Can I Live In The UK If I Marry A UK Citizen?

Is the right to reside in the UK automatically granted by marriage to a British national? The simple response is “no,” “not always,” Unless you are a British national yourself, are on a visa route like the skilled worker visa, senior or specialist worker visa, or have been given the status of indefinite leave to remain, being married to a British citizen does not automatically give you the privilege to live in the UK. 

Our Spouse Visa Lawyers in London explain how marriage to a British citizen or someone with established UK status can help you obtain resident rights in the UK. For more info, do not hesitate to contact us or call us on 0203 833 4948,

Rights to Marriage and residency in the UK

One prevalent misconception is that getting married to a British citizen gives you the right to live there. No matter how long or how committed your union has been, that is not the goal. Many couples struggle with this reality because they think that because they are British citizens, they may live together in the UK. While spouses or partners of British citizens or those with established status who are subject to UK immigration rules may be granted resident rights, this is not a given.

However, there are routes to UK entry clearance that depend on your bond, such the spouse or family visa. It’s important to remember that a marriage certificate or other proof of being married does not, by itself, secure you a spouse or partner visa or the right to live in the UK. To obtain a spouse visa, you must, first of all, meet all qualifying requirements.

Our legal experts stress that not every person satisfies the requirements for a spouse visa. Numerous factors, such as a partner with a low salary, can make it impossible to meet the spouse visa’s financial requirements. Depending on individual circumstances, other choices, such as a student, graduate, or skilled worker visa, may be practical in such cases.

In order to increase your chances of reuniting with your British partner in the UK, it is advised to obtain early professional guidance on the best visa for your circumstances and goals.

British nationality By way of marriage

A direct route to obtaining British citizenship is not getting married to a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK as the solution but applying for a spouse or family visa, and the second is to meet the requirements for residency and other eligibility requirements in order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status (ILR) which will later allow you to apply for British Citizenship. 

The path from marriage to British citizenship can be challenging and drawn out, and the difficulty of the process can change depending on your unique situation. Not everyone who gets married and moves to the UK wants to become a citizen of the UK and remain content solely with the status of ILR, which allows them to indefinitely live in the UK without restrictions. 

What about EU citizens married to a citizen of the UK?

As the UK used to be a member of the EU, EU citizens could believe they have special rights and are free from UK immigration laws and spouse visas, which may be the case in some circumstances. These immigration laws might not apply to you if you moved to the UK before the free movement policy was terminated on December 31, 2020, and you were successful in applying for settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. Although UK immigration laws would be in force for anyone who immigrated after this cutoff date, you will still need to follow the usual spouse visa route procedure. 

Steps to Follow from Marriage to British Nationality

There are normally five major phases in the process of acquiring a British citizen after marriage. It’s crucial to speak with an immigration specialist right away so you can fully grasp the 

procedure and increase your chances of finally becoming a British citizen because each stage has its own unique set of requirements.

Let’s examine each of these phases in more detail:

1. Submitting an application for a Spouse Visa

The foreign spouse must file an application to the UK authorities as the initial step in this procedure. A number of documents must be submitted with this application in order to prove the validity of the marriage, show the couple’s financial stability, and attest to their shared intention to settle in the UK.

2. Successfully obtaining a Spouse Visa and moving to the UK to live and work. 

Once the spouse visa is successfully obtained, the foreign spouse can relocate to the UK to live and work there. This visa will enable you to join your British citizen partner and enjoy the benefits of residing in the UK, including the opportunity to work and contribute to the local community.

3. Extending the Spouse Visa for a further 2.5 years

Typically, the initial spouse visa is good for 2.5 years. To extend the visa for an additional 2.5 years, an application must be submitted close to the expiration date. The same requirements as the initial spouse visa application must be met, and it also demands proving the relationship’s continuance.

4. Making an ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) application

You can apply for ILR after five years of residence in the UK on a spouse visa. Your ability to communicate in English, your familiarity with UK culture, and proof of your ongoing marriage relationship and financial security are all required at this stage. Additionally, you must fulfil the residency requirements for ILR, which include being in the UK for no more than 180 days out of every year throughout the five-year period.

5. Submitting a British Citizenship Application

The application for British citizenship is the last step in this procedure. If the relationship is still intact 12 months after receiving ILR, this can be done. The candidate should also meet the “good character” standard and not have broken any immigration laws. This includes refraining from fraud in your interactions with the UK authorities and having no recent or major criminal history.

Remember, it is crucial to comprehend the exact residency requirement for obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain and to be aware of how extended visits abroad for business or family reasons may affect this requirement. An immigration specialist who can offer advice catered to your particular situation might make it easier to navigate these complications.

You Ask, We Answer


No, as explained in this article, getting married to a British citizen does not immediately grant you residency in the country. To live in the UK, the spouse of a British national must still apply for a UK spouse visa.

The procedure needed to bring a spouse to the UK may change depending on a person’s specific situation. However, it normally takes the Home Office 2 to 12 weeks to respond after you file the spouse visa application. Planning ahead and taking processing ambiguities into account are advised.

After receiving your spouse visa, you can work in the UK. In reality, one benefit of a spouse visa is that it enables full- or part-time employment in any capacity. You can also work for yourself thanks to it. However, you cannot use public monies until you have been given permission to stay for an indeterminate period of time.

A spouse visa for the UK is not a permanent visa. It is given for two and a half years. You add an additional 2.5 years to it following this time frame. You might be eligible to apply for “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR), which allows you to remain in the UK permanently, after spending five years there on a spouse visa.

Before you may submit an application for British citizenship, you must have resided in the UK for at least five years. Additionally, before you may apply, you must have held “Indefinite Leave to Remain” (ILR) or “Settled Status” for at least 12 months.

Ask Spouse Visa Lawyers to Handle Your Application

It can be difficult to navigate the complex world of immigration law. Therefore working with us at Spouse Visa Lawyers will give you the guidance you need to make the chances of your application as high as possible. Our team is ready to help you succeed and join your loved one in the UK.

In handling spouse and partner visa matters, our specialised team of committed has a plethora of knowledge. We take pleasure in our ability to manage complex problems and offer our clients practical solutions. To find out more about our services, contact us right away.

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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.

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