Spouse Visa for Pakistani Applicants. (Updated August 2015)
PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT BEFORE THE FOLLOWING NOTEShttps://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... t_2015.pdf
Hello and welcome. I have prepared this document to help and guide those of you who have got married to someone who is present and settled in the United Kingdom. In order to join your spouse in the UK, you have to first of all obtain the necessary visa to join your spouse.
A spouse visa is issued to applicants who have married a British citizen (or the person is a permanent resident of the UK).
It is issued by the British High Commission/Embassy where the applicant has a claim to normal residence or citizenship.
The visa itself runs for 60 months (5 years in total) and is probationary.
You will be initially granted a visa for 30 months. If you remain married and live together you will apply for Further Leave to Remain ( FLR) for a further 30 months. After you have been here for 59 months and approaching your 60th month, you will apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (known as ILR or permanent stay).
Please note if at any time during the period you obtained the visa to your application for FLR or ILR, your marriage breaks up, your visa will be curtailed (cancelled) and you may be returned to Pakistan.
During the probationary period, the applicant cannot seek access to public funds (See list below of what are termed as “public funds”.
Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:
• income-based jobseeker’s allowance
• income support
• child tax credit
• universal credit
• working tax credit
• a social fund payment
• child benefit
• housing benefit
• council tax benefit
• council tax reduction
• domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)
• state pension credit
• attendance allowance
• severe disablement allowance
• personal independence payment
• carer’s allowance
• disability living allowance
• an allocation of local authority housing
• local authority homelessness assistance
Public funds do not include benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. National Insurance is paid in the same way as income tax and is based on earnings. Benefits to which a person is entitled as a result of National Insurance contributions include:
• contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance
• incapacity benefit
• retirement pension
• widow’s benefit and bereavement benefit
• guardian’s allowance
• statutory maternity pay
They can however take up employment and may use the facilities offered by the UK’s National Health Service.
In order for the spouse application to be successful, it is important that good evidence is provided by the applicant at the time of application.
A successful application for a spouse visa will generally include documentary evidence of both the applicant and their sponsor. It must be noted that some Consulates are more rigorous than others, and some applicant profiles invite more scrutiny than others.
Where to apply for a visa in Pakistan.
In the past anyone applying for a British visa in Pakistan would normally visit and make an application at the Embassy in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Unfortunately due to the terror threats in Pakistan, this is no longer possible.
Instead the British Embassy uses its service provider, Gerry’s FedEx for applicants to lodge certain documents(Applicants passport and biometrics only) in Islamabad, Mirpur, Lahore and Karachi.
The rest of the application and supporting document are now sent to UKBA offices in Sheffield England. The address for supporting documentation to be sent to is:Where should I send supporting documents
The address for supporting documentation to be sent to is:
The Portergate – Level 1 (Home Office - UKVI)
257 Ecclesall Road
United Kingdom https://www.gov.uk/government/world-loc ... n-pakistan
Entry Clearance Officers will look at each application and make a decision to either grant or refuse a visa.
Here are the details of Gerry’s offices in Pakistan where the applicant will have to hand in certain docs and have their biometrics donehttp://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/Pakistan/app ... entre.html
Most of the present day applications are decided on the basis of the documents provided with the applications. On some occasions it might be necessary to interview the applicant at the Embassy in Islamabad
All evidence should be in the form of originals or certified copies. While not strictly required, it can be helpful and save time to make an additional photocopy of each document submitted.
It is recommended and advisable that the applicant make a copy of the entire application package in the event that documents are lost in the post or misplaced by the consulate.
Most of the documents submitted as evidence will be returned to the applicant once the consulate has processed them.
There is a possibility that certain original documents may be kept by the Consulates as proof of evidence if the visa is refused and the matter goes to an Appeal Hearing
Documents to be provided by Applicants
Applications will only be accepted at the visa application centre if Applicants:
• provide their passport
• provide your biometric data.
• Provide confirmation of submission of online application form.
NHS Surcharge Fee
The applicant or their sponsor needs complete and pay an online NHS surcharge FEE (£600) prior to completing the ONLINE VISA APPLICATION FORM.
To do this go to the following website and register and complete the online information required. You will get a Reference number after you have paid fee. Please note this Refs number down as you will need to quote it on visa application formhttps://www.immigration-health-surcharg ... e.gov.uk/e
How to apply and complete form online
Prior to completing the online form, you must ask you’re your spouse in Pakistan to send you the following documents:
• English Test certificate
• TB test certificate
• Nikkah nammah
• 4 Photos of the applicant
• Any other docs in their possession ( like wedding photos/correspondence ) that you intend to submit with application.
