Custom Search

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spouse Visa and application of Human Rights Act as well as Compelling and Compassionate Reasons

In our situation, my girlfriend was married before and has 3 kids with her previous husband, two of them living with her. One of 14 and other is 17. She also suffers from diabetes. I believe both of these can be grounds for compelling and compassionate reasons because:

1. She should not be separated from her kids.
2. She should not be separated from her husband (me).
3. She should have the right to stay with all of them.
4. Her ex-husband does not earn enough to be able to support 3 children, has 1 bedroom house and low income.
5. She can have better medical facilities in the UK through NHS.
6. She will not be able to live in Pakistan freely without possible danger to her life.

Of course it is at the discretion of the ECO to decide.

I have listed down what ECHR says on Article 8. Look at the links I’ve provided, read the cases and how they were judged on the basis of Article 8 and 3 and 2.

Seperation from kids may fall under Article 8. It is a Qualified Right.

Medical cases may fall under Article 3. It is a Non-derogable right.

Her life being in danger may fall under Article 2. It is a Non-derogable right.

Article 8

A bit on European Convention on Human Rights from Wikipedia:

Article 8 – Privacy:

Article 8 provides a right to respect for one's
"private and family life, his home and his correspondence",
subject to certain restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and "necessary
in a democratic society". This article clearly provides a right to be free of
unlawful searches, but the Court has given the protection for "private and
family life" that this article provides a broad interpretation, taking for
instance that prohibition of private consensual homosexual acts violates this
article. This may be compared to the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme
Court, which has also adopted a somewhat broad interpretation of the right to
privacy. Furthermore, Article 8 sometimes comprises positive
: whereas classical human rights are formulated as prohibiting a
State from interfering with rights, and thus not to do something (e.g. not to
separate a family under family life protection), the effective enjoyment of such
rights may also include an obligation for the State to become active, and to do
something (e.g. to enforce access for a divorced father to his child).

From OPSI UK Website:

Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life:

1 Everyone
has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his
2 There shall be no interference by a public authority
the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law
and is
necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national
security, public
safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the
prevention of disorder
or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or
for the protection of the
rights and freedoms of others.

Also see Article 8 of the ECHR - interim casework instruction (Chikwamba and others)

4. Consideration Process
When deciding claims under Article 8 it is still
necessary for an individual to make out his or her claim before a decision
made that their removal would breach Article 8. All staff should still
the standard five stage consideration process.

Stage 1:
Does the claimant
have a family or private life in the UK?
Stage 2: If
family life exists will
refusal/removal interfere with that family life?
Stage 3: If there is
interference with family life, is it in accordance
with the law?
Stage 4: Is
the interference in pursuit of one of the
permissible aims set out under Article
Stage 5: Is the
interference proportionate to the permissible aim?

Stages 1 – 4 must be
considered broadly in line with existing guidance. If a
case can be refused
on the basis that there is no family or private life, or on
the basis that
there is no interference with that family or private life (for
because all the members of the family are to be removed together), then
recent cases do not make a difference to that refusal.

The recent cases
primarily affect Stage 5 of the consideration process. The task for
decision-makers in assessing whether any interference in family life would
proportionate is to:

Consider all the relevant factors, weigh up relevant considerations and
whether refusal or removal will result in a disproportionate
interference with
Article 8 rights.

If refused, explain fully the consideration of these factors in the refusal

In addition to existing guidance on the factors to
when assessing proportionality caseworkers must also consider the

Whether it is proportionate to require the individual to leave the UK and
for Entry Clearance, having regard to the factors set out by the House
of Lords
in Chikwamba; and

What effect any delay in decision making has had on the proportionality
having regard to the factors set out by the House of Lords in EB

From Asylum Policy Instructions from Border and Immigration Agency:

Article 8 medical claims
Article 8 private life may also be raised in the
context of a medical claim.
The issue in an Article 8 foreign case is whether
return will result in a real
risk of a flagrant denial of an applicant’s
Article 8 rights in the country of
return, usually in respect of the
applicant’s right to physical and moral

In most cases, Article
8 will add little to Article 3 – as the House of Lords
said in Razgar, “it is
not easy to think of a foreign health care case which would fail
Article 3 but succeed under Article 8.
When considering whether return would
give rise to a real risk of a
flagrant breach of Article 8 (see the API
Article 8 ), decision makers
should take into account similar factors as for
an Article 3 medical claim.
Unlike Article 3, Article 8 is a qualified right,
which means that
interference with the rights set out in Article 8(1) may be
permissible in
certain circumstances. For a discussion of the issues
surrounding the
right to private and family life, see the API on Article


Section 6 of the Human Rights Act makes it unlawful for a
authority (such as a Government department) to act (or fail to act) in
way which is incompatible with a Convention right, unless, as the result
a provision of primary legislation, it could not have acted
It should be remembered that the Human Rights Act does not
create new
rights, rather it enables individuals to rely on existing ECHR
rights before
UK courts. The UK Border Agency has for many years had regard
ECHR rights in considering asylum claims, because of the
international obligations under the ECHR.
Experience suggests that
the Convention rights most likely to be raised
alongside an asylum claim or
to be inherent in such a claim are Articles 2,
3, 8 and 14. Article 2, 3 and
14 together with Protocol 13 (death penalty),
are dealt with below. For
information on Article 8, please refer to the
Article 8 API.
Of course,
applicants will sometimes raise other Articles and the full text
of the other
ECHR Articles is given in Annex A.
Further Guidance on how to deal with
specific articles may be
sought from a senior caseworker.

Non-derogable rights - These are rights which a State must
guarantee, without exception, at
all times, including in time of war or
other public emergency. Rights which
fall into this category are:
Article 3 (prohibition of torture, inhuman or
degrading treatment or
punishment), Article 4(1) (prohibition of slavery),
and Article 7 (no
punishment without law). Article 2 (right to life) also
falls within this
category, except that a derogation is permitted in one
limited area -
deaths resulting from lawful acts of war. Nor is any
permitted to Protocol 13 (abolition of the death

Other absolute rights -
All the non-derogable rights are absolute
that there are never any circumstances which justify the State in
way limiting or curtailing those rights. Some of the other
rights contain elements which are also absolute in peace time -
example, Article 5 includes certain rights which must be provided to
person arrested or detained; Article 6 sets out some standards on
right to a fair trial which must be adhered to; and Article 9
an unlimited right to freedom of thought, conscience and
(although there are limitations on how a person’s religion or
are manifested). Rights in this category are absolute except that
times of war or other public emergency threatening the life of
nation they may be “derogated from” in limited ways, as provided
by Article 15 of the Convention.

Rights with defined limitations -

Other rights such as the right to
marry and found a family (Article 12) and
parts of Article 5 (right to
liberty and security) can be limited in the
circumstances defined in the
Convention itself. For example, Article 12 is
qualified by being subject
to national laws governing these rights if, for
example, the national
law prohibited marriage until a person was 21 years old
that would
not be a breach of Article 12.

