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I've found a lot of conflicting information regarding this on StackExchange and other websites together and I'd like to know if anyone knew anything definite about this. I am from the United States of America and I plan on visiting my partner in Scotland in January or February - my partner has thrown around the idea of proposal before in the past and is now very much talking about it, to the point where I'm making this post. I am more than happy to live in the United Kingdom as my partner has an established work life and I am floating around seasonal work in my life here in the United States. My living situation in the United States is not of the most positive with a lot of stress due to family and a blatant disregard for me as a human because of my LGBT identity. If he were to pop the question, would I be able to elevate my standard visitors visa to a fiancee visa assuming he/we could provide all the necessary documents? (on-track to earn 19,500 with 6 months+ of payslips to prove, facebook messages, facebook friend data "became friends with _____ nearly 6 years ago", discord messages, photographs of us together in various clean situations as he's visited me in the United States as I've visited him in the United Kingdom previously and a secondary account of our relationship by both a UK national and US national, lives in a private rental with...two cats, if that's relevant at all but I don't want the home office to believe they're being intentionally misled at all).

I've attempted to do my own research and I've hit a few walls - this question, posted on StackExchange a year and then some ago resolved with the original poster saying that it's "totally fine" - I've reached out to them personally but with no response. and then I found this question - again posted on StackExchange where this person, was sadly denied a marriage visitor visa and in the answer states that the only visa possible in-country to switch to is the fiance visa, but in the same light, I've found posts saying that the fiancee visa must be applied to outside of the country regardless of circumstance. I'm a bit of the worried type and I'd like to be able to plan ahead to whatever happens, especially when it comes to something like this. If this is possible, that's wonderful! I'm really glad. If not - I'll leave the country at the end of my visit and apply for a fiance visa abroad while staying at a friends flat; or maybe I'm reading sub-text that isn't there and he's not going to propose to me at all. :P

Either way, thank you all for any help that you can give me. I really do appreciate it no matter what you have to say.

Another thing is that I do plan on staying with him for the entire duration of the standard visitors visa of 6 months - I understand that my best chances of being approved for this is that I be completely forthright with the home office officer(? term is wrong ?) I was a student that was studying constantly for two years straight before realizing that I didn't want to be doing that, basically, cue the very-early-life crisis. I ended up going to Scotland to finally meet my long-time boyfriend while he continued to be closeted to his family and friends but only for a weeks time initially - he quit work as he realized he was unhappy with it and came to visit me for a month, after that, I visited him for a month and a half over the holidays, after that, he visited me in the states for two months before finally visiting him for 3 months - last having left the United Kingdom in August of 2018. We both began working again after dealing with some mental health issues, him under the NHS and me under....capitalism - I guess. If I told the officer this information, along with information regarding financial status and that fun stuff - what are my chances of being approved for the full 6-months? I would be looking into purchasing a return flight 6 months after my initial flight but I don't know if they're even listed that far ahead and that's something the officers generally wanted to see the most from me when I went previously.

  • Here is the family visa reference on the UK government site. – Redd Herring Oct 15 '18 at 6:24
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I believe that you may have been confused about the names and conditions of the visas available.

The visa referred to in both of the questions you have linked is the Marriage Visitor Visa. This visa is for people who wish to come to the UK to get married and then leave (hence the use of the word "visitor"). This visa is not suitable for people who intend to live in the UK after getting married. Hence, I don't think that it is suitable for you. You would need to prove to the entry clearance officer that you would leave the UK after getting married, which involves proving your ties to another country. In your case, your stated intention to settle in the UK, and lack of steady work in the USA will likely lead to a denial (as in the second question you linked to). You cannot apply for a marriage visitor visa when in the UK.

The "fiancé(e) visa" is a six month family visa which you can apply for as the future spouse of someone settled in the UK, when you intend to get married in the UK, and subsequently settle. Once married, you can apply for a 2.5 year family visa from within the UK. This is a settlement visa, meaning that it is for people who intend to live in the UK. I believe that you fall into this category. You cannot apply for a family visa when in the UK on a visitor visa (or under visa waiver).

In conclusion, the answer to the question in the title is "no". You will need to leave the UK and then return in order to get married, if you arrive under either the visa waiver programme, or on a standard visitor visa.

Something that is not clear in your question is, for your initial visit, whether you intend to apply for a standard visitor visa, or whether you will come to the UK without a visa, as is usual for US citizens. In either case, you will need to prove to the entry clearance officer and/or immigration officer, that you intend to return to the USA. As I noted, you may have trouble with this, since you have irregular work, and you are in a relationship with a British resident.

Compounding this, you intend to stay for six months. This can lead the officer to suspect that you are making the UK your home, which is problematic for a visitor. The biggest problem is that you have already spent three months in the UK within the last twelve months. There is no strict rule, but spending nine out of twelve months in the UK surely goes beyond what would be expected of a visitor, and if you propose this itinerary, you can expect to be refused a visa, or rejected at the border. Buying a return flight is not helpful in this regard, since it's very easy to cancel or miss a flight. The Home Office advise applicants not to make firm bookings before receiving their visa.

  • Ah! Understood. I don't generally apply for the visa as as an American I'm allowed to travel visa-exempt. Okay - let's say that I apply for the fiance(e) visa outside of the UK as I'm supposed to while I'm at a friends place, and I shorten my January visit to say, 3 months as my last one was. How long would a response from the Home Office take to approve/reject the fiance(e) visa assuming that we provide the information that I previously mentioned & are my chances of being approved for this visit more likely? – TrynaServaJugum Oct 15 '18 at 16:05
  • @TrynaServaJugum Still a bit unclear about what you're proposing. A three month visit in January, a return to the USA and an application for a family visa? Certainly, a proposed shorter visit is more likely to be approved, and you do have an established record of returning home, but ultimately there's no way of predicting the outcome of your landing interview. As for how long the application process for a family visa will take, it can vary. They aim to process them within 3 months. gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration/… – MJeffryes Oct 15 '18 at 16:13
  • Sorry, @MJeffryes - I can be a little bit of a rambler at times and it's probably not helpful when you're just trying your best to help me out. Let me break down what I'm saying in the easiest way possible. 1) Go to the United Kingdom in either late January or February. 2) Stay for 3 - 4 months. 3) Return to the United States, apply for the Fiance(e) visa 4) Hopefully get approved? My partner also wants me to ask if there's any way that he can expedite the process, if he applies at one of the home office office(s) or pays an additional fee - is there a way to speed it up? – TrynaServaJugum Oct 15 '18 at 16:18
  • @TrynaServaJugum Yes, that plan makes sense to me. No, applications are not accepted in country. You will have your biometrics collected at a US Homeland Security Application Support Center, and you will then post the application package to VFS (a commercial contractor who handles UK visa applications in the USA). You can pay $793 for the "premium" service, which is supposed to put your application at the front of the queue (behind prior premium applications, presumably). An experienced immigration solicitor can help ensure your application has the best chance of success. – MJeffryes Oct 15 '18 at 16:50
  • Thank you so much for your guidance, I really do appreciate it. One final thing that I'm a bit confused on is the cost of the visa - the home office UK page that displays cost of family visa as a singular broad term. Since I'd be applying as a fiance that needs to then apply for the spousal, is that fee collected twice or is it simply once with the fiance visa? I'm aware of the additional charges on top like the NHS surcharge and all. – TrynaServaJugum Oct 15 '18 at 17:23

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