29 March 2012

UKBA places marriage ban on Olympian UK visa

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The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has confirmed the UK visa granted to visiting athletes, coaches and other officials for London's Olympics Games will prevent marriage amid concerns from the Home Office that athletes will abuse the Games in an effort to gain residency.

UK visa

Athletes entering the UK to partake in the Games will be prevented from getting married during their stay.

Nearly 20,000 people will be granted a UK visa for the Games which will allow them into the country for six months. However, the visa will differ from a typical visa in that it will bar the holder from forming any marriages or civil partnerships as well as from applying to study in Britain.

The decision comes after two 16 year old Cameroonian athletes absconded from Manchester airport during the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011 while at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, almost all 30 members of the Sierra Leone team disappeared.

A total of 204 nations will compete in the Games in July and place additional strain on many public services in London. In an effort to minimise the burden, the UKBA is making efforts to ensure visa abuse is not one of them by instructing all 204 national Olympic committees to inform their athletes of the marriage and study restrictions.

Athletes will be required to prove they will not stay in the UK for longer than six months and will not enter into any form of employment. They will also have to prove they have enough money to fund their journeys home as well as to support themselves while in the country.

All athletes will have their fingerprints and faces recorded by UK immigration authorities upon arrival and the UKBA has warned that any athletes arriving with criminal convictions could be prevented from entering the country.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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