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EEA Nationals & Permanent Residence in the UK

  • By M WONG
  • 23 Apr, 2017

Who are EEA Nationals?

EEA nationals are nationals of Members States of the EU together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, (which are parties to the European Economic Area Agreement).

EU Countries include:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

* Note: Nationals of Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania also have the same rights as EEA nationals.

What is their Immigration Status?

Nationals of the EEA have a hybrid status. They do not have the right of abode possessed by British citizens, but, unlike other aliens, they do not require leave to enter or remain while exercising rights in EU law. These rights have been implemented in UK law by the I(EEA) Regs 2016.

EEA Nationals Coming to the UK:

An EEA national must be admitted entrance to the UK if he/she produces on arrival a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA State.

Initial Right of Residence in the UK for 3 months:

An EEA national and his family members are entitled to reside in the UK for a period not exceeding 3 months. The only condition is that the EEA national and any family member must not become an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of the UK.

Residence beyond 3 months:

An EEA national is entitled to reside in the UK for a period exceeding 3 months if he/she is a “qualified person”, i.e. he is a person exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK.

Who is a “qualified person?” What does “exercising their Treaty Rights” mean?

An EEA national is a “qualified person” or a person who is “exercising their Treaty Rights, if they are in the UK in any of the following categories:

  1. A Jobseeker;
  2. A worker;
  3. A self-employed person;
  4. A self-sufficient person; or
  5. A student
Does an EEA national need to confirm that they have a right to reside in the UK after 3 months?:

An EEA national does not have to obtain confirmation or a certificate stating that they have the right to reside in the UK because they are a “qualified person.” However, in light of the recent Brexit vote, it is advisable for EEA nationals living in the UK to obtain a Residence Certificate from the Home Office to confirm their right of residence here.

How can an EEA NAtional obtain a “Residence Certificate?”

An application to the Home Office must be made in order to obtain a residence certificate. Evidence of their nationality, such as a passport, for instance, as well as evidence that they are exercising their Treaty Rights, (such as payslips, if working, or a letter from the Department for Works and Pensions confirming receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, if a work-seeker, or a letter from university or college, if they are studying), should also be provided. We can advise and assist applicants with such applications. For further information, contact us TODAY on 0203 302 6864, for a FREE Consultation , or complete our enquiry form.

How long is this valid for?

The Residence Certificate is valid for 5 years. Thereafter, if the EEA national is still in the UK, they may be able to acquire the right to reside in the UK permanently.

How can an EEA national obtain Permanent Residency in the UK? What do they need to do to confirm this?

If an EEA national has been living in the UK for 5 years, and they were exercising their Treaty Rights during these years, and providing they meet the other requirements for permanent residency, they may automatically acquire the right to reside in the UK permanently.

Essentially, an EEA national does not need to make any application to the Home Office to confirm their permanent residency status in the UK. However, again in light of the Brexit vote, and also if the EEA national wants to become a British citizen, then they would need to obtain a Permanent Residency Card from the Home Office.

How can an EEA national naturalise as a British citizen?

Generally, the EEA national would need to have legally lived in the UK for 5 years, continuously, and that they have had Permanent Residency for 1 year, so 6 years’ of living in the UK legally and continuously.

Once they have had Permanent Residency for at least a year, (if they have been living in the UK for 5 years prior to obtaining a Permanent Residency Card), then they are eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.

Case Scenario:

Q: Maria is a Greek national and has been living in the UK for 5 years, as a student and a worker. She wants to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen as she would like to be able to remain in the UK, especially after the Brexit uncertainty.

A: After 5 years of being in the UK, and exercising her Treaty Rights, Maria has obtained an automatic right to Permanent Residency in the UK. If she wants to become a British citizen, she would need to apply for a Permanent Residence Card (PRC), and then hold on to this for another year, before applying for naturalisation. She needs to ensure that she can show that she has lived in the UK legally and continuously for 6 years, and that she has had PRC for a year during this 6 years’ stay.

What if an EEA citizen has lived in the UK for more than 6 years, and has not obtained a Permanent Residency Card, but now wants to naturalise as a British citizen?:

If an EEA national has lived here for more than 6 years, and they were exercising their Treaty Rights, and they have not been outside the UK for more than 450 days during the last 5 years, and more than 90 days during the last year, then they may have automatically acquired the right to reside in the UK permanently.

