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Returning to the UK to get Married

Returning to the UK to get Married

Old Jul 8th 2013, 6:51 pm
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Default Returning to the UK to get Married

Hi,
I've had a search of the forums but still not sure what the rules are for our situation... I am a UK citizen living in the UK for a few years on a H1B visa and currently applying for a green card through work. My US citizen boyfriend proposed last week and we are starting to plan the wedding. I suspect it would be easier all round if we got married in the US but a lot of people would be disappointed if we didn't get married in the UK (his family, my family, me and him!) so a UK it is. And then we're returning to the US to live after the wedding.

Sooo... My question is... What do we need to do in order to do this? I have read that he needs a UK visa to get married in the UK but how is this obtained and what are the time frames? Has anyone done this? Should we get an immigration attorney to do this (that sounds expensive though)? We want a church wedding, does that get complicated with the banns?

Any experience/advice you can give would be amazing!
Thanks!
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

All I am going to say is that it is going to be _infinitely_ easier for you to get married in the US, given you are both residing there. You'll be waiting for up to a year (maybe more depending on current backlog) for a UK marriage visa for your fiance, and then you'll have to pay ~£800 for the privilege.

If you get married in the US, you will pay no such fees, and given both your status in the US you can file an easy AOS to GC.

Hold a wedding reception in the UK if you must, but I really wouldn't go to the hassle of arranging a wedding in the UK.

Just my two cents. Oh, and congrats!
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by princessconsuela View Post
Hi,
I've had a search of the forums but still not sure what the rules are for our situation... I am a UK citizen living in the UK for a few years on a H1B visa and currently applying for a green card through work. My US citizen boyfriend proposed last week and we are starting to plan the wedding. I suspect it would be easier all round if we got married in the US but a lot of people would be disappointed if we didn't get married in the UK (his family, my family, me and him!) so a UK it is. And then we're returning to the US to live after the wedding.

Sooo... My question is... What do we need to do in order to do this? I have read that he needs a UK visa to get married in the UK but how is this obtained and what are the time frames? Has anyone done this? Should we get an immigration attorney to do this (that sounds expensive though)? We want a church wedding, does that get complicated with the banns?

Any experience/advice you can give would be amazing!
Thanks!
I believe you must mean "I am a UK citizen living in the US for a few years on a H1B visa".

Normally your fiancé needs to apply for a marriage visa and there is about a 3 week period that the two of you must live in the UK before getting married. I believe the application is simple. However the following forum will likely answer exactly what must be done.

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php

As far as the green card, if you are not classified as EB1 or EB2, the wait is a long time and will be a waste of effort since you'll be able to quickly adjust status to get the green card once you are married.
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:31 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by princessconsuela View Post
Hi,
I've had a search of the forums but still not sure what the rules are for our situation... I am a UK citizen living in the UK for a few years on a H1B visa and currently applying for a green card through work.
I think you mean "living in the USA for a few years..." Right?

Sooo... My question is... What do we need to do in order to do this? I have read that he needs a UK visa to get married in the UK but how is this obtained and what are the time frames? Has anyone done this? Should we get an immigration attorney to do this (that sounds expensive though)? We want a church wedding, does that get complicated with the banns?
You should probably ask this question over at www.uk-yankee.com. They have a similar forum, but for those wishing to marry / live in the UK. I know you don't want to live in the UK, but they will have more information about what it takes to marry in the UK.

I know the USC needs a special visa, but not sure how long it takes to obtain. I know there is a "residency" period prior to getting married in the UK, but I don't know how long that is....a couple of weeks, maybe...but not sure.

Check out that site and you'll probably get all the information you need.

Rene
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by hungryhorace View Post
All I am going to say is that it is going to be _infinitely_ easier for you to get married in the US, given you are both residing there. You'll be waiting for up to a year (maybe more depending on current backlog) for a UK marriage visa for your fiance, and then you'll have to pay ~£800 for the privilege.

If you get married in the US, you will pay no such fees, and given both your status in the US you can file an easy AOS to GC.

Hold a wedding reception in the UK if you must, but I really wouldn't go to the hassle of arranging a wedding in the UK.

