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Categories

Returning Residents (To UK)

This category applies to people who want to return to live in the United Kingdom who have stayed outside the UK for more than 2 years after they were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. Such applicants are required to make an application for entry clearance at the British diplomatic post before coming to the UK. They may be refused entry into the UK if they do not do so.

Citizenship

We can assist you to apply for UK citizenship either through naturalisation or registration. As a UK national you will enjoy unrestricted entry and right of abode in the UK. You may also free movement within the EEA and the right to vote in UK elections. You may also be granted a UK passport if you have been granted UK citizenship.

There are several routes to acquire UK citizenship. It is a complex procedure but our expert legal consultants will advise and assist you through the process ensuring that you attain your goals so long as you meet the requirements.

Family members

This is one of the largest areas of migration to the United Kingdom.  We have handled many cases for husbands and wives, children, adopted children, parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives, including applications for reunion where individuals, including children, have been separated from their families here.

We appreciate and understand the delicate nature of these relationships and have been rewarded both by reuniting families as well as seeing the happiness this brings.

What we will do for you?

  • We will advise you on which specific category you should apply under. 
  • We will advise you on the documentation required: 
  • Prepare detailed representations in support of your application confirming we act for you, outlining why your application fulfils all the requirements and making reference to all the evidence and documentation in support.
  • We will advise on whether you can make an application on Human Rights grounds with reference in addition to making the application under the UK Immigration Rules. 

Nationality

Becoming a citizen of the country in which you live not only allows you to show your commitment to Britain, but also only permits you to take a full part in the life of the community.  Britain permits you to hold more than one nationality; so opting for citizenship does not mean you need to give up your original passport – unless of course your own country requires you to.

Obtaining citizenship is not difficult and, for many people, the time you need to live here before you can qualify is not long.  There are two main ways to qualify and to apply for ‘naturalisation’ as a British Citizen.  In both cases, you must first be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) in the UK.  One route depends on being married to someone who is already British and the other, which has a longer qualifying period, depends simply on the length of your residence here.  There are detailed rules about the length of time you have lived here, how long you can be away and still qualify and where you intend to live in the future.

In both cases, you will need to pass a test, designed to show that you speak enough English and that you know something about life in this country.  Your record will also be checked to see whether you are considered to be ‘of good character’.

It is also now possible for EEA Nationals and their dependents with five years continuous residence exercising Treaty Rights to apply for naturalisation.

There are special rules about citizenship applications for children.

Becoming a citizen by naturalization is, for most people, a straightforward process, but nationality law is specialised and can sometimes prove complicated.  In Britain, particularly, because of its history as a colonial power, the laws about nationality status are as complex as anywhere in the world.  Difficult questions sometimes occur for people born abroad who have a claim to British Nationality through their parents.

We have a friendly team of experts across the field of immigration law and can help you with any queries you may have concerning the nationality of children, about applying for citizenship, or about British Nationality status from parents and grandparents.

EEA Nationals and their families

European Economic Area (EEA) 

People from European Member States, other than the UK, have certain rights to stay, referred to as free movement, based on European Law rather than on Britain’s own immigration rules.  They can come into the United Kingdom freely, just as British citizens can, and are usually allowed to stay here.  If they have family members who have another nationality, rather than a European passport, those family members will usually also be able to stay here.  The rules are easier to meet than the usual immigration rules affecting people of other nationalities.  There are specific rules, again different from the UK immigration rules, allowing family members without EEA passports to stay on here, even if their EEA relative dies, or stops work, leaves the UK or divorces.  In any case, the rules about refusing EEA nationals or their family members, or removing them from the UK, are far more tightly set than the immigration rules and give the Home Office much less discretion.

In certain circumstances, the family members of British citizens will be able to rely on these extra rights.

There are detailed rules about the documents that may be needed and about the rights that people have when they are here.  There are also arrangements, new from the end of April 2006, for EEA Nationals and their family members to gain permanent residence after five years here.

Completion of five years residency exercising Treaty Rights, EEA Nationals and their dependents can apply for naturalisation.

The EEA (European Economic Area) comprises 29 countries (including Britain and Switzerland), all of whose nationals can rely on European Law.  Four of them are not members of the European Union (the EU) but their citizens have the same rights to enter, to stay, study or work, and as well as to be joined by their family members.  For a transitional period, citizens of 8 of the newest Member States face special rules if they are working in the UK. See below.