Qualified rights -
These rights
include the right to respect for
private and family life (Article 8), the
right to freedom of expression
(Article 10) and the right to the peaceful
enjoyment of property
(Article 1 of Protocol 1). Interference with these
rights is permissible
subject to various qualifications. These include the
requirement that
any interference must be in accordance with the law, be
necessary in a
democratic society (i.e. meets a pressing social need and
proportionate) and be related to one or more of the permissible aims
set out in the relevant Article.
Link: Judgments - Beoku-Betts (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Link: Judgments - Chikwamba (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Chikwamba (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
Link: Periods of discretionary leave granted to those with marriage-based
article 8 claims
Link: Consideration under Article 8 of the HRA

Article 2

6.1. General
Article 2(1) states that:
" Everyone's right to life shall be
protected by law. No one shall be
deprived of his life intentionally save in
the execution of a sentence
of a court following his conviction of a crime
for which this penalty
is provided by law."
However, under Article 2,
there are certain situations where an authority
will not be considered to
have breached a person's right to life. These are
set out in Article 2(2)
which states that:
" Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted
contravention of this article when it results from the use of
which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any
person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to
prevent the
escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) in action lawfully
taken for the purpose of quelling a
riot or insurrection."
In practice,
the limitations in Article 2(2) are unlikely to apply in
individual human
rights claims.

6.2. Consideration of Article 2 issues

There is limited
caselaw on the extent to which the UK’s obligations
might be engaged by the
return of a person to a country where it is
alleged that their right to life
would be threatened. However, we would
not normally seek to return a person
to a country where there are
substantial grounds for believing that there is
a real risk they would be
unlawfully killed either by the State or through
the State being unable or
unwilling to protect them.
Applicants who face a
serious risk to life or person arising from an
unlawful killing may, subject
to certain exclusions, be eligible for a grant
of Humanitarian Protection
(see the definition of serious harm (paragraph
339C of the Immigration
Rules). See also API on Humanitarian
Protection, or API on Discretionary
Leave if the applicant is
excluded from Humanitarian Protection).
that Article 2 does not apply in medical and suicide claims, in which
would not be caused by lawful or unlawful killing.

Article 3
Article 3 states that:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to
inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment."
• Article 3 is an absolute
right, i.e. it cannot be balanced against
competing interests like some of
the other ECHR rights and it
applies even in times of war or other public
• The absolute nature of Article 3 has led to a high threshold and
reach the Article 3 threshold, ill treatment must attain a
level of severity and involve actual bodily injury or
physical or mental suffering. Where treatment humiliates
debases an individual, it may be characterised as degrading
and also
fall within the prohibition of Article 3. The same
threshold will apply in
Humanitarian Protection cases.
• The UK’s obligations under Article 3 apply
irrespective of any
reprehensible/criminal conduct on the part of the
applicant. The
applicant’s conduct may affect the type of leave granted or
Humanitarian Protection is granted (see paragraph 339D of
Immigration Rules and section 8 of the Humanitarian
As set out above, all asylum claims should be treated as a
Protection and/or implied Article 3 foreign case and if the
asylum claim is
refused, consideration should be given to whether return
would expose
the applicant to serious harm or treatment that would otherwise
contrary to Article 3.
UK Border Agency asylum decision-makers will
therefore need to
consider and address Humanitarian Protection and Article 3
explicitly in
the Reasons for Refusal Letter.

Link: Applications raising article 3 medical grounds

Important Links

Immigration Control.
Immigration Appeals: Selected Reports of Decisions of the House of ... - Google Books Result.
Brides without Borders.
Asylum policy instructions

How to fulfill accommodation requirements

The accommodation requirements are an important part of the Spouse Visa application.

Therefore there are certain things that are clear regarding accommodation:

1. It should be owned or legally occupied by the sponsor.
2. There should be a letter from the housing association explaining that it allows the applicant to stay.
3. There should be a report from a surveyor or from housing association telling about the size of the house, the number of rooms etc.
4. The presence of the applicant should not violate the terms of overcrowding as defined in the Housing Act 1985.
5. The fact that the sponsor is in receipt of housing benefit and council tax will not matter.
6. A couple will require only 1 bedroom and they have to make sure that others staying in the house (children) have their own space.
7. The applicant will not use public funds to pay for accommodation, though the sponsor can.

So, these documents will be needed:

1. Sponsor Undertaking on maintenance and accommodation.
2. Certified copy of deeds of the sponsor’s house.
3. Housing association rent book / council letter, to confirm address of sponsor.
4. Bill from utility company like electric, gas, etc, to confirm address of sponsor.
5. Local authority letter (council tax).
6. Letter from local MP.
7. Surveyors report / letter from housing association, about house size, number of rooms, telling the number of inhabitants does not violate terms of overcrowding.
8. No Objection Letter from housing association saying they have no objection to the stay of the applicant.
9. Birth certificates of children staying in the house along with proof that they live there such as any letters from school etc.
10. Photos of every room.
11. Evidence of payment of house rent from housing benefit, rent account statements.
12. Tenancy Agreement.

According to UKBA Entry Clearance Guidance:

9.6 - Maintenance and accommodation:
Entry as a spouse/partner/civil partner
Under the Rules a person being admitted as a spouse or civil partner must have adequate maintenance and accommodation for both parties and any dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation which they own or occupy exclusively (defined in section below). The Rules for unmarried partners contain a similar requirement.
When considering the maintenance and accommodation aspects of an application from a spouse, civil partner or partner, it is the ability of the couple to meet the requirements together, which you need to take into account.

Although the Rules do not mention a set period of time for which accommodation must be available, you should be satisfied that adequate arrangements have been made which are likely to last for the foreseeable future.

The applicant should be able to produce reasonably firm plans for the foreseeable future. In particular they should be able to show that arrangements for the couple’s accommodation have been made and should have some idea of the employment which they will be seeking (if not already arranged) or any other way in which they will be able to maintain themselves.

9.8 - Assessing adequate accommodation for couples
You should be satisfied that the accommodation for a couple (or for fiancé(es)/proposed civil partners after they are married) complies with the following requirements:
· it is (or will be) owned or legally occupied for the exclusive use of the couple (see definition in section below); and
· it is capable of accommodating the couple, and any children, without overcrowding as defined in the Housing Act 1985 (see section below on overcrowding).
Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may be other relevant factors; for example, you should be satisfied that housing the couple in rented accommodation will not be in breach of any tenancy agreement as regards sub-letting (see below).

9.12 - Overcrowding The Housing Act 1985 contains statutory definitions of overcrowding in residential housing.
A house is considered to be overcrowded if 2 persons aged 10 years or more of the opposite sex (other than husband or civil partner and wife or civil partner) have to sleep in the same room. The Act also details the maximum number of people allowed for a given number of rooms or a given room floor area.
Account is taken only of rooms with a floor area larger than 50 square feet and rooms of a type used either as a living room or bedroom: rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms are excluded.

Under the Housing Act, the number of people sleeping in accommodation must not exceed the following:-

1 - 2
2 - 3
3 - 5
4 - 7.5
5 -10
Each additional room in excess of 5 - An additional 2 people

For the purpose of the Act, a child under one does not count as a person. A child aged 1-10 years counts as only half a person.

Separate overcrowding regulations exist for houses in multiple occupation (HMO). These include houses occupied by persons not forming a single household. This wide definition covers not only hotels and hostels but also houses lived in by 2 or more couples of different generations where they do not share common facilities.

Local authorities have the power to serve an overcrowding notice in respect of an HMO to specify the maximum number of people who may sleep per room. The local authority can also set a limit on the number of people in a house, or prevent further new residents, and require the provision of extra facilities.

In relation to adequacy of accommodation you should bear in mind that if an overcrowding notice renders an occupier homeless, the local authority may be forced to provide alternative accommodation under the Housing Act 1985. For example, if the occupier has dependent children or is old or infirm. Such accommodation counts as public funds.

