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Author: NFF

Are you considering/ due to move overseas for an assignment?

 

Your future overseas admin unit/Embassy are responsible for providing you with all overseas information, such as housing, schooling and pertinent local information.  This will normally be in the form of a pack or you are given a sponsor to liaise with.

 

Below are some general information for your reference:

Accommodation

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will assign suitable housing for you and your family once an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) has been completed.  

The Royal Navy has a Relocations Officer who will be able to provide you with the FamilOverseas Removals and Travel Pack.  Relocations is only responsible for removals and travel to your destination.   

 

  • Joint Service Publication (JSP)  

JSP64 – Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations Volume 1: Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation – UK and Overseas 

 

  • Long Term Relationships (LTR) 

Overseas do not have surplus accommodation, therefore, long term relationships are not eligible to apply for SFA.  If you wish to accompany your partner on an overseas assignment you must be married.   

Overseas birth notification pilot launches

A birth notification pilot in Cyprus is enabling babies born to British Forces families, who are registered with Defence Medical Services, to be registered on the Birth Notification Application (BNA) by Primary Care Support England (PCSE). Babies will receive their NHS number at (or soon after) birth to enable immediate and ongoing care provision and aide secure information sharing between approved health and care organisations. Since March 2021,10 babies have already been registered on the BNA. With the aim of keeping babies and children safer and improving efficiencies, the pilot has been made possible through partnership working with military, charitable, NHS and public health bodies, including NHS Digital, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Defence Public Health Unit, Defence Primary Healthcare, SSAFA and PCSE. It is anticipated that the pilot will be rolled out to other overseas bases in the future.

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

All BFPO numbers have been allocated a shadow postcode e.g Naples = BFPO8/BF1 2AB 

Up to date information about BFPO can be found here on the Post Office website. Also, additional information can be found on the government’s website here. 

 

  • Shadow Postcodes 

Full list of current shadow postcodes can be found here. 

 

  • Smartphone apps 

You can find BFPO numbers, UK retailers who post products to BFPO addresses and calculate you postage costs by downloading the BFPO app for Apple and Android devices.  

 

  • BFPO/Brexit

BFPO customers in EU locations are advised that mail subject to recent delays is continuing to work its way through an extremely busy civil mail network system. BFPO have experienced an interruption with deliveries to, and UK return services from, Naples and Milan. BFPO customers in these locations are advised that parcel services and UK return services via the Naples Forces Post Office are temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Moreover, changes to UK and international law will affect how mail and parcels will be cleared in the future and these new laws, which are driven by aviation security and fiscal requirements, will be getting much stricter throughout 2021. You can find a BFPO service update here.

Childcare

In overseas locations, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England.  

 

Parents will have access to the following: 

  • In MOD nursery setting overseas parents with children aged 3 and 4 years old can access 15 or 30 hours free childcare (depending on eligibility).  30 hours free childcare applies when registering for the additional entitlement.   
  • Recently renamed to Overseas Nursery Authority (ONA), Parents of 3 and 4 year olds in overseas locations, where MOD schools and setting are not available, can apply for reimbursement of nursery fees  

 

Applications (from all three services) should be sent to armyres-armyhq-blb-mailbox@mod.gov.uk  

Education

The education provision for Service children overseas can be categorised as Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools and Settings or non-MOD schools locations. Please click here for more information.

Employment

Employment criteria can differ from country to country.  Opportunities can be limited, especially in areas that are more isolated.  Job vacancies are posted on the Tri-Service platformForces Families Job, as well as opportunities to upskill. 

 

Further support:

Finance

Depending on your personal financial situation, you may find information within the following links useful when considering an overseas assignment.  

 

Local Overseas Allowance (LOA)

From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. The changes will make the allowance more transparent, fairer to all Service personnel, and improve oversight. They do not impact eligibility or other allowances and are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral. Click here to find out more about the updates. We have received several enquiries on the new package and have put together a quick guide/FAQ here.

