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.

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.

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