8.3 - Undertakings by the applicant, sponsor or others. [Updated]
Undertaking by the applicant Under the Rules, an ECO must be satisfied that a person applying is genuinely seeking entry for the period and purpose stated. An applicant gives an undertaking to this effect by completing the relevant part of the application form. This undertaking may be reinforced orally during an interview and noted by the ECO at that time.
Undertakings from sponsors, MPs etc Applications for entry clearance are sometimes supported by undertakings from a sponsor, Member of Parliament or other third parties. In this respect, only the undertaking of a sponsor on maintenance and accommodation is mentioned in the Rules (see following sub-section).

It follows that any other undertaking by a sponsor or any third party undertaking is unenforceable and no such undertakings should be sought by ECOs nor offers to provide one, be accepted.

If an undertaking from a third party appears as an accompanying document to an application, you may consider it as a factor, but without disproportionate weight.

Sponsor undertakings on maintenance and accommodation As with undertakings from an applicant (see above), you should only require an undertaking from a sponsor in exceptional circumstances or for certain categories. This includes parents, grandparents and other dependant relatives under Rule 317 of the Immigration Rules. The separate chapter on settlement for such relatives gives guidance. An undertaking would not normally be necessary where the applicant is only going to the UK for a few weeks to stay with close relatives who have demonstrated adequate income and/or funds.

The form at Annex 8.1 must be used for undertakings on maintenance and accommodation from sponsors. You should explain the significance of signing this document to the sponsor and/or the applicant. You should make clear that this undertaking will be made available to the Department of Work and Pensions in the UK who will take the appropriate steps to recover the cost of any public funds paid to or in respect of the sponsored person.

The ECO should complete the certification on the form, keep a copy on file and send the original sponsorship undertaking direct to:

Department for Work and Pensions Benefits Delivery (Special Operations) Room 3S 25 Quarry House LEEDS LS2 7VA
Failure by a sponsor to provide an undertaking on maintenance and accommodation when requested is grounds for refusal. (Rules Paragraph 320(14)).

Additionally, variation of leave to remain in the UK can be refused by the Home Office if a sponsor subsequently declines to give such an undertaking, or fails to honour one (Rules Paragraph 322(6)).

Monday, January 12, 2009

What does adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds mean, when the sponsor is on benefits?

This is a very important statement in the rules for us. Especially cause my girlfriend is on benefits.

According to the UKBA Entry Clearance Guidance (Chapter 13):

13.4 - Fiancé(e)s/proposed civil partners and how they
(Rules Paragraphs 290 -295)For an applicant to qualify for
admission as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner, you must be satisfied
1.the sponsor is present and settled in the United Kingdom, or is to be
admitted for settlement at the same time as the applicant arrives in the UK;
the sponsor and the applicant are aged 21 or over;
2.each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse/civil partner after the marriage/civil partnership;
3.the parties to the proposed marriage/civil partnership have met;
4.adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds will be available for the applicant until the date of the marriage/civil partnership;
5.after the marriage/civil partnership there will be adequate accommodation for the parties and any dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation which they own or occupy exclusively;
6.after the marriage/civil partnership the parties will be able to maintain themselves and their dependants adequately without recourse to public funds.

Point 5 above is about this topic. Now if we would look at UKBA Entry Clearance Guidance (Chapter 9):

9.2 - Public funds The requirements are designed to
prevent the admission of persons who do not have realistic prospects of
supporting themselves without recourse to public funds. For the purpose of the
Immigration Rules "public funds"
· Income
Support/Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
· Housing and Homelessness
· Housing Benefit
and Council Tax Benefit
Child Tax Credit
· Working
Tax Credit*
· Child Benefit*
· Attendance Allowance
· Severe Disablement
· Invalid Care
· Disability
Living Allowance
Disability Working Allowance
· A Social Fund Payment

* The British/settled spouse/civil partners may claim Working Tax Credits
and Child Benefit for his or her family if they are entitled to this under the
Department for Work and Pensions legislation.
There is no objection to the
British citizen/settled sponsor receiving any public funds to which he/she is
entitled in his/her own right. The important factor to consider is whether there
will be a need for the sponsor to claim additional public funds to support the
applicant. The fact that an applicant may not be eligible to claim public funds
is not in itself sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Rules.

If the sponsor is in receipt of public funds, it does not mean that they will be unable to support the applicant, although clearly a person who is heavily dependent on
the state because they don't have sufficient means of their own will find it
difficult to support another person for any length of time. The question to be
considered is whether additional recourse to public funds will be necessary if
the applicant is granted leave to enter.

Income Support is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to those whose income is insufficient to meet their own needs and those of any dependants. Recipients are usually
expected to be available for work, but sole parents and elderly persons may be
excepted from this requirement.

Working Tax Credit is paid by the DWP to those in full-time employment who are on a low income and have children to support.

Housing Benefit is administered by the housing departments of local

If the occupant of housing provided by a local authority pays
rent to be accommodated in the property, such housing is not considered to be
provided from public funds.

You will notice certain points here. Such as (as bolded above), the “additional” part. This means that as long no additional benefits will be claimed by the sponsor due to presence of the applicant in the UK, we are ok. So as long as we are sure that the sponsor will not claim any additional benefits upon arrival of the applicant and the applicant will not (and can not) avail benefits once in UK, we are good to go.

The statement “If the sponsor is in receipt of public funds, it does not mean that they will be unable to support the applicant” clearly shows that if the sponsor is in receipt of benefits, it will not affect the applicants spouse visa application.

Here is some more information from Islington website:

‘No recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) applies to a person who is subject to
immigration control; does not have the right to work (with the exception of
people granted leave as spouses or civil partners); and has no entitlement
to welfare benefits, public housing or UKBA asylum support.
Who has
· refused asylum seekers whose appeal rights are exhausted
· people who have overstayed their visa
· people on sponsorship visas
· people who originally arrived in the UK on a visa and have subsequently put in further representations to remain in the country
· some EEA migrants

This shows that NRPF applies to holders of spouse visa.

Adequate Maintenance

So how do make sure that there is NRPF and still adequate maintenance despite the fact that the sponsor is on benefits.

If you go on the UK Visas website:

There is no explicit minimum figure for what represents sufficient maintenance.
However, in 2006 UKAIT KA and Others (Pakistan), the AIT strongly suggested that
it would not be appropriate to have immigrant families existing on resources
that that were less than the Income Support level for a British Family of that
size (See Paragraph 8 of the determination - available on the Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal website). If it is more likely than not that the total
amount that the applicant and sponsor will have to live on will be below what
the income support level would be for a British family of that size, then it may
be appropriate to refuse the application on maintenance and accommodation

Therefore the proper test to decide on the adequate maintenance would be to test on the Income Support level.

Currently the income support a couple would receive would be 94.95 pounds per week.

My girlfriend gets 60 pounds per week.

I’m not really sure, but, acting on prudence, I will assume I safely need 94.95 per week for at least 6 months while on spouse visa.

During these 6 months if I have adequate education and relevant experience, which I do, I should be able to secure a job.

If we go on bare minimum, it would be 60 pounds per week for me.

But supposing we go on safe side, I should have at least 3000 pounds in my bank account, which I will, to be able to support myself for 6 months at the rate of 94.95 pounds per week (and I’ll still have some left).


