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Marriages to foreign nationals under the spotlight
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The Proposed Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Waiting Period) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/159)
effect today, 2 March 2015. Many
non-UK nationals who are planning to marry
in the UK will face tougher checks
by the Home Office in an effort to crack down on sham marriages. The new rules
will also apply to
civil partnerships.Nigel Smith of Paragon Law
'If one of the parties to a
proposed marriage or civil partnership is a non-UK/non-EEA national with limited or no status then the proposed
marriage or civil partnership will be
referred to the Home Office before the ceremony is allowed to take place.
Those present in the UK with indefinite leave to remain, EU right
of permanent residence or right of abode will not be referred but they must
evidence their status adequately when giving notice.'
The key points of the new scheme, according to Nigel Smith, are:
- All couples in the UK planning to marry must now
give notice of their intention to do
so 28 days before marrying
(previously the notice period was 15 days);
- Non-UK/non-EEA nationals with limited or no status in the UK who give
notice to marry or enter into a civil partnership will be referred to the Home Office;
- Those couples referred to the Home Office may be required to wait 70 days before
marrying if a decision is taken to investigate the relationship;
- Non-UK/non EEA nationals who wish to marry in
the Anglican Church will now be required
to give notice at a register office also.
- EEA nationals (including British citizens) will need to provide specified evidence
of their citizenship to the Anglican Church prior to being married by the
- All non-UK/non-EEA nationals who are not exempt
from immigration control will now need to give
notice of their marriage at a designated
register office (there will
be 75 such designated offices nationwide) rather than at the office in the
district in which they reside.
Orders are in place which extend the referral and
investigation scheme to Scotland and Northern Ireland and transitional
arrangements are in place for couples who have given notice prior to 2 March
Couples who will be subject to referral may wish to seek immigration advice prior to giving
notice of their intention to marry.The Proposed Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Waiting Period) Regulations 2015 are available to download here.