Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex KCVO, also known as Prince Harry, is a member of the British royal family. He is the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Like wise Rachel Meghan Markle is an American humanitarian, activist and former actress.
Prince Harry started dating actress Meghan Markle since 2016. They two met in Toronto hen Prince Harry was attending the Invictus Games. One of their mutual friend introduced the two and just after a couple of months later Markle was spotted spending time in London and as we all know the rest is history. After eighteen months of relationship, the couple got engaged in November 2017. The couple tied the knot in 19th May, 2018. The Royal wedding has been estimated to be about $46 million. Unlucky Meghan’s father Thomas W. Markle couldn’t attend the wedding due to his health issue.
Meghan Markle’s visa obstacle course
In 2012, under then home secretary Theresa May the Immigration laws of Britain were tightened. Making it much harder for Britons to marry foreigners from outside the EU (European Union). But this time it is none other than in the royal family itself. Yes, Meghan Markle is marrying Prince Harry but as she is not a royal and is counted as an ordinary citizen of United States. After the marriage she might have to pass through Britain’s visa obstacle course.
Her first step was to get a “Fiancée visa” which allowed her and Harry to live together in Britain before the wedding. But once married she will need a marriage visa to see her through the five years until she can apply for Permanent Residency in UK. But according to the rules she will need to pass a test on British life. The test includes questions like “Who is Queen Elizabeth II married to?” If she passes the test she will be eligible for citizenship. Provided she is willing to Pledge Allegiance to her grandmother-in-law.
It is an expensive process marrying a Brit, the price for applying for citizenship has doubled since 2004 in UK. It is estimated to cost around $9,400 in all. Prince Harry can probably afford the fees but he may have trouble passing the minimum-income threshold under the new rules. He needs an income of at least £18,600 ($25051.35). Since he left the army in 2015 he has only done charity work which is unearned income from the duchy of Cornwall and it might see him over the line. Failing that he would have to fall back on savings of at least £62,500 ($84177.94) which shouldn’t be a problem.
But thousands of couples are kept apart because they cannot fulfill the criteria in UK. In 2010, two years before the new rules came in 40,466 couples were granted visas. But in 2016 the figure was 26,090 where more than a quarter of applications were rejected.
Not everyone can marry a prince but Britain’s immigration rules mean many couples miss the chance to marry altogether.