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UK Visa Marriage or Settlement Question


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My girlfriend is Chinese and living in China, I am English and living in the Uk. We are hoping to marry this summer in the UK and for her to move and live in the UK in my home as a normal married couple.

Looking at the Visa's I am a little confused and was hoping someone could explain which Visa (s) we need to apply for ?

Some of the documents imply we must apply for a settlement visa (VAF4) other documents make it look like we need to apply for a marriage visa (VAF 1).

Once settled in the UK she would also like to work etc, do we need to apply for any other visa's.

Many Thanks for your help.


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Firstly, I should say I don't know the current answer to your question, but I had looked at this myself not so long ago.

However I thought I should say, without knowing the history of you two, that she is Chinese, as you mentioned. If you've not stayed in China for a substantial length of time, know the ins and outs of her family, I'd suggest you don't get married quite yet. If she was was a UK citizen you'd probably be advised the same from your friends.

You may not see it this way, but it would go a long way for you to consider that she may be happier in her home country. Inter-cultural marriages are hard enough, but - with emphasis on not knowing you both - really consider her life in the UK, and if she has enough friends and contact with family, in both the UK and China, to have a satisfactory life in the UK. You mention she wishes to work, suggesting she perhaps hasn't already. What is she going to do here? Is her English really at business standard level?

An internet forum search will bring you up plenty of stories of men who just assumed the life for their partner would be best in the UK, and went ahead, only to end up with a very home-sick wife who really was only trying to please you in the first place.

It's possible to make things work between the two countries, granted with a lot of effort, especially if you take a real interest in China, and live there for a few years, get to know the family, and all the other things that are part and parcel of a UK to UK marriage.

All too often it is the case that the UK partner, without really thinking, just opts for the Chinese partner to settle in the UK. I personally finished a very highly paid job to go to China, and have not regretted it at all. Only with real open eyes do you see that the UK is not the cracking place it is made out to be.

I would strongly suggest you at least considering moving there first. Those initial thoughts "my friends are all here....my family....my life I grew up with" - the 'my' could easily apply to her from a Chinese point of view.

As an educated British person you'll do well in one of China's major cities, given your partner could be from a small village some where. In most cases I would suggest the "right thing" for a man to do for a lady would be to do the most loving thing possible - give up your current life and take a look at hers for a couple of years in or near her home city. You wont regret it, you'll just be used to the routine of life in the UK now, as I really was also.

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