Can You Get Married While on a UK Student Visa?

Can You Get Married While on a UK Student Visa?

Understanding the 2024 UK Student Visa Regulations and Their Implications for Marriage

In 2024, the UK government introduced significant changes to the student visa regulations, affecting the ability of international students to bring family members, including spouses, to the UK. These changes are particularly relevant for those considering marriage while on a UK student visa. This article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the new rules and their implications for international students in the UK, focusing on marriage and family aspects.

New UK Student Visa Rules in 2024

As of January 1, 2024, the UK government has implemented stricter regulations on student visas, specifically targeting the ability of students to bring dependant partners or children to the UK. Under these new rules, international students are no longer allowed to bring their dependant partners or children unless they are enrolled in a PhD or postgraduate research programme​.

This significant policy shift is part of the government’s broader efforts to manage and control immigration more effectively. The primary aim is to ensure that student visa routes are used appropriately and to prioritize the needs and resources of the country​.

Impact on Marriage Plans

For students planning to get married or who are already married, this change has substantial implications. Previously, students could bring their dependant spouse or children to the UK. However, under the new rules, unless they are enrolled in specific postgraduate programmes, this will no longer be possible.

Exceptions and Eligibility

The eligibility to bring dependants, including a spouse, is now linked to specific course levels and durations. Students enrolled in PhD or research-based postgraduate programmes are allowed to bring dependants. This eligibility is crucial for students with long-term residency plans in the UK and should be a key consideration when choosing a course​​​.

Switching to a Post-Study Work Visa (PSW)

If a student plans to switch to a PSW or UK Graduate visa, their partner and children can apply for a dependant visa to remain with them in the UK. This is conditional on the dependants living with the student in the UK while studying​.

Applying for a Dependant Visa

If a student’s partner or child applies for a dependant visa, they need to provide proof of relationship and financial stability. The application process involves online submission, biometric information collection, and possibly attending an interview​​​. However you need to understand that from 1st Jan. 2024, this option is ONLY available for postgraduate research students and NOT for regualr international students. 

Financial Considerations

With these new regulations, financial planning becomes even more critical. Students need to show evidence of sufficient funds to cover their course fees and living costs, along with the additional costs associated with their dependants, if eligible​.

University Admissions and Course Selection

The 2024 changes influence university admissions and course selection for international students. It’s crucial to select a university and course that align with the new regulations, especially for those planning to bring dependants or switch to a work visa post-study​.

The 2024 UK student visa regulations present new challenges and considerations for international students, especially those planning to get married or bring family members to the UK. Understanding these changes is essential for compliance and successful planning. The next part of this article will delve deeper into the application process, financial requirements, and support options for students under the new rules.

Navigating the 2024 UK Student Visa Landscape: Financial and Legal Considerations


Financial Requirements and Support for International Students

Starting from January 2024, the financial aspects of studying in the UK have become more critical, especially given the restrictions on bringing dependants. Students need to demonstrate financial stability to cover their education and living expenses. This includes proof of sufficient funds for course fees and a stipulated amount for living costs, as specified by the UK Home Office. Students should also explore scholarship opportunities and financial aid offered by UK institutions and government schemes​.

Working While Studying

One significant aspect that remains unchanged is the allowance for international students to work part-time. Students are permitted to work 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during official vacation periods. This provision can help mitigate the financial burden and is crucial for students’ financial planning​.

Post-Graduation Options and Visa Switching

Upon completing their studies, students can apply for work visas, allowing them to transition into the UK workforce. This transition is vital for those who wish to remain in the UK long-term. However, it’s important to note that the ability to switch to a work visa is contingent upon completing the course of study. Additionally, under the new rules, PhD students must have engaged in their studies for at least 24 months before they are eligible for a work visa​​​.

The Impact on Marriage Plans Under the New Rules

Given the stringent restrictions introduced in 2024, international students need to reassess their marriage plans. Marrying a UK citizen or someone with settled status in the UK could offer alternative pathways to remain in the country. However, it’s crucial to understand that individuals on a student visa cannot directly transition to a family visa. Prospective spouses need to meet specific criteria, including citizenship or permanent residency, to sponsor a family visa​.

Legal Considerations for Marriage and Partnership

Legal advice is strongly recommended for students considering marriage while on a UK student visa. Navigating the complexities of immigration laws and understanding the nuances of visa regulations is essential for ensuring compliance and making informed decisions.

Deferred Education and Its Implications

For students who deferred their education from 2023 to 2024, it is important to note that the new rules apply, affecting their ability to bring dependants. This change emphasizes the need for careful planning and consideration of the timing of educational pursuits​.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Given the complexities and the substantial changes in the UK student visa policies, seeking professional advice is advisable. Immigration experts and legal advisers can provide clarity on individual cases and assist in navigating the application process and adhering to the new regulations.

The 2024 changes to the UK student visa policy have introduced new financial and legal challenges for international students, particularly those considering marriage or bringing family members. Understanding these changes, seeking professional advice, and careful financial planning are crucial for a successful study experience in the UK. The final part of this article will explore the broader implications of these changes on the future of international education in the UK and provide guidance on making informed decisions.

Exploring Marriage Possibilities for International Students in the UK in 2024


The Reality of Marrying as an International Student in the UK

With the 2024 changes to UK student visa regulations, the landscape for international students considering marriage while studying in the UK has become more complex. While the new rules primarily impact the ability to bring dependants, they do not explicitly prohibit marriage itself. International students are still legally allowed to get married in the UK; however, the practical implications of these new visa regulations require careful consideration.

Legal Procedures for Marriage in the UK

International students wishing to marry in the UK must follow the standard legal procedures applicable to all marriages in the country. This includes giving notice of the marriage at a local registry office and ensuring all legal requirements are met. It’s important to note that the marriage process is separate from immigration regulations, and being on a student visa does not impede the right to marry.

Implications for Spousal Visas

While students can legally get married, their ability to sponsor their spouse for a visa is restricted. Students on a UK student visa cannot directly sponsor a spousal visa. The spouse or partner would need to qualify independently for a visa category that permits them to stay in the UK, such as a work visa or a visa based on their own educational pursuits.

Considerations for Post-Study Options

Post-graduation, the situation may change. If the student switches to a work visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa or the Graduate visa, they may then be able to sponsor their spouse. This transition requires careful planning, ensuring the student meets all criteria for the post-study work visa, and subsequently, the spousal visa requirements.

Marriage and Cohabitation Requirements

For couples considering marriage, it’s essential to understand the requirements for proof of relationship and cohabitation, especially if planning to apply for a spousal visa in the future. Documentation such as joint bank accounts, utility bills, and other evidence of a genuine relationship will be crucial.

Financial Stability and Healthcare Considerations

Financial stability is a significant factor for students planning to get married. The student must demonstrate the ability to support themselves and potentially their spouse. Additionally, healthcare considerations, including the Immigration Health Surcharge, become more relevant when planning for a life together in the UK.

Navigating Cultural and Legal Differences

International students must navigate both cultural and legal differences when considering marriage in the UK. Understanding the legalities of marriage in a foreign country, alongside managing expectations from different cultural backgrounds, is crucial for a successful union.


In conclusion, while the 2024 UK student visa changes pose challenges for international students wishing to get married in the UK, marriage itself remains a legal and viable option. However, the ability to bring a spouse to the UK or sponsor them for a visa is severely restricted under the student visa category. Careful planning, understanding of the legal requirements, and professional advice are essential for navigating this complex landscape. As international education continues to evolve, students must remain informed and adaptable to the changing rules and regulations.

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