The children of EEA Nationals working here and children who themselves are citizens of EEA States, will in some circumstances gain residence rights of their own.  In these cases, they will have a right to stay in the UK as long as they remain at school, or as long as they are supported, and a parent caring for them will also be able to stay, whatever her own citizenship happens to be.

Our advisers have experience of all of these areas of the law and will be pleased to advise and help you with applications.

European Accession States – The A8

Special rules apply if you are from a country, which joined the EU from May 2004, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The European Union continues to expand and, as it takes in new Member States, the citizens of these new countries are generally given more limited rights than nationals of the established states.  During a transitional period lasting for some years, citizens of the ‘Accession’ states are only able to come here to take jobs under certain conditions.  Other rights are unaffected, so that these citizens enter the UK just as freely as any other EU citizens and can set up in business or study here on the same terms too.  All that is affected is the right to work.  We are well equipped to advise and help you with all aspects of the scheme.

For the ‘A8’ countries, eight of the countries who joined in May 2004, from the Baltic and Central Europe, there is a scheme of registration.  Workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are free to take any job here but, during their first year in the country, they must apply to register with the Home Office within one month of starting work and pay a fee.  If they change employer, they must register again.  This registration lasts for one year after which, they are treated in the same way as workers from the established Member States and no longer need to register.

Employers can lawfully hire anyone from one of these countries but are expected to ensure that the worker registers, unless he or she has been working here for more than a year already.  If they fail to do so, the employer will commit an offence by continuing to employ the person after the first month.

Family members have similar rights to those of other EU or EEA citizens but with certain conditions.

Citizens of the two new Member States, Bulgaria and Romania, already referred to as the ‘A2’ countries, have even more restricted rights.  Workers from these two countries will still need Work Permits to take most kinds of employment.  Some areas of low-skilled work will be reserved only to ‘A2’ Nationals, in agriculture and food processing for instance, but they will otherwise need to show they have skills needed by the UK economy.

The details of these schemes can be confusing and can change at short notice.  We will ensure that you have up-to-date, reliable and friendly help.

UK Residency and Settlement

Permanent Residency is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain, (ILR) or Settlement.  You may qualify for UK residency in several ways, depending upon your current UK Immigration Status.

Once granted UK residency in the United Kingdom, you must intend to remain present and settled in the UK.  If you hold a permanent residency and leave the UK for a continuous period of two years or more, it can result in you losing your UK Resident Permit.  The permanent residency allows you to work without restriction in the UK, have recourse to Public Funds and to exit and re-enter the UK multiple times.

Some ways in which a person may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain:

  • Shortly prior to the expiry of a two Year Marriage Visa. 
  • Shortly prior to the expiry of a four Year Ancestry Visa. 
  • Once having held Work Permit status in the UK for five years. 
  • Once having legally spent 10 years in the UK. 
  • Once having spent 14 years in the UK. 
  • Once having spent continuous five years in the UK as a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation. 
  • Once having spent continuous five years in the UK as a “Sole Representative”. 
  • Once having spent continuous five years in the UK as a Domestic Worker in a Diplomatic Household. 
  • Once having spent continuous five years in the UK as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household 
  • Once having spent continuous fives years in the UK as an Overseas Government Employee. 
  • Once having spent continuous fives years in the UK as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order. 
  • Once having spent continuous five years in the UK as a member of operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline.   
  • Once having spent five years in the UK as “a person established in business”.

Getting married in the UK

Your rights to marry once in the United Kingdom.

If your permission to stay is only temporary, it is possible to marry or to register a civil partnership, while you are here, but you will usually need to have been given approval by the immigration authorities.  Marriage registrars cannot conduct a ceremony involving someone who is subject to immigration control unless they first see written permission.  Unless you can show you have been given a Visa to come her for marriage, you will need to apply to the Home Office for permission well in advance.

An application for permission to marry will normally only be considered if you have been given a Visa or Permit to stay for more than 6 months and have at least 3 months still remaining.

Getting permission to marry does not give you an extension of stay and you will need to apply again to the Home Office after your marriage.  The rules do not allow you to stay on as a spouse (or registered civil partner) unless you were given more than six months to stay when you last applied.  This means you won’t be given permission if you come to the United Kingdom as a visitor, or as a student on a short course, and get married to someone who is resident here.  If you do, you will be told to go back home and apply for a Visa from there.

