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UKBA announces marriage ban on Olympian visas

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The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has confirmed that visas granted to visiting athletes, coaches and other officials for London's Olympics Games will bar them from forming any civil partnerships or from marrying while in the UK. A civil partnership in the UK is a relationship between two people of the same sex that is formed when they register as civil partners of each other. The UKBA announced they were imposing these restrictions amid concerns that illegal immigrants and terrorists will take advantage of the games to get into the country.

Visa applicants will be required to provide evidence that they will be staying in the UK for no longer than the six months their visa is valid for. Also they must agree that they will not take any other form of employment and must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and the cost of their return journey.

"While you are in the UK, you will not be allowed to undertake a course of study; or marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership," said the UKBA document.

"Accreditation for the [non-EU] Games Family doesn't impose any immigration status. It is to give them access to the Games and then we expect them to leave," a Home Office spokesperson added.

Nearly 20,000 people will be granted a UK visa for the Olympics; It is expected that there will be heightened security during the 16-day Games, which begin on 27 July 2012.

Some international athletes with criminal convictions may have difficulty entering the UK. Also, the UKBA stated that anyone on the UN and European Union travel ban list will automatically be refused entry to the UK.

Athletes and officials will have their fingerprints and face-scans taken when they arrive. A temporary terminal is being built at Heathrow to try to reduce the strain on immigration officials and to enable the visa checks to take place.

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