You’ve met the man of your dreams. He is tall, blue-eyed, blonde (that was my case anyway). You two get along really well and one day, bang, he proposes. You two decide to get married but before you say ‘I do’, there is one massive fact to consider: the marriage visa. Well, that is if you are a foreigner from outside the EU marrying a British national anyway.
When my hubby proposed I knew it was for the right reasons and not just “to help me to get a visa”. He knew there would be implications such as having to gather documents, pay slips, pics and all sorts of things you can possibly image the immigration officials might ask in order to live your life legally. We did everything by the book (I had to leave England, come back on a fiancé visa then request the marriage visa once we had our wedding). Thankfully we overcame this hurdle without any dramas.
We have been happily married for two years and six months and have a very handsome 18-month-old son together, have I mentioned? Now we have been reminded that our love alone is not enough to remain together in this country. We now need to renew my visa. That means having to gather more documents (bills with both our names on it for the last two years, pay slips, bank statements,…). On top of that, we have to pay £993 for the settling visa. And then on top of that, they have now introduced an NHS fee, which costs £200 for each year according to the duration of your visa (in my case, £500 for the next 2.5 years).
In my opinion, it is fair that the immigration process has been made harder to prevent convenience marriages. It is also a reminder that you really need to love that person to put yourself through the hassle! Having to spend evenings organising paperwork is no fun. And last but not least: all the money you are going to spend on all those visas. You can’t be poor or tight if you want to have a foreigner as your spouse! So bear all these things in mind before getting on your knee or saying yes.
Thankfully, in my case time has definitely flown by. I still think of my wedding as if it happened yesterday! I still feel that the honeymoon period hasn’t died down and that it is going to be like this forever (fingers crossed). At least in 2020 I will be applying for the last – and most important – of the visas (which right now costs £2297, ouch). Only then, our love will finally be enough.