Now as for the sponsor, she needs to draw out a budget. Sample can be found here
The budget should simply list down all the inflow of money and the outflow of money. This will help the Entry Clearance Officer see how responsible the sponsor is, and how she manages to save / use her money.

Now in order for the income support test to be passed, we need to be sure what is it exactly that the person is expected to pay out of the income support she is receiving. They mostly include utility bills and groceries, and NOT council tax or house rent, since its already being paid through the Council Tax benefit and Housing benefit.

Therefore, if the sponsor will keep on receiving housing and council tax benefits (which she will since she is British citizen), therefore I won’t have to pay it. So I’ll have to pay for ‘myself’ for the things she pays out currently for, out of her Income Support benefit that she receives.
If she can draw up a budget, showing that she is getting benefits to pay for housing and council tax, and its understood she will keep on receiving them, therefore I will not have to contribute to them (until and unless I get a job). So till then, if I prove I will have 3000 pounds, i.e. 94.95 minimum per week, I will meet the income support level.

So the importance of a budget drawn up by the sponsor is essential to prove how the bills are being paid, along with documentary proof. The documentary proof would income all her income support documents to prove inflow of money, and receipts of cash paid out for groceries and other payments.

It would also be wise for the applicant to draw up a budget on how he plans to help with his 94.95 pounds per week.

Income support might stop for the sponsor on arrival of the applicant therefore its necessary that he meets the minimum of 94.95 pounds per week. Any suggestions on this topic would be welcome, perhaps I have missed something.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Marriage in Pakistan: Marriage Certificate, Availing, Registering, for purpose of UK Spouse Visa

I will be updating this post as I get more updated information about it.

A marriage certificate is known as “nikanama” in Pakistan. It is allowed for a foreign woman to marry a Pakistani man in Pakistan. Although not required to change her religion if she is either a Christian or a Jew, it is recommended that she does if the man is a Muslim. It is recommended that a lawyer be present on wedding so that he can guarantee that all clauses of Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (below) are satisfied. The marriage certificate also needs to be stamped by the Pakistan Foreign Office.

There are two types of marriages in Pakistan

1. Court Marriage

This is held in the district court in presence of a judge. A nikanama is signed.

2. Religious Marriage

This is when a local maulvi / imam (priest) conducts the marriage in an Islamic manner, usually in the house or a hotel.

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961

This is the law that the marriage is conducted under. Here is an excerpt from it:

1. Short title, extent, application and commencement
(1) This Ordinance may be called the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance,
(2) It extends to whole of Pakistan, and applies to all Muslim citizens of
Pakistan, wherever they may be.
(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Federal Government may, by
notification in the official Gazette, appoint in this behalf.
(a) “Arbitration Council” means a body consisting of the Chairman and a
representative of each of the parties to a matter dealt with this Ordinance:
Provided that where any party fails to nominate a representative within the
prescribed time, the body formed without such representative shall be the
Arbitration Council.
(b) “Chairman” means the Chairman of the Union Council
or a person appointed by the Federal Government in the Cantonment areas or by
the Provincial Government in other areas or by an Officer authorised in that
behalf by any such Government to discharge the functions of chairman under
Ordinance:Provided that where the Chairman of the Union Council is a non-Muslim,
or he himself wishes to make an application to the Arbitration Council, or is,
owing to illness or any other reason, unable to discharge the functions of
Chairman, the Council shall elect one of its Muslim members as Chairman for the
purposes of this Ordinance.
(c) “Prescribed” means prescribed by rules made
under Sch. II.
(d) “Union Council” means the Union Council or the Town or
Union Committee constituted under the Basic Democracies Order, 1959 and having
jurisdiction in the matter as prescribed.
(e) “Ward” means a ward within a
Union or Town as defined in the aforesaid Order.
3. Ordinance to
override other laws, etc.
(1) The provisions of this Ordinance shall have effect notwithstanding any
law, custom or usage, and the registration of Muslim marriages shall take place
only in accordance with these provisions.
(2) For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that the provisions of
the Arbitration Act, 1940 (X of 1940), the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (Act V
of 1908), and any other law regulating the procedure of Courts shall not apply
to any Arbitration Council.
4. Succession.In the event of death of any son
or daughter of the propositus before the opening of succession, the children of
such son or daughter, if any, living at the time the succession opens, shall per
stripes, receive a share equivalent to the share which such son or daughter, as
the case may be, would have received if alive.
5. Registration of marriage.
(1) Every marriage solemnized under Muslim Law shall be registered in
accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance.
(2) For the purpose of registration of marriage under this Ordinance, the
Union Council shall grant licenses to one or more persons, to be called Nikah
Registrars, but in no case shall more than on Nikah Registrar be licensed for
any one Ward.
(3) Every marriage not solemnized by the Nikah Registrar shall, for the
purpose of registration under this Ordinance be reported to him by the person
who has solemnized such marriage.
(4). Whoever contravenes the provisions of such-section (3) shall be
punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extent to three months,
or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(5). The form of nikahnama, the registers to be maintained by Nikah
Registrars, the records to be preserved by Union Councils, the manner in which
marriage shall be registered and copies of nikhanama shall be supplied to
parties, and the fees to be charged thereof, shall be such as may be
(6) Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, if any, inspect at
the office of the Union Council the record preserved under sub-section (5), or
obtain a copy of any entry therein.

Translation of Marriage Certificate in English

A marriage certificate needs to be translated into English before submitting it with a Spouse Visa application. This can be done by a lawyer in Pakistan, an advocacy and translating service in UK, a notary public in Pakistan. A stamp of “oath commissioner” in Pakistan needs to be on the documents. It also needs to be stamped by the Pakistan Foreign Office. A sample. You can also contact Gerrys.

Change of name when back in UK

When back In the UK, if the woman wants to change her name legally to her new name (last name of husband), she needs to do it via a Deed Poll. A solicitor can help with this.

Registration of marriage in the UK / Validity of marriage in the UK

According to UK General Registry Office (GRO) a wedding conducted in Pakistan can not be recorded at a register office. Since it clearly says this:


1. your wedding has to have taken place in one of the countries from
which we can accept formal notifications. See the
of countries below.

2. one of you must be a British citizen - and only
that person can apply to deposit the details.

Countries from which we accept formal notifications:

Guinea &
Ivory Coast
St.Pierre &
Cape Verde
C African
United Arab
Equat'l Guinea
Fernando Poo
Virgin Is (USA)
Yemen Arab Rep
Yemen Dem

The reason for this is that Pakistan comes under the list of Commonwealth countries. However they can be deposited with the register office. However for Pakistan, according to Foreign and Commonwealth Office website even that is not possible, since Pakistan is a Commonwealth country.

To deposit your documents: must have been married in a foreign country, but
2.not a commonwealth country (see list below) or an overseas territory of you must be British

you can deposit a civil partnership document from any
country in the world (i.e. foreign and commonwealth countries and overseas

Commonwealth countries

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus,
Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya,
Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and
Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon
Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and
Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Zambia,

So what do we do? Well the good news is that depositing or registering a marriage is not a legal requirement. In fact as said on the links given above, registering is not possible altogether, depositing is in certain cases.

Now take a look at the Entry Clearance Guidelines of the UK Border Agency (13.21) (Spouse Visa):

There are two requirements which have to be met before an
overseas marriage with one party under 16 can be recognised under the laws of
the United Kingdom:

· the
marriage is valid in the country in which it took place (i.e. it is legal for
parties under 16 to marry and the marriage itself complied with the formal
requirements of the country in which it took place);

· both
parties to the marriage had the legal capacity under the law of their domicile
to marry each other (i.e. the law of their domicile allowed marriage with a
person under 16, and they were free to marry in other respects).

