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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
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Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I am looking at the question about a Filipina wishing to marry

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I am looking at the question about a Filipina wishing to marry in the UK. My fiancée is also a Filipina, I am a UK citizen by birth. She came here on a fiancée visa 11 months ago, having had her marriage annulment granted by the courts in the Philippines. However, the Solicitor-General in the Philippines has not yet approved the annulment so we have no documents allowing us to marry. I extended her fiancée visa once but I am worried that we will not be able to extend it a second time. There is no mechanism to force the Solicitor-General to release the approval, so I cannot see any way to allow us to marry. There seems to be no other way to establish that she is my permanent partner. Thanks in anticipation.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I can wait longer

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
The fact that your fiancée was issued with a fiancée visa in the first place means that the UK government was satisfied that your fiancée was free to marry you in the UK.
So, you do not need to wait for anything from Philippines, you simply go ahead and get married in the UK and apply for a spouse visa for your fiancée upon your marriage in the UK.
May I help further?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am not sure if this answer already went, the web site crashed partway through. We cannot marry in the UK because the registry office will not issue a marriage licence. Before they will issue a licence, they need to see an approved copy of the marriage annulment, i.e. a copy of the original marriage register endorsed with the annulment. This is not available because the Solicitor-General of the Philippines has not authorised it yet. He is not authorising any annulments because of an inquiry into possible abuses of the law in some provinces, his office is examining each court-approved annulment request in detail causing months of delays (he is also someone of known strict Catholic views, who disapproves of annulment in principle). Our attorney in the Philippines says that there is no legal mechanism to appeal against the delay in issuing the authorisation to endorse the marriage register. My fiancée's visa was granted on the basis of the court judgement (the strict wording of the grounds for UK visa approval is 'proof of any previous relationships having broken down' not 'free to marry') and at that time we had been told that the Solicitor-General's office would process the authorisation in a matter of weeks and that the court documents would probably be enough for the UK registrar.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
I suggest in that case that your fiancée apply for discretionary leave to remain on human rights grounds, explaining that you have been unable to get married for reasons beyond your control.
The form to use is FLR(O)
Hope this helps
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I looked at form FLR(O) before but it said that it should not be used for application to remain as a partner, I am concerned that if we took this route then it might affect my fiancée's status if we did receive the necessary documents from the Philippines

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Apologies, my mistake, you should use form FLR(FP) which has been recently introduced
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423050/FLR_FP__Version_04-15.pdf
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