Royal Engagement & the Immigration Rules

We wish to congratulate Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle on their engagement! As Miss Markle is a non-EEA national, she is subject to the very strict UK Immigration Rules, in particular Appendix FM, fiancée and spouse visa rules.

It is believed that Miss Markle is currently on a six month fiancée visa, this means that she must be married within this time and then switch into the spouse visa. The requirements are very similar for both applications, they must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship, intend to live together in the UK, have adequate accommodation and meet the very strict financial requirement.

Prince Harry must have been earning a salary from work of at least £18,600 per annum and show evidence of this for the last six months, or have cash savings of at least £62,500 held for at least six months. Miss Markle will not be able to work in the UK whilst she is on a fiancée visa, however she will have permission to work once she has switched into the spouse visa.

The spouse visa will be valid for 2 and a half years, whereby Miss Markle will need to apply for an extension of her visa for another two years. At the five year stage Miss Markle can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), she will be exempt from the English language test as she is a national of a majority English speaking country, the USA, however she will have to sit the Life in the UK test.

Once Miss Markle has ILR she can if she wishes, immediately apply for naturalisation, whereby she will take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors (her in-laws).