I am currently applying for a marriage visitor visa for UK and am wondering if we could have our religious wedding (Church Blessing with a certified Minister who has already accepted to give us the blessing) in England more than 6 months after our civil wedding. I would be entering the country as a tourist (Brazilian national)for the religious blessing+celebration with family and friends then, since the marriage visa would have expired by then (post our civil wedding). Is this illegal, which I am trying to understand in order to avoid any breach of immigration law?
Many thanks for your assistance,
A Marriage Visa is only required if you are getting married in a legal sense. If you are having a ceremony of blessing, which does not confer any legal status, then you do not need the visa. UK does not recognize a “service of blessing” as having any legal status, especially if you are already legally married in a civil ceremony. Hence you do not need a special visa for it.
To avoid confusion I would take extra care to always refer to the ceremony as something other than a wedding when dealing with UK immigration, or anyone they might be in contact with. This is especially true when arriving in the UK. Do not say you are here to be married, even if you privately consider the religious wedding to be the real one, and the legal wedding just a formality. I would also make sure you have a document with you that proves you are already legally married that you can show to immigration. Make sure when you apply for visa that you refer to each other as ‘spouse’.
I am assuming that the civil ceremony has happened before the religious one, and that it is legally binding and recognized in UK law.