Where to find in country information
  • British Defence Staff US – www.bdsus.info  
  • British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) and Community Support Cyprus – www.forcessocialwork.com/cyprus 
  • British Forces South Atlantic Islands families’ handbookClick here
  • European Joint Support Units –  www.ejsu.net 
  • Tri-Service International Hive (iHIVE)  – nff.org.uk/ihive/
    • When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations.  Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas.  The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts.  The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family.
Posted on: 22nd October, 2020

NFF News: World Mental Health Day (10th October, 2020)

 

Update: 31st August 2021 – Thank you for your interest in the pilot project. The project is now closed. Your feedback is really important to us and will help inform future provisions – please do contact us and let us know your thoughts on how Headspace worked for you.

Introducing Headspace – a new project specially for you

Dealing with challenges is part and parcel of Naval family life, but in these strange times, some members of our serving Naval families might benefit from some extra support.

Covid-19 has brought many additional new challenges. What if there was something you could carry in your pocket to help you navigate through whatever you are facing?

We believe that the Headspace App can help, by giving you the skills you need to be able to focus on your own health and wellbeing.

That’s why NFF, supported by RN FPS and the RN Wellbeing Team, are delighted to offer serving and non-serving family members free access to the Headspace App as part of a pilot project.

We hope Headspace can help you find a little joy in your everyday.

 

What is Headspace?

Headspace is a platform for mindful living, meaning you can take it with you on a walk, a run or you can even do a workout with one of the Headspace trainers. You can use it to help you get to sleep with guided sleepcasts and music, as well as all the mindfulness courses on any topic you can think of. There are even topics and courses for children. Headspace also partners with many sports institutions to support developing a performance mindset for athletes. It’s really a gym membership for your mind. Click here to read an information leaflet. More information can be found on their website.

 

 

What you need to do

Please read the note below before you click the button to sign up for your free Headspace account. There is also a FAQ section at the bottom of this page to guide you through the application process.

 

Important note
  • Up to 3,000 serving RN/RM/RFA (regular and reserve) personnel and their loved ones will have free access to Headspace; our priority is for those families who will be most receptive to this support and most likely to make full use of it.
  • Application deadline: Noon on 31st August 2021
  • The licence gives registered family members free access to the Headspace app until 12th October 2021 so please make the most of the Headspace App while you can. 
  • You will be asked for a Service Number on the registration form so that your eligibility can be confirmed by the RN.
  • We are now able to allocate two licences per Service Number. Please ensure that you use two different email addresses when applying though, as this is a requirement of the Headspace programme. Once you have registered, and your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be contacted within 2 weeks with a link to create your account.
  • Only your name and email address will be shared with the Headspace team so that your account can be created. More details about our privacy policy can be found here.
  • If you would like to know more about the support services that are available for families,  please visit our Mental Health pages.
FAQ

We are aware that a small number of people have encountered some issues with their access to the Headspace App. If you do have any problems, please check the list below as hopefully the answer is here:

I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

Q: I’ve submitted my application but I’ve not received the link yet.

 

A: If you have submitted an application for the App and haven’t heard from the NFF within two weeks, please check your junk/spam mailbox – once we have confirmed your eligibility, we are sending out the special enrolment link in an email which comes from noreply@nff.org.uk

I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

Q: I’ve received the email with the link, what do I do now?

 

A: When you receive the email, please make sure that you click on the link and activate your account so that you can start to benefit from all of the great support that Headspace can offer.

How do I set up my account?

Q: How do I set up my account?

 

A: Please follow the below steps –

  1. Click on the enrolment link that we sent you in an email – please check your spam/junk box if you haven’t received it yet
  2. When you get to the NFF page on the Headspace website, click on Create a New Account
  3. Enter your Headspace login details – remember to use the same information that you provided when you completed your online application form on our website
  4. Follow each of the steps to create your account
  5. You will then receive an email asking you to verify the account – you need to follow the steps right up until completion
  6. Log out of the app and then log back in again.
  7. Now you should be able to access the full range of courses.

 

If you are still having problems once you’ve tried this, please contact the NFF team at contactus@nff.org.uk and we will get in touch with you to resolve it as soon as we can.