Just my two cents. Oh, and congrats!
+1
You may want to consider getting married by the Justice of the Peace in the US and not tell anyone and have a ceremony in the UK (one that doesn't require a marriage visa). Several have done it that way.
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Congratulations! The stars aligned so that I did get married back in the UK as my OH was working there that summer; I had to re-establish residency at my sister's home three weeks prior to the register office ceremony, he had to present himself to show he was a real person one week prior. (This was long ago, so things may be different.) That used up all my vacation allowance and we returned to the US two days after the wedding! However, back in the US his parents threw a reception in lieu of the family getting to attend an actual wedding. You might want to consider that, the other way around -- marriage in US, party in UK.
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

We were in a very similar situation a few years back. Me UK citizen, living in California on H1B. Him, US citizen. Planned to live in US after UK wedding. Now I think about it, he is also UKC by descent, so perhaps this is why it was less complicated and we didn't have to get a marriage visa for him.
Big wedding. Old church. Marquee in the garden afterwards. Hats. Loved it.

We reading of the banns in my UK church, which was where I was getting married. We forgot the bit about him in his church and had a bit of a panic the week before the wedding but our officiating vicar just asked us to go to our local church and get some marriage counseling from the local vicar (who was more than happy to oblige). Ask your vicar what they would like you to do to accomplish this bit.
For some reason (I think because I was getting married outside of my diocese) I had to go up to London and get a special permission from the, I think, archbishop of Canterbury, or someone else quite important. Big certificate, giant seal etc. The vicar held it up in the church to show everyone, the Americans were all very impressed.

As it turned out, it was looking like I was going to lose my US job just a couple of weeks before our wedding. So losing my H1B and then waiting in the UK after the wedding for up to a year to get a green card to rejoin new hubby was not an option. So in the end we booked a US wedding time online, nipped to the Town Hall on a lunch break and got married!!! I went back to a meeting at work afterwards, and told no-one. GIven that the whole UK thing was booked, relatives had bought flights, hotels, caterer booked, band booked, etc, I felt like I couldn't break my family's heart so we went through with the UK wedding too.

In my mind, my husband's too, our anniversary date is in June. The date of my UK wedding. But technically, I was married in the US a few weeks earlier.
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

I love that story!
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Old Jul 8th 2013, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Your fiance would need to apply for a visitor for marriage visa.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/vi...g/marriage-cp/

The cost is $132

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/co...e=UK%20English

Regarding giving notice.

When you have given your notice to marry or register your civil partnership, you must wait for 15 days in England and Wales, or 14 days in Scotland and Northern Ireland, before you can get married or register your civil partnership. After this time, you can have your wedding or civil partnership at any register office or approved premises.
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/vi...hip/registrar/

Current processing times, as of May 2013.

19% of decisions were made within 5 (working) days, 40% within 10 days, 96% within 15 days, 99% within 40 days.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/vi...ultTableAnchor

No need for an attorney!

Best of luck to you both.
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Old Jul 9th 2013, 12:34 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by princessconsuela View Post
Hi,
I've had a search of the forums but still not sure what the rules are for our situation... I am a UK citizen living in the UK for a few years on a H1B visa and currently applying for a green card through work. My US citizen boyfriend proposed last week and we are starting to plan the wedding. I suspect it would be easier all round if we got married in the US but a lot of people would be disappointed if we didn't get married in the UK (his family, my family, me and him!) so a UK it is. And then we're returning to the US to live after the wedding.

Sooo... My question is... What do we need to do in order to do this? I have read that he needs a UK visa to get married in the UK but how is this obtained and what are the time frames? Has anyone done this? Should we get an immigration attorney to do this (that sounds expensive though)? We want a church wedding, does that get complicated with the banns?

Any experience/advice you can give would be amazing!
Thanks!
And something that I forgot to remember in telling my wedding saga, which might be useful. I heard that it is possible to get a 'nearly' wedding in the UK. Where you have the church service, walking down the aisle, blessing, hymns, vows etc but not actually get married. APparently it is almost impossible for anyone but the very well informed or experienced wedding goers to tell that it isn't a real wedding. You don't sign the wedding register but other than that it is practically the same.

If the religious significance of getting married in your home church in front of family and friends is important to you, then this might not work. But if you want the celebratory wedding experience without the visa hassle and paperwork, then a civil wedding in the US (ours was booked online and took about 15 minutes, no witnesses) followed by the party in the UK, then this might work for you.
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Old Jul 9th 2013, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by jackattack View Post
And something that I forgot to remember in telling my wedding saga, which might be useful. I heard that it is possible to get a 'nearly' wedding in the UK. Where you have the church service, walking down the aisle, blessing, hymns, vows etc but not actually get married. APparently it is almost impossible for anyone but the very well informed or experienced wedding goers to tell that it isn't a real wedding. You don't sign the wedding register but other than that it is practically the same.

