Change to marriage and civil partnership notice period in the pipeline
The Minister for Immigration and Security, James Brokenshire has announced changes to the law aimed at curbing sham marriages, those that take place not for love but for immigration purposes. However the changes to the law will affect all couples wishing to marry or form a civil partnership in the UK.
The main change involves the period of notice required to marry increasing from 15 to 28 days (this means that couples will have to attend to give notice at least 29 days prior to their ceremony).
Any marriages or partnerships involving one or more people from outside the EEA will be referred to the Home Office. The Home Office shall be able to increase the notice period to 70 days in order to investigate any potential sham marriages.
What is the EEA?
The European Economic Area, more commonly known as the EEA, is made up of the 28 Member States of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It was set up in 1994 to make the movement of people, good and services around Europe easier.
The new rules come into force in the UK on 2nd March 2015 with interim arrangements for couples where one or more person is from outside the EEA.
Brokenshire has said:
“In 2013-14, we intervened in more than 1,300 sham marriages – more than double that of the previous year. Our reforms have already seen around a 60% rise in arrests in just three months since widening the duty on registrars to inform the Home Office of suspected sham marriages and strengthening our joint working with them.”
The Government has issued guidance on the rule changes for couples intending to marry. You can find it by clicking here.