However, for naturalisation purposes, it is a requirement that an EEA national must have a Permanent Residency Card, before applying for naturalisation.

Does this mean that the EEA national have to wait another year before they can apply for naturalisation?

The answer is no. In this instance, if the EEA national has been living in the UK legally and continuously for more than 5 years, then they have automatically acquired the right to permanent residency. This means that as soon as they obtain the Permanent Residency Card from the Home Office, they can then apply to naturalise as a British citizen, without having to wait a further year.

Case Scenario:

Q: Lucas is a Romanian national and has been living in the UK for 10 years. He has been self-employed throughout and has never been outside of the UK for more than 2 months a year. He wants to apply to become a British citizen and wants advice and assistance with this.

A: Lucas has acquired Permanent Residency in the UK automatically because he has lived here legally and continuously for more than 6 years. If he wants to become a British citizen, he would need to apply for a PRC with the Home Office. However, because he has automatically acquired Permanent Residency due to the length of time he has been living in the UK, i.e. more than 6 years, he does not need to wait a year in order to apply for naturalisation. As soon as he receives his PRC from the Home Office, he can then apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen.

We advise and assist EEA Nationals with applying for Registration Certificates, Permanent Residency, and naturalizing as a British citizen. Contact us TODAY on 0203 302 6864, for a FREE Consultation , or complete the enquiry form.  We are here to help you achieve your immigration documentation from the Home Office quickly and painlessly!


*Special Offer: If you are an EEA National and have lived in the UK for nearly 6 years, or more than 6 years, and want to apply for a PRC and then British citizenship, we can advise and assist you with both applications for a special discount package. Contact us now to find out more about this offer.

UK Immigration and Visa Advice Blog

By M WONG 17 Aug, 2017

"Why Does My/My Partner’s Visa Application Keep Getting Rejected?"

Over the years, I have seen it time and time again: Clients who are feeling frustrated, angry and confused because their and/or their partners’ visa applications have been refused, yet again. For some, this is the second time their partner is applying for a UK partner visa. For most, it will be the third or fourth time.

Finally, they come to me to seek advice and assistance, asking me, and themselves, the questions: 

"What are we doing wrong?"

"Why do our applications keep getting refused?"

"Why are the fees not refunded if the applications are rejected anyway?"

"What do I have to do to get my partner’s visa approved?"  And so on….

I believe in getting it right at the first attempt of applying for a partner visa, or any UK visa for that matter. And key to this is knowledge of the requirements, and preparation.

So, Why SHOULD You hire a lawyer? Below Are Just Some of The Reasons Why:

1. Expensive Visa Fees:

I understand that it does seem like you’re spending a lot of money on your partner’s visa application. Not only are the visa fees expensive (currently £1,464 as of April 2017 for a partner visa application), you may also have to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), especially if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. Usually, for a partner visa application, the IHS fee is currently between £500-£600. In total, we are looking at fees to be paid to the British High Commission of no less than £2000 for a partner visa.

But, can you really afford to lose this money? What if the application gets refused? Your partner can either appeal against the decision, or re-apply again, which means coughing up an additional £2000- £4000, depending on which option you wish to take.

2. Delay In Being Together as a Couple/Family:

The monetary payment is not the only factor that is costly. The cost of the delay in the couple being together physically becomes painful every single day that you are separated from each other. Couples and families use communication Apps such as video chats, Skype, Whatsapp and Viber, to name a few, in order to communicate with each other. While this may help ease the pain of not being together, this is also not the best set-up for a couple or a family. 

A partner visa application usually takes between 3-4 months to process by the Immigration Authorities, (unless you are applying for a Premium Fast-Track Service, which would make the process faster), and, if rejected and you appeal, could take a further 6-9 months before being decided on by an Immigration Judge, which means you’ve lost another year of being together as a family.

3. Preparing It Yourself Could Be Time-Consuming:

Another factor is the actual time it takes to read through the information about the requirements, as well as gathering all of the supporting documents and completing the application form. All of this action could take months for the couple, whereas an experienced immigration solicitor could take a week to ensure that everything has been completed and can provide you with a full list of documents to gather in support of the application. If you want the process to be even faster, I can even have everything prepared for you in as little as 2 working days!

