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Moving Abroad for Love? What to Know about Citizenship by Marriage

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Marriage is one of the most popular ways people move or settle down abroad.

Moving Abroad for Love? What to Know about Citizenship by Marriage

1. Biggest Misconception about Citizenship by Marriage

You don't marry a local one day and get the citizenship the next day.

If you can show proof that you are in a genuine relationship with your partner, you can typically get some form of a temporary (spousal) visa first, for a start.

You'd have to remain married for a number of years, after which you can qualify for permanent residency, and then citizenship.

(In some countries, you can skip the permanent residency part and apply for citizenship directly.)

Information in this article are provided in a general manner and is not meant to cover the laws of every single country, but rather to give you starting points on what to research further based on your situation.

2. You Need to Have Sufficient Proof of Relationship

The most common requirement in applying for a spousal visa is providing proof of your relationship. This can be:

  • Photos taken or social media posts created throughout the course of the relationship during vacation time, wedding event, etc.
  • Joint finances, such as joint bank account, joint purchase or lease of a house.
  • Phone call, texting, or other communication history.
  • Immigration offices in some countries have also been known to interview couples and ask them personal questions to determine whether they are in a genuine relationship.

3. Your Partner Has a Financial Responsibility

To apply for a temporary spousal visa, your partner will often have to demonstrate that they are able to provide financial support to you, by providing proof of finances and/or a job.

In some countries, even if the relationship fails to last, your partner who sponsored you for the visa may still be required to continue providing financial support to you for a number of years. This is a risk your partner would have to accept before sponsoring you for the visa.

4. Moving Abroad Together as a Couple

If you or your partner are seeking to move abroad together, where neither of you are a citizen or permanent resident of your destination country, there are two options:

  • Each of you can apply individually for a particular visa, though this option only works if each of you have a reason to obtain a visa in the same country. For example, you and your partner may have both received job offers, or one of you plans to obtain a work visa and one of you plans to obtain a study visa.

  • Another option is where one of you can obtain a work or study visa, and your partner can be on a dependent visa.

A dependent visa allows your partner to accompany you abroad. For instance, if you are moving abroad for work, then you would be on a work visa, and your partner will be on a dependent visa.

Depending on your destination country, a dependent visa may allow your spouse to:

  • Work full-time
  • Work part-time only
  • Study only

If you have children, they can also receive dependent visas to attend school.