Marriage Visitor Visa + Tier 4 changing to Tier 2 issue

  • My girlfriend and I are both non-EEA citizens (Canadian and Australian respectively). I'm based in the UK and she's based in Hong Kong/Taiwan. We are planning to get married in the UK this coming year, roughly between October to November time. The reason to get married here in the UK is because I'm on a Tier 4 visa (expiring in late January 2018) and I've got a job offer to start in February 2018 (Tier 2). After my job starts, we are planning to apply for her the Tier 2 dependent visa (I will be her sole sponsor by proving I've got enough funds in my bank account). I've got a few questions to ask:

    1. She will require a Marriage Visitor Visa (which we will apply) to enter the country so as to give notice for marriage. If I'm already on a Tier 4, will I need another visa (i.e. Marriage Visitor Visa) to get married in the UK?
    2. By marrying before I change from my Tier 4 to Tier 2, will that complicate my Tier 2 application if I'm planning to sponsor my future spouse as my dependent? Should I, instead, get married after I swapped into my Tier 2 visa?
    3. In the case when I got my Tier 2 and also got married in the UK (with evidence from the Registry), when she applies for the Tier 2 dependent visa from OUTSIDE the UK, will I need to be there with her in the visa interview in order to prove that we are married and our relationship is genuine etc etc?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Immigration Adviser

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for your post. In response to your queries:

    1. You wouldn’t need to obtain another visa because getting married in the UK whilst you’re on a Tier 4 visa is a permitted activity.

    2. Marrying before switching to the Tier 2 visa will not have any effects on your Tier 2 visa application.

    3. You can remain in the UK throughout the entire process as she applies for the Tier 2 dependant visa from outside the UK. She would only need to provide the relevant supporting documents with her visa application to prove that you are legally married and that your relationship is genuine.

    A much cheaper option to consider involves getting married abroad then applying for her Dependant visa as and when you are ready to do so. So long as the marriage is legal and recognised by law in the country that you get married, it will also be recognised by law in the UK. This option would skip the process of her having to come to the UK to get married, leave the UK, to apply for another visa to come back to the UK.

    Kind Regards,

  • @simon Thanks for the quick reply. Your above information is very useful. Thank you.

    In the scenario where we do get married abroad and apply for her dependent visa from outside the UK, will I be able to leave the country with my Tier 4 to get married say in October to November time and come back into the country without any problems? My course ends in late September but my visa ends in late January 2018.

    If that's not possible, if I do wait till I change into my Tier 2 within the UK which probably be around November time, can I, again, leave the country to get married and come back into the country without any restrictions, given that my job actually doesn't start until February 2018? Because I've read somewhere that one is not allowed to enter the country until 2 weeks (?) before the start date of your job. Will this be different if I've already obtained my biometric resident permit within the UK since I'm switiching from Tier 4 to Tier 2?

    Many thanks in advance.

  • Immigration Adviser

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for getting back to me.

    In the scenario where you do get married abroad:

    Yes you would be able to leave the UK, get married and return as long as your Tier 4 visa hasn’t expired yet. There is a small chance of you getting questioned by the Border Force at the airport because your visa would be expiring soon, however, carrying relevant documents with you to show that you intend to extend you stay in the UK would appease them.

    White Rose Visas offers a service for people in that particular situation where we issue a Supportive Letter that they can carry on their person to ensure a smooth transition at the airport on the journey back to the UK.

    If you chose to first switch to the Tier 2 visa within the UK around November:

    Yes you would be able to leave the country, get married and return without restriction as soon as you’d received your new Tier 2 Biometric Residence Permit card. The restriction you are speaking of only applies to Entry Clearance applications where Entry clearance will only be granted with effect from up to 14 days before the job start date given on the Certificate of Sponsorship.

    Please be aware that if the Home Office was to grant your Tier 2 visa to start at any time before the job start date, you wouldn’t be able to work for anyone else or study in the meantime but yes you would be permitted to travel.

    Kind Regards,

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