Also, our job as immigration lawyers is to know the most recent changes to the rules and regulations regarding UK Immigration Law. Every year, changes to the immigration rules are made at least twice a year, which means that a non-immigration lawyer who is unfamiliar with the immigration rules can get bogged down with the sheer volume of information available, not to mention that the information they obtain may already be outdated.

Hiring an Immigration Lawyer is an Investment, Not an Expense

In the long run, hiring an Immigration Solicitor is of great benefit for you and your family. I can help you submit your visa application and supporting documents in the shortest amount of time, meaning that you and your loved one/s can finally live together in the same country, at the same time, and start planning a future together.

Think about it: You wouldn’t dream of building a house from scratch if you’re not an actual builder. Sure, you may save a lot of money by doing it yourself, but what if this actually takes you several years to complete? Not to mention the physical strain it can cause to your body and health, as well as the amount of time it will take you away from your friends and family, since every single spare minute will be spent on doing the property. And then, what if after all that hard work, effort, time and money, the house you built was deemed unsafe to live in? Surely you were actually better off hiring an expert to build the house in the first place? Someone who can save you time and stress, and money, by having your dream house built in a matter of months, and to your actual specifications? And someone who can actually add value to your property?

And so the same is true with hiring an Immigration Solicitor who has the experience and expertise to handle your case for you. Someone who will listen to your needs and endeavour to work hard to achieve the same goal as you: which is to get your visa as soon as possible, preferably at the first attempt.

Still Can't Afford To Hire An Immigration Solicitor? Try My Documents-Checking Service!

I understand that sometimes, the costs are just too much and many of you feel confident enough to prepare visa applications yourselves, as well as collating the documents in support of the application.  However, for those who are still uncertain as to whether or not they have completed the application forms correctly, and that they have gathered sufficient documents and that these are in the correct format, as specified in the Immigration Rules, I offer a Documents-Checking Service for £250. For a fraction of the price of hiring a Solicitor to advise and assist you with your application, I can still provide you peace of mind by reviewing your application forms and documents before you submit these to the relevant Immigration Authorities.  This guarantees you reassurance that your application will have the best chance of being successful, and who wouldn't want that? 

Want to Discuss Your Case? For a free, no-obligation chat, call Melanie TODAY on 0203 302 6864. I could be the first step towards your future life in the UK

By M WONG 30 Apr, 2017

From 2016, the Home Office have recently introduced a system whereby the supporting documents for settlement visa applications made abroad from certain countries, notably: India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, now have to be sent to the UKVI in Sheffield.

For settlement applications made in India for instance, supporting documents for application made on or after the 30th of January 2017, are no longer accepted at the Visa Application Centres within India, and should now be sent to the UKVI in Sheffield.  For reference, here is the link from the Home Office, regarding settlement application visas made in India:

https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/India/pdf/Webstor-for-settlement-applications.pdf

It should be noted that once the application online is submitted, the Sponsor/Applicant would then need to send their supporting documents to the UKVI in Sheffield within 20 working days of submitting their biometric data, for those paying the usual fees of £1,464, or 10 working days, for those applying using the Premium Settlement Service.

Applicants and their Sponsors are therefore advised to check with their local Visa Application Centres by visiting their website on  www.vfsglobal.co.uk , to check where to submit their supporting documents.

On the face of it, it seems that this is a better way for Sponsors who are living and settled in the UK, for sending their original documents to the Home Office, as opposed to sending these to their partners in their countries of origin, where companies such as DHL are used, and where a minimum payment of £90-£100 is paid to ensure that the documents reach their partners who are applying for settlement visas.

It remains to be seen, however, whether or not this system will improve the visa processing times for applicants and their settled partners.

By M WONG 27 Apr, 2017

Naturalisation as a British citizen: The Law:

Under section 6 of the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home Secretary has a discretion to grant a certificate of naturalisation to any person aged 18 or over who is not a British citizen.

The grant of British citizenship is therefore NOT a fundamental Human Right.

The Requirements:

If the applicant is not married to, or in a civil partnership with, a British citizen, the requirements for naturalisation are that the applicant:

  1. Must have been settled for at least 1 year before the application;
  2. Must have been living in the UK legally for 5 years continuously before making the application;
  3. Must have been physically present in the UK on the date five years before the application is received by the Home Office;
  4. Must not have been absent for more than 450 days in total during the 5 year qualifying period, and not more than 90 days in the year immediately before the application is made;
  5. Must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the UK;
  6. Must show good character, and
  7. Must show an intention to live in the UK.
  8. The Home Office fees:

As of the 6th of April 2017, the Home Office fees for naturalisation is £1,282. This fee is non-refundable, even if the application is refused.

