Explained: Entering the UK as the Taiwanese spouse of a UK citizen

As I announced three weeks ago today, I got married to my wife in lovely Taiwan. What I wasn’t sure of though is whether we were actually married in the UK. Having done some research online it appeared that this was not the case, the UK government would not recognise the marriage and we would need to marry again in the UK. Calls to citizens advice and a number of immigration specialists seemed to confirm this.

On the other hand we have a couple of registry officers who claim that as long as the marriage is valid in Taiwan, then it will be accepted here, even if you cannot submit your certificate to the General Register Office (GRO).

Confused now? so was I, and this is important since the type of visa my wife must apply for depends on our marital status in the eyes of the Home Office so I got in touch with the GRO by phone, who couldn’t help, but put me through to the UKBA. Phoning them, I explained the situation and this is what the UK Border Agency have to say on the matter:

If a UK citizen marries a Taiwanese citizen in Taiwan, then provided the marriage is legal in Taiwan, it will be accepted in the UK. As such you can apply for a spouse visa.

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4 Comments

  1. Douglas Miller

    Callam I would very much like to be able to contact you. I have been engaged to my Taiwanese girlfriend for 1 year and have known each other for more than 3 years.
    We hope to get married in Taiwan in July and then come to the UK to live. Your experience would be very much appreciated.

    Email address removed by Callam McMillan 28/05/2012@0031

    Reply
  2. Callam McMillan (Post author)

    Douglas, You may contact me at callam@callammcmillan.com and I will try to give you as much info as I can.

    Regards,
    Callam

    Reply
  3. Gary

    I expect that the local registrar is unaware that the UK doesn’t recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state, I didn’t until I moved over there. I’m planning my wedding to a Taiwanese girl now and I’ve also found that if you wish to marry a non-EEA/Swiss national in the UK you are also limited to the use of certain ‘designated’ registry offices. Though if you want to get married somewhere nice you can still go and get the legal service done at said designated registry office, then go to a nicer venue or registry office and do a renewal of vows service.

    Reply
  4. Jim Hawkins

    I expect that the local registrar is unaware that the UK doesn’t recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state, I didn’t until I moved over there. I’m planning my wedding to a Taiwanese girl now and I’ve also found that if you wish to marry a non-EEA/Swiss national in the UK you are also limited to the use of certain ‘designated’ registry offices. Though if you want to get married somewhere nice you can still go and get the legal service done at said designated registry office, then go to a nicer venue or registry office and do a renewal of vows service.

    Reply

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