in the UK for an initial period of 30 to 33 months, with the possibility of extending their stay up to 5 years.
Eligibility Criteria for the Civil Partnership Visa:
To qualify for a Civil Partnership Visa, both the applicant and the sponsor must meet specific requirements:
The UK-based partner qualifies as a sponsor if they hold any of these: British or Irish citizenship, settled status in the UK, pre-settled status, a Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa, or refugee status/humanitarian protection.
To qualify, you and your partner must be legally in a civil partnership recognised in the UK and not within a prohibited degree of relationship. It is a requirement that both of you have had a face-to-face meeting prior to the application process.
Your connection must be honest and ongoing, and you plan to live together in the UK permanently. Any previous relationship must have ended forever.
Both partners need to be at least 18 years old to be eligible.
The financial requirement for all family visas in the UK is scheduled to rise from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024, and subsequently to £38,700 by early 2025. The UK government often revises these financial thresholds. To stay informed about the latest criteria and how to meet them, read our page on family visa financial requirements, or please get in touch with us directly.
The sponsor must provide suitable accommodation in the UK that meets Home Office requirements for their partner and any dependents.
Processing Time of Civil Partnership Visa
The Home Office has established a 12-week (3-month) service standard for processing Civil Partnership Visa applications submitted from abroad. This visa is granted for an initial duration of 33 months when applied for from overseas or 30 months if applied for within the UK. An extension for an additional 30 months is required to reach the 5-year mark.
Upon completing five years on a Civil Partnership Visa, individuals can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This is contingent upon remaining in the civil partnership, living with your partner in the UK, and continuing to meet the maintenance requirements outlined above.
For expert advice for bringing your Chinese partner to the UK with a UK Civil Partnership visa, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.
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Ways to Establish the Authenticity of a Relationship
When applying for a visa to bring your Chinese wife or girlfriend to the UK, it is essential to provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and ongoing. The Home Office scrutinises applications to ensure the relationship is not a sham, solely for immigration purposes.
To establish the authenticity of your relationship, you will need to present a combination of documents that corroborate your claims.
Here are some suggestions for the types of evidence you can provide:
Submit records of your correspondence, such as emails, text messages, phone call logs, and chat histories, to demonstrate the frequency and duration of your communication.
Proof of gifts or sentimental items
Submit receipts, invoices, or photographs of gifts or sentimental items exchanged between you and your partner.
Joint account statements
Provide statements from any joint bank accounts or financial investments that you share with your partner.
Submit proof that you have shared an address in the UK or abroad. This could include utility bills, lease agreements, and hospital or GP letters.
Note that the quality of the evidence is crucial. A well-organized, comprehensive set of documents can significantly improve the likelihood of a successful visa application. It is also essential to ensure that all documents are translated into English if they are in Chinese or another language.
You Ask, We Answer
FAQs About UK Visas For Chinese Wife or Girlfriend
How Can Spouse Visa Lawyers UK Help?
Navigating the complex world of immigration and visa applications can be daunting, especially when trying to bring your spouse or partner to the UK from China. Spouse Visa Lawyers UK can help ease this burden by providing expert legal advice and support tailored to your unique situation.
Our experienced immigration lawyers are dedicated to helping you find the most suitable visa route for your partner. Our assistance includes helping you prepare your application, ensuring all the required documents are provided, and guiding you throughout the process, including any possible hurdles.
Reach out to Spouse Visa Lawyers UK, contact us today for a consultation and give your partner the best chance to join you in the UK.
The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.
Dr Bernard Andonian has over four decades of experience as a London-based UK Immigration Solicitor and was also a former immigration Judge. He has been awarded a PhD in Law from the University of West London for his in-depth knowledge of UK immigration and nationality law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts whilst representing clients in the UK, and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.