Example Scenario:

Esther is a Ghanaian citizen. She has been living in the UK for 6 years in total. For the first five years, she has had a spouse visa (initially granted for 33 months, then extended for a further 30 months), then she applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)/settlement, which was granted by the Home Office.

She has had ILR for 11 months. For the past year, she has been on holiday, but for a total of 2 months. For the past 5 years, she has been on holiday every year, but again for no more than 2 months a year at a time. This means that she has been outside of the UK for 10 months in total, or 304 days, for the last 5 years.

She does not have any criminal convictions, and has never been the subject of bankruptcy. She is a law-abiding citizen and prior to obtaining her spouse visa, has never been in the UK and has never been in breach of UK immigration laws.

She now wants to apply for naturalisation. She has passed the Life in the UK test and she rents a house in the UK. She has a husband and children who live with her in the UK. Her husband also works in the UK and her children attend school.

In this scenario, Esther appears to satisfy all of the requirements for naturalisation. Providing that she submits supporting documents with her application, which support her contention that she meets all of the requirements,  it would seem that she has a very good chance of being granted with a naturalisation certificate.

Why you need a legal expert to advise and assist you with naturalisation application:

As you will note from above, there are many requirements that need to be met in order to be granted with a certificate of naturalisation. One of the most important requirement mentioned above is that of the “good character” requirement. There is no legal definition of what constitutes “good character,” rather, there is a set guideline to caseworkers as to factors that constitute, and do not constitute, an applicant’s good character. (The test of “good character is discussed in a further article, see here for more details).

A costly matter, especially if refused:

If one or more of the above requirements are not met, this could result in the application being refused, and the payment of £1,282 is lost.

What can I do if I get refused?:

The only remedy for refusal of naturalisation application is to ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision. Reconsideration of a decision to refuse is difficult and could result in a stress-inducing situation.

Get Your Application Approved at the First Attempt:

It is therefore vital that such an application is made correctly, right from the first attempt, since failure to do so could mean losing a lot of money, as well as losing time and adding stress. We can help you with taking the stress away and saving you time. We will help ensure that you are granted with British citizenship at the first attempt, saving you money, too. Call us now on 0203 302 6864 for a free and confidential assessment of your case, or complete the enquiry form, to discuss your case further.

By M WONG 23 Apr, 2017

Who are EEA Nationals?

EEA nationals are nationals of Members States of the EU together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, (which are parties to the European Economic Area Agreement).

EU Countries include:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

* Note: Nationals of Switzerland, Bulgaria and Romania also have the same rights as EEA nationals.

What is their Immigration Status?

Nationals of the EEA have a hybrid status. They do not have the right of abode possessed by British citizens, but, unlike other aliens, they do not require leave to enter or remain while exercising rights in EU law. These rights have been implemented in UK law by the I(EEA) Regs 2016.

EEA Nationals Coming to the UK:

An EEA national must be admitted entrance to the UK if he/she produces on arrival a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA State.

Initial Right of Residence in the UK for 3 months:

An EEA national and his family members are entitled to reside in the UK for a period not exceeding 3 months. The only condition is that the EEA national and any family member must not become an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of the UK.

Residence beyond 3 months:

An EEA national is entitled to reside in the UK for a period exceeding 3 months if he/she is a “qualified person”, i.e. he is a person exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK.

Who is a “qualified person?” What does “exercising their Treaty Rights” mean?

An EEA national is a “qualified person” or a person who is “exercising their Treaty Rights, if they are in the UK in any of the following categories:

  1. A Jobseeker;
  2. A worker;
  3. A self-employed person;
  4. A self-sufficient person; or
  5. A student
Does an EEA national need to confirm that they have a right to reside in the UK after 3 months?:

An EEA national does not have to obtain confirmation or a certificate stating that they have the right to reside in the UK because they are a “qualified person.” However, in light of the recent Brexit vote, it is advisable for EEA nationals living in the UK to obtain a Residence Certificate from the Home Office to confirm their right of residence here.

How can an EEA NAtional obtain a “Residence Certificate?”

