If you are simply visiting or transiting through the UK, you may require a visit or transit visa.
Visitor visas are usually applicable for anyone who wants to visit the UK for up to six months. To be granted this type of visa you will need to explain clearly what the purpose of your visit is.
You’ll be eligible for a visitor visa if you are planning a holiday in the UK, visiting friends or family, or carrying out business.
When you are in the UK on a visitor visa you won’t be able to work or study unless the activities you have planned are set out in the visitor rules.
To be eligible for a visitor visa, you must meet the requirements outlined in the visitor rules. This is true even if you are travelling as part of a group, such as a tour group, school party or family.
Applications for visitor visas need to be made while you’re still outside the UK. To apply for a visitor visa, you need to:
To be successful with your application, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have a genuine reason to visit and that you will leave the UK when it is over.
You will not be allowed a visa if it is believed that you:
Applications are decided based on the information and evidence provided by you, so it’s important to understand exactly what the Home Office is looking for.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is the entitlement to live and work permanently in the UK, without any restrictions and with access to benefits, education and healthcare. Our immigration lawyers can help you apply for indefinite leave to remain and also advise businesses on how to support their migrant employees.
There are numerous conditions that you must meet before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. To start with, we’ll review your situation and advise whether or not you qualify.
If you qualify, our solicitors can help you through the whole application to give you the best chance of success without any unnecessary delays.
If you can’t apply straight away, we’ll explore your options to help you stay in the country or work towards applying at a later date. We have years of experience helping people who were in your situation and have worked hard to get them the results they want.
For any business with a diverse workforce, helping your staff get indefinite leave to remain can improve employee turnover and reduce the risk of disruption. We can advise on practical, cost-effective ways to support your employees, and help you put policies and procedures in place for your migrant workers.
A successful application will allow you to live, work, study, and apply for benefits in the UK for the rest of your life. Indefinite leave to remain also means:
Your UK-born children can register as British citizens
You’ll have the status of indefinite leave to remain for the rest of your life, under two conditions:
Whether you can apply for indefinite leave to remain depends on what visa you have and how long the UK has been your legal residence.
The amount of time you must have spent in the UK before you can apply depends on which of these visas you have.
For example, you may be eligible if you have lived here lawfully, under any type of visa, for 10 continuous years.
You can apply online and will have to pay a fee as well as have your fingerprints and photograph taken. You may also have to pass a test to show you know about life in the UK and have an adequate command of the English Language.
We can help you at each stage of the process to make sure your documents and supporting evidence are factual and correct. We can also prepare you for any tests and appointments you may have to attend.
The process can take up to six months. However, the time will vary depending on which route you take and which visa category you fall under.
Any mistakes on your application can have disastrous consequences. There is no “near-miss” policy, even if you can show that it was just an innocent mistake or oversight. Our experienced solicitors can help you make sure your application is complete and correct and is concluded as swiftly and seemlessly as possible.
As long as you apply before your current visa expires, you can legally stay in the UK and continue working until the Home Office makes a decision.
If you’re living permanently in the UK and your spouse or partner wants to join you, they may need a spouse visa. This visa allows non EU nationals to live and work in the UK for five years until they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Our immigration solicitors can help you and your partner through the application process whether you’re applying from within the UK or from another country.
Applications for spouse visas require many documents to be submitted, to prove that the relationship is genuine. Our immigration specialists will advise you on exactly what documents you need and where to get them from so your application has every chance of success.
We’ll go beyond just preparing your documents too. We can assess your situation and advise if a spouse visa is the best option for you. In some cases your partner may be able to qualify for a different visa, like an Ancestry visa or a work or student visa. If your application is unfairly rejected by the Home Office, our team can also appeal the decision to the Immigration Tribunal.
For your partner to be eligible for a spouse visa, you’ll need to prove that:
•You’re allowed to live in the UK permanently – you’ll need to prove that you’re a British citizen, have Indefinite Leave to Remain, or refugee status
•You earn at least £18,600 a year – you can do this by using payslips or any savings you have
•Your partner can speak English – they can prove this by doing an English language test accepted by the Home Office or if they have a university degree taught in English or they’re a citizen of a country where English is the main language
•You’re married or in a civil partnership – you can also prove you have lived together for at least two years as unmarried partners
•You’re in a genuine relationship – you’ll need to give evidence to support that your relationship is genuine
•You have somewhere to live – if you’re renting a property, you’ll need to get written permission from your landlord that you can both live in the property.
If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to apply for a fiancé visa. We can advise on what visa will suit your situation.