Therefore it is clear that if the marriage is recognized in Pakistan, it is recognized by the British High Commission Entry Clearance Officer. So all we do is make sure the marriage is legal in Pakistan (done according to Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961).

Also take a look at this document from UK Border Agency Website which explains about marriages recognized in the UK. You will notice the following things:

2.5.1 In most cases where the marriage has been accepted for
immigration purposes it
will be safe to assume that a foreign marriage is
valid in our law. However the case
should be referred to NPSCU (EOP2) who
will, if necessary, make further enquiries if,
for example, it appears
• the marriage was a church marriage in a Muslim country; or
• it
was a religious or a customary marriage which has not been registered with
civil authorities of the country in which it was celebrated; or

either of the partners was clearly not domiciled in the country where the
took place and, under the law of the country of domicile, the type
of marriage
entered into would not be valid; or
• a previous marriage was
ended by a divorce obtained in a different country from
the one where the
marriage, which it purports to dissolve, was celebrated, and
neither spouse
i. habitually resident in the country where the divorce was obtained;
ii. a national of the country where the divorce was obtained; or
iii. domiciled in the country where the divorce was obtained (see
DIVORCE).(For this purpose each State of the United States of America
is regarded as a separate country); or
• it is a "common law" marriage (see paragraph 10 below)

Therefore point 1 above clearly shows that it will complicate matters if both man and woman are not muslims. Point 2 would be satisfied if done under Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961. Point 3 would be satisfied by her Pakistani visa and my National ID Card. Point 4 would be satisfied by her Decree Absolute. Point 4 would be clearly satisfied since the definition of “common law” marriage is:

10.1 A common law "marriage" is one which has not been
contracted in accordance with
civil or ecclesiastical laws but:
• was
entered into by private agreement; and
• has existed for a long

A further description of Muslim Family Laws Ordinance:

15.10.1 The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 came into effect
on 15 July 1961 and applies to all Muslim citizens of Bangladesh and Pakistan
(and possibly some other Muslim countries), wherever they may be. It provides
for all Muslim (or Mohammedan) marriages to be registered by a Nikah Registrar appointed by the Union Council. The Pakistan courts have, in the past, refused to recognise marriages which have not been registered in accordance with the Ordinance. Polygamy (up to 4 wives) is allowed on condition that the man obtains permission for each marriage from the
Arbitration Council. The Ordinance is regarded as directive rather than mandatory since it makes no reference to the validity of marriages which do not conform to its requirements.

Another interesting bit to notice. Clearly this shows marriages in Pakistan are recognized by default if done in Muslim manner:

15.10.3 See also the paragraphs relating to marriage in Bangladesh and Pakistan, as
appropriate. Where a Muslim ceremony has taken place in a country other than Pakistan
or Bangladesh, the appropriate entry on the country concerned should first be consulted.
If doubt remains as to the validity of a Muslim marriage, the case may be referred to
INPD for advice.

Another point to notice as below. If conversion of religion does not take place then the Christian Marriage Act 1872 kicks in:

15.12 Pakistan
15.12.1 Most marriages in Pakistan are in
accordance with the Muslim religion, and are
governed by the Muslim Family
Laws Ordinance 1961 (see
15.10 above).
15.12.2 Under the Child Marriage
Restraint Act 1929, the minimum age for a Muslim
girl's marriage was 14, and
18 for a boy. The girl's age was raised to 16 by the Muslim
Family Laws
Ordinance 1961, and the boy's remained at 18. Although child marriages
illegal, and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment, they are
regarded as valid.
15.12.3 The Christian Marriage Act 1872
provides for marriages in Pakistan when at
least one of the parties is a
Christian. Such a marriage solemnised other than in
accordance with the
provisions of the 1872 Act would be void.
Any comments would be welcome here but apparently from what I've seen, the Pakistani marriage certificate is usually accepted by the British Embassy.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Pakistani Citizenship, Visa, and Visa Extention for British Woman

I will discuss on how a British Woman, marrying a Pakistani Man in Pakistan can have her Pakistani visa extended and ultimately gain Pakistani citizenship.

Getting a Pakistani Visa

In Pakistan, all foreign nationals are required to have a visa. However there are certain countries with this Pakistan has Visa Abolition Agreement. The Pakistani High Commission (Diplomatic Mission) in London issues the visa and the Immigration Officer holds the final decision of allowing foreign nationals into Pakistani territory.

The initial Visit Visa will be given for a period of 3 months maximum, 1 month minimum.

I will also send a letter of invitation to my girlfriend, having my National ID Card photocopy, bank statement, write-up of how I plan to provide her accommodation take care of her while she is here.

She will also use CIBT UK, a travel document and expediting service, which will help her get the Pakistani Visa by post since she lives 400 miles away from the PHC London.

The Visit Visa is granted usually in 2 working days and being called for an interview is at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.

She will also need medical documents to prove the medication she will be carrying to the Customs officials at the Pakistani airport. She will also find out from PHC if any special medical form is required to be filled (rules may change).

The documents she will submit will include all those listed under the “General Requirements” heading below. Along with these she will also include the Letter of Invitation sent by me, proof of residency (Photocopy of Birth Certificate or NI Card), letter from Travel Agency or air tickets proving the date of travel.

The fees she will pay is listed under the “Visit/Tourist Visa” heading below.

From PHC London website:

General Requirements (for all visas)
Note: NO appointment is required for Visa application
Applicants will be entertained on first come first served basis during application
processing time.

For all types of visas, please submit the following:

Duly filled Visa Form

Original passport (valid for at least six months) along with its photocopy

Two recent passport size photographs (with white background)

Any other document(s) that can be helpful in obtaining a visa

For additional requirements please see the details of required Visa category. Please note that Visa is valid for the period mentioned in the visa sticker, which is calculated from the date of issue. The period of stay is counted from the date of entry into Pakistan.

Visit/Tourist Visa
If the Visa Officer is satisfied about the purpose of a visit an appropriate visa is issued to a
visitor or a tourist holding a British Passport.

Fee Single entry: £53 + 2 (Bank Charges)
Double entry: £76 + 2 (Bank Charges)
Multiple entries: £240 + 2 (Bank Charges)

Family Visa
A single, Double or Multiple entry visa is issued to British passport holders for a family visit to

Concession in fee for dual Pakistani Nationals For dual nationals holding British passport with a valid / expired Pakistani passport, a fee concession is available on the Single Entry Visa only. Concessional fees (for these dual nationals) are as following:

FeeAge 18 years and above: £27 + 2 (Bank Charges)
Age below 18 years: £13 + 2 (Bank Charges)

Important Note
Visa is liable to be cancelled if information requested in the form is withheld or found to be
British nationals not resident in UK should apply for Visa in their respective countries of residence.
Other national should apply for visa from their countries of origin.
Visitors to UK are not entertained for grant of Visas.
Visa is usually given on the same day. Delays, however, can occur due to circumstances beyond the High Commission’s control, especially where a reference has to be made to Pakistan.

Visa fee is subject to periodical revision without notice.
Visa fee is charged per person and not per passport. If children are endorsed in the passport
additional fee will be charged.
Fee is only payable in cash or postal order made out in the name of the High Commission for Pakistan. Personal cheques are not accepted.
Visa fee is not refundable even if visa is refused.

