Royal Wedding: which visa Meghan Markle needs to marry Prince Harry?

The announcement of the engagement between Prince Harry and american actress Meghan Markle and their future marriage in 2018 had started immigration talks about the royal wedding. As Meghan is American and has no other citizenship, the actress will have to apply for a visa to be able to marry the prince. Essentially she has two options under the UK Immigration Rules: she can enter as a marriage visitor or as a fiancée.

Marriage visit visa
The first point with these rules is that you first have to meet all the other visitor rules. Those requirements are that you must not intend to work, study beyond certain allowances, or do any of the other things that you are not allowed to do on a visit visa. Importantly, you must demonstrate that you will leave the UK before your marriage visit visa expires. The royal bride-to-be must, like anyone else, demonstrate to an entry clearance officer that she meets all these rules before getting on the plane, providing documentary evidence of the forthcoming wedding.

Fiancée visa
The application would need to be made before the royal bride got on the plane. She would be making an application to enter the UK as Prince Harry’s partner. We will presume that Kensington Palace has already thoroughly vetted Ms Markle before the announcement and that there will be nothing in her history that would warrant a refusal. However, there would be evidence required to show she meets the other requirements.

The applicant’s partner must be a British Citizen in the UK or present and settled in the UK. The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting. The couple also must intend to live together permanently in the UK. The applicant must provide specified evidence of a specified gross annual income. This means that with no children to support yet, the couple would have to demonstrate that Prince Harry has an income of £18,600 a year

As Ms Markle is an American citizen, the production of her passport will be sufficient to demonstrate she meets the English language requirements. Others not blessed with her nationality would have to undertake an English language test at a secure testing centre or show they have studied a degree taught in the English language.

After the marriage, she must apply for the wife visa, which is valid for 2 ½ years and can be renewed for another 2 ½ years. After 5 years of marriage, she can apply for the Indefinitive Leave to Remain Visa and then for British Citizenship.

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