Our immigration lawyers will advise you and your partner on how to gather all the required documents. We’ll then put your documents into the correct format for the UK Home Office.
If you’re applying for the first time, and your partner is outside the UK, they’ll complete the online application from their home country or the country their living in. Applications normally take up to 12 weeks and some countries have a fast-track option at an extra cost. This will give you a decision within five working days.
If your application is successful, your partner’s visa will be valid for 33 months. Before the 33 months is over, you’ll need to apply to extend their visa. They can do this in the UK and remain here while they wait for a decision.
After five years of living in the UK continuously, your partner can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This will allow them to stay in the UK permanently and apply for British citizenship straightaway if you’re a British citizen.
We know that Brexit is causing a lot of uncertainty for EU nationals wanting to live in the UK. If your partner is an EU national, and has started living here before 1 January 2021 they’ll be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. If they arrive after then we’ll advise on what options you have to make sure you can stay together in the UK
British citizenship is a form of British nationality under the British Nationality Act 1981. It gives you the right to:
Anyone that’s not a UK citizen can apply for British citizenship by following the steps to naturalisation. Going through these steps to get your citizenship is a big commitment so getting expert legal advice will help you put the best possible application together.
If you’ve lived in the UK for five years and hold Indefinite Leave to Remain, you may be able to apply for British citizenship. This will allow you to stay in the UK permanently with the same rights as UK citizens. Our immigration solicitors can help you and your family with your application to make sure you meet the requirements for citizenship.
When you come to applying for your citizenship, we understand that this can be the last step over a long period of time. We’ll work closely with you from the beginning to end to make sure your application has the best chance of success. If you’re still a few years away from applying for citizenship, we can also advise on how you can prepare for your application in future.
We have particular expertise in helping people with applications that may be complicated. Sometimes the Home Office can use their discretion in cases where you don’t meet the strict requirements. This can happen if you’ve spent too much time outside the UK, in these situations we can advise on what your options are. If the Home Office has unfairly rejected your application, we can challenge their decision by requesting they reconsider.
Our team will look at your situation and pinpoint any areas of concern. We’ll then work efficiently with you to ensure all is in order so that, when the time comes, your application is as strong as possible.
To apply for British citizenship you’ll generally need to:
You’ll need to include various documents in your application to prove you meet these requirements. Our immigration lawyers can help you understand what documents will be accepted by the Home Office and how to get them.
Once you’ve gathered all your documents, we’ll put your application together in a format that the Home Office prefers.
The application process takes about four to six months. You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision and your Indefinite Leave to Remain status will stay the same.
If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to a Citizenship Ceremony where you’ll officially become a British citizen. After this you can apply for a British passport. Our solicitors will guide you through the entire process so you’ll always know what to expect and where you stand.
It also doesn’t matter what type of visa you came to the UK on. We can help if you have an entrepreneur, investor, spouse or work visa. If you have family members who qualify for British citizenship too, including young children, we can advise on how to prepare all your applications together.
When a foreign national who is in the UK fears persecution if they return to their home country, and that the authorities in their own country would be unable to protect them, they have a right to claim asylum here in the UK.
To be granted asylum under the 1951 United Nations’ Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, an individual will have to show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of nationality for at least one of the following reasons:
•Membership of a particular social group.
An individual will be expected to show that even if they have experienced problems in their own country they could not move somewhere else within that country and be safe and that they could not look to their own government for protection.
If you wish to claim asylum here in the UK the first step is to contact the Home Office directly to notify them. After that you would be given a short screening interview where the Home Office will take basic details, then you will need to wait for a date for a substantive asylum interview.
The second interview, known as the substantive interview is much more in depth and is where the Home Office will ask questions about your claim. Evidence can also be used to support your claim.
The asylum process can be very lengthy and complicated, and understandably very stressful for the claimant. We can help to ease the process by supporting you throughout. It is very important that individuals are completely honest throughout the asylum process and provide full disclosure from the outset to avoid complications at a later date.
If the Home Office accept that an individual would be at risk of persecution upon return to their home country they will grant them 5 years refugee status with the right to work or study.
If someone does not qualify for asylum because they do not fall within one of the above categories, but the UK government accepts they would be at risk of serious harm for some other reason, they may be granted a similar form of protection called Humanitarian Protection.
Occasionally the Home Office can refuse to grant asylum, but instead grant an individual Discretionary Leave due to their circumstances, for example if they are a minor, or if they have children in the UK.
It can often be very difficult for an asylum claim to be accepted. People often flee in desperation with no supporting evidence; they often do not fully understand the process or due to fear do not give as much information as is necessary. If the Home Office do not accept the individuals claim they will refuse to grant asylum or humanitarian protection.