If the religious significance of getting married in your home church in front of family and friends is important to you, then this might not work. But if you want the celebratory wedding experience without the visa hassle and paperwork, then a civil wedding in the US (ours was booked online and took about 15 minutes, no witnesses) followed by the party in the UK, then this might work for you.
That's what we did, its called a marriage blessing. It was basically a standard wedding but without the actual getting married bit! Full dress, full wedding service, bells, flowers and all that stuff.
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Old Jul 9th 2013, 1:32 pm
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Smile Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by jackattack View Post
And something that I forgot to remember in telling my wedding saga, which might be useful. I heard that it is possible to get a 'nearly' wedding in the UK. Where you have the church service, walking down the aisle, blessing, hymns, vows etc but not actually get married. APparently it is almost impossible for anyone but the very well informed or experienced wedding goers to tell that it isn't a real wedding. You don't sign the wedding register but other than that it is practically the same.
Absolutely this can be done; Immediately before my own wedding ceremony in a tiny ancient country church in Warwickshire (http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=corley+church) there was a 'Service of Blessing' for another couple. Apparently the bride had been married before and couldn't get married again in the Church of England, so the Rector did a 'Service of Blessing' for them - they went straight to the church from the Registry Office - but I guess the civil wedding could take place in the States.

From what I understand it was very, very similar to a conventional wedding so she wore a traditional wedding dress, had bridesmaids etc. No need for banns or residency in the parish either.

(Btw she had married a fireman and when my soon-to-be husband and wedding guests arrived they were shocked to see a couple of fire engines outside the church and thought is was on fire....the firemen were there to do a guard of honour lol! )

PS. Congratulations, by the way!

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Old Jul 10th 2013, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Thanks everyone for your replies!

The religious part is very important to me and I can't face the idea of getting married just the 2 of us without everyone there and no church. I'll give it some more thought though. Maybe if I can separate the legal and spiritual portions in my head then I might come around. I think it would be a last last resort though.

My green card application is EB-2 so I'm still planning to go through the employment based route. I certainly hope it's approved in the next year! It's already been long enough!

I've been contacting some churches and it seems like the Church of England has a lot of hoops to jump through. There are no decent reception venues near my local church so I was hoping to get a church near the venue we choose but, as we have no "ties" to that church it looks like we'll need a "special licence" from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The yourchurchwedding.org website says that could take 18 months for one of those, and they're not guaranteed! That's insane - it's almost as bad as trying to get a green card! Haha! I can't wait that long!

Whereas, if I got married in my local Methodist church there would be very few hurdles. But can you really then make guests drive an hour to the reception!? I have an appointment with the Rev. at the C of E church I am looking at when I'm back in the UK next week. Hopefully they can give me some good advice on how to proceed...

larrabee, thanks for the info on the visa, that portion looks totally doable!

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 10th 2013, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by princessconsuela View Post
Whereas, if I got married in my local Methodist church there would be very few hurdles. But can you really then make guests drive an hour to the reception!?
I guess that's better than asking them to fly halfway around the world for a wedding reception in the USA, though!

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Old Jul 10th 2013, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK to get Married

Originally Posted by princessconsuela View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies!

The religious part is very important to me and I can't face the idea of getting married just the 2 of us without everyone there and no church. I'll give it some more thought though. Maybe if I can separate the legal and spiritual portions in my head then I might come around. I think it would be a last last resort though.

My green card application is EB-2 so I'm still planning to go through the employment based route. I certainly hope it's approved in the next year! It's already been long enough!

I've been contacting some churches and it seems like the Church of England has a lot of hoops to jump through. There are no decent reception venues near my local church so I was hoping to get a church near the venue we choose but, as we have no "ties" to that church it looks like we'll need a "special licence" from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The yourchurchwedding.org website says that could take 18 months for one of those, and they're not guaranteed! That's insane - it's almost as bad as trying to get a green card! Haha! I can't wait that long!

Whereas, if I got married in my local Methodist church there would be very few hurdles. But can you really then make guests drive an hour to the reception!? I have an appointment with the Rev. at the C of E church I am looking at when I'm back in the UK next week. Hopefully they can give me some good advice on how to proceed...

larrabee, thanks for the info on the visa, that portion looks totally doable!

Thanks again!
Ask the CofE vicar/rector about the "special license" route, because it can (could?) be fast-tracked in days not months. Our local vicar, back in the 80's was a bit scatter-brained, and he forgot to read the banns of marriage on the required three occasions (not for us, I just heard about the case), and was able to get a special license at just a few days notice. More recently than that, I think my sister married under special license in the cathedral where my mother worships, and it didn't appear to be a big deal, nor require an excessive lead time.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 10th 2013 at 4:25 pm.
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