MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE & UK SPOUSE VISA

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MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE & UK SPOUSE VISA

Postby spatel07 » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:49 pm

Hello everybody!

First of all, let me say that this website is very useful and interesting. I was wondering if anyone could help me with the following:

Basically, I have been issued with a 2 year 'multiple' spouse settlement visa for the UK as my wife is a British Citizen. Now, through some research on the internet including the Home Office website, it has come to my attention that one can obtain permanent residency (Indefinite leave to remain) status if one has been married to their British spouse for more than 4 years.

Before I made the application, I wanted to be sure that I had all the correct documents. Therefore, I seeked some guidance from an agent and was told that all was fine except for my marriage certificate! He advised me that the British High Commission in Kenya (my country of residence) will reject my application as I held a 'Hindu marriage certificate'.

I have been married to my wife for over 25 years and we got married in Kenya (Please note, this certificate is recognised as a valid legal document in Kenya) To my dis-belief, I was advised by the agent to get re-married to my wife in a civil court in order to obtain a 'civil' marriage certificate. Therefore, we got married again and obtained the civil certificate.

I lodged the application with the relevant documents some of which included (joint bank statement, title deed of house jointly owned by my wife and myself in the UK, bills, etc....) Also, in the application, I clearly stated that I was married to my wife for over 25 years and that I got re-married again. Also, I included in the application my hindu marriage certificate and my new civil certificate. After waiting for a month, my application was approved without any sort of interview.

Six months passed from the issue date of the spouse visa before I visited the UK. This is because of business commitments. On arrival, there were no problems at the airport. During my stay in the UK, I visited a solicitor to advise me on my status and how to obtain permanent residency if I could.

To my horror, he told me that I was in for some bad luck! He basically told me that because I got married again to obtain a civil marriage certificate, that's where the problem was. He told me that the BHC counted my marriage from the date I got re-married! He told me that he didn't know exactly why the BHC were not accepting the Hindu marriage certificate as he had come accross this problem with some of his previous clients.

Because of this, I am stuck in a difficult position as I have returned back to Kenya because of business commitments. I simply haven't got enough time to sell up and move to the UK. Is there anyone out there who can help or give me some positive news?

Thank you for reading my long story!

Kind regards,

S. Patel
spatel07
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Postby Smit » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:20 pm

Jambo bwana Patel,

Yes, as you found out, the BHC in Nairobi does not accept "religious" marriage certificates despite them being recognised as valid for other purposes in Kenya. Many other British Embassies in other countries have the same policy. Therefore the BHC did not take your religious marriage certficate into account.

Furthermore, as I understand it, the Entry Clearance Officer at the High Commission has discretion whether to grant indefinite leave to enter to a spouse who has lived outside the UK for 4 years or more, it is not an entitlement.

You would normally have been eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK 28 days before the expiry of your spouse visa but because you delayed entry to the UK for 6 months after it was issued, you will have to apply for further leave to remain in the UK before your current visa expires rather than indefinite leave, which will only be granted after 2 years have elapsed from the time you first entered the UK on your spouse visa.

Pole, this may not be the news you wanted to hear.

Smit
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Postby spatel07 » Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:39 pm

Thanks for your reply Smit, that was quick! I thought no one would bother replying, guess I was wrong. By the way, Jambo to you too!

As you stated, I will have to apply for further leave to remain in the UK before my current visa expires as I delayed my entry. Also, by doing this, is it a requirement that I have to stay in the UK after obtaining the extension on the visa? or can I go back to Kenya and just return 2 months or so before the extension expires and then apply for Indefinite leave to remain 28 days before the visa expires?

Also, will it be a problem if my wife spends a few months in the UK with my children and will this be a problem when applying for the ILR?

Thanks mate.
spatel07
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Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:56 pm

Postby Smit » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:09 am

Have a look at this thread:

http://www.immigrationboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=9376

Just a word of caution, and it seems that many Kenyan Asians fail to understand this: Spouse visas and indefinite leave to remain/enter visas are normally issued to gain UK residence, not to be used as glorified Visitors Visas.

You have to spend a good couple of hours on this forum and you will become much wiser.

I personally know of more than 2 cases where indefinite leave held by Kenyan Asians was curtailled at port of entry as the immigration officer deemed that such people were not permanently/normally resident in the UK as is a requirement of the Immigration Rules.

Of course if on the other hand you obtain British Citizenship, there is no risk that it can be taken away from you unless in the most exceptional circumstances.

Good luck
Smit
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Location: London

Postby Kayalami » Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:22 pm

spatel07,

1. The British Government policy is to acknowledge as valid any marriage that is in turn valid in the jurisdiction where such took place. My understanding is that Hindu Marriages are recognised as official marriages under Kenyan Law - ref Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act (Cap. 157, Laws of Kenya) so not sure what the issue is here with your Hindu Marriage certificate.

2. My initial interpretation is that you have not resided 'together' with your spouse outside the UK for a minimum of 4 years consecutively preeceding the settlement application. If indeed this is the case the BHC have correctly followed the immigration rules.
Kayalami
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Postby spatel07 » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:41 am

Dear Kayalami

Thanks for your input. The problem lies with my Hindu marriage certificate. The BHC for some reason and without any reason do not accept Hindu marriage certificates as a valid proof of marriage.

It's the marriage certificate and this was confirmed by the solicitor I visited whilst I was in the UK. He told me that I put my foot in it by getting re-married to my wife in order to obtain a civil marriage certificate from the Kenyan authoriries.

This is kind of confusing because one of my friends contacted the BHC in Nairobi and was told that he had to register his marriage with the Kenyan authorities as Hindu marriage certificates were not being accepted as a valid proof of marriage!

Also, last year, another friend of mine got issued with a 2 year spouse visa. When he visited the UK, he seeked advise from a solicitor and was advised that he was entitled to indefinite leave to remain straight away as he had a civil marriage certificate which proved that he was married for over several years. The BHC replied by simply saying that they made a mistake in issuing the visa. Surprisingly, he got his indefinite leave to remain status at the home office in the UK!

It's totally true as you have stated in your reply that Hindu Marriages are recognised as official marriages under Kenyan Law - ref Hindu Marriage and Divorce Act (Cap. 157, Laws of Kenya). I have contacted other immigration advisory companies in the UK and have been told that as long as the country where you got married in accepts your Hindu marriage certiciate, the BHC would have no problem accepting it!

To be honest, I'm totally confused and in a way feel I have been cheated!

Thanks.
spatel07
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Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:56 pm


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