UPDATE (6 OCT 21) – This project has reached a milestone. We are delighted to share the collection with you. Please click here for further information. Finally, a massive thank you for sharing with us your wonderful creations. 

Project aim

Time, on my watch promotional poster with quote and logos.The Naval Families Federation is currently running a creative project, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, which is looking at the concept of time, as we think it means something different for our serving Royal Navy/ Royal Marines families.  This is an opportunity for you to think about how you spend your time. What do you enjoy doing together as a family? What do you miss when someone is away? How have you been filling your days during lockdown?

 

What you need to do

Don’t worry if you feel that you’re not very creative. We’re not looking for a perfect picture, we just want to give you the chance to say how you feel in a very different way. You might want to write a poem or draw a picture or take a photo of something that you enjoy doing, perhaps while you’re playing with your pet, or the view you love while you’re going for a run in the park. You could even show us what it looks like at home, when you’re trying to home-school and work at the same time. If you already have something made, like a piece of artwork that you spent time making with your family, that’s great – you don’t have to make something new, but you can if you want to.

 

Once you’re happy with your work, you need to send a photograph of it to us. You can do that by using the link below. We are working with a professional artist, Tim Mann, who is going to create an exhibition using all of the images that you send in, so you will be able to see your work on display as well.  You can be really honest about how you’re feeling too as the final exhibition will be anonymous. Take a look at our gallery below to see some of the photos that have already been sent in to us – we’ve had such a wonderful and diverse range of images already and we can’t wait to see what you send in too.

 

This isn’t a competition so we won’t be judging the photos that you send to us, but everyone who takes part will have their name put into a draw* – please read important details from the ‘further information’ section below.

 

Entries closed at 23:59 on 31st March, 2021.

Further information
Prize draw
Prize draw

Although this is not a competition – there are no winning entries or the like – the names of all those who enter will be put into a draw*, sponsored by Eurest Support Services (ESS). The winner will be able to select a prize from a range of options which includes access to a creative writing course, a Polaroid camera, an electronic tablet or a £100 Amazon gift voucher. 

 

*Please note you will only be entered into the prize draw if you submit at least one piece of work.

Photographic Consent Terms & Conditions
Naval Families Federation – ‘Time, on your watch’ Project
Photographic Consent Terms and Conditions

 

Thank you for taking part in the Naval Families Federation (NFF) ‘Time, on your watch’ project.

 

The photographs you have chosen to share with us will be used to form a larger work of art, which will be exhibited either live, virtually or in a printed book.

 

Any personal details shared with the NFF as part of this project will be retained by us in accordance with our Privacy Policy and will not be passed on to any third party without your prior consent.

 

We may use some of the images from the project to promote our work and our funders may use pictures from this project for promotional purposes.

 

By giving your consent for us to use these images, you are confirming that:

  • You give permission for the Naval Families Federation, Building 25, HMS EXCELLENT, Portsmouth, PO2 8ER, Tim Mann Artist and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to use and disclose your photograph(s) without restriction in any media or format
  • You will let the Naval Families Federation know if you wish to withdraw this permission.
  • Your permission allows the Naval Families Federation, Tim Mann Artist and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to use your photograph(s) for any publicity or advertising in connection with their work, and they are permitted to share your photograph(s) with other organisations (such as media and advertising agencies) for publicity purposes.
  • You have volunteered your photograph(s) and agree that you will not receive or request any payment, royalty or other form of consideration for your images, or participation in any project of the Naval Families Federation.

 

If the photographs that you choose to share with the Naval Families Federation include images of any individuals under 16 years of age, you must confirm that

  • Their parent, legal guardian or authorised legal representative has the lawful authority to give their consent for the image to be used.
  • Their parent, legal guardian or authorised legal representative has read, and understood, the terms and conditions and consents to the individual sharing the images with us on these terms and conditions.
Press release

Time. Art.

 

Big concepts, but also the universal threads that run through our lives.

 

The alarm in the morning, the drop-off and pick-up at school, the length of a ship’s deployment.

