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Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Old Mar 21st 2012, 10:43 am
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Default Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Hi all,

Long time reader...first time poster. You are all very knowledgeable and the advice on here has been excellent for us...so thanks to all!

Ok so here is our situation...I'll try not to be too verbose and stick to the facts.

My USC fiancée moved over here (Belfast) on a 6 month tourist visa from mid July 2011 to mid Jan 2012. We got engaged and planned the wedding for July 31st 2012. She then went back home (California) in mid Jan 2012 to apply for the Fiancée Visa. This was granted VERY quickly giving her the visa from 26th Jan 2012 to 26th July 2012 (6 months). This unfortunately means the visa runs out 5 days before the wedding. Now, we tried to get the UK to reissue the visa with different dates, but it wasn't a goer and would have meant more money.

So it's not the end of the world, we still have the valid visa and can get married, only its slightly more complicated.

Our plan now is to do the legal marriage in Belfast City Hall with as little fanfare as we can, i.e. nobody else there and very low key. Then once we are legally married, apply for the marriage visa. Therefore by the time we actually have the wedding, July 31st, we will be technically married.

Now, really the point of my post is to ask some questions of advice on this. We are both Christians and we do not want to live together until we are married. We don't see the legal (civil) ceremony as really making us married. We won't feel properly married until the Religious Wedding on July 31st.

So after the civil ceremony, when we are legal, nothing will have changed in our circumstances. We wont live together, we wont wear rings, it will be like we are not married. The only difference would be that my fiancée, or wife as she would be then, could get a job.

My concern is that if someone from immigration was to check up on us between civil ceremony and religious wedding we would look pretty dodgy. It would look like a fake marriage so she could get a job here.

Am I being overly paranoid? Should we speak to someone at UK Border Agency and tell them all this? Is it likely that anyone would do a random check like that?

Any advice would be great on this as we have worked so hard on the visa stuff to date and we don't want to do something now that screws it all up!

Thanks!!
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

I believe in order for her to be able to work, she will need to apply for Further Leave to Remain (FLR(M)). Correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a while.

A quick look at the form shows that it includes, among other things, the following text:

"I declare that we are still married, that we are living together as husband and wife and intend to do so permanently".

Signing that form if you are not living together would therefore constitute lying to the UKBA.

Now, in my case we've certainly never had the UKBA turn up at the door just to check we are living together. Do they ever do it? Probably. Will they do it to you? Who knows. I guess it all depends on your risk tolerance.

To me, it would seem simpler to consider your first wedding as "real" and then have the religious ceremony for your family and friends. That or bring the religious ceremony forward.

Regards,
James
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Originally Posted by JSL8610 View Post
I believe in order for her to be able to work, she will need to apply for Further Leave to Remain (FLR(M)). Correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a while.

A quick look at the form shows that it includes, among other things, the following text:

"I declare that we are still married, that we are living together as husband and wife and intend to do so permanently".

Signing that form if you are not living together would therefore constitute lying to the UKBA.

Now, in my case we've certainly never had the UKBA turn up at the door just to check we are living together. Do they ever do it? Probably. Will they do it to you? Who knows. I guess it all depends on your risk tolerance.

To me, it would seem simpler to consider your first wedding as "real" and then have the religious ceremony for your family and friends. That or bring the religious ceremony forward.

Regards,
James
Thanks for the reply.

You are correct, it is the FLR(M) she will apply for to be able to work. I think it is that line about living together that makes it tricky.

I guess we weigh up the risk versus morals.

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Originally Posted by jstar7 View Post
My USC fiancée moved over here (Belfast) on a 6 month tourist visa from mid July 2011 to mid Jan 2012.
I understand what you mean, but when dealing with anything to do with immigration, terminology is important. She "visited over here"... she didn't move!


Our plan now is to do the legal marriage in Belfast City Hall with as little fanfare as we can, i.e. nobody else there and very low key. Then once we are legally married, apply for the marriage visa. Therefore by the time we actually have the wedding, July 31st, we will be technically married.
Is she planning on overstaying her visa then, because that's what it sounds like? I'm not sure she can get a spouse visa in a day!

Also, where do you ultimately intend to live? It sounds like Ireland, but it's not really clear from what you've written. If it is Ireland, then I suggest this is the wrong forum - as it's for people who intend to ultimately live in the US.

You might have better luck at http://www.uk-yankee.com/. That's for people who intend to live in the UK/Ireland.

Ian
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 12:32 pm
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
I understand what you mean, but when dealing with anything to do with immigration, terminology is important. She "visited over here"... she didn't move!



Is she planning on overstaying her visa then, because that's what it sounds like? I'm not sure she can get a spouse visa in a day!

Also, where do you ultimately intend to live? It sounds like Ireland, but it's not really clear from what you've written. If it is Ireland, then I suggest this is the wrong forum - as it's for people who intend to ultimately live in the US.

You might have better luck at http://www.uk-yankee.com/. That's for people who intend to live in the UK/Ireland.

Ian
Thanks for the reply Ian.

Yup fair enough, my terminology was off...she visited.

No she is not planning on overstaying her visa. We would have the legal civil ceremony months before...maybe even next few weeks. Then apply for FLR(M) with the expectation that by about June we are fully legally married and she has her 2 year visa, an can work.

Ultimately we intend on living in US, not Northern Ireland. This is the first step in the process. After we come back from honeymoon I'll start the visa process for US, hence how I've been reading up on the forums. Granted my post is a bit more UK centric than US, sorry about that. But the help is much appreciated all the same. I'll check out the site, thanks.
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Originally Posted by jstar7 View Post
No she is not planning on overstaying her visa. We would have the legal civil ceremony months before...maybe even next few weeks. Then apply for FLR(M) with the expectation that by about June we are fully legally married and she has her 2 year visa, an can work.
Ah - yes, I see. That'll work. It sounds like your plan is quite doable... best of luck to you!

Ian
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

Nothing "technical" about it - in the eyes of the State you will be married. You seeing it differently does not change how the State sees it.
Originally Posted by jstar7 View Post
Our plan now is to do the legal marriage in Belfast City Hall with as little fanfare as we can, i.e. nobody else there and very low key. Then once we are legally married, apply for the marriage visa. Therefore by the time we actually have the wedding, July 31st, we will be technically married.

Without a doubt.
Originally Posted by jstar7 View Post
Am I being overly paranoid?
Regards, JEff
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Old Mar 21st 2012, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: Civil Ceremony, then Religious Wedding - advice?

It seems like your questions all have to do with immigrating to the UK, is this correct? If so, you'll want to visit the UK immigration forum at www.uk-yankee.com. This forum is specifically for people wanting to immigrate to the USA, so you might not find as much help here as you will over at UK Yankee.

Rene
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