Blog - 02/07/2014
UK immigration warns of ‘proxy marriage’ loophole
Mr John Vine, the UK’s chief inspector of immigration has warned that there are many foreign nationals gaining UK residence visas by the use of proxy marriage certificates.
A proxy marriage is a marriage where someone stands in for the other party. That is, either the bride or the groom is not physically present for the wedding. During the solemnisation of the marriage, based upon a power of attorney, an agent acts on behalf of one of the parties.
UK is a member of the EU, and EU nationals will usually have the right to live and work in the UK. Therefore, their non-EU spouse can gain entry to live and work in the EU, including the UK.
Legal Recognition By Proxy Marriage
Four states in the United States allow proxy marriages in some form: California, Colorado, Texas and Montana.
In Canada, proxy marriage is only recognised if the marriage was performed in a jurisdiction that allows proxy marriage.
Other countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Ghana and Nigeria – proxy marriages are legal. Thus, an EU citizen can legally marry a Brazilian citizen in Brazil without going to Brazil to do so.
In some states, U.S. military personnel may be able to annul a proxy marriage provided there is no consummation, no cohabitation, or no treatment as husband and wife after the marriage ceremony.
The UK unfortunately has no effective system of checking whether the proxy marriage certificates or the proxy marriages themselves are genuine. And the UK is required to treat the proxy marriage just like any other marriage.
If you would like further information on this topic please contact the Edwin Coe Employment and ImmigrationTeam.
If you aren’t receiving our legal updates directly to your mailbox, please sign up now
Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.
Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.