 

The book we relax with, the drama, soap or comedy we enjoy on TV, a striking image on Instagram.

 

We are so immersed in time and art we can easily overlook them in our day-to-day existence.

 

But your time is valuable, and if you stop for a moment (time!) you might reflect that your time seems to pass quicker than someone else’s. You are always rushing to keep up with your busy schedule while your sailor or Marine is away.

 

Or maybe the hours stretch out, waiting to be filled, and days crawl by as you wait for someone to return home.

 

You might doodle while you daydream. Capture a picture on your phone of a dramatic sunset. Pour out your heart in a diary entry. It’s all expressive; it’s all art.

And we would love to gather those thoughts, feelings, doodles, whatever, and create a large-scale work of art that reflects the lives of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.

 

The Naval Families Federation has joined with artist Tim Mann to launch a project funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

 

Called Time, On My Watch, the project focuses on the concept of time as we think it has different meanings for serving personnel and families. This is an opportunity for you to show that your time is valuable and that you matter too.

 

It is a chance to take a moment and realise that you can put yourself first, to reflect on how you feel and to let other people know. You can say what you like, in whatever medium you like, and maybe find that the honesty of the exercise brings some form of release.

 

Express yourself in a poem, a drawing, a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, a doodle, some craft work, or that diary entry.

 

Once you’ve finished, all you need to do is send a photograph of it to us. We’re working in this way because we want to make sure that everyone can take part, whatever current restrictions are in place regarding social distancing and lockdowns. By sending us your image via our website, you can participate from the comfort of your own home or unit.

 

You don’t have to be a Rembrandt, a Shakespeare or a Pepys – and the elements of the final work of art created by Tim will remain anonymous.

 

Your work will form part of an exhibition that will either be live, virtual or in the form of a printed book.

 

The project is exclusively for Royal Navy/ Royal Marines serving personnel and their families.

 

For further details of how to be part of this exciting initiative, see nff.org.uk/timeonmywatch

Meet the artist

Meet the artist

Meet our artist Tim Mann, Tim is an experienced, passionate and exciting artist. He is unremitting in his commitment to ensure that his artistic engagement is innovative, accessible, diverse and sustainable.

 

Quote from Tim Mann, artist of Time, On My Watch.

Videos

In this section:

  1. Short introduction to the TOMW project by NFF CEO, Anna Wright
  2. Short introduction to the TOMW project by Artist Tim Mann
  3. Conversation piece: Capt Gibbons (Captain of HMNB Clyde) & Tim (TOMW artist)

Posted on: 1st October, 2020
Updated on: 12th April, 2021

 

*CLOSED* Please click here to see the findings. 

 

The NHS has launched a questionnaire and series of virtual events to explore how it can improve health and wellbeing support for the Armed Forces community in England. 

 

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement poster for serving personnelWhilst most Armed Forces families enjoy healthy lives, the unique circumstances of military life can cause pressures for some and affect an individual’s health and wellbeing. This is in addition to moving home every few years, which can make accessing the NHS difficult. The NHS want to help change this, so Armed Forces families are able to access NHS services easily in all parts of England. The NHS also want to ensure that they can get care and support from clinicians and people who understand their health and wellbeing needs.

 

Anyone can share their views, however, the NHS is particularly keen to hear from serving, reserve and veteran families, people who are serving in or who have served in the British Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) and organisations working with or supporting the community. (Please see note at the bottom of this article)

 

Questionnaire –

 

Virtual events –

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement posterIn addition to the online questionnaire, the NHS are also keen to engage directly with Service families. Unfortunately, they are not able to go out and meet with people face to face at the moment, so we have arranged a series on online events for serving RN/RM families instead, which we will be jointly hosting with the NHS team.  These will be small discussion groups* as we want everyone to have an opportunity to have their say and we have arranged events at different times to suit your needs.

 

If you can help us with this important piece of work, which will have an impact on the provision of Service families’ health and wellbeing in the future, please click on one of the links below to register.

