If you are planning to get married in the UK to someone who is a British citizen, has permanent residence in the UK, or has refugee or humanitarian leave, you can apply for a UK fiancé visa. This application can only be made from your home country. The fiancé visa is valid for six months. You are not allowed to work while you are on this visa, which is issued to allow you to come to the UK to get married. Once you are married you can apply to the Home Office in the UK for a spouse visa, and once this is issued you are free to work or study as you please.
If you are not getting married in the UK then you should apply directly for a spouse visa once you are married.
The fiancé visa is for couples who are both over 18 who want to get married in the UK and then live here. One partner must be British or settled in the UK, or have refugee or humanitarian leave in the UK, and the other partner must be from outside the EEA.
You must be legally free to marry, and must intend to marry within six months of the visa being issued. You also need to satisfy the Home Office that you are in a subsisting relationship.
As a couple you must have a minimum income of £18,600 per year. In most cases it is the UK based spouse who has to show that they have this sum of money available.
The financial requirement rules are extremely strict and can only be demonstrated in one of the ways set out in the Immigration Rules. If the UK spouse gets certain benefits to do with disability or caring for someone you do not have to show an income of £18,600, but you will still have to show that you can support yourselves as a couple.
There must be suitable accommodation available for you, both before and after the marriage. Accommodation before the marriage can either be living with your partner or somewhere else.
Accommodation after the marriage must be owned or occupied ‘exclusively’ by you and your spouse, though in this context exclusively means only that there is a bedroom for just the two of you.
You will need to satisfy the Home Office that the property is secure – that is, that you are not likely to become homeless – and that it is not statutorily overcrowded.
Before a fiancé visa is issued you will have to demonstrate that you can speak and understand English, at least at a basic level – A1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference.
If you are not a citizen of a majority English speaking country, or don’t have a degree that was taught in English, then the only way to meet this requirement is to take and pass an approved test from an approved provider (the list of acceptable tests and test providers changes).
Even if you meet all the other requirements of the Immigration Rules, you can be refused because of your character and conduct.
Criminal convictions, previous poor immigration history, deception or withholding material facts (whether accidentally or on purpose), using the NHS when not entitled to – these are all issues that are taken into consideration before a fiancé visa is issued.