Soldiers often ask AFF’s F&C team: “Do I have to be married to bring my partner to the UK?” Katherine Houlston, our Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist, looks at the options…

IF YOU haven’t been living with your partner for the previous two years, then you have two options:

Coming to the UK as a fiancé(e) to get married and remain here
The non-serving partner can come over on a fiancée visa which will be granted for six months but which costs the same as a full settlement visa. You will be required to show evidence that you intend to get married during this six-month period. Once you are married your partner will then need to apply for a visa under the Armed Forces rules. Current cost for both visas is £2,457.

Coming to the UK as a visitor for six months to get married
This visa allows you and your non-serving partner to get married in the UK but they will need to leave the UK after six months. Once back in the home country your partner will need to apply for a settlement visa to come to the UK. Current cost for both visas is £1,553.

Search for marriage visitor visa at for more information.

How do I get married in the UK?
It’s important that you read the information at

What if my partner is in the UK on a  different visa?
If your partner has a valid visa issued for more than six months, then it is possible to switch onto the Armed Forces rules. However, you must either be married or have been living together for the previous two years.

Case study

Philipe Brown (pictured abovemet his fiancée in America whilst deployed there last year and had been looking at the options for bringing her to the UK so they can settle down together.

Due to personal circumstances, getting married in America was not an option.

Philipe contacted AFF’s F&C team, who outlined the options and provided advice on coming to the UK. He said: “We have been overwhelmed with all of the legal expectations required for a US national to get married in the UK.

“Often, information is ambiguous and we are very concerned that any mistakes in our application could be expensive and see much time wasted.”

Need help? If you’re unsure of the process or need some support, contact AFF’s F&C team for advice at

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