 

 

*Please note that you can also remain anonymous during these online events, if you would prefer to. 

 

Note –

The Armed Forces Families Engagement Programme is a new NHS England initiative. However, the team are keen to hear from any Armed Forces family member who may want to contribute, wherever they live at the moment, as we are sure that many will still have had experiences of using NHS England services at some stage. We understand that NHS England intend to share the final report and outcomes of this programme with the NHS in the devolved administration areas too, so that they are aware of any local issues or feedback that our Service families may raise over the coming weeks.

 

Posted on: 30th September, 2020
Updated on: 13th September, 2021

 

A new section has been added to the Naval Families Federation website offering advice and guidance through the complex rules and regulations on UK visas and citizenship.

 

The new pages complement the personal advice offered by recently-qualified NFF immigration adviser Peter Hawley, who handles cases and enquiries from serving military personnel and their families, as well as veterans and their families who are still under Armed Forces immigration rules.

 

Information contained within the UK Visas and Citizenship pages will not only assist serving sailors and Marines and their families, but will also be a boon to the Chain of Command and supporting agencies.

 

UK immigration rules are an area requiring a degree of specialist knowledge – getting it wrong could lead to a costly error, or a situation which has major implications for future immigration applications.

 

As such, the information provided – compiled with the help of military immigration law specialist Joanne Sullivan of GBS UK Immigration – offers general guidance.

 

The pages also signpost to other websites which cover or specialise in visa and citizenship matters such as Gov.uk – the official UK government website – and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), which regulates immigration advisers.

 

Pete (Peter.Hawley@nff.org.uk) is qualified to provide immigration advice for all applications within the Immigration Rules for the following categories at Level 1:

  • Applications for entry clearance, leave to enter and leave to remain for visitors and family members;
  • Nationality and Citizenship;
  • Some aspects of EU and EEA immigration law.

 

He will not advise on enquiries relating to student or work visas, which are outside the scope of the NFF, and requests for advice on more complicated or specialist immigration issues will be referred on to agencies qualified to Level 2, in most cases either Joanne Sullivan or Katherine Houlston of the Army Families Federation (AFF).

 

For further details of how the NFF can help you in more complicated immigration issues see the OISC statement on our website at nff.org.uk/oisc-details/

 

NFF Chief Executive Officer Anna Wright said:

 

“I am thrilled that the NFF is able to expand the suite of advice and guidance that we can offer into the complicated area of immigration.

“My colleagues field queries on immigration issues on a regular basis, and this is yet more proof of our determination to provide a comprehensive support service for all of our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.”

 

The new web pages, designed and created by NFF Marketing and Communications Manager Cinmi Walker, went live today (8th September, 2020) and will be updated regularly as rules and regulations change.

 

The NFF website also offers advice on accommodation, education, employment, finance, leaving the Service, overseas assignments, relationships and wellbeing.

 

Posted on: 8th September, 2020

On 25 October 2004, the Immigration Rules were amended to provide for all those with at least 4 years’ reckonable service within Her Majesty’s Armed Forces to apply for settlement in the UK after discharge.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

To assist HM Forces personnel in making the transition to civilian life, settlement applications may be lodged up to 18 weeks before the discharge date, although settlement cannot be granted until after exemption from immigration control has ceased upon their discharge.

 

The Immigration Rules make provision for applications for settlement to be made either from overseas or from within the UK.

 

When a serving member of HM Forces is discharged from the Armed Forces, the exemption from immigration control stamp is cancelled by the Unit Personnel Office (UPO) contacting the Home Office and they will then have 28 days to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in order to remain in the UK.

