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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
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Last year my wife Reena applied from Pakistan

Customer Question

Last year my wife Reena applied from Pakistan for a resettlement visa to come and join me in the UK. At that time I was only married to one woman that is my wife Reena. However when I had married her two years ago, I was still married to another woman in the UK and was waiting for the divorce to come through. The Visa authorities refused the visa saying that they our marriage was not recognised under the UK family laws as when I married Reena, I was married to another woman: even though at the time of visa application my English divorce with my first wife had gone through and we had produced the divorce certificate. So to satisfy the UK family laws I decided to remarry Reena. I divorced Reena only once and married her two weeks later. Under Pakistani laws you will have to give a notice of 90 days for divorce. But this applies to a full divorce that is given 3 times. Unless the divorce is given thrice, the woman is allowed to remarry the same man without any intervening marriage. Even in case of a full divorce the Pakistanis’ courts practice has been since 1980 that they declare the divorce as valid even though though no advance notice was given to the Union councils. We gave the divorce notice to the Union Council, though it was not necessary .As under the UK laws my original marriage to Reena was not recognised, so it is immaterial whether or not I gave her a divorce. If the divorce was not accepted Reena would not have to be allowed to marry any one, me or another man. A woman can’t have two husbands though a man can have up to 4 wives both under the Pakistani and shria laws. This meant I could marry another woman without going through any divorce procedure.. For Reena’s divorce to be accepted for the visa purposes i it should be accepted under the both Pakistani and UK laws. Our fears are that the Visa authorities` might refuse her visa application again saying that our divorce was not valid under Pakistani laws as we did not serve 90 days notice. I would like to know that In your expert legal opinion of whether or not my divorce is valid to satisfy the UK Visa authorities. Regards, XXXXX XXXXXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
the issue is not whether your divorce was valid as under English Law a polygamus marriage is void. It is wether your remarriage is recognised. If the only ground of refusal is that your marriage was invalid at the time of marriage then provided you can show you were validly remarried you will not have a problem. you will of course have to show all the other criteria for a spouse visa
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 13267
Experience: Solicitor
Senior Partner and other UK Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
having checked the UKBA guidance , a divorce of the type you describe may be recognised of both of you were domiciled in Pakistan but not if you are domiciled here. The critical issue is whether the second marriage is regarded as legal and binding under Pakistan law.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your prompt reply
As I said it is immaterial whether or not I divorced my wife as under the Uk laws our original marriage was not recognised.. So the question of the divorce does not arise. We have an official computerised legal marriage registration certificate recognised by Pakistani law, Had our marriage not been recognised I would have been committing adultery for which there are heavy punishments. There is no shadow of doubt that our marriage is recognised in Pakistan both legally and under Shria Laws. What I want to know whether or not the UK visa authorities could refuse on any legal grounds my wife’s application because she did not follow the Pakistani Legal laws needed for the full divorce? In Pakistan I could not possibly remarry the same woman without giving her divorce one, two or three times. However had I given her divorce three times, then she had to marry another man, then seek divorce from him then marry me. If I am divorcing a Pakistani woman in Pakistan I would have to follow the Pakistani laws. I think it could be a joint question for both the family and immigration lawyers looking at both the Pakistani and English divorce laws.. For visa purposes the divorce should be recognised both in the UK and Pakistan. And I repeat myself again for clarity, the UK law did not recognise our original marriage as when this marriage took place I was waiting for the English divorce to come through from my first wife living and settled in the UK. For this reason the question of divorce to a woman does not arise to unless you are married to her.
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