An application to the Home Office must be made in order to obtain a residence certificate. Evidence of their nationality, such as a passport, for instance, as well as evidence that they are exercising their Treaty Rights, (such as payslips, if working, or a letter from the Department for Works and Pensions confirming receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, if a work-seeker, or a letter from university or college, if they are studying), should also be provided. We can advise and assist applicants with such applications. For further information, contact us TODAY on 0203 302 6864, for a FREE Consultation , or complete our enquiry form.

How long is this valid for?

The Residence Certificate is valid for 5 years. Thereafter, if the EEA national is still in the UK, they may be able to acquire the right to reside in the UK permanently.

How can an EEA national obtain Permanent Residency in the UK? What do they need to do to confirm this?

If an EEA national has been living in the UK for 5 years, and they were exercising their Treaty Rights during these years, and providing they meet the other requirements for permanent residency, they may automatically acquire the right to reside in the UK permanently.

Essentially, an EEA national does not need to make any application to the Home Office to confirm their permanent residency status in the UK. However, again in light of the Brexit vote, and also if the EEA national wants to become a British citizen, then they would need to obtain a Permanent Residency Card from the Home Office.

How can an EEA national naturalise as a British citizen?

Generally, the EEA national would need to have legally lived in the UK for 5 years, continuously, and that they have had Permanent Residency for 1 year, so 6 years’ of living in the UK legally and continuously.

Once they have had Permanent Residency for at least a year, (if they have been living in the UK for 5 years prior to obtaining a Permanent Residency Card), then they are eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.

Case Scenario:

Q: Maria is a Greek national and has been living in the UK for 5 years, as a student and a worker. She wants to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen as she would like to be able to remain in the UK, especially after the Brexit uncertainty.

A: After 5 years of being in the UK, and exercising her Treaty Rights, Maria has obtained an automatic right to Permanent Residency in the UK. If she wants to become a British citizen, she would need to apply for a Permanent Residence Card (PRC), and then hold on to this for another year, before applying for naturalisation. She needs to ensure that she can show that she has lived in the UK legally and continuously for 6 years, and that she has had PRC for a year during this 6 years’ stay.

What if an EEA citizen has lived in the UK for more than 6 years, and has not obtained a Permanent Residency Card, but now wants to naturalise as a British citizen?:

If an EEA national has lived here for more than 6 years, and they were exercising their Treaty Rights, and they have not been outside the UK for more than 450 days during the last 5 years, and more than 90 days during the last year, then they may have automatically acquired the right to reside in the UK permanently.

However, for naturalisation purposes, it is a requirement that an EEA national must have a Permanent Residency Card, before applying for naturalisation.

Does this mean that the EEA national have to wait another year before they can apply for naturalisation?

The answer is no. In this instance, if the EEA national has been living in the UK legally and continuously for more than 5 years, then they have automatically acquired the right to permanent residency. This means that as soon as they obtain the Permanent Residency Card from the Home Office, they can then apply to naturalise as a British citizen, without having to wait a further year.

Case Scenario:

Q: Lucas is a Romanian national and has been living in the UK for 10 years. He has been self-employed throughout and has never been outside of the UK for more than 2 months a year. He wants to apply to become a British citizen and wants advice and assistance with this.

A: Lucas has acquired Permanent Residency in the UK automatically because he has lived here legally and continuously for more than 6 years. If he wants to become a British citizen, he would need to apply for a PRC with the Home Office. However, because he has automatically acquired Permanent Residency due to the length of time he has been living in the UK, i.e. more than 6 years, he does not need to wait a year in order to apply for naturalisation. As soon as he receives his PRC from the Home Office, he can then apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen.

We advise and assist EEA Nationals with applying for Registration Certificates, Permanent Residency, and naturalizing as a British citizen. Contact us TODAY on 0203 302 6864, for a FREE Consultation , or complete the enquiry form.  We are here to help you achieve your immigration documentation from the Home Office quickly and painlessly!


*Special Offer: If you are an EEA National and have lived in the UK for nearly 6 years, or more than 6 years, and want to apply for a PRC and then British citizenship, we can advise and assist you with both applications for a special discount package. Contact us now to find out more about this offer.

By M WONG 22 Apr, 2017

In the past few months, we have had many enquiries from EEA nationals who have been living in the UK for many years, and who now wish to naturalise as British citizens due to the uncertainty after Brexit.

