I am an American and will be married in the United States to a British Citizen. After our marriage we will be moving to the Canary Islands where he has lived for the past 15 years. Do I have to get a special visa to go to England and visit for 3 months or by virtue of marriage will I be entitled to British Citizenship?

If I understood correctly as I will be joining my husband in the Canary Islands and he has been a long time resident, all I need to do is go to the local police station and apply for residency. I tried contacting the Spanish Consulate but they were of no help.

  • 2
    This is probably best asked as two different questions, one on sorting your Spanish residency, the other one what it'd take to become British
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


As Greg Hewgill notes, you do not need a visa to enter the UK because you are a US citizen. For people who do normally require a visa, the Spanish residence permit will exempt them from that requirement.

In fact, that permit, which should be endorsed "family member of a citizen of the European Union" (or the equivalent in Spanish) is evidence of their right to freedom of movement under EU Directive 2004/38/EC when they are traveling with, or joining, their EU-citizen family member. One benefit of this is the right to use the EU passport lines (at Schengen borders, at least) even though you do not hold an EU passport.

For those who are from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter the UK, and who have not yet received a residence permit, or do not themselves reside in the EU, there is the EEA family permit. (For family of British citizens, this option is only available if the British citizen lives in another EU country.) The permit is free of charge.

See also http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm

With regard to the British citizenship question, you have to live in the UK for a minimum period before you can be naturalized. For spouses of British citizens, this period is reduced to three years from the usual five years.

  • thanks so much I have been getting a headache from all the beauracracy (sp) lol Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 20:38

As an American citizen, you do not need a visa to visit the UK for up to six months. This is independent of where you actually live or who you are married to.

Acquiring British citizenship is not automatic, and according to British nationality law as a married partner of a British citizen you must have lived in the UK for at least three years (among other requirements).

  • again thank you for the assistance now all I have to do is find an Asian Market and decent coffee Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 20:40

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