• Once you have got these then start on Online visa application
• Go to https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/
• Register an Account ( this is usually done by the UK sponsor) (Note down the login details carefully)
• The sponsor will then complete the form on behalf of the applicant in Pakistan
• Make sure you have all the details required in the application at hand ( if not you can login again to complete any missing bits)
• Make sure you understand the questions before completing the details in it.
• Once you have completed the form and have checked and double checked all the info very carefully…..SAVE THE FORM ONLY……DO NOT SUBMITT AT THIS STAGE
• If the sponsor has all the supporting documents that they intend to send with application all ready, ONLY THEN SUBMITT AND PAY FOR THE VISA (AROUND £1195)
• Once submitted, print the Online Application form off
• Download form VAF4A Appendix 2 and hand complete the form.
• https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... endix2.pdf
• Once both forms completed and visa paid for, you need to ensure you can get these documents to Sheffield ASAP.(PREFERBALY WITHIN 10 DAYS AFTER ONLINE SUBMISSION
• AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER ………WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT ………AND THAT IS THE LAST BANK STATEMENT AND WAGE SLIP MUST BE NO OLDER THAN 28 DAYS BY THE TIME YOU SUBMIT THE ONLINE APPLICATION ……OTHERWISE THIS COULD HAVE SERRIOUS IMPLICATIONS ON APPLICATION………THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO TIME EVERYTHING LIKE CLOCKWORK.
Applicant's Tuberculosis (TB) test and Biometrics
All applicants must undertake a Biometric enrolment.
What is Biometrics?
All applicants must provide evidence of biometric enrolment. This is a matter of recording one's fingerprints and photograph at an approved biometric enrolment centre.
What to bring to the appointment
• The appointment confirmation. This is a page which becomes available once the appointment has been made. It may contain a bar code that links the enrolment to the application.
• Your passport. This is required for identification purposes
The enrolment process
You will be called to an enrolment station. This is an area which contains a fingerprint scanner (see photo) and a camera. Your identification will be checked once more and the process will begin. It generally involves the following steps...
• Your left hand fingers will be scanned
• Your right hand fingers will be scanned
• Your two thumbs will be scanned together
• Each finger will be rolled around the scanning plate so as to capture the entire forefinger
• Your photograph will be taken
Once the process begins, it takes between 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
Upon completion, the examiner will sign and stamp your form and return this to you.
NOTE: Once the enrolment process is complete, you have 10 days in which to send all of your evidence (including passport) to the British Consulate (or Visa Application Centre).
Tuberculosis (TB) test
Applicants from Pakistan must also show that they are free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Applicants will first be required to have a chest x-ray. If this shows signs of infection, they will be required to undergo further tests. The tests are carried out at designated medical centres and not just any health centre. Visa applicants are expected to pay for their screening and any subsequent treatment.
English Test Certificate
All applicants must undertake an English test with a UKBA approved provider listed belowhttps://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... entres.pdf
It is important to check before enrolling, as the above list changes on a regular basis
The minimum requirement is English Level A1 for applicants from Pakistan
Sponsors Supporting Documents
The following documents will be provided by the sponsor (spouse of the applicant settled in the UK) in addition to the above documents
This usually takes the form of the sponsor's British passport. It is not necessary to send the sponsors passport with the application, instead a certified copy (OF EVERY SINGLE PAGE) of it will suffice. Each page must be stamped and signed by a Public Notary Officer or a Solicitor.The sponsor's identification must confirm that the sponsor is at least 18 years old. If the sponsor is 18 years old or younger, the application will fail.
Evidence of marriage
This will be in the form of the original Nikkah Namma (In Urdu). A certified English translated one will also have to be produced with it at the same time. Beside this photographic evidence of the wedding will also have to be provided with at least one showing both couples sitting/standing next to each other in the same photo.
• This normally takes the form of a letter in which the sponsors explains his awareness and support of the application. Whilst it is not strictly necessary, a brief summary(of just a few paragraphs) of the relationship can be included which addresses:
• How and where you met
• How you have maintained contact
• The place and date of your marriage
• What plans you have made for living together in the UK
• Finally, if there are exceptional circumstances about the application, or if the sponsor is seeking a concession, it should be thoroughly explained here.