Before the 12th of November 2015, EEA nationals did not need to apply for a permanent residence card, or even a registration certificate, in order to confirm that they had the right to live in the UK. On the 12th of November 2015, however, all EEA nationals who wanted to apply to become British citizens must hold a Permanent Residence Card first, before they can apply for naturalisation.

The following are some example scenarios where this requirement is applicable:

Q: I am a Portuguese national. I have been in the UK for 4 years as a worker and want to become a British national. What do I need to do?

A: Before they can become a British citizen, the applicant would need to have a Permanent Residence Card (PRC), for at least 12 months. Also, they need to have been living in the UK for at least 5 years before having settlement or permanent residency in the UK.

In the Portuguese client’s case, they would need to have been living in the UK for at least 5 years before they can apply for a PRC. Once they have received the PRC, they would need to wait a further 12 months before they can apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. So, 6 years of living in the UK in total, and 1 year out of the 6 years, they would need to have had settlement or held the PRC.

Thereafter, they can apply for naturalisation.

Q: I am a Spanish national and have been living in the UK for more than 20 years. I was working before and I am now a pensioner. I have never had to regularise my immigration stay in the UK as I knew that I had the legal right to stay here as an EU national. But I am worried about Brexit and want to ensure I can continue living here in the UK. I now want to become a British citizen and have dual citizenship. How can I do this?

A: Under the current EU laws, an EEA national has an automatic permanent status in the UK if they have lived here for at least 5 years, and have been exercising their Treaty Rights during these years.

In the example, the Spanish client has automatically acquired permanent residence status in the UK because they have lived here continuously for more than 5 years, and they were exercising their Treaty Rights. Providing they meet the requirements for naturalisation, then they are eligible to apply for it.

However, before they can apply for naturalisation, they must first apply for a PRC certificate from the Home Office. Once they have received their PRC certificate, they can apply for naturalisation as soon as they receive it, without having to wait for a further 12 months, because they have already been living in the UK continuously for more than 6 years and have automatically acquired permanent residency in the UK.

Do I really need to apply for a PRC? Can I not just apply for naturalisation straightaway?

The answer is yes, you do need to apply for a PRC certificate first. From the 1st of August 2016, the Home Office have refused naturalisation applications from EEA nationals who have not provided a PRC certificate with their application form. This means that the applicants have just wasted a lot of money for payment of the Home Office fees for naturalisation applications, given these fees are non-refundable once the Home Office have started processing such applications.

We can advise and assist you with your application for a PRC certificate, and also for applying for naturalisation as a British citizen. Call us Today for a FREE consultation on  0203 302 6864 , or complete the query form  to discuss your case with us further.

By M WONG 21 Apr, 2017

A partner (fiance(e)/spouse/unmarried partner/civil partner/proposed civil partner) of a person present and settled in the UK, who is a non-EEA citizen, and who is living outside the UK, must apply for entry clearance, (visa), to be able to come to the UK. To be granted a visa, they would need to show that they meet all of the requirements for a partner visa, as stated under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

The requirements are that:

  1. The applicant must be outside the UK;

  1. The applicant must have made a valid application for entry clearance as a partner;

  1. The applicant must meet the “Suitability” test;

  1. The applicant must meet the “eligibility” requirements which include:

i) the relationship requirements;

ii) the financial requirements;

iii) the accommodation requirements; and

iv) the English language requirement

All of these factors need to be met in order for the applicant to be granted entry clearance as a partner. In addition, they must also submit documents in support of their application to confirm how they meet each of the requirements stated above. These documents must be those that are specified under Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules, as failure to provide the correct and relevant documents could mean a refusal of the application, resulting in either a fresh application, or an appeal to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal (IAT), whereby an Immigration Judge in the UK will consider whether or not the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) was correct in refusing the application.

How can I show that I meet these requirements?

The first 2 requirements are met if the applicant is submitting an application in their home country, (i.e. outside the UK), or a neighbouring country (if there is no British Embassy in their country of residence), and if the applicant is making an application as a partner in order to join their settled partner in the UK, on a permanent basis.

What is the “Suitability” test/requirement?

Briefly, this relates to the applicant’s character and immigration history (if any) in the UK. For instance, if the applicant has criminal convictions in the UK or in another country, if they have been deported from the UK in the last 10 years, if they have been in breach of their conditions of stay in the UK, (if they previously lived here), and if they owe any money to the NHS (if they stayed in the UK and received medical care at an NHS hospital). These factors will be taken into account by the ECO, and failure to disclose such information could result in a refusal of the application.