 

Requirements for a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain

(Applications made from within the United Kingdom)

 

The requirements for indefinite leave to remain as a Foreign or Commonwealth citizen discharged from HM Forces are that the applicant:

  • has completed at least four years’ service with HM Forces; or
  • meets the medical discharge criteria (please refer to the section below) and
  • is not in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded; and
  • does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal

 

Requirements for a grant of Indefinite Leave to Enter

(For applications made from outside the United Kingdom)

 

The requirements for indefinite leave to enter the United Kingdom as a foreign or Commonwealth citizen discharged from HM Forces are that the applicant:

  • has completed at least four years’ service with HM Forces; and
  • was discharged from HM Forces on completion of engagement; and
  • was not discharged from HM Forces more than 2 years prior to the date on which the application is made; and
  • does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal

 

Spouses and children

Please note that spouses are only eligible for Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) on discharge if the serving Commonwealth person is also eligible. Spouse has limited leave visa issued under Appendix Armed Forces. You should have a visa issued for five years and will not be eligible to apply for ILR until 28 days prior to the visa expiring.

 

You will need to meet the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirements and minimum income requirements.  Complete form SET(AF), you will need to tick the box marked ‘partner or child of a member of HM Forces who has been discharged’ on page 3.

 

If you were not issued a visa for 5 years please contact NFF for advice on any potential options that may be open to you.

 

Spouse does not have a 5 year visa or is an overstayer

If you are an overstayer or are not sure what type of visa you have, please contact the NFF for advice on any potential options that may be open to you.

Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain for those who have served less than 4 years
Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain for those who have served less than 4 years
  • Please refer to Medical Discharge.

 

Note: Reckonable Service

To qualify under the Immigration Rules relating to discharge, the applicant must have completed a minimum of four years reckonable service. Details of an applicant’s reckonable service are provided by the applicant’s Unit Personnel Office (UPO).

 

However, in general, Reckonable Service is all service when an HM Forces member is not:

  • absent without leave (AWOL)
  • detained in military detention
  • detained serving a sentence in one of Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP), Young Offenders Institutions (YOI) or Youth Justice Board (YJB) establishments
  • on a career break
Summary - Requirements for ILR and Application Process
  • Application for ILR cannot be made during service, unless discharge date is set.
  • Application for ILR can be made after a minimum of 4 years’ reckonable service.
  • Application for ILR costs £2389 for main applicant and £2389 for each additional dependant.
  • Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain are made on Form Set (AF)
  • To access form SET (AF) click here
  • If the F&C service person has been discharged and decides to return to country of origin before applying for settlement, an application for Indefinite Leave to Enter from country of origin, can be made up to 2 years’ post discharge.
  • Applications made outside United Kingdom should be made online using the online service.
  • Please click on the section:
    • ­Relevant civilian employee, former member of UK armed forces (HM forces) or a bereaved family member’ (near the bottom of the drop down list)
    • For ‘Visa type’ – select: ‘Former UK Armed Forces (HM Forces)
    • The Current Visa Fee: £1523.00
Medical Discharge (MD) – Basic Requirements

To assist the HM Forces member who is being medically discharged in making the transition from Service to civilian life, applications for settlement from medical discharges may be lodged up to 18 weeks before the discharge date. Although settlement cannot be granted until after discharge has taken place.

 

Where a Foreign or Commonwealth member of HM Forces is medically discharged as a direct result of injury sustained during operations, the requirement for them to have completed four years‟ service to qualify for settlement should normally be waived by the Home Office and they should in theory be granted settlement.

 

Basic Requirements

To apply under the rules relating to medical discharge, the applicant must:

  • have completed at least four years reckonable service with HM Forces (this excludes periods where the applicant was absent without leave, in military detention or on unpaid leave)
  • meet the medical discharge criteria, and on the date of the application:
    • have been discharged from HM Forces less than two years before the date of application
    • if medically discharged more than two years before, new information regarding their prognosis is being considered
    • have been granted their most recent period of limited leave under either paragraph 15 or 19 of Appendix Armed Forces or under paragraphs 276KA or 276QA of the Immigration Rules as a foreign or Commonwealth citizen who has been discharged from HM Forces or under the concession which existed in respect of those medically discharged from HM Forces.
MD for those who have served less than 4 years

The Immigration Rules enable a person who has served for less than 4 years and is being medically discharged to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the following circumstances:

  • Where the cause was attributable to deployment in an operational theatre
  • Where the cause was not attributable to deployment in an operational theatre but it is appropriate to grant leave to enter or remain in the UK following an assessment of the following factors:
    • The seriousness of the injury
    • The need for further medical treatment in relation to the illness or injury and the availability of such medical treatment in the applicant’s country of origin.
    • The prognosis for recovery, including whether the injury or illness will affect the applicants ability to support themselves in their country of origin and
    • The length of reckonable service in HM Forces at the time of the applicants discharge.

