To marry, or not to marry in the Philippines
Based on the experience of ECO-Friendly, this has always been the main question asked by Philippine applicants applying for a UK Settlement visa who plan to settle in the UK with their British boyfriends.
If they apply for a UK Marriage Visa, they have to celebrate the marriage here in the Philippines. If, however, they opt to file for the UK Fiancée Visa, the marriage will have to wait until the applicant enters the UK.
But what really are the benefits and/or disadvantages of filing either the UK Fiancée Visa or the UK Marriage Visa? ECO-Friendly will try to explain the pros and cons of applying for each type of visa.
UK Fiancée Visa
Under this type of visa, both the applicant and the UK sponsor must show that both of them do not possess any impediment to marry each other. This means that documents proving they are free to marry each other (like the Certificate of No Marriage, Divorce Decree, Decree of Annulment of Marriage, among others) must be submitted together with the application in order to establish their freedom to marry each other.
As to the preparation and gathering of the supporting documents, compliance with the requirements and qualifications for the Fiancée Visa is not that tedious since all that the applicant must establish is that he or she have personally met the British sponsor, that their relationship is legitimate, and that the sponsor can adequately support the applicant financially, upon entry to the UK.
CHANCES OF APPROVAL
The primary question to be asked, however, is what are the chances that the UK Fiancée Visa application will be approved if this is the UK Visa chosen to be filed by the applicant and not the UK Marriage Visa?
Generally speaking, although compliance with the requirements for the UK Fiancée Visa is relatively easier, the probability of its approval is not that high as compared with that of the Marriage Visa.
At this point, ECO-Friendly would like to stress that mere compliance with the supporting documents listed under the UKBA website does not guarantee the automatic approval of the UK Settlement Visa applied for whether it be a UK Spouse Visa or a UK Fiancée Visa (ECO-Friendly will discuss this issue separately in the succeeding articles).
It is very important to note that the Entry Clearance Officer’s (E.C.O. – the UK Embassy official responsible for issuing the decision) primary goal is to establish the relationship of the applicant with the British sponsor. Thus, if the applicant files for a UK Fiancée Visa, the ECO will naturally look for documents that will prove that the applicant and the UK Sponsor are truly set to marry each other upon the former’s entry to the UK, and more importantly, that their relationship is truly genuine and legitimate.
On the other hand, in the case of the UK Marriage Visa, the ECO will obviously need documents which will show that the applicant is genuinely married to the UK Sponsor, among other documents.
In their search for the truth, the ECO will necessarily have to rely on the legitimacy and the official character of the documents presented and submitted by the applicant. What then could be more official and legitimate than the Marriage Certificate duly issued by the National Statistics Office of the Republic of the Philippines? Thus, if the applicant is able to submit a Marriage Certificate duly issued by the NSO and printed in the latter’s SECPA (Security Paper), the applicant is definitely a step closer to a favorable decision.
ECO-Friendly would like to stress that if this is the case, the applicant is merely ONE STEP CLOSER to a favorable decision. Automatic approval, however, is not a guaranty in this instance, as there is no such thing as a guaranteed approval.
Thus, if the applicant is able to submit their marriage license, this will definitely increase the chances of approval but other circumstances must also be seriously taken into consideration.
In the case of the applicant who opts to file for the UK Fiancée Visa, they likewise have to furnish official certificates (public documents in nature) proving that they can marry each other, as well as documents proving their true relationship as future husband and wife. It would be very hard for them, however, to gather OFFICIAL RECORDS or DOCUMENTS that will show their true relation as Fiancé/Fiancée.
Of course they are not barred to submit an official copy of the PROVISIONAL BOOKING ACKNOWLEDGMENT issued by the office in the UK where the impending marriage is scheduled to be celebrated.
(To be continued…)