Islamabad: UK raises marriage visa age to 21 70

* UKBA allowed to intervene in case of forced marriage

ISLAMABAD: The British government has increased the age of marriage visa seekers from 18 to 21 year as part of a crackdown on forced marriage, the British High Commission (BHC) said in a statement on Thursday.

“On 23 July 2008, the Home Office announced that the age at which someone can apply for a marriage visa would increase from 18 to 21 as part of a crackdown on forced marriage,” BHC statement said.

The five key proposals announced include raising the age of sponsorship for a marriage visa from 18 to 21; asking foreign spouses to enter into an agreement to learn English before they come to the UK; introducing a power to revoke leave to remain where there is evidence that the marriage route has been abused; requiring all sponsors to register their intention to marry overseas before they leave the UK, and ensure through a code of practice that specialist teams can identify people vulnerable to the risks of forced marriage.

UKBA intervention: The statement said that practical guidance was also being introduced so that United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) staff could spot any risk of abuse and prevent them from being coerced into marriage. The new rules would mean that anyone abusing the marriage visa system would be removed from the UK by the UKBA under a new power to revoke a person’s right to stay in the country.

The BHC said that the government believed that those who stay in the UK must have a good grasp of English to ensure integration into British life and before they come to the UK, spouses would need to sign up to an agreement to learn English.

“Soon after their arrival, the UKBA will check they are fulfilling their promise, and if they are not, their leave could be cancelled,” BHC said.

The new guidelines would help ensure that police, teachers and health workers can recognise the signs of a forced marriage, take action and help victims escape.

Source: Daily Times, 25/7/2008

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70 thoughts on “Islamabad: UK raises marriage visa age to 21

  • henna

    hi every1
    Here every1 is wondering and waiting is the law gona change, ,but as sam said its not gona its all false rumors, wen it changed to 21 last year every1 found out and it was on the internet and ukba,and now its april nearly.
    So dont really no,if any1 does get proof,please share it with us,as we all wanna no,if it is gona change or not.

  • Makhmood

    I am a student studying in UK and married to my wife who is British citizen. I came to UK on student visa however my wife is 18 and i am 24. the question is can i convert my visa to settlement or do i have to go back to Pakistan and apply the visa again?

  • sam

    hey to you all
    just wanted to say to ali get off m8 ur just a loser luking 4 girls to get to the uk which is wat this law is trying to prevent.
    im married to a pakistani im 23 but my partner is 19 we put in an application which was rejected as the law changed the day the application was put in but it was not our fault as the embassy’s were closed due to bombings in islamabad now how can you work against that.
    i have heard too that the law is changing back to 18 but i dont think it will as ukba or the immigration websites dont have anything written on them its just a false roumour as when the law was changing to 21 it was everywer for us all to c but this time its not. the only way around it is to move to a EU country and apply from there then come back home to the uk which is wat im considering. its stupid as we are being forced out of our own home which is not fair. the 21 law is ruining lots of genuine relationships. some of may consider living wid our partners in their countries but its not wat some of can do as the luxuries we are used to here are not readily available there plus all the dangers of being a foreigner. i had not thought of ppl being forced to stay in the developing world till they reach 21 and then applying to come here. i also think this law will cause ppl to commit fraud such as changing of ages will happen to make it easier for the indivdual to come here.

  • Karine

    hi all is any1 realy knows about new law in april ?
    im 19 and im married since 2008 i know i cant not apply for settlement in uk but i was ask for visit my husband in uk i even was refused for that i become pregnant last year and of that stress i lost my baby imnot from pakistan , if is any1 knows about anythink whats going to be in april please let me know i realy be please

    • Maya


      There is no proof anywhere that it is going to change. Its just a word of mouth, can’t really be sure.
      Your just going to have to wait and see.

      • bilal

        @Maya, hi i got married in july 2008 and have been waitin for the stupid rule to change since then i heard it was going to change but who knows but like maya says we’ve just gota wait and see.

        • henna

          yeah tru we just got to wait and c,
          but last year b4 they changed the law,the news was already on the internet like b4 2mnths,then every1 found out.
          Just hope it does change makes it easier.

  • age discrimination

    i think this law it totaly ridiculous!! I am an american citizen and my husband is british. I am 20 and will have to wait till next year to actually be with my husband. I cant beleive it honestly. How can they grant us to get married then we cant be together? i dont understand. they need to take this law away cause it only cause more heartbreak, pain and debt in many genuine relantionship that want to be together because they love each other..its like we are paying for a crime… ****can u please sign my petition to send to gordon brown*** many thanks!!!

    • samina

      @age discrimination, i missed out on putting my name on the pettition im really surprised that it on had a few names on it which will not do much will it now in all honesty
      n hun hang in there hopefully it will be over and u will be 2getha b4 u no it im in the same situation and it does cause lots of heartache hope it gets a little easier

      • redrose

        its been really hard ..and we are just waiting for october to come around to apply for it since i turn 21 in january..this past year has been very hard..i just cant beleive despite being apart 5000 miles away..our love only grows stronger…he had just come here last week and it felt like we were never apart..hopefully if everything goes well i be with my husband in counting the days


    Is this true is the marriage age going to change by april? Dude you have the website? Btw i think that kevin is a prick what an asshole!!

    • Maya


      Ive heard that its going to change from quite a few people.. But i dont really believe it.
      Ive tried searching on the net for some sort of clue to whether it is or not, but i avnt found any.
      No website mentions that its going to change.
      We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Maya

    ^^ Yh i totalli agree with you..
    i Got married from Pakistan about 2 years ago but the law changed just before i applied. But my application was refused because i was under the age of 18 at the time. However i knew a couple of girls who were 17 when they applied and stil their husbands got the visa.