 

Applications for Limited Leave

If a person cannot meet the requirements for a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain, then Limited Leave may be granted in the following circumstances:

  • The cause of the medical discharge was attributable to service in HM Forces and
  • It would be considered appropriate to grant limited leave to facilitate further medical treatment or a period of recovery.
Impacts of Injuries – Settlement Applications for ILR

The Immigration Rules permits a person who is being medically discharged, but has served for less than 4 years, to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the following circumstances:

  • Where the cause of the injury was the result of deployment in an operational theatre.
  • Where the cause was not the result of deployment in an operational theatre, but it is appropriate to grant leave to enter or remain in the UK following an assessment of the following factors:
    • The seriousness of the injury.
    • The need for further medical treatment in relation to the illness or injury and the availability of such medical treatment in the applicant’s country of origin.
    • The prognosis for recovery, including whether the injury or illness will affect the applicant’s ability to support themselves in their country of origin; and
    • The length of reckonable service in HM Forces at the time of the applicant’s discharge.

 

The Immigration Rules enable a F & C service person who has served less than 4 years and is being medically discharged to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the following circumstances:

  • Causes resulting from a deployment.
  • Causes that have not been a result of a deployment in an operational theatre, where it is appropriate to grant leave to enter or remain in UK after assessment.

 

Application Process – Application for ILR on Medical Discharge
  • Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain are made on Form Set (AF)
  • Form Set (AF) cost is £2389 per applicant.
  • Access form SET (AF)
Impacts of Injuries – Applications for Limited Leave to Remain

If a person cannot meet the requirements for a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain, then Limited Leave may be granted in the following circumstances:

  • The cause of the medical discharge was due to service in HM Forces, and
  • It would be considered appropriate to grant limited leave to facilitate further medical treatment or a period of recovery.

 

Application Process – Application for Limited Leave to Remain on Medical Discharge
  • Applications for Limited Leave to remain are made on Form FLR (AF).
  • Application FLR (AF) cost is £1033.00 per applicant.
Applications for Leave to Remain if injury or medical condition was not a result of HM Forces service and the applicant has not completed at least 4 Years Reckonable Service
Applications for Leave to Remain if injury or medical condition was not a result of HM Forces service and the applicant has not completed at least 4 Years Reckonable Service

If an injury or a medical condition is not attributable to the person’s HM Forces service and they have not served at least 4 years reckonable service, it is unlikely that the Home Office UKVI will grant permission to continue residing in the UK after discharge. Nevertheless, the Home Office are obliged to consider any application on a case by case basis and these will be considered ‘outside the immigration rules’. Please contact Pete Hawley of Naval Families Federation before attempting an application of this type.

 

For those previously discharged and refused settlement – there is important information that former HM Forces members may not be aware of:
  • Any cases of medically discharged servicemen or women who sustained an injury during operations and had previously been refused settlement will now be reviewed in line with the recent Home Office guidance, where such cases are brought to the Home Office’s attention. The requirement to have been discharged no more than 2 years prior to the date of application would also be waived in re-consideration cases.
  • Cases where the Home Office may exercise discretion would include where discharge of a HM Armed Forces member who has completed initial training results directly from an injury sustained on duty but outside an operational theatre (e.g. during pre-deployment training) or from a medical condition attributable to their training or service.
  • In such cases, the Home Office may exercise discretion to waive the 4 years minimum service requirement under the settlement rules, especially where the injury is of a serious nature and the long-term prognosis is poor or where there will be an ongoing need for medical treatment which is not available in the individual’s home country.
British Citizenship Applications prior to discharge

All information about applying for British citizenship can be found in the British Citizenship section click here.