Note: £ 2.00 mentioned with all fees above is bank surcharge per application for consular services being charged at all Pakistan Consulates including London

Contact Visa Department
Visa Helpline: 020 7664 9275
Above number can be called between the following hours (Monday to Friday): 10:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 5:30pm

From CIBT UK website:

Visa Type:Tourist Single
Nationality:British Subject
Visa Required:Yes

1. Applicants holding expired Pakistani passports will be given reduced
fees, email for further information.

2. Applicants residing in Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester or Glasgow cannot
apply in London, but must apply to their nearest embassy representation.

Passport (valid at least
6 Months beyond stay)
UK Residency (Required)
1 application form(s)
2 passport photo(s)
Copy/Original hotel confirmation
Copy/Original itinerary

Other Requirements:


1. Copy of the information page(s) of the passport.

2. EU passport holders are required to submit a recent untility bill/bank statement showing their current UK address.

3. Letter from travel agency confirming the client has booked through & is
travelling with them.


1. Visa fees are variable depending on nationlity, the above quote is for a UK passport holder.

2. The High Commission reserves the right to refer an application and request further documentation upon application or a personal interview.

Processing Time: 2 Working Days
Visa valid for [At the discretion of the consulate]
Maximum duration of stay is [At the discretion of the consulate]

Fee Details:
Consular Visa Fee:£55.00
Handling Fee:£37.00
Royal Mail Special Delivery (Monday -
Friday next day by 1pm):£6.17
Rates given are for one person, exclusive of VAT, and are estimates only. Additional fees may

Extending Visa once in Pakistan

Once in Pakistan, the Directorate General Immigration and Passports is responsible for extending the visa.

In case of marriage between Pakistani man and British woman, the woman can get her visa extended for up to 1 year. If she manages to stay in Pakistan for a period of 5 years (during which she will get her visa extended after every year), she will ultimately get Pakistani Citizenship.

From Directorate General Immigration and Passports website:

Foreign ladies married to Pakistani nationals(Documents required other than mentioned in the form)

Prescribed application form F ( in quadruplicate)

An affidavit on Rs.20/- non judicial stamp paper from the applicant regarding detail facts of the case.

A similar affidavit from the husband on Rs.20/- non judicial stamp paper.

An affidavit duly supported by documentary evidence about her stay in Pakistan for a period of 05 years.

Photostat copies of relevant pages of applicant s foreign passport.

Photostat copy of residential permit.

Photocopy of marriage certificate.

Photostat copy of domicile certificate of the applicant ( in case of applicant other than Commonwealth Citizen)

List of close-relations residing in India on the prescribed form.

Photostat copies of Pakistan Citizenship Certificate/Domicile Certificate of the applicant s husband (in case the husband has been issued such certificate).

Six color photographs with light blue background size 2X1 1/2. One attested on front and one on back by Notary public/Oath Commissioner.

Photostat copies of the relevant pages of the Pakistani passport or National identity card of the husband.

NOTE: All of the mentioned documents may be attested by Notary public/Oath Commissioner except the photographs which have to be attested in a manner specified at sub para

Bank challan of prescribed amounts Rs.200/-

Oath of allegiance taken before 1st Class Magistrate (in case of citizen other than

Attested copy of domicile of the lady (in case of citizens other than commonwealth).

Two certificates form two different Government Officers not less than B-17 confirming the date national status of the applicants husband. Such certificates must also indicate the date and place of birth of the applicant s husband and his income.

Applications form can either be submitted to Directorate General Immigration & Passports Islamabad or its RPO at Lahore & Karachi or in the offices of Deputy Commissioners of other
Districts in Pakistan.

Dual Nationality

Government of Pakistan has dual nationality arrangements with the following 16 countries.

USA (United States of
New Zealand

The nationals of these countries are not required to renounce their nationality while acquiring Pakistan Citizenship.

Renunciation of Pakistan Citizenship

Any citizen pf Pakistan residing outside Pakistan, who is not a minor and is also a citizen or national of another country or has been given by the competent authority of another country any valid document assuring him/her of the grant of citizenship or nationality of that other country, shall make a declaration of renunciation of citizenship of Pakistan in Form X (in duplicate) to the Directorate General Immigration & Passports Islamabad through Pakistan Mission abroad.

The person concerned will cease to be citizen of Pakistan from the date of such registration of renunciation of Pak citizenship.

Where a male person ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan under Section 14A(I) of Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951.

Every such minor child of that person as is residing outside Pakistan shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of Pakistan provided any such child may, within one year of his completing the age of 21 years, make a declaration that he wishes to resume the citizenship of Pakistan and shall upon making of such declaration become a citizen of Pakistan.

Every such minor of that person as is residing in Pakistan shall continue to be a citizen of Pakistan.

The fee for renunciation applications is RS-500/- only.

Registration of Birth of a Child of Citizen of Pakistan Born in Country Outside Pakistan

The birth of such children may be reported by the parents or guardians on Form S to the Pakistan Mission abroad within a period of six months.Annual Registration by a Citizen of Pakistan Resident Abroad Citizen of Pakistan are required to get themselves registered with Pakistan Mission abroad annually on form I Citizenship Forms.

Definition of minor in Pakistani Law is an individual under 21 years of age. Only in special circumstances are foreign minors allowed to gain citizenship.

The law also takes into consideration the 1948 British Nationality Act. Some individuals are considered as “British protected persons” because of the act.

The law for citizenship in Pakistan is 1951 Pakistan Citizenship Act.

All foreign nationals coming into Pakistan are required visas with the following exceptions:

• Foreign nationals holding Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) of any citizenship for unlimited or long-term residence;

• Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago or Tonga for unlimited or long-term residence;

• Citizens ofMaldives, Zambia, and Iceland for a maximum of three (3) months;

• foreign nationals of Nepal and Samoa for a maximum of thirty (30) days;

• Chinese nationals with passports issued in Hong Kong for a maximum of thirty (30) days;

• holders of UN Laissez-passer; and

• individuals who are in transit within twenty-four (24) hours by the first or same connecting aircraft provided that they have onward or return documentation, and these passengers are also not allowed to leave the airport premises.

Two types of visas are available for Pakistan entry

• Tourist Visa

• Business Visa

These can be further categorized according to the number of entries, such as:

• Single transit.

• Multiple entry.

Foreign Man wanting to marry Pakistani Woman

Pakistan Citizenship Act currently allows a foreigner girl marrying a Pakistani man to get Pakistani citizenship but not vice versa.

Recently, this question of gender equality got a boost from Federal Shariat Court in Pakistan as they declared the Pakistani Citizenship Act, 1951, to be discriminatory against women. On December 19, 2007, the Federal Shariat Court has asked the president of Pakistan to amend the Pakistan Citizenship Act within six months so that a woman’s foreign husband could get Pakistani citizenship, just like a foreign women married to Pakistani men.

Other Information

Visitors who have stayed more than thirty (30) days in Pakistan are required to report and register to the nearest Foreigners Registration Office. Special precautions are provided for travel to the Northern Areas, Province of North West Frontier and Baluchistan. Israel foreign nationals are not allowed by the Government of Pakistan to enter, even for transit. Afghanistan foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the country if their passports or tickets provide evidence of boarding or transit in India.

