I’m not quite sure how to begin this post, but I wanted to document the process of how I got engaged and how my fiancé and I (hopefully) acquired a visa. To begin, we started dating June 2016, moved in together September 2016, and got engaged January 2017. Before all the initial “um WOW, fast much?” reactions come in, I’d like to point out that we have traveled 5 countries within 4 months of dating, and have booked flights to visit friends in my hometown of Boston as well as flights to meet my family in Korea- all happening this year!
It is impossible for me to encapsulate why this is right for me exactly, despite it happening ridiculously quickly. I guess the overarching answer is that, when it’s right, it’s right. But another aspect is that….I am not 19 and pregnant wanting a sugar daddy (yes, I have been asked), I am not embarking on this long tedious process for a visa (not to mention that I am 100% satisfied with the travel entries my current passport gives me), and most importantly, I have lived and traveled abroad. Yes, of course I have much more to learn about myself, but at this point, I have acquired enough experience to gauge that I am ready for this. I am done answering the “are you sure?” questions from everyone. If living and traveling together are not good indicators, then I’m not sure what is. And…it’s already splattered all over social media now. 😉
Both our parents are supportive, which luckily makes our planning a lot easier. Right from the get-go, here is a list of what we agreed on immediately: 1. No need for fancy rings, 2. No need for a fancy ceremony, 3. Simple ceremonies in both the UK and Korea- one of which we’ll invite friends.
This week, we focused on understanding the legal steps of the entire process. For context, I will be applying for the join family living permanently in the UK (fianceé visa) from the embassy in Boston. Although 90% of applicants hear back within 3 months, we are assuming the worst case scenario to give us some flex room. Before I leave for my flight for Boston in April, we are currently gathering materials for the aforementioned visa. Some quick notes: the visa is valid for 6 months, eligible for multi-entry, and costs £1195 (barring extra fees). Below is a list of what happens after I obtain the visa.
- Declare 9 days of residency upon arrival.
- You basically need to show that you’ve been in the country for 9 days, and where you’ve been staying. In my case, I would be staying with my fiancé , so he needs to write a letter stating I am living with him. He also needs to provide proof he owns his house, along with his council tax documents.
- Schedule an appointment at a designated office to set up notice to get married.
- At the appointment, we need to show copies of our passports, the letter, and the council tax documents (as mentioned above).
- I would suggest booking this appointment early if you can.
- Fees are £35 or £47 per person, depending on your nationality.
- Await 28 days to receive authority from the office to get married.
- Once received, this authority is valid for 1 year.
- Technically, the wait period is 28 days, but for non-EEA partners, the Home Office can extend the period for up to 70 days.
- Attend wedding ceremony and receive license of marriage.
- We booked a provisional date 10 months out in advance.
- Fee for the basic ceremony and room is £109, but of course, if you choose the enhanced ceremony (personalized; choose your music, etc.) or a more popular date, the cost can rise.
- Apply for the appropriate visa.
I wish when I was growing up, someone told me that if I had remote thoughts on marriage for the future, I should stick to those who hold the same citizenship as me, if I could, just to make things easier. 😉 Ahhh well. You can’t help who you fall in love with, right?