If an asylum claim is not accepted, an individual is normally given a right of appeal. However, if the Home Office feel a case is totally without merit, they may well certify it, meaning an individual would only be given an out of country right of appeal, so they could only appeal after leaving the UK.
Our team can assist with both the initial claim and also the appeals procedure, as well as any fresh claims for asylum (sometimes referred to as further submissions).
The European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (ECHR), brought into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998, guarantees your most fundamental human rights, including freedom from unlawful detention, also known as the right to liberty and security (Article 5 ECHR). It states that no-one shall be deprived of their liberty, except in certain limited circumstances – such as when lawfully convicted by a court.
If you have been detained unlawfully, you can bring a claim against the police, immigration officials or other State bodies responsible for detaining you.
In immigration detention cases, where detention is taken out pending deportation, the law in relation to how long detention is permitted is complex.
Claims for unlawful detention can include:
Individuals who have committed a serious criminal offence may find themselves at risk of being deported from the UK.
This is automatically the case if you have committed an offence for which you received a prison sentence of 12 months or more. It may also be the case if you have committed numerous offences and the Secretary of State is of the belief that it would be in the public interest to deport you from the UK.
Currently the rules with regards to the Secretary of State’s ability to deport EEA nationals are a lot more complex and are dependent on how long the EEA national has lived in the UK and whether the EEA National poses a further risk to society. This is to change after Brexit so that EEA nationals committing an offence after the Brexit date will be treated the same as any other non EEA foreign national.
If you are facing deportation, you will be issued with a Notice of Intention to Deport and given a short period of time to put forward reasons as to why you should not be deported. It is very important to take immediate action and contact us as soon as possible so that we can make representations on your behalf and argue why you should not be deported.
If the Secretary of State has made the decision that you should be deported, you will be given a right to appeal against the decision to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, however, this may often be an out of country right of appeal only.
With your written authority we can often take instructions from family and/or friends and can assist you from the onset in making the initial representations all the way to a full deportation appeal.
We can also help to make representations to revoke a deportation order, although this may often be very difficult to do, especially if it is less than 10 years from the date it was issued.
If you fear deportation, have been served with any deportation documents or have received a decision to deport/a deportation order has been signed, please call our team without delay to get advice and assistance.
Immigration law is becoming stricter, making it harder for UK businesses to hire migrants to work and live in the UK. We can help your business comply with complex immigration laws. We also help migrants looking to invest or start a business in the UK.
Any immigration process is stressful and following the rules is vital to avoid penalty fees or legal action. We work with you to understand your needs and put a bespoke strategy in place that protects your business and employees.
Businesses employing migrant workers need to make sure they have the correct sponsorship licence. Applying for and maintaining these licences takes time and resources. Businesses can face issues if they don’t follow the correct process, including:
•Applying for the wrong sponsorship licences and certificates of sponsorship
•Having a sponsor licence refused, suspended or revoked
•Failing to comply with the prevention of illegal working regulations.
We’ll give you practical advice to help make your immigration experience less time consuming and stressful. Our immigration solicitors can help you if you’re:
•A business owner in the UK who employs migrant workers
•An individual looking to start a business or invest in the UK
•An Individual who wants to work in the UK
•A business wanting to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK.
Immigration laws around Brexit are uncertain but changes are likely. We understand that, for businesses employing people from the EU or EU nationals running businesses in the UK, this is an incredibly unsettling time.
Our immigration lawyers can assess your business and advise the best way forward to prepare for Brexit. We’ll also help you and your dependants apply for a permanent residency permit to stay in the UK.
Business immigration law is complex and no two issues are the same. Our immigration team offer a bespoke service that doesn’t just help with a one-off application. We work closely with you to offer tailored advice to ensure you have the correct policies in place so you comply with regulations.
We can help you:
•Make sure you comply with immigration law by auditing your business processes
•Fix any problems we find from our audit and help you avoid them in future
•Apply for sponsorship licences or certificates of sponsorship
•Deal with sponsorship licences that are refused, suspended or revoked
•Train HR teams on how to manage and stay compliant with sponsorship licences and employee visas
•Create policies for sponsors, entrepreneurs and investors with Tier 2 and Tier 5 licences
•Keep up-to-date on any changes to immigration law and how to implement them in your business.
Brexit has changed the way EU and EEA nationals can live and work in the UK. If you’re an EU or EEA national, you’ll need to apply for UK immigration status to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020. Our immigration solicitors deal with all aspects of UK immigration law. We can help you and your family apply for the correct status to enter into, or remain in the UK.