Pakistan Missions abroad have the authority to grant tourist visas for three (3) months validity and stay with double entry to foreign nationals of List-A comprised of 175 countries. RPOs have the authority to extend tourist visas up to a maximum of six (6) months, which includes the initial visa period and condone overstay up to fifteen (15) days upon payment of visa fee. For Northern Areas, the Deputy Commissioners have the authority to extend visa for three (3) months and one (1) re-entry to the tourists in Northern Areas, with visa fees charged for every policy.

Applications should be forwarded to the Consulate or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission. Documents required include:

• Original passport and photocopy valid for six (6) months beyond the planned duration of stay
• One (1) application form
• Two (2) passport-size photos
• Confirmed return or onward ticket
• Proof of adequate funds for the duration of stay
• Fee payable in cash or postal order only
• Letter of invitation from Pakistan-based companies (for business trips).

The time it takes for visa issuance will depend on the nationality of the applicant. Pilgrim visas usually take two (2) months to process. The prices of visas vary depending on the nationality of the applicant as well as the type of entry (single, double, or multiple entry). On average, prices can range anywhere between £45 to £90. Prices tend to be cheaper for Pakistanis holding dual nationality. Applicants with parents who are Pakistani passport holders have the same concession, and are required to submit their parents’ original birth certificate and Pakistani passports. Some foreign nationals are issued visas for free, but acquisition should be done before traveling.All individuals entering Pakistan on specific assignments (official or business) should include all supporting letters and documents from sponsors or employees of all parties involved. The parties should indicate the nature of assignment, length of stay and names of companies or organizations involved, as well as the programs available, if there are any. Incomplete and unsigned documents will not be processed. The grant of a Pakistan visa cannot be considered as a right, and the issuing authority can refuse the application without having to provide any reason.Visitors arriving within six (6) days from any country with endemic yellow fever are required yellow fever vaccination certificates. Babies below six (6) months old are exempt if the mother has a vaccination certificate proving that she has been vaccinated before delivering the baby. All countries and areas within the endemic zone are considered as infected. Cholera vaccination certificates are no longer required per the WHO guidelines issued in 1973. However, special precautions are still advised.Typhoid precautions are also advised. Individuals who plan to stay for more than one (1) year in Pakistan are also required to show certification of being HIV-negative.


See Interior Division, Government of Pakistan Website.
All foreigners are exempted from registration with the Police except the nationals of following countries; as well as such other foreign nationals who are directed by the immigration authorities to report to FRO for registration and a stamp is affixed to this effect, on their passports.

LIST B Countries:

1. Algeria
2. Bangladesh
3. Bhutan
4. India
5. Iraq
6. Israel
7. Libya
8. Nigeria
9. P.L.O
10. Serbia
11. Somalia
12. Sri Lanka
13. Sudan
14. Tanzania
15. Uganda
16. Yeman

Registeration with LOCATE

For more information see the website of Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This is not obligatory, but recommended for tourists.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marriage in Pakistan: British Woman, Conversion to Islam, In Pakistan

Although Pakistan allows mixed marriages between Christians and Muslims, but the reality is quite different. Since me and my girlfriend plan to marry in Pakistan, she will be converting to a Muslim. This decision led to a lot of questions, some of which I’ll share with you. I've got the answers after asking a lot of people, including emailing different mosques in UK.

1. If she gets converted to islam in UK, would she need to memorize the Arabic Quranic ayats, at least the kalma and all? Or would her knowledge of Quran in English would do ok?

She will need to memorize the first kalma and that’s all. Her knowledge of Quran can be in English.

2. If she is converted to muslim, will she have to change her name as well? I want her to convert to a sunni muslim, would it be a requirement that she changes her name? Note that her name as I told you is not of the biblical or jewish origin. Also note that mohammad ali the boxer changed his name from cassius clay upon conversion to islam. Will it be a MUST for her to legally change her name to a muslim name and put it in british government records too, or will her new muslim name be only for cosmetic purposes and she wont be required to use it legally?

She will not need to change her name if it is not a name having a bad meaning. If her name is of Christian origin, or Jewish, then that will do fine as well. She can even keep her family name after marriage.

3. If she changes her religion, what are the chances of her being harassed by the british government for being a muslim? Or no chances at all? Will she still enjoy the same status and benefits as she is now, as a white Caucasian UK citizen?

Apparently they can’t discriminate you on the basis of religion in the UK.

4. When she comes to Pakistan, converted to a muslim, will it be accepted by our Pakistani government, her new religion? Will it be valid for our marriage in Pakistan?

Yes it will be.

5. Would it be better if she converts here in Pakistan?

Both will do fine, but we decided it would be better to do it in Pakistan as there are different sects of Muslims and that might cause conflict later on.

6. How much would she need to pay to become a muslim in uk? Is there any fee?

Depends on the mosque, very nominal usually.

7. After she has converted to a muslim in uk, where will she need to submit the documents, with which authority in UK?

She will be given a Shahada certificate by the mosque. It will be legal proof of her being a Muslim.

8. How long does it take to get her converted to muslim in uk?

Hardly half an hour.

9. What kind of questions will the molvi ask her during conversion?

Basic questions about Islam and Prophet Muhammad, as well as the first Kalima and about the pillars of Islam.

10. Will she need to wear Pakistani clothes and cover her head during conversion?

Yes because that’s considered the norm in the country. She will also need to have at least one witness with her.

Is a disabled person with mobility problems, on a Spouse Visa in UK, given any of assistance to enable him to go to work, like a car or wheelchair?

As a disabled person who will be on Spouse Visa in the UK, I was worried about the possible dilemma I might face once there to be able to commute between work and home. In Pakistan I have a car and driving license and therefore this problem never occurred here, but over there in UK I wont have the money to buy a car before I find a job. This will put me in a catch-22 where I wont be able to buy a car because I don’t have a job and I won’t be able to do a job cause I don’t have a car. Since I walk using crutches, walking long distances is impossible for me. I can only walk non-stop for 15 minutes max at a time.

Getting a wheelchair is another option, but it would take me a while to learn to be on the wheelchair since I have never used one before. And the electronic ones cost a lot. Therefore I went on to research a bit on this issue.

Apparently there is a Motability scheme. However being on Spouse Visa, since I will be able to have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), and the eligibility requirements for Motability scheme are:
· Higher Rate Mobility Component (HRMC) of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - currently £46.75 per week - or,
· War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement (WPMS) - currently £52.25 per week.

Therefore since I wont be able to receive benefits, I wont be eligible for DLA, hence I wont be eligible for motability. This means I wont be able to claim a scooter, powered wheelchair, or a car.

The definition of public funds is as below:
attendance allowance, severe disablement allowance, carer's allowance and disability living allowance under Part III of the Social Security Contribution and Benefits Act 1992;, income support, council tax benefit and housing benefit under Part VII of that Act; a social fund payment under Part VIII of that Act; child benefit under Part IX of that Act; income based jobseeker's allowance under the Jobseekers Act 1995, state pension credit under the State Pension Credit Act 2002; or child tax credit and working tax credit under Part 1 of the Tax Credits Act 2002.

Now as a disabled person living legally in the UK on Spouse Visa, I would be entitled to a community care assessment under the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. Therefore my needs can be assessed as eligible for a service under the local authorities Fair Access to Care (FAC) criteria.

Now if you’d take a look at this you'd notice:
The National Assistance Act gives local authorities the power and the responsibility to provide accommodation and subsistence to people who are destitute, vulnerable as a result of old age, illness or disability and in need of care and attention. For the majority of the population its provisions are largely superseded by welfare benefits and housing legislation. However failed asylum seekers are not eligible to apply for state benefits or Council Housing. Therefore the provisions of the National Assistance Act may apply.