Relationship Test/Requirement:

In general, this relates to the relationship between the couple- if they are 18 years old or over, if they have met, and if their relationship seems “genuine.” This is a subjective test and the more evidence provided to confirm the existence and genuineness of the relationship, the better. Examples may include pictures of the couple together, birth certificates of children (if they have children together), statements from friends and family members, confirming their knowledge of the relationship between the couple, print-outs of online conversations between the couple, (showing communication with each other), telephone bills showing the couple calling each other, remittance receipts (if the settled partner sends money to their partner and/or children), etc.

The Financial Requirement:

This is the most difficult requirement for most couples to meet. Briefly, the settled partner must show that they receive an income of £18,600 (for both of the couple), per year. This figure increases if the couple have children who are non-British citizens, and who are also coming to the UK to join the settled partner.

The income can be from employment, self-employment or non-employment such as rental of property, for instance.

There are various “categories” regarding the financial requirement, and these categories include employment for 6 months or more, employment for less than 6 months, self-employment, non-employment income, savings, etc.

These categories can either be added together, (if allowed), or not. Advice from a legal expert is vital in order to determine whether this requirement, (among others), is met, and if not, if there are other ways to meet this requirement.

There are also exemptions to the financial requirement. For instance, if the settled partner is in receipt of certain welfare benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, then they will be exempted from meeting the financial requirement. They do, however, need to satisfy that the maintenance and the accommodation will be adequate for all of them, without further recourse to public finds. The test of “adequacy” will be discussed further on a separate article in this blog.

The Accommodation Requirement:

This relates to the property where the couple will be living. If the couple have no children, then 1 room in a shared flat/house, is sufficient, either rented or owned. If the couple have a child/children over the age of 10, they will need a separate room for the child. This could be a 1 bedroom property with a separate sitting room (which is not shared with anyone else), or a 2 bedroom property. The housing regulations regarding overcrowding rules are used as a guideline in terms of “adequate accommodation.”

The English Language Requirement:

For a partner visa application, a minimum of level A1 pass mark for the English language test is sufficient to meet this requirement.

There are also exemptions to this requirement. This includes children under 18 years old, applicants over the age of 65, if the applicant is a citizen of a majority English-speaking country, such as the USA, for instance, or if the applicant has studied a degree. If this was studied outside the UK, and was taught in English, the applicant must show that the UK NARIC has deemed their degree as equivalent to that of a UK degree. If they studied a degree course (Bachelor’s and/or Master’s), in the UK, then this should be sufficient to show that they are exempted from passing an English language test.

 Let Us Help You with your Spouse/Partner Visa Application:

As you can see, there are many requirements that need to be addressed and met by a partner visa applicant before they can be granted with a visa. All of these requirements must be evidenced by supporting documents, and these supporting documents must be ones that have been specified on the Immigration Rules. This type of application is not straightforward and requires an experienced legal expert to help you. We have helped many clients with such visa applications, and most have received their visas at the first attempt. Call us now to discuss your case further. We look forward to working with you!

By M WONG 19 Apr, 2017

The Visa Fees for UK Visa Applications have been changed, starting from the 6th of April 2017. This affects applications made on or after the 6th of April 2017.

For a full list of the current visa fee applications, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/607212/Fees_table_April_20...


Some of the increased visa fees include:

- Settlement Applications- outside the UK: Now £1,464

  • This includes applications for fiance(e), spouse, unmarried partners

  • Dependent children

- Tier 1, Entrepreneur, outside the UK: now £982

- Tier 2 General (3 years or less Certificate Of Sponsorship, (COS)); now £446

- Tier 2 General (more than 3 years COS), now £892

- Settlement Applications, inside the UK: £2,297

- Leave to Remain (including spouse visa extensions): now £993

- Naturalisation, now: £1,282

These fees are non-refundable:

It is important to note that the UK visa fees are non-refundable. This means that once the British High Commission or the Home Office have processed your application, the fees you have paid will not be refunded, even if the application has been refused.

This means that it is extremely vital to get your application and supporting documents right from the first time you submit an application. Otherwise, it can prove very costly and stress-inducing, to say the least.

