I am an American citizen and my fiance is a British citizen from Scotland. He is flying to America in a couple of months in order for us to be married here, but I ultimately want to be living in Scotland with him as soon as possible. I understand that I need to be in America when applying for a spouse visa, but do I need to wait until after the actual marriage to apply or can I apply in advance in order to be able to travel back to Scotland with him after the wedding?
Here are the requirements for the spousal visa. You can apply as a fiancée, but there are a few catches.
- As a fiancée, you'll get six months, instead of 2.5 years. You'll have to extend once married.
- You'll have to prove that you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply.
- You'll have to prove that any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended and that you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK.
You cannot apply for a spousal visa as a partner/spouse without the proper documentation (in your case the marriage certificate). Considering the difference, 2.5 years vs 0.5, in visa length you'd get, you should wait until you have the proper paperwork.