These rules have been challenged in Court in 2006.  We can give you full, up to date information about all aspects of marrying in the UK and help with your applications.

Fiancés

Coming to the UK to get married.

The United Kingdom immigration rules, allow applicants to come here in order to get married to someone who is resident.  If you want your marriage to take place here and intend to remain and settle here afterwards, you will need to apply for entry clearance for this purpose before you travel.  It is not possible to make this sort of application whilst you are in the United Kingdom on some other basis.

The general tests you must meet are similar to those for all family members, and the most important of them are that you can show there will be adequate maintenance and accommodation for both of you.  You will note be allowed to claim any welfare benefits and must have suitable housing, even if you are not intending to live together before the marriage takes place.

When your application is approved, you should be given six months entry and will be expected to marry in that time.  The Home Office will not want to extend the time you have as a fiancé beyond six months unless there is a very good reason for it.  You will not be allowed to work until you have applied for and been given permission to stay as a spouse after your marriage.

Everyone who is subject to immigration control needs to have permission to get married in the UK before the marriage ceremony can be carried out (except those who marry in the Church of England).  If you come here with a Visa as a fiancé, this will serve as your permission and you do not need to show any other permission to a Register Office when you arrange for your marriage.

You can be assured we will give you accurate and reliable advice on any aspect of these rules.

Civil Partners

For same-sex couples, rights to enter or remain in the UK if you register a Civil Partnership.

There was a historic change in UK Law in December 2005.  The Civil Partnership Act now allows two people of the same sex to register their partnership and give it effectively the same status for all legal purposes as a marriage.  Registration is done at a local Register Office.  There are no arrangements for churches to register a partnership, though some may hold ceremonies of blessing.

If you want to register your partnership with your same sex partner here, you will need permission from the Home Office, unless both of you are already settled here or are EEA [link to EEA page] citizens.  Our advisers can help with your application for permission. The immigration authorities will also recognise Civil Partnerships from certain other countries.

It is possible to get a Visa to come to the UK to register your partnership and then to stay on in the same way as a fiancé, or while visiting for a short time.  The Visa will not say that you are going to make a partnership with someone of the same sex.  Civil Partnerships have the same effect for all immigration purposes as marriages and registered partners are allowed to stay in all the cases and on the same terms as spouses.  After a two-year probationary period, you will be able to apply to settle here permanently.  

Spouses

If you are in the UK and would like to get married to a person present and settled.
Anyone who is married to a person settled in the United Kingdom can apply to live here with that person.  There is an age limit and there are several conditions.
Both the wife, or husband, who wants to join a spouse (the applicant) and the spouse who is resident in the United Kingdom (the Sponsor) must be at least 21.  In the case of polygamous marriages only one spouse will generally be allowed to enter.
The general conditions to be met are:
  • That the couple have met before they were married 
  • That the marriage is recognised in the UK 
  • That the couple intend to live together indefinitely as husband and wife, an 
  • They can maintain and accommodate themselves ‘without recourse to public funds’. 

This means they will not be permitted to claim any social security benefits on behalf of the applicant and that their housing must be ‘adequate’.  It will be adequate if they have a legal right to occupy it, if it is considered fit for habitation and will not be overcrowded.  Finally, if the applicant is coming from abroad, he or she will need entry clearance for this purpose.  We can advise you on each of these details.

If the marriage took place more than four years before the application and the couple have been living together abroad in that time, the applicant can be given Indefinite Leave to Enter and become settled as soon as she or he arrives in the UK.  In all other cases, the applicant can expect to be given two years permission at first with the chance to apply for Indefinite Leave at the end of that time.  The couple will need to show that they are still living together and, usually, have not been relying on welfare benefits.

An applicant whose marriage has ended before the two years are up can still apply for settlement if the reason is either that the UK spouse, the sponsor, has died in the meantime or that the applicant has had to leave the home because of violence.  We can advise you on the kind of evidence you will need to produce in these cases.

Unmarried Partners

Rights for couples – even if you are not married or in a Civil Partnership.

It is not always necessary to show proof of marriage or registered Civil Partnership in order to be allowed to stay here with a resident. Some people are unable to marry but can still be admitted.  Even if you have simply chosen not to marry rather than being unable to do so, you should still be able to join your partner here if the conditions are met.