• The application must be supported by evidence which demonstrates that the applicant will not become reliant upon public funds. In the normal case, this takes the form of the sponsor/applicant (or co-sponsor) providing:
Bank statements for the previous 6 months prior to application, showing salary being regularly deposited or paid into the account: AND
Letter of Employment clearly stating the sponsor’s job title, numbers of hours worked per week and the gross yearly salary: AND
Salary slips for last the 6 months previous to the application; AND
The sponsor’s most recent P60 (in the absence of salary slips and if it is available).IT IA VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE LAST WAGE SLIP/BANK STATEMENT/EMPLOYMENT LETTER/HOUSING INSPECTION REPORT ARE NO OLDER THAN 28 DAYS AT TIME OF ONLINE APPLICATION
If the sponsor is self-employed, they must produce docs as required in document titled “Self employed Documents for visa”
If there are disproportionate deposits and withdrawals in the bank statements, they should be explained in the sponsor's letter.
Consulates are reluctant to accept bank statements printed out from e-banking accounts because these can be so easily forged. Prop
erly headed original statements can usually be obtained by visiting a branch office.
If the financial standing is marginal, and if the applicant has plans to work in the UK, a job offer letter can be included to bolster the application's strength; and failing all other evidence, the applicant may attach a CV (or academic credentials) which demonstrate favorable prospects. Note however, that this is generally the weakest form of evidence.
Accommodation (home owners)
• If the sponsor owns his home, he should include a certified copy of the property’s title deed showing this. If the sponsor has a mortgage, the appropriate entry from the Land Registry should be provided, and the mortgage payments should appear in the bank statements.
• If the sponsor rents a flat or house, the Shorthold Tenancy Agreement should be provided. If the applicant is not a signatory to the tenancy agreement, then an additional statement from the landlord (or estate agent) should be provided that attests to his agreement that the premises will be occupied by an additional person. If an existing tenancy agreement is to be used, it should have at least six months before expiry. If the tenancy agreement does not have at least six months before expiry, then an additional statement from the landlord showing intent to renew at the same terms should be provided.
• Accommodation (Living with Family Members)
• If you intend to live with your parents or other members of your family, you must get a letter from your them stating that they are prepared to allow you and your spouse to stay free( or pay a small contribution) in the property until such time that you can afford to buy or rent your own.
• Housing Inspection Report for Immigration Purposes
• This report can be obtained from your local Council (cost between £75- 125). The report will briefly outline the condition and state of the property, how many rooms it has, how many occupants intend to reside there. This is to ensure the property is habitable and is not overcrowded.This Report must be done no more than 28 days before online application
• Intervening Devotion
If the applicant and sponsor have been separated for a lengthy period of time before the application is submitted (for example, longer than 3 or 4 months), then evidence of intervening devotion should be included. This would normally take the form of telephone records or other forms of electronic communication. If the couples have lived separately for a longer period, travel receipts can be used to show that contact has been continual and proportionate.
If a prolonged separation is the result of mobility issues (which would include military duties or other foreign assignments), this would take the form of assignment letters or similar documentation.
When submitting email or instant messenger logs, it is important to bear in mind that intervening devotion means evidence of contact and not an exhaustive transcript of each on-line session.
• Other Documents
It would be helpful to send at least one or two utility bill. (Council Tax, Gas, Water, Electric or Telephone) if the sponsor is responsible for paying it.
Some Do’s and Don’ts before and after Applying
Prior to getting married or engaged, a number of things should be considered carefully and planned properly. Do not rush into things, which you will later regret. First and foremost consider whether getting married to some one abroad is the wise thing, particularly if you have not seen and met the person and their family.
Attempts should be made to find out about the background of the prospective spouse. Things such as their education background, prospective employment in the UK should be taken into account.
The marriage arrangements should be discussed and agreed openly with your parents. Evidence of such arrangements should be recorded (letters etc) as this would come very handy during the early stages of application.
Remember getting married to some one abroad can be an expensive matter. The cost of the initial application, to getting indefinite leave to remain, passing the English test, applying for British Nationality and passport will exceed £2500. If you are refused and have to appeal, then solicitors cost could be as much as £1000.
All these matters should be taken into consideration before committing yourself to someone from abroad. Beside the above, you will not be entitled to public funds/housing etc till indefinite leave to remain is granted.
