Getting married as an international student can be tricky business — but for some, it might work in their favour. Recently, this woman took to TikTok to share why Nigerians planning to relocate abroad should consider getting married.
In her video released on Aug. 2, the woman who goes by the name “officialhustlersquare” on TikTok explains that life in the UK is easier for couples than for single people.
“Single people can come to study alone, but you see married people, they are on a whole different cruise entirely. One spouse will study and can only work 20 hours weekly which is [around] two shifts for most jobs per week, while the other spouse gets a work permit to work as much as they like,” she says.
“The other spouse that gets that work permit will be financially stable and can support the student spouse better.”
The promise of financial stability may sound alluring to many international students, but the other hurdles of getting married as an international student in the UK cannot be ignored. For example, changes in your visa status, long immigration processes, and uncertainties about the future of you and your beloved can bring a wave of uncertainty. On top of that, you will have to tackle these issues while adapting to a new environment.
Still, if these are your concerns, don’t worry — there’s always a way forward. Here’s a guide on getting married in the UK as an international student:
Getting married as an international student in the UK: Why consider it
A huge perk of getting married in the UK is being able to convert your student visa to a spouse visa upon expiration. According to AWH Solicitors, a spouse visa will have no working restrictions, making it easier for you to work freely — which means a higher chance of achieving financial stability.
Other benefits include the ability to travel freely in and out of the country as long as you do not exceed a stay of 90 days that may later be noted in an application for settled status. You can also apply for indefinite leave to remain after continuously living on a family visa as a spouse for five years.
Marrying someone in the UK
If you’re a student on a Tier 4 student visa, you can get married to a UK citizen. According to GOV.UK, you must sign a legal statement at a local register office to show your intention of getting married. This is known as “giving notice”, which must be done 29 days before your wedding ceremony. You must then hold your wedding ceremony within 12 months of “giving notice.”
You should schedule an appointment to give notice at your local register office, and you must have lived in the registration district for the past seven days. As you’d be applying as an international student, you and your future spouse must give notice together.
GOV.UK notes that you can still give notice of your intention to get married as an international student. However, the immigration authorities at the Home Office may ask questions about you and your relationship. If this happens, you may need to wait up to 70 days before getting married.
Your student visa is one of the many documents you must bring to the appointment. Ensure that you have a translation of any documents that are not in English, and provide a passport-sized photo of you and your spouse (even if only one of you is from outside the UK).
Click here to view the comprehensive list of documents required for the appointment.
Forming civil partnerships
Everything above applies to international students who want to form a civil partnership with a UK citizen.
Converting to a spouse visa
You may be worried about an uncertain future for you and your spouse or partner when your student visa is due to expire. The great news is that you can apply for a family visa as a spouse or partner if you’ve met and married your other half while studying in the UK on your Tier 4 student visa — so long as you fulfil all of the requirements and apply ahead of time.
As stated in AWH Solicitors’ article, you must prove the following:
- Evidence that your relationship is genuine
- Able to speak English at an acceptable level
- Have acceptable accommodation in place for you to live together in the UK
- Have reasonable funds to support yourself
GOV.UK lays down all the preliminary requirements that you and your spouse or partner have to satisfy and the necessary documents to apply for a family visa.
Upon successfully for a family, you can stay in the UK for 33 months on this visa as a spouse or civil partner. After living in the UK for this initial period, you can apply for a 30-month extension. If you have continuously lived in the UK for five years on a family visa as a spouse or partner, you can apply for an “indefinite leave to remain.“