Therefore it clearly states that since for the majority of the population its provisions are largely superseded by welfare benefits and housing legislation, therefore I may avail the assistance given by NAA. But, the catch here is that the duty to assess those who may be eligible for services lies in the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 Section 46.

There is also a scheme called “Access to Work”.
According to Directgov website:
You may be able to get Access to Work if you are:
· in a paid job
· unemployed and about to start a job
· self-employed

The definition of Public Funds, as in para 6 of the Immigration Rules, does not include the "Access to Work" scheme. This clearly means that I, being a non-EEA national, on Spouse Visa (time limited visa) will be able to avail this scheme. The Disability Employment Adviser at the local jobcentre will analyse the disability and give appropriate help.

According to the Directgov site:
Whatever your employment status, Access to Work will also pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs of help with:
· support workers
· fares to work
· communicator support at interview

Access to Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if all of the following apply to you:
· you're working for an employer
· you've been in the job for six weeks or more
· you need special equipment or adaptations to premises

Therefore it shows that I would atleast be given a wheelchair and I have heard that they might even pay taxi fares. Anyway so after reading all this, I thought I’d share it with those of you who might a face similar problem. Things look good so far to me.

Documents needed to prepare the Spouse Visa application

The documents required will vary with your given scenario. Our situation is such that I am in Pakistan, and my girlfriend is in UK. We met each other on the internet. Moreover I have mobility related disability. My girlfriend is also in receipt of public funds. She is divorced, and has kids from her previous marriage. All these factors complicated our case, but these might not relate to you. Nevertheless what I’ve mentioned below will cover at least the minimum requirements.
The requirements to enter as a spouse are contained within paragraph 281 of the Immigration Rules. Those requirements are similar to those set out above, and again may be summarized as follows:
(i) The Applicant is married to a person present and settled in the United Kingdom.
(ii) The parties to the marriage have met.
(iii) Each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other and the marriage is subsisting.
(iv) There will be adequate accommodation for the parties and any dependents without recourse to public funds.
(v) The parties will be able to maintain themselves and any dependents without recourse to public funds.
(vi) Entry clearance has been granted before travel.

If a marriage application is granted, then the standard procedure is to issue an entry clearance for 27 months. Before expiry of that entry clearance, the applicant must make a further application to remain in the United Kingdom. This application would be for permanent residence, and the applicant would need to have passed the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test in order for the application to succeed.

Documents needed from Sponsor

General Documents
1. Copy / Original Sponsors Passport
2. Sponsors Birth Certificate
3. National Insurance Card / Number
4. Travel documents such as airplane tickets of Sponsor
5. Decree Absolute of Sponsor
6. Covering letter from Solicitor of the Sponsor
7. Sponsorship statement from Sponsor stating background of relationship with the Applicant, feelings for the Applicant, future plans with the Applicant, financial circumstances of the Sponsor with relation to the Applicant, accommodation of the Sponsor in relation to the Applicant (Form SUO7/01)

1. At least 3 months bank statements of Sponsor
2. Any other evidence of savings / investments of Sponsor
3. Details of all benefits received by the Sponsor
4. If any financial gift is received by the Sponsor by his relatives / friends, then the bank statement of the relative / friend should be given showing it won’t make a considerable financial loss to the relative / friend when the gift is given to the Sponsor. It should also accompany a letter from the relative / friend explaining reason why the gift was given as well as how the relative / friend has sufficient resources so as to not ask for that financial gift back
5. Budget of Sponsor showing how presence of the Applicant will not lead to any additional recourse to public funds
6. Evidence that the Sponsor is able to save from the benefits she is in receipt of
7. Detailed description of the source of all the debits (inflow of money) in the bank
8. Utility bills of the Sponsor to help explain the budget
9. CV of the Sponsor

Letters of Support
1. Letters of support from children of the Sponsor
2. Letters of support from family and friends of Sponsor

1. Description of available accommodation, letter from landlord confirming there is no objection to Applicants stay, a description of the property such as number of rooms and persons in the house, chartered surveyors report if possible, original or true copy of tenancy agreement, emphasis on overcrowding

1. Evidence of previous employment of Sponsor
2. Evidence of current employment of Sponsor
3. Letter of recommendation from previous employers
4. Proof of all previous employment
5. Job offers / vacancies for the Applicant in UK


1. Evidence of previous qualifications of Sponsor
2. Academic degrees / qualifications of the Sponsor

Proof of Contact
1. Documents evidencing genuineness of relationship such as photographs, SMS, e-mails, telephone bills, greeting cards, letters, voice chat logs, video chat logs, and gifts

Medical History
1. Disability certificate of the Sponsor as well as any other medical documents, while clearly stating that she is fit to work

Documents needed from Applicant

General Documents
1. Settlement Form VAF(4)
2. Original passport of Applicant
3. T.B Medical Certificate
4. Biometric Test Report
5. Copy of National ID Card (NADRA) (True Copy)
6. Letter from Applicant describing the background of relationship (timeline formatted), emphasis on disability and ability to work, emphasis on age difference being not a problem, academic background, professional background, plans in the UK

1. Receipts of any money sent /transferred to the Sponsor with explanation
2. At least 3 months bank statements of Applicant
3. Any other evidence of savings / investments of Applicant
4. If any financial gift is received by the Applicant by his relatives / friends, then the bank statement of the relative / friend should be given showing it won’t make a considerable financial loss to the relative / friend when the gift is given to the Applicant. It should also accompany a letter from the relative / friend explaining reason why the gift was given as well as how the relative / friend has sufficient resources so as to not ask for that financial gift back
5. Detailed description of the source of all the debits (inflow of money) in the bank

Letters of Support
1. Letters of support from family and friends of Applicant

1. At least 3 months wage slips of Applicant
2. Job offers / vacancies for the Applicant in UK
3. Evidence of previous employment of Applicant
4. Evidence of current employment of Applicant
5. Letter of recommendation from previous employers
6. CV of the Applicant
7. NOC from current employer.

1. Academic degrees / qualifications of the Applicant
2. Evidence of previous qualifications of Applicant

1. Original Marriage Certificate (Urdu)
2. English translated Marriage Certificate (Preferably from UK)
3. Honeymoon documentation such as hotel reservations
4. Video of wedding (DVD)
5. Pictures of wedding
6. Wedding cards
7. Deposit Marriage Certificate (Original and Translation) with GRO and British High Commission Islamabad.

Proof of Contact

1. Documents evidencing genuineness of relationship such as photographs, SMS, e-mails, telephone bills, greeting cards, letters, voice chat logs, video chat logs, and gifts
2. Pictures taken together while spending time together

Medical History
1. Disability certificate of the Applicant as well as any other medical documents, while clearly stating that he is fit to work


1. All copies from Sponsor should be certified as “true copies” by a solicitor
2. All documents should be grouped in a file with contents and index
3. Originals should be sent wherever possible
4. If you are willing to relocate for work once in the UK do mention this
5. No fixed amount of capital is needed to ensure fulfillment of the financial requirement but to be on safe side, at least 3000 pounds should be with the Applicant or Sponsor or both
6. The documents should be on A4 size paper
7. The folder should have A4 size plastic wallets
8. Police registeration is not required for Pakistani Citizens. See ECB 16 - Police Registeration on UKBA website for details.


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner