What will Meghan Markle
have to do to settle in the UK?

With the recent announcement of Meghan Markle and HRH Prince Harry’s engagement. The Royal Family has released a statement detailing that Ms Markle intends to become a UK citizen.

As a US citizen, Ms Markle will have to apply for immigration permission in the same way as most non-EEA nationals. Her marriage to the Prince will not automatically secure her a UK passport and she will still first need to apply for a fiancée or spouse visa like others who intend to come to the UK for the same reason.

What is a fiancée or spouse visa?

A fiancée or spouse visa comes under the bracket of family visas. You need a family visa to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months.

You must both be over the age of 18 with your partner being a British citizen and settled in the UK. Luckily for Ms Markle that Prince Harry meets these requirements!

What is suitability criteria?

In order to comply with the fiancée/spouse visa rules, Ms Markle will have to prove that her relationship with Prince Harry is a legitimate “genuine relationship”. As well as this she will have to prove that they intend to live together permanently in the UK. Both the press release from Kensington Palace and their press briefing this week endorse these points.

The requirements also state that you must earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum or have savings of £62,500 for your spouse to come to the UK. This would be higher if you have children before the application process takes place.

The statement from Kensington Palace does mention where the couple intend to live and they should not have an issue with satisfying the financial requirements for the visa.

The spouse must be able to support the applicant without the use of ‘public funds’ which raises the question of Prince Harry’s money. However, the income of the Royal family does not come under this bracket so Ms Markle and Prince Harry are covered in that respect.

Will normal rules apply to this couple?

Under existing UK immigration law, Ms Markle would be required to follow the same procedures as any other foreign national requiring this type of visa and ultimately settle in the UK. ?However, perhaps she can ask her future Grandmother-in-law to pull a few strings!

Need help with a fiancée or spouse visa?

Contact us for more information on your current immigration options. Smith Stone Walters is a UK immigration practice; moving people to the UK is what we do best.

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