If you’re already living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and want to stay indefinitely, you’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If you want to come to the UK for a shorter period of time after Brexit, you’ll need a visa that suits your situation.
Our team can help you with applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. We also advise on visa applications if you plan to come to the UK to work, study or start a business after Brexit.
The Home Office introduced the EU Settlement Scheme as a way for EU and EEA nationals to hold lawful immigration status in the UK after Brexit. The scheme will classify your immigration status as either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’.
You’ll get settled status if you’ve been living in the UK continuously for five years. If you’ve lived in the UK for less than five years you get pre-settled status which will last for five years. Once you’ve lived in the UK continuously for five years you can apply for settled status.
Settled and pre-settled status will allow you and your family to live and work freely in the UK. You can also leave and enter the UK as you please. After 12 months with settled status (six continuous years of living in the UK) you can then apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen.
Under UK Immigration Rules, family members of an EU or EEA national are considered to be a:
•Spouse or civil partner
•Child or grandchild of you and/or your spouse or civil partner, if they’re under 21 or financially dependent on you
•Parent or grandparent of you or your spouse or civil partner who’s financially dependent on you.
If your family are already with you in the UK, they can apply to the Settlement Scheme at the same time. If your family is still abroad they can still join you in the UK after Brexit. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you’ll need to prove that your relationship is genuine for your spouse or partner to join you.
For unmarried partners of EU and EEA nationals, they would also be able to join you in the UK before 1 January 2021. You’ll also need to prove your relationship is genuine. Once they’re in the UK, they’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you don’t want to live permanently in the UK then you don’t have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
We can also help businesses or business owners with EU or EEA immigration issues.
We can help EU and EEA nationals who are:
•Running a business in the UK
•Planning to open a business in the UK
•Needing to visit the UK for business.
We can also help UK businesses that employ EU or EEA nationals in the UK.
Our lawyers can help you apply for a Tier 2 visa so you can continue to employ EU or EEA nationals in the UK. If you need to come to the UK continuously for business, we can also assist with a Business Visitor’s Visa.
As the end of transition period is approaching, there are more and more EU and EEA nationals applying. It currently takes the Home Office 1 – 2 months to process an application but this could increase as the deadline comes closer.
While your application is in progress you don’t have to worry about if you can stay in the UK or not. As an EU or EEA national you’re free to stay in the UK during your application under EU freedom of movement law.
The UK Student Visa application process requires an individual to have an offer from a registered UK university, school or educational facility. A person can apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa if they want to study in the UK for a period longer than six months. In this case, the Home Office applies a points-based-system to assess eligibility.
A Tier 4 Visa allows a person to study for a specified course length and allows them to bring a partner or children with them to the UK during their studies.
If the Student Visa application is successful, you are generally permitted to remain in the UK for the full length of the course and for a short time after. After this stage, you will need to leave the UK unless you have applied to extend your stay or switch to another immigration category.
We are dedicated to helping you achieve your goal of studying in the UK. Our expert lawyers can help you assess the best UK study option for you. We will liaise with your prospective university/institution; arranging your sponsorship and relevant documents. We will also check all your identity and educational documents to ensure that they are sufficient.
Our lawyers will work with you on your application for a Study Visa, completing each section to a high standard before submission. If you are concerned that you do not meet any of the requirements, we can work with you to resolve your issues.
Our services also include maintaining contact with the Home Office until a decision is reached.
Judicial review is a process by which the Secretary of State, UKVI or other government department who has acted outside of its powers in an unfair or disproportionate way, are subject to review by the Judiciary.
This is a legal challenge of final resort and when there are no other remedies available. The process is subject to very strict requirements and deadlines and can end up being an expensive process.
We can advise on your options, assess merit to succeed and prepare an initial Pre-Action Protocol Letter (threatening to take the matter to a High Court Judge for intervention unless satisfactorily resolved). This is sometimes sufficient to get UKVI to review their decision.
However, if the Home Office fails to respond to the initial Pre-Action Protocol letter in the 14 day deadline, then we need to consider whether to go ahead and lodge a Judicial Review application with the court, subject to a merit assessment by a barrister. It is then for the Court to make a decision as to whether you will be granted permission to proceed with the Judicial Review and unless settled before hand, may lead to a hearing before a Judge.
It is important to get a specialist merit amassment from an experienced barrister as the Court has the power to order costs against the losing party and this can amount to thousands of pounds, depending on how far the matter proceeds before it is resolved.