In place of a Certificate, you will need to produce evidence that your relationship has existed for at least two years before the date of your application.  You need not necessarily have been living together throughout that time but you must show the relationship existed. We can advise you on the sort of evidence you will need to produce.

The general conditions set out in the rules include a requirement that you will be able to maintain and accommodate yourselves without recourse to Public Funds.  This means you will not be permitted to claim any social security benefits on behalf of the applicant, although the UK-based partner would be able to receive any benefit to which he or she is otherwise entitled and that your housing must be ‘adequate’.  It will be adequate if you have a legal right to occupy it, if it is considered fit for habitation and will not be overcrowded.

You will need to arrive with entry clearance for this purpose if you are coming to the United Kingdom intending to stay with your partner, but it is possible to apply in the UK if you are already here in some other category.

You should be given two years permission to stay in the first place and will be able to apply for permanent settlement at the end of that time, if you are still living together and able to support yourselves without claiming welfare benefits.  If the partnership has ended because the UK sponsor has died in those two years, or if the applicant can show that he or she has been forced to leave because of violence, the application for settlement should still be approved.

If your relationship has already existed for at least four years by the date of your application and you can show you have been living together for that time before coming to the UK, you can be given Indefinite Leave straightaway and will not need to apply again to the Home Office for settlement.

Visit

General Visitor

To come to the United Kingdom as a general visitor, you must be able to show that:

  •  you are 18 or over; 
  •  you only want to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months, or up to 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor; 
  • you intend to leave the United Kingdom at the end of your visit; 
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends; 
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and 
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the common travel area. 
  • You must also show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:
  • take employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directo to members of the public; 
  • undertake a course of study; 
  • marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; 

Sponsoring a Visitor

Gerald and Co can also assit you of you want to sponsor anyone to come to the UK.  We will assist you in completing the application forms, advise you on the documentation you will need as evidence in support of the application, ensuring that it is in the correct format as required by the Entry-Clearance Officer, and we will make detailed representations in support of the application setting out to the Entry-Clearance Officer why your application fulfils all the requirements with direct reference to all the documentation and evidence in support of the application.  Should the application be refused for any reason, we can also assist in appealing the decision.  We can also assist you in making any applications for an extension of stay.

Student Visitors

If you want to come to the UK in order to do a short course of study during your visit, you can apply to do so as a student visitor. The period when you intend to be in the UK must not exceed six months.

You must be aged 18 or over, and you must have been accepted on a course of study provided by:
  • an education provider that holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the points-based system; or 
  • an education provider that is accredited by an accrediation body approved by the UK Border Agency; or 
  • an education provider that is inspected or audited by either the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn in Wales, Northern Ireland's Education and Training Inspectorate or the Independent Schools Inspectorate; or
  • an overseas higher education institution that offers only part of its programmes in the UK, holds its own national accreditation, and offers programmes that are of an equivalent level to a UK degree. 
During your visit, you must:
  • support and pay for accommodation for yourself and any dependants, without help from public funds; or 
  • ensure that you and your dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends, and will not take employment. 
  • You must leave the UK at the end of the visit you told us about, and you must be able to meet the cost of your return or onward journey.
You must not:
  • take employment in the UK (including part-time or full-time vacation employment); 
  • engage in business, produce goods or provide services within the UK (including selling goods or services direct to members of the public); 
  • study at a government-funded school; 
  • undertake a work placement or internship (paid or unpaid) as part of your course of study; 
  • extend your stay in the UK; 
  • carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor; 
  • receive private medical treatment; or 
  • be in transit to a country outside the common travel area (the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

Business Visitors

To come to the UK as a business visitor you must be able to show that you: 

  • only want to visit the UK for up to six months; 
  • plan to leave the UK at the end of your visit; 
  • have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working, help from public funds or you will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends; 
  • do not intend to charge members of the public for services provided or goods received; 
  • do not intend to study; 
  • can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; 
  • are based abroad and have no intention of transferring your base to the UK even temporarily; 
  • receive your salary from abroad. 

