Changes to the certificate of approval scheme - | Hudson McKenzie

Changes to the certificate of approval scheme

December 17, 2010 | News

On 26 July 2010, the UK government has announced its intention to abolish the ‘certificate of approval’ scheme. A Remedial Order under the Human Rights Act 1998 was laid in Parliament to achieve this aim.

At present, any migrant who is already in the UK and is subject to immigration control must apply for a certificate of approval before they can get married or register a civil partnership in this country (unless they are getting married within the Anglican Church).

The government is now seeking to remedy the declaration by the UK courts that the scheme is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (read with Article 12). Additionally, changes made following rulings from the courts have weakened the scheme, and it is no longer an effective method of preventing sham marriage.

The government is taking swift action to abolish the scheme next year. On 16 December, the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the case of O’Donoghue v UK. This case was about the certificate of approval scheme, and the government is currently considering the judgment. At present, the scheme continues to operate as normal. We will publish any update about this judgment, including possible implications for applicants.

If you have any questions regarding the above or need to understand how these changes will affect you, please send an email to one of our London immigration lawyers or at