 

IMPORTANT: You should only apply for citizenship if you have at least four to six months before your date of discharge. The reason for this is because applications can take up to six months to process and you won’t be able to continue with a successful transition if you don’t have evidence of your right to remain in the UK.

 

Commonwealth service personnel are in a unique situation in that they can apply for citizenship without first requiring ILR. This is because their exempt stamp is considered to be ILR and are therefore ‘free from Immigration time restrictions’ for the purposes of naturalising.

 

If you are considering British Citizenship it makes sense to apply during Service as it means that you won’t have to then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) on discharge, thus saving a lot of time and money.  Please be aware that there is no requirement to apply for citizenship to be able to remain permanently in the UK, you are only required to get ILR so this is a personal choice.

 

Becoming a British citizen does not affect your spouse’s visa.

 

What happens if my application for citizenship is not processed prior to the end of the 28 days?
  • Unlike applications for visas, your immigration status at the time of application for naturalisation will not continue whilst the application is being processed. So once the 28 days is over, you will be considered to be an overstayer. However, your application for citizenship will not be refused if you become an overstayer.
  • The main problem with becoming an overstayer is in cases where the citizenship application is refused. As an overstayer, you will theoretically not be eligible for ILR and may have to apply for limited leave to be able to remain in the UK. You should therefore be very careful to read the citizenship guidance (particularly the good character guidance) to ensure you meet all the requirements.

 

Applying for Citizenship after discharge

As highlighted in the paragraphs above, this can be a costly route to citizenship but may be a necessity down to personal circumstances. Please be aware that:

  • You can only apply for citizenship after discharge if you have already been granted ILR. If you haven’t applied for citizenship prior to discharge, you will need to apply for ILR instead within 28 days of the date of your discharge.
  • Discharged Commonwealth personnel can apply for citizenship immediately after they have been granted ILR if they meet all of the the other requirements. There is no requirement to wait for 12 months ‘free from Immigration time restrictions’.
  • This information is clearly written in the UKBA guidance, see below. This applies to all Commonwealth personnel
    • “While in the Armed Services, applicants are exempt from immigration control and therefore free of immigration time restrictions. Applicants will have been free of immigration time restrictions throughout their period of Service. In many cases, former Armed Services personnel will have been granted ILR on discharge and will meet the requirement to have been free of immigration time restrictions in the 12 months prior to the date of application.”

 

Please be aware that spouses will need to apply for ILR and then wait for 12 months prior to applying for citizenship as they were not exempt from immigration control at the time of the application.

Summary – Discharge
  • Application for ILR Set (AF) can be made 18 weeks prior to medical discharge. Settlement cannot be granted until after discharge.
  • Application for ILR Set (AF) can be made before a minimum of 4 years’ reckonable service in exceptional circumstances.
  • Application for ILR using form Set (AF) costs £2389 for main applicant and £2389 for each additional dependant.
  • Form FLR (AF) is used for F&C personnel requiring treatment before returning to country of origin, but not seeking settlement.
  • If the F&C service person has been Medically Discharged because of injuries sustained during Operational deployment or training and sent back to country of origin, they now have the right to apply.
  • If the F&C service person has been Medically Discharged as a result of injuries sustained during Operational deployment or training and sent back to country of origin, they have the right to apply for Leave to Enter.
  • If you are considering an application for British Citizenship and you are eligible, start the process early
  • Applications made outside United Kingdom should be made online using the online service:
    • Please click on the section:
      • ‘Relevant civilian employee, former member of UK armed forces (HM forces) or a bereaved family member’ (near bottom of drop down list)
      • For ‘Visa type’ – select:  ‘Former UK Armed Forces (HM Forces)
      • The Current Visa Fee:  £1523.00
Useful Links and Information
  • For Home Office guidance on settlement applications from members of HM Forces who have been discharged, click here.

 

Application Forms
Posted on: 8th September, 2020
Updated on: 29th March 2021

The Royal Navy has a comprehensive website aimed at guiding and informing all applicants through the recruitment