How Long Does It Take To Get a Marriage Green Card

If marriage is on the cards for you with your better half, which turns out to be a British citizen, it does not mean that you automatically qualify to become a UK citizen. However, being a non-UK spouse, you are expected to take specific steps and measures toward applying for spouse citizenship in the UK.

After the documentation is over, you must serve all the official formalities. After this, you must wait before the final confirmation of your citizenship status is communicated.

If you are looking to attain British citizenship by way of marriage, the process of naturalization follows. As a non-UK citizen and spouse, you must meet the eligibility criteria stated under the naturalization process under the rules for nationality.

The first step is to write an application for citizenship to the Home Office of the country.

Specific Details For The Process Of Naturalization


British citizenship after marriage can be attained through naturalization. The process includes specific details that you need to cater to, which are mentioned as follows:

  • You are 18 years of age and above
  • You are either married or in a civil partnership with a person who is a UK citizen
  • You had lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before the date on which you filed your application

Apart from the basics, you are also eligible to apply if you have any one of the following:

  • An ILR in the country.
  • You enjoy the ILR under the EU settlement scheme, also known as the settled scheme.
  • You have been permitted under the law to permanently move to this country from abroad; that is, you have an indefinite leave to enter the country.

Also, you must prove the following essentials:

  • Prove that your stay in the UK fulfils the criteria of 3 years before you made an application for spouse citizenship which the Home Office has received. But, this period of 3 years is exclusive of any time when you were in the UK but were exempted from immigration control as a recognized member of the visiting armed forces, as a diplomat, or even as a member of a diplomat’s staff or other households.
  • Prove the existing knowledge of the English language, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic
  • Prove that the applicant has passed the test of life in the country
  • Be of unquestionable character, and the guideline for the same should be known to the applicant.

Also, you must not have broken any immigration laws that can bar your citizenship application. However, suppose you have an indefinite leave that permits entry or exit. In that case, it is the discretion of the Home Office whether they want to check for the possibility of you breaking the immigration laws before then or not. Usually, they don’t check in such cases. You have to check the time you have spent outside the country before applying for a British marriage visa.

When Can You Expect The Decision To Come


Usually, you can expect a decision on your application within 6 months from the date the Home Office has received the application. However, the application can get hold in exceptional circumstances or when you need to prove your absence in the country within those 3 years of consideration or any other substantial reason. In such cases, it will take longer than 6 months for a decision to arrive from the officials.

But, there are certain other essentials that you should check before beginning to wait for the application.

Residency Details

In that case, when you stay in and out of the country, you need to check your stay outside the country. You should have spent less than 270 days outside the country during those 3 years that will be counted for considering the application. Also, you should have spent less than 90 days outside the country at any place of your choice, specifically within the last 12 months. If your stay supersedes 270 days and 90 days, respectively, your eligibility will be at stake, and your chances of getting the marriage green card in the UK can decline.

However, the residency details don’t come into question if you are married to a person who is employed in any place abroad while he is dispensing his duties for the UK government. Also, if your partner is administering his obligations under an organization closely linked to the government, you need not worry about these residency details.

Ideal Period For Applying


As discussed earlier, your physical presence in the country for 3 years before you apply for spouse citizenship is an important mandate. Your incompetence in meeting this requirement can lead to the rejection of your application.

If you plan to take the route of exceptional circumstances, you should know that the Home Office only considers some reasons. It is their discretion, but some of the buyable reasons can be any of the following:

  • Your inability to remain in the country at the beginning of the mandatory period is due to any health reason or travel restriction imposed upon you.
  • Earlier, you had the order to move from the country during this period of 3 years, but later, the decision regarding your move was overturned.

If you are applying for citizenship through the online mode, the Home Office will receive your application on the same day. Hence, it would be best if you were sure that your application date is the one when the clause of the 3-year stay is valid and that there shall be no issues while considering your application. You can consult an experienced professional who can help you determine the same. The Home Office will take longer to receive your application if you are doing it by post.

Hence, you should pay close attention to your stay details and choose your mode of applying for spouse citizenship accordingly.

Living Or Dead Spouse

However, all the rules are only valid if your British spouse is married while you are applying for the marriage green card. If your husband is dead, you need to consider other ways of applying for citizenship.

But, the same does not apply to your child born out of wedlock with your British spouse. Your child will automatically gain British citizenship by birth. There are only 2 conditions to fulfil. The first is that the child should be born in the UK, and one parent of the child should be a valid citizen of the country by law.


In normal circumstances, you can expect a favourable decision if all your documents satisfy the officials. However, you need to do the groundwork and produce all the supporting documents at the right time if you don’t want any unnecessary delay in the decisions regarding your marriage green card. Nevertheless, it is not difficult if you consider all the requirements and abide by the law.