Applying for a FIANCÉ/ FIANCÉE VISA from abroad

It is a common misconception that you must be married to apply to join your partner in the UK; this is wrong.

If you are engaged to be married, you may apply to join your partner in the UK as a fiancé / fiancée, but you must satisfy certain conditions. This article will look at some of those conditions and the most common problems applicants face.

The Immigration Rules under Appendix FM sets out the requirements for UK Fiancé Visa:

  • Your partner is British citizen, is settled in the UK, has been granted limited leave under Appendix EU, has refugee status or humanitarian protection and or is in the UK with limited leave as a worker or business person under Appendix ECAA Extension of Stay, in accordance with paragraph GEN.1.3.(e);
  • You are both over the age of 18;
  • You have met in person;
  • Your relationship is genuine and subsisting;
  • You intend to marry within six months of your arrival in the UK;
  • Any previous relationships have broken down permanently;
  • You intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;
  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
  • You speak and understand English to the required level.

    Status of your Partner

    The above means that if your partner has limited leave to remain, for example as a worker under the skilled worker route or previously Tier 2, they cannot sponsor you as a fiancé. In this case you will need to consider whether you can marry in your home country before making your application or if you can show that you have been living together for a minimum of two years to qualify as an unmarried partner.

    Minimum Age

    Both you and Sponsor must be over the age of 18 at the date of your application. It is interesting to note that the minimum age requirement for marriage in the UK changed from 16 to 18 only on the 27th of February 2023.

    Relationship Requirement

    This condition encompasses several issues. A requirement that I rarely find problematic is the “prohibited degree of relationship”. Put simply, you should not be closely related to your Sponsor, for example be their brother or sister. The other requirements can be more challenging due to the evidential burden required.

    Requirement to Have Met in Person

    Even in the era of online dating, it remains a condition that you and your fiancé must have met in person. Daily Zoom contact will not be enough!

    Genuine and Subsisting Relationship Requirement

    You will need to satisfy the Home Office that you and your partner are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. This is by far the most problematic aspect of the “relationship” condition. The digital world has introduced ways and means of meeting people from all over the world and for some this has resulted to serious relationships. Many will say that a genuine and subsisting relationship should not be limited or defined by your physical proximity to your partner and the Home Office, at least to some extent, accepts this.

    The Home Office in their guidance documents often say that decisions on whether a relationship is genuine, and subsisting are made on a case-by-case basis. This can sometimes lead to unpredictability in decision making. The Home Office policy guidance provides a list of factors for a caseworker to consider, such as: the length of your relationship, cohabitation, or children together. Children together are likely to be persuasive evidence of the genuineness of your relationship.

    Typically, the cases I encounter do not involve cohabitation or children. It is more likely that the parties have recently met, sometimes online, and although they have met in person distance, costs of travel and work commitments mean that they have spent little physical time together. In this event, you should submit as much evidence as you can of your contact. This can be holiday photos together, social media messages and even letters from friends and family attesting to the genuineness of your relationship. You should explain the documents’ relevance in your statement in support of your application.

    Intention to Marry in the UK Within 6 Months

    A further relationship condition is that you as a fiancé must marry your partner within 6 months of your arrival in the UK.

    In fact, the immigration rules provide that:

    (ii) If the applicant is a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, neither the applicant nor their partner can be married to, or in a civil partnership with, another person at the date of application.

    The above means that you and your fiancé in the UK must satisfy the Home Office that you are both free to marry. This is usually evidenced by a Decree absolute (proof of termination of marriage), Final order (dissolution of a civil partnership) or by providing your spouse’s death certificate if you are a widow/widower.

    As with other documents you are seeking to rely on, it is crucial that you provide a formal translation of your divorce or other documents if they are not in English and failure to do so may result in refusal.

    Intention to Live Together Permanently in the UK

    The Home Office often notes the condition of “Intention to Live Together Permanently in the UK” separately from the other above relationship requirements, but the reality is that in providing evidence of your intention to marry within 6 months and evidence of termination of a previous relationship, you also (or at least should) deal with this requirement.


    The best way to deal with this requirement is to prepare and submit a statement setting out the background to your relationship and include in such statement that it is your intention to permanently live together with your partner in the UK. It is advisable to also submit a statement from your sponsor / partner confirming your intention to live together. Your partner’s statement can also deal with other issues such as compliance with income and accommodation.

    Financial Requirement

    As with spouse (marriage) applications, you as a fiancé will also be required to satisfy the Immigration rules with regard “financial requirement”. This means that the sponsor is required to show that he has a gross (before tax) annual income of at least:
  • £18,600; and if you have children with your sponsor you will need to add:
  • £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, holds indefinite leave to remain in the UK, has pre-settled status or settled status, or is an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK); plus
  • £2,400 for each additional child (who is not British, holds indefinite leave to remain in the UK, has pre-settled status or settled status, or is an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK).


Some state benefits received by your sponsor may still satisfy the financial requirement, so if in doubt seek advice.
If your fiancé’s gross income falls short of the minimum limit, you may satisfy the financial requirement by showing savings.
Help from other family members will be regarded as third party support. This has caused issues in the past but has been clarified by Appendix FM-SE which states that a “credible guarantee of sustainable financial support to the applicant or their partner from a third party” will be considered.

Accommodation Requirement
Do not forget that “financial requirement” also includes accommodation and you are required to provide evidence of this. The most common evidence will be in the form of tenancy agreements or Land Registry certificates showing ownership.
You must also prove that there is sufficient space for you, your partner, and any dependants.


If your accommodation is provided by a third party such as your parents, you should provide a statement from them confirming this. You should attach evidence of their identification such as a copy of their passports. You should also provide evidence of your relationship such as your birth certificate.

English Language Requirement

Unusually, as your fiancé visa will only be for 6 months, you are nevertheless required to demonstrate competence in the English language to at least CEFR level A1 unless you are from a majority English speaking country or your academic qualification is equivalent to or exceeds CEFR level A1.


You can only undertake this in approved centres and this changes from time to time. Look at the Home Office website for up to date lists of providers in your country. You need this reference before you submit your application so book your test ASAP. Beware that the certificate has a validity of 2 years which means you will need to take it again if you do not apply within that time.

The are only a few exemptions to this requirement. You are not required to satisfy the English language requirement if you are over 65 years of age or if you have a medical condition that prevents you from satisfying the condition. You will be required to provide medical evidence in support of this.

Home Office fee

The Home Office application fee submitted outside the UK is £1,523. As your visa will be for 6 months only you are not required, at this stage, to pay the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge).

Length of visa

If your application is successful, you will be provided with a visa for 6 months initially. Once married you should apply to vary and extend this to a Spouse visa.


If you enter the UK as a fiancé, you are not required to leave the UK to apply for a Spouse visa. You can pursue that application from within the country.

A fiancé visa can only be made from abroad; hence you cannot swap a visit visa or any other type of visa from within the UK to that of a fiancé visa. However, if you have been living with your sponsor for more than two years but have not married, you should consider an application under the unmarried partner route.

Working in the UK

Not allowed! A fiancé visa does not permit you to work in the UK. To work, you must swap and obtain a Spouse visa. A pending application for a spouse visa does not permit you to work and to do so will be in breach of your immigration condition.

Extension of your Fiancé visa

Sometimes events such as illness prevent couples from marrying within the 6 months period. In this case, you should apply to extend your visa as a fiancé. You will need to show a good reason why the marriage has not taken place but be aware that the Home Office will likely only extend your visa once and you are still not permitted to work.

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