    Anyway i dont understand how this is to help prevent force marriages because i had an appeal hearing on my hubbys settlement visa and my appeal was dismissed. When the judge wrote to me he told me how he thought my marriage was genuine and i was not forced into it, but he still could not issue my husband a visa. Because by law i was underage.

    I think that if the age cannot be lowered, Then they should interview the couples to find out if the marriage is genuine or not. And if it is then they should grant a visa.

    • harry

      @Maya, i totally agree wv u.they should interview couples to find out.i m in the same position, my wife is living wv me nd shez 20 now..they should lower the age to 18 though.the couples who r in genuine relationship and are below 21 are suffering a lot with the new rule.hopefully, new rules comes into effect …

  • Maya

    @ Halima

    Your husband wont be able to enter the Uk using the marriage visa route until your 21, regardless of the fact that your got married before. I have also heard that the law is changing but i guess we can just wait and see.

  • Maya

    I think this law is not fair and is not going to change much. Infact i think it is going to put more people at risk because if the people that may be forced live in the uk then they will easily be able to access help. Whereas parents may force their children to live abroad until they turn 21 where maybe very little help is offered.
    I do understand where some people are coming from but the couples that have entered a marriage of consent are also being affected.

    @ Kevin
    If u read chantelles comment properly then u wud see that she is sayin her husband is in pakistan. Not her.
    And i believe that girls can still study if they want. They dont have to leave education. I dont think anyone should b able to judge what the perfect age for a marriage is because its different for each individual.

    @ Chantelle
    Your husband will not be able to enter the UK on a marriage visa until ur 21. Despite the fact that you got married before the law came into affect.


    Hi im 18 years old and i got married before the law came out. Is their any chance that i can bring my husband over. And i have heard that the law is coming back to 18 in April is this true? can u plz reply back.

    • Sobia

      @HALIMAH, Hey Halimah…im gonna be 20 years old and im engaged to sum1 frm pakistan n he told me that its gonna change in april aswel…but im not sure, im tryna find out the asnwer to that myself lol im glad someone else has heard this news cuz it gives me abit of hope 😀 x

  • Kevin

    Denamrk is a very sensible country. they make the age for overseas marriage 25… as it should be EVERYWHERE in the World.. Early marriage is a huge problem in the World and prevents women getting a proper education. Pakistan holds women down by forcing them into early marriages.. I think women and men should be 30 at least, speak PERFECT english and have a university degree b4 they can get a marriage visa. Next year the conservatives will get into power and then it will be done.

    • halimah

      hi im 18 years old aswell and married. have u been pakistain after u got married. and the other thing is i heard the law is coming back to 18 in april i dont knw if thats true but a lot of people are saying that. can u not find out from someone aswel and reply back to me A.S.A.P. thanks

    • sumy

      well for your kind information its not alwayz like that i had a great life in uk great job, i was independent and i had to give all that up to be with my husband because we are in think twice before you say a comment like that..because not all young couples are forced need to see thing in both side of the story well theres no point in arguing with you people what ever is going to happen is gonna happen for the best hopefully we are going to win

  • Kevin

    Dear chantelle Ali,

    If you husband really cared, he would have left UK adn gone to live with you in Pakistan.. What is wrong withu.. UK is not the only country in the World.. you have family and home in Pakistan… If he cannot give up his home here for u… then he does not love u and you are wasting your time coming to UK

    • zoe

      hey iv been in a forecd marriage at the age of 16 i was taken backhom being told i was going on holiday however my parents were planning to get me married to a cousin there. they knew very well i did not like him and i hated him but still, I came back 2 da UK after 4weeks of forced marriage, am 18 now and i would want the law to stay to 21 or even 25 for all them young people from the UK being forced in2 marriage . i know what its like and its horrible. currently i am trying 2 get the confidence to be able to talk to my parents about the divorce, the last thing i need is the law going back 2 18.

      • redrose

        i just read you comment..and am very sorry this happen to you ..but to be frank with you..this law is an american citizen graduate from high school with honors and went of to university,,i had met my husband that is a british citizen..and what can i say we fell in love..we got married january 2010 at the time i was 20 so due to this law..i had return back to america and be apart from my husband for 9 months till i turn 21 in really dont know the heart ach it has caused for us both and how discriminationg this is to people that actually are genuiely in love and truely want to be together..there hasnt been a day i dont miss for you to say you hope they raise it to 25 that offends me in the sense that it may be up to years that i can i see the one man i love again..i beleive they should analyze each case indiviually and determine if it forced marriage or offense but its people like your parents that make it for hard couples like my husband n mines for us to be together because we truely love each and want to be together but because a law like this has passed i have had to put my life on hold away from my husband..put my university on and all…no one forced me to be with my husband,,i had a great life in america great job, great family, my own car etc.. i was independent and i had to give all that up to be with my husband because we are in think twice before you say a comment like that..because not all young couples are forced need to see thing in both side of the story

        • sumy

          hi there i read what you said and i completely agree with you, same here i met my husband 2 years ago and we fell in love so know went backhome and got married and i cant call him over until the age of 21 its proper bad, honestly its like hell i really want my husband to come over to uk and we can live a happy life together wish they change it back to the age of 18 hopefully inshallah. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • Mahmood

    if any one was to get married at the age of 19 to a pakistani would it affect their visa application when wanting to call them down at the age of 21 i have a relative who is in this situation. as the law for age of marriage is 18.