There is a possibility of the marriage breaking down before the five years ILR is granted. If that happens your spouse may well be sent back. Remember the problems that may cause particularly if you are closely related to your spouse.
Do not be forced into a marriage. This is against British law and as well as Islam. Remember that there is a small minority of spouses whose only intention is to come and live in the UK through the marriage route.
Ok let’s go and have a look at some things you should be careful about after you have got married and are about to apply for your spouse visa.
1. ALWAYS make sure that you supply genuine documents. If genuine document such as those outlined above are not available, then explain why this is so. REMEMBER if you provide false or forged documents, your spouse visa will be refused and they will not be able to apply for another one till 10 YEARS have elapsed in some cases.
2. DO NOT use agents in Pakistan: It is well known fact that they can not be trusted and have known to have ripped some people of money and have provided them with little or no service.
3. Application Form: Make sure you carefully check the application before submitting online and then at FedEx, as once the application is submitted, you can then not make any changes to it if you spot an error afterwards
4. Bank Statements: Make sure you send 6 months of bank statements with your application form. The statements must be for the 6 months prior to the application and must correspond with the 6 months wage slip that you must also send. It must show your salary going into the bank if it’s paid direct into the bank. If you get paid weekly or cash in hand, IT IS VITAL you deposit this into your bank on the same day as your get paid ( You are free to withdraw the day after depositing it).THE LAST BANK STATEMENT MUST BE NO OLDER THAN 28 DAYS AT TIME OF ONLINE SUMISSION.
5. Employment Letters: Make sure the letter of employment is on headed paper and the letter contains the required information as the attached sample letter. Also supply at least 26 weekly or 6 months wage slips. If you have your last P60 send this as this is the best proof you can show what you have earned and how much Tax and NI you have paid. If you are self employed you need to send at least one or two years account that are certified and attested by a qualified accountant.
6. Wedding Photos: These are a must. They must be printed photographs. CD and films are not accepted by the Embassy. The photos must show the couple in their wedding dress and both husband and wife must be in at least one photo sat together. Do not provide photos that have been altered using photographic software. This will almost certainly lead to a refusal.
7. Letters/Phone cards/Means of Contact etc: If you have lived separately for some time, you must show how you have kept in touch and show that your marriage subsists (This is one of the moist common reason for refusal now).It is a common practice that we use cheap phone cards to call our relatives in Pakistan, but the trouble is that these cards do not show you have rung and spoken to your spouse. It is strongly advised that you use a phone where you can show an itemized bill for such calls. Write letters to your loved one, but make sure you keep them as proof. Contract by email is accepted to. If you have been to see your spouse after marriage, keep copies of the airline tickets, photos of you being together etc would also be helpful.
8. Money Sent to Spouse: If you have been apart for some time, it would be better if you send your spouse some spending money that they might need for themselves. Ideally the husband should send some thing like £100-150 every 4 months or so. This should be sent via a bank or a money exchanger and the receipt kept as proof.( The wife should not send that often as it will go against our norm and culture) DO NOT SEND CASH BY GIVING IT TO FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO GIVE IT TO YOUR SPOUSE AS YOU WILL HAVE NO PROOF) . Sending money is good evidence and shows that you are caring and supportive of your spouse.
9. Housing Reports/ Tenancy Agreements: Make sure you get a Housing Report for Immigration done by your local Council to show you have enough space in the house to accommodate all the people that are going to stay there.Dont try and exclude people who genuinely live there just because they are to many people living there already, as the ECO can make inquiries from other sources to know how many people have or are living there currently. If you live in rented property you need to send an Assured Short hold Tenancy Agreement valid for 6 months or more. You must also provide proof that your rent is up to date.
10. The average wait for a settlement application in Pakistan is around 3 months. Do not make enquiries from the British High Commission or FedEx till this time is up. The BHC will not respond (or incase they do it will be standard message) until the application is gone over 3 months. Remember FedEx only handle the applications. They can not inform you of the outcome or the chances of your application succeeding etc so please don’t pester them.
11. If your spouse has been fortunate enough to be granted a visa and are now coming to the UK, make sure they bring their valid TB certificate with them, as they will be required to show it on arrival into the UK.
12. Once your visa has been issued with a visa you will have 30 days max to enter UK and then within 10 days of arrival must collect your Biometric Residence Permit card from the Post Office
This document was prepared by Batleykhan- If anyone notices any errors please inform me so I can amend them