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Where in the world can a US and UK citizen get married quickly?
April 8, 2010 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Where in the world can a US and UK citizen get married quickly?

I am a US citizen and my boyfriend is a UK citizen. We are both resident in the UK, and are planning to marry this month for a combination of love and immigration reasons. However, it takes about 3-4 months to get approval from the government to marry within the UK, so we are intending to have the wedding/marriage registered outside the UK and return to apply for residency as a married couple.

Where can we have the ceremony/registration that does not require any long visa preparation, paperwork or residency periods? We are both reasonably solvent and can fly to most places (although obviously somewhere in Europe would be less hassle). We are ideally hoping to get this done in a long weekend, if at all possible.
posted by Roz McClure to Law & Government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's Gibraltar. They have no residency requirements.

1. We made a reservation for a marriage date a month in advance.
2. Then we showed up the day before to present our papers (birth certificates, etc.)
3. The next day we were married in front of a judge.
4. A week later they mailed us a marriage certificate.
posted by vacapinta at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I got married in Arlington, VA. No appointments, no waiting, no blood tests, don't need to be resident, and they'll give you a list of officiants. From walking into the clerk's office to walking out of the officiant's office took about an hour. (It was a monday morning, there were no lines.)
posted by buxtonbluecat at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2010


I looked into this as well (I'm a US citizen, he's UK and we live in the UK) and you might find my related question and the answers from last year helpful. The location that i was looking at was Gatlinburg, TN, which is known as a quick-and-cheap wedding destination in the American South (it's also a great tacky fun place to visit). It's got a lot of weekend away packages that include a wedding inside the cabin you rent for the weekend, with prices around $99.

In the UK Gretna Green is a well-known quickie wedding destination. Sorry, i don't know of any European ones!
posted by ukdanae at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, ukdanae! I'm worried that he will have to apply for a visa to come into the US to get married, even if we don't intend to live there -- did you have to do anything like that?
posted by Roz McClure at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2010


Gosh, sorry, I asked that without going to look at your thread -- that seems shockingly uncomplicated!
posted by Roz McClure at 9:05 AM on April 8, 2010


Our original UK ceremony ended up working out so we didn't have to test this, but I don't think he needs to apply for any sort of visa, because as you say, you're not intending to stay. We came to the States for our honeymoon and my husband just told them he was on honeymoon and they waved him through. In your case, I wouldn't volunteer anything to do with marriage at immigration, I'd just come in for a holiday and happen to get married!

(p.s. if you have any more questions about UK/US marriage joys feel free to MeMail me. And congratulations!)
posted by ukdanae at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2010


Gosh, sorry, I asked that without going to look at your thread -- that seems shockingly uncomplicated!

I know exactly what you mean! Imagine, something that doesn't require 75,000 pages of documentation!
posted by ukdanae at 9:11 AM on April 8, 2010


I'm worried that he will have to apply for a visa to come into the US to get married, even if we don't intend to live there -- did you have to do anything like that?

No, he can enter under the VWP, but it would be Very Smart for him to bring as much documentation as possible of his (and your) intent to return to the UK in case the border agent he's dealing with gets suspicious.

And it would be arguably smart but very cautious to not make any hugely expensive plans that couldn't be refunded in the event that the border agent denies him entry, of which there is a small but real possibility.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:55 AM on April 8, 2010


Sri Lanka (although it's not terribly convenient, you'd be in the right place for a nice honeymoon). You need four working days beforehand.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:59 AM on April 8, 2010


You want Vegas.

Here is my experience:

Drove up from Los Angeles on Thursday, got the licence on Friday, got hitched on Saturday. Had a wonderful tacky Hawaiian-themed wedding at the Tropicana, and spent around $500 total.

It was 10 years ago, but I don't think that aspect's changed all that much.

Now, the second part, getting that spousal visa, that can be a bit more of a pain in the ass. And I don't know what's changed since then, but here's my experience (again):

Pulled together everything that showed that we'd been having a relationship, that he had a steady job, that he had a place to live, blah blah blah, and then went to the UK embassy in Santa Monica, handed in all the paperwork (had a brief panic attack when they decided that having his address and a letter from his family saying that "Yes, he lives here and so can she" wasn't enough, and wanted proof that his family lived in that house) and then came back in the afternoon to pick up my passport with a little sticker in it.

And, yes, the spousal visa cost more than the entire wedding.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2010


I can attest that Katemonkey is correct-- the whole Vegas setup has not changed. Got there from LA on Thursday, got the license, got hitched Friday night at Viva Las Vegas (nice place, expensive photo packages, they have a Jumbotron where they put your names up).
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:25 PM on April 8, 2010


Seconding Sri Lanka...that's where my wife and I were married. And the whole four days before thing seems to be pretty flexible...we had most of the arrangements made in advance and we're only in country for two days before being married on the third.

Bonus: it's a really short flight to the Maldives, which is a honeymoon heaven.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:32 PM on April 8, 2010


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