I am married to British citizen who is in the UK. I am in Pakistan and have been for the last 5 years. We are separated but we are still husband and wife. I was issued a 2-year UK visa but I left the UK before the expiry. Now my wife wants me to sit down with her and discuss whether we should stay together or go for a divorce. She doesn't want to come to Pakistan.

What should I do: should I apply for a UK visit visa or a Swiss visit visa so we can meet each other? I am only worried that about getting a refusal on my passport.

Travel history:

  • 3 Dubai visit visas
  • 1 Dubai work permit visa
  • 1 Thailand visit
  • 1 Malaysia visit
  • 1 Belgium visit visa (not traveled)
  • UK visa from 2006 to 2013

Can anyone please guide me?

1 Answer 1


As the spouse of a British citizen, you can apply to any EU or Schengen country (other than the UK) for a free visa, provided your wife travels with you to that country or arrives there before you do. This is set forth in directive 2004/38/EC, the free movement directive, at Article 5(2):

Such visas shall be issued free of charge as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.

The visa can only be refused under very limited circumstances, as laid out in chapter VI (articles 27 through 33).

On the other hand, getting a visitor visa to the UK can be difficult, because you will have a difficult time overcoming the presumption that you intend to use the visa to remain in the UK indefinitely. A visitor visa costs £93, while a family settlement visa costs £1,523, so visa officers are very skeptical of visitor visa applications from people in your situation.

  • 2
    Another reason a UK visa would be problematic is the personal circumstances of the applicant. They'll make the UK visa authorities think the visa-holder won't leave the UK: after all, his wife lives in the UK, the UK visa authorities won't know the marriage is coming apart, and they'd think he'd want to stay. On balance, a visa is more likely to be granted by the Swiss than it is by the UK, and the OP said he wanted to avoid a visa refusal on his record. I agree with phoog that a Schengen visa makes more sense here. Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 5:21
  • @David that's the same reason I had in mind in the last paragraph. Is it unclear?
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 13:32
  • It was clear as to the difficulty of overcoming the presumption, but I thought a clearer connection to facts — the troubled marriage — would be useful to readers. Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 15:25

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