The Fees Will Continue to Increase Over the Years:

It is expected that these fees will continue to increase, if not every year, then at least once every 2 years. Unfortunately, there is nothing that anybody can do and, as stated above, these fees are non-refundable. It is very important, therefore, to get the right legal expertise to advise and assist you with making a visa application, such as Melanie Wong Immigration Solicitor. 

We have helped thousands of clients, just like you, over the years to obtain their visas, mostly for the first time. Let us help you avoid a costly, stressful, and time-consuming experience for you and your family. Get it right the first time.

By M WONG 18 Apr, 2017

The UK Supreme Court, on the 22nd of February 2017, decided that the Minimum Income Requirement, or “MIR,”  was lawful. This follows the Judicial Review applications made by 5 people on the basis that the MIR was unlawful and should be abolished or amended.


What is MIR?


The MIR was incorporated in the Immigration Rules in July 2012 in order for couples to show that they will have sufficient monies to support themselves when they come and live in the UK, without having to apply for public funds, or welfare benefits.


Usually, the settled partner living in the UK must prove that the MIR is met. The settled partner can be a British citizen, someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settlement in the UK, a refugee status or they have a HUmanitarian Protection status.


They need to provide evidence that they are earning a minimum amount of money, (see below), in order for their non-EEA citizen partner to be eligible for entry clearance to come to the UK and join them permanently.


The Minimum Income Threshold: What are the Different Rates?


Currently, the MIR is £18,600 for a couple. If they have a non-British child, who is also coming to join the settled person in the UK, this amount increases to £22,400 (£18,600 + £3,800). If the couple have more than 1 child, this amount then increases to an additional £2,400 for each additional child, eg £22,400 for the partner and first child, and £22,400 + £2,400 (for the partner and first child + second child).


Example Scenario:

Mark has ILR in the UK after having had a visa as a worker under the Points Based System (PBS). He is married to an American citizen, Emily, and they have 2 children, Joshua and Jane, (both under 18 years old), who also live in America with Emily. Mark earns £40,000 per year.


What can Mark do in order for his family to join him in the UK permanently?Mark can sponsor an application by Emily for a spouse visa. Mark meets the MIR because he is earning more than £18,600 per annum.


What about the 2 children?


The 2 children can apply as dependent children of a settled person in the UK, and they are applying with their mother at the same time, who is also applying to join Mark in the UK.


Mark will have to show that he has £18,600, + £3,800 (for Joshua) + £2,400 (for Jane). Mark would need to earn a total of £24,800.


What if the settled person earns less than £18,600?

If the settled person earns less than the MIR, other factors can be taken into account, such as a second job and/or savings, for instance. This requires various ways of calculations, however, and needs to  be discussed with a legal expert.


What if the settled person has no other means of income, apart from their current job?

There are other legal ways of coming to the UK without necessarily having to meet the MIR under the Immigration Rules. One such route is called the “Surinder Singh” route. For more information, please contact us .

By M WONG 29 Mar, 2017
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has today triggered the official Brexit process in a letter to the EU, according to the BBC in their article here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-39424391 .

What does this mean for EU citizens and their families who currently live in the UK? What about those who are thinking of moving to the UK, and possibly bring their families too, to join them here?

Currently, it is unknown how, what and when the changes will be made to EU law and the rights of EU citizens living in and coming to the UK. Until negotiations have reached their final stages, which is formally 2 years beginning from today, EU citizens living in the UK, and those wishing to come here to live, will continue to have the right to reside in the UK without immigration restrictions. 

For now, however, EU citizens and their families who are already living in the UK, but currently do not have permanent residency, are strongly advised to obtain formal documentation as soon as possible from the Home Office confirming their right to live and remain in the UK, providing that they are exercising their Treaty Rights in the UK, as either a worker, work-seeker, student, self-employed, or a self-sufficient person. This is also advisable for EU citizens and their families who wish to come to the UK to live here, specially in the next 2 years while the Brexit negotiations are under way.  

The EU law route is also a very useful alternative for British citizens who wish to bring their non-EU partners to the UK, but cannot meet the financial threshold as required under the UK spouse visa rules. This law could also be subject to change in 2 years' time, again depending on what will be negotiated with the other members of the EU.

For more information about this, and to discuss your immigration matter in confidence, please contact Melanie Wong Immigration Solicitor today on 0203 302 6864


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