4

I have been doing my PhD from Newcastle university since 2013. I got married in October 2016. I went back to Pakistan to get married and stayed until December and then came back to finish my PhD. While I was in the final stages of my PhD, I could not bring my wife as I felt I would not be able to give her any time, as I was in the university from morning till late night finishing my thesis.

From January 217 to September 2017 I made 2 visits to Pakistan to be with my wife. Recently I finished my thesis and submitted it. So naturally I was confident I could now enjoy my time with my partner. She applied for her dependent visa on 6th September and got a decision yesterday. She was refused entry to the UK.

I performed extensive research before applying in hope of getting her accepted. The following documents were sent with the application.

  • A copy of recent bank statement (showing that I have adequate funds to sustain her).

  • A copy of my passport and student visa (visa expiring March 2018).

  • A copy of my UK driving license.

  • A copy of my student ID card.

  • A confirmation of enrolment letter from the school office (stating that I am enrolled in a PhD course from November 2013 to November 2017).

  • The original and translated marriage certificate.

  • Marriage photographs showing our marriage ceremony and function.

  • Marriage invitation card.

  • Some pictures from our honeymoon and our other trips together.

  • Screenshots of our Whatsapp chat from when we first started talking in May 2016.

  • Copy of tenancy agreement.

  • Invitation letter.

  • TB certificate

Below is the decision from the decision letter:

You have applied to join ____, who you state is your husband. I note a marriage certificate dated 27 October 2016, and text conversations covering a few months prior to the marriage (May – September 2016) have been provided. However, you have provided no other clear evidence of your relationship subsisting to the present date, or an intention to live together permanently with your sponsor. Furthermore, I note that you have stated you wish to travel on 23 October 2017, Mr ___ has been studying since late 2013 and is due to complete his course on 30 November 2017. I am not satisfied it is clear why this application has been submitted now.

I am not satisfied to the balance of probability that your claimed marriage is subsisting or that you and your sponsor intend to live with the other as their spouse or civil partner throughout your proposed stay in the UK. 319C (d)(e)

I have refused your visa application on this occasion because I am not satisfied that you meet all of the requirements of paragraph 319C of the Immigration Rules.

I have been allowed one administrative review.

I have some concerns with the decision. Firstly, it made no mention of the photographs I sent showing our marriage, our trips together, and the ECO even mentioned that nothing other than marriage certificate and chats were presented whereas we sent many pictures. Furthermore, the ECO stated that the chats provided were from May - September 2016, whereas I provided the chats from May 2016 - September 2017. He/She omitted an year of our conversations.

Is this normal for such info to be overlooked and not mentioned?

Also, the ECO states that I am to finish my course in November 2017 and she is scheduled to visit in October 2017. I believe the ECO thinks that my wife joining me for a month is pointless. Which is a fair point if I was doing a Master's or any other taught course.

I argue that I am doing my PhD, the school letter stating that I am to finish by November is my thesis submission deadline. I am to submit my thesis by end of November, after which the external examiners read the thesis and then a viva exam is arranged by the university. Any PhD graduate is aware of this and knows that this takes about 3 to 4 months. So I will most probably be staying until February 2018. On this point I feel it is justified to want to have my wife join me for these 5 months.

Thank you for reading this far, and I appreciate your expert opinions in this matter. Do I have a chance for review? Will my points make any difference? Do my points even seem valid to anyone else other than me?

  • 2
    If your wife is joining you for just a month, or even for five months, why not apply for a Standard Visitor visa? – phoog Sep 21 '17 at 22:22
  • Thanks for the response. Two reasons for that. First, I dont have to worry about paying for NHS charges while she is in UK if (God forbid) I need NHS. And second, I will be offered a job at my university as soon as an opening becomes available (probably December) then in that case I would be moved to a Tier 2 visa. My wife would be able to change her visa status while in the UK as compared to visitor visa where she would have to go back and apply fresh. – StuckInPhD Sep 24 '17 at 7:18
  • A visit, even of 5 months, despite holding a dependent visa, would not entitle your wife to NHS treatment. A person needs to actually be resident in the UK, not just have the right to residence. – user16259 Dec 26 '17 at 12:48
7

I wanted to give an update on this as people may come across this post and may be in a similar situation as I was.

First to address the comments, the reason i did not go for a visitor visa was mainly because of the NHS treatment, and yes she was entitled to NHS as she was not a visitor and came on a Tier 4 visa, I paid the NHS charges at the time of application. Another reason to avoid the visitor visa was that her status could not be changed while in UK. In case I am offered a job after completion of my PhD she would have to go back and apply for this again and we would have to go through this again. A tier 4 dependent does not have to go back and could change her status while in UK.

Well we did go for the review and gave the exact reasoning as I mentioned here in my original post.

After 4 weeks we got a decision from the administrative review and the reviewing officer conceded on all points and admitted that the initial ECO overlooked evidence and even overlooked the main applicants visa ending date, so if my visa was ending in February there was no way to refuse the application in October.

They overturned the decision and asked us to resubmit the passport for visa processing.

I was grateful to the outcome of the review but at the same time furious at the first ECO who looked at my case, what a bunch of morons, the amount of stress they put on us due to their incompetence is too much at times to bear.

P.S. I would also like to note that after submitting the passport again after review there was no way to trace it or any time frame was given. That was another stressful time as we knew visa was approved but when we would get her passport back was not known. After 2 months of waiting, I contacted my University visa team to contact on my behalf (as we had no way of contacting the visa centre directly other than that useless phone line that gives scripted answers and is of no help). My university visa officer was kind enough to be sympathetic to my case and contacted on my behalf. Much to our astonishment they did not know where the passport was. She contacted the Pakistan office and they said its still with Sheffield and Sheffield said its still at Pakistan. =/

It was a little over 2 months after which we finally got her passport back, so thats 3 months wasted because of their incompetence. Maybe we were just unlucky, as the review was performed within the 4 weeks mentioned, what really caused a problem was the passport getting "lost". Maybe others may get their passport back sooner.

I hope this helps someone who is in a similar situation to I was.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.