New regulations that come into force today require marriages featuring non-EU nationals to be referred to the Home Office.
Under the Proposed Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Waiting Period) Regulations 2015, any UK residents who are not citizens and do not hold citizenship of any other EU country will be scrutinised by the Home Office if they announce plans to marry or enter a civil partnership.
If officials do decide to investigate a planned marriage or partnership, the parties will be required to delay the marriage for up to 70 days.
In addition, non-EU citizens will be required to give notice of their plans to marry or enter a civil partnership at one of 75 specially-designated registry offices, not the registration office most local to them.
The regulations have been introduced to try and discourage sham marriages. These are staged between EU and non-EU citizens not in a genuine relationship in order to secure a legal right to remain in the UK.
Meanwhile, the notice period for UK citizens planning to marry has been increased 15 to 28 days.
View the regulations here.
Photo by kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence