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Without asking any legal advice at this stage. I was thinking with my partner whether it would be best and less time consuming and probably a better investment if both married this year in London. As a British Citizen and in a long and committed relationship since 2012 with my partner who is a EU Citizen; we thought that maybe marriage will simply resolve all those legal issues in relation to her right to remain in the UK after Brexit. Can I marry as a British Citizen to a EU Citizen so that my partner can get the right to live with me here in the UK? (no sham marriage)

  • Are you currently resident in the UK? – Gagravarr Jan 17 '17 at 13:51
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    I will make this into an answer if you think it fits the bill. It is probably not possible to say for sure at this stage what the rules would be for an EU Citizen married to a British Citizen in the UK at the time of Brexit. However, the current rules for non-EU citizens wishing to join their British spouse in the UK basically require that the partner prove an income of £18,600 per year plus extra for any children (not sure if extra is needed for the UK spouse's living requirements). Source: gov.uk/remain-in-uk-family/eligibility – michaeljt Jan 17 '17 at 15:06
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    It may be more hassle and less certain for your partner to prove her rights under EU law, but it is certainly less expensive. Family visas under the UK immigration rules cost thousands of pounds; under EU law the costs are nominal (free to GBP 60, IIRC). If you've been living with your partner for at least 2 years then the only advantage of getting married is that you may need to submit less evidence to prove your relationship is genuine, but that benefit is unlikely if your marriage occurs soon before the application. – phoog Jan 17 '17 at 21:06
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At the moment, there is no way to know for sure what rules will apply when the UK leaves the European Union. In fact, according to media reports from the last couple of days, what will happen to citizens from other EU countries currently living in the UK and to Britons living elsewhere in the EU is shaping up to become one of the major issues in the upcoming negotiations.

That said, I cannot really see how marrying could weaken your position. In general, the right to live with your family is strongly protected (this is actually enshrined in article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is completely unrelated to the EU). It's also possible to come to the UK on the basis of a stable relationship but it's always somewhat easier if you are married.

Furthermore, marrying now can also be advantageous. If you have been married for several years whenever the issue comes up, it will be more difficult to dismiss your marriage as a sham marriage designed to game the visa or residence system (although being able to document that you have effectively been in a relationship or lived together for several years is always required and would also be a strong argument without being married so think about that too!).

However, being married does not immediately "solve" all issues. The UK is among the most restrictive countries in Europe in that respect and gaining the right to stay in the UK for third-country (i.e. non-EU) citizens involves quite a bit of paperwork, not insignificant fees and meeting other requirements (minimum income, knowledge of English). In fact, this system is so restrictive compared to EU law that it's become common to use the latter to circumvent it.

In summary: It's possible to sponsor one's spouse visa or residence permit and that's why marrying might be useful to secure his or her right to stay in the UK but it's not as easy as the current regime for EU citizens.

  • Thank you, your answer is amazing and covered most problems we could face so glad you helped, Trevor – user330063 Jan 18 '17 at 14:41

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