You must also show that you plan to do one or more of the permissible activities which include:

  • attending meetings, including interviews that have been arranged before coming to the UK, or conferences; 
  • arranging deals or negotiating or signing trade agreements or contracts; 
  • undertaking fact finding missions;  
  • conducting site visits; 
  • delivering goods and passengers from abroad such as lorry drivers and coach drivers provided they are genuinely working an international  route; 
  • tour group couriers who are contracted to a firm outside the UK, who are seeking entry to accompany a tour group and who intend to leave with that tour group; 
  • speaking at a conference where this is not run as a commercial concern and the conference is a 'one-off'; 
  • representing computer software companies by coming to install, debug or enhance their products. Representatives of such companies may also be admitted as business visitors in order to be briefed as to the requirements of a UK customer but if they are to provide a service involving the use of their expertise to make a detailed assessment of a potential customer's requirements this should be regarded as consultancy work for which entry under the points-based system would be required; 
  • representing foreign manufacturers by coming to service or repair their company's products within their initial period of guarantee; 
  • representing foreign machine manufacturers by coming to erect and install machinery too heavy to be delivered in one piece, as part of the contract of purchase and supply; 
  • interpreting or translating for visiting business persons, provided the interpreter/translator is employed by the overseas company and is coming solely to provide this service for the visiting company member. 
  • monteurs - workers, for example fitters or servicepersons coming for up to six months to erect, dismantle, install, service, repair or advise on the development of foreign-made machinery;  
  • board-level directors attending board meetings in the UK provided they are not employed by a UK company, although they may be paid a fee for attending the meeting. 

Special Visitors

You can come to the UK as a special visitor if you are coming:

  • as child visitor; 
  • for private medical treatment; 
  • for marriage; 
  • as a parent of a child at school; 
  • as a student visitor; 
  • as a prospective student; 
  • as a visitor in transit. 

Special visitors can come to the UK for up to six months unless you are a parent of a child at school, you you can stay for up to 12 months or if you are a visitor in transit, you can stay for 48 hours. 

All visitors for marriage and prospective students need permission to come to the UK and parents of children at school need permission to come if they are visiting for more than six months. You will only need permission to come as a child visitor, for private medical treatment, as a student visitor or as a visitor in transit if you are a visa naitonal.

If you a non-visa national, permission to come as a special visitor for six months is not needed unless you are coming for marriage or as a prospective student.

There are specific requirements for each of the groups included under the special visitor route, but in all cases you will need to meet the requirements for general visitors relating to supporting yourself without relying on public funds or working, your intention to leave at the end of the visit and that you can meet the cost of your return and onward journey.

Visitors for Medical Treatment

To come to the United Kingdom for medical treatment you must be able to show that:

  • you meet the requirements for leave to enter as a visitor; 
  • if suffering from a communicable disease there is no danger to public health; 
  • your course of treatment is for a limited period of time; 
  • you have made satisfactory arrangements for the consultation or treatment you need; 
  • you have enough money to pay for any treatment and to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds; and
  • you plan to leave the United Kingdom at the end of your treatment. 
Again, you will need to meet the requirements for general visitors relating to supporting yourself without relying on public funds or working, your intention to leave at the end of the visit and that you can meet the cost of your return and onward journey.

Marriage/ Civil Partnership Visitors

To come to the UK in this category, you must be able to show that:

  • you are 18 or over; 
  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than six months, and to leave the UK at the end of your visit; 
  • you intend to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, or marry or form a civil partnership, in the UK while you will be here; 
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and 
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the common travel area.

You must also show that:

  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds; or 
  • you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends. 
  • You must be able to produce satisfactory evidence (if we ask for it) of your arrangements for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership, or for your wedding or civil partnership to take place, in the UK while you will be here.
  • You must also show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:
  • take employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services direct to memebers of the public; 
  • undertake a course of study; 
  • receive private medical treatment

You must obtain valid UK entry clearance before you travel here, even if you are a non-visa national.

Child Visitors

To come to the UK in this immigration category, you must be able to show that:

  • you are under 18
  • you only want to visit the UK for up to six months, or up to 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor and you have entry clearance;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you have a parent or guardian in your home country who is responsible for your care, and you can provide their address and landline telephone number; and confirmation that they consent to the arrangements for your travel to, reception and care in the UK;
  • marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or 
  • take employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services direct to members of the public;
  • receive private medical treatment.

In addition, child visitors who are visa nationals must have a valid entry clearance which states that they are unaccompanied or identifies the adult accompanying them. In the latter case, the entry clearance will not be valid unless the named adult physically accompanies the child.



Please see UK Border Agency website for up to date information. The information reflected above is correct at time of publication only.

(c) 2010 Gerald & Co. Partners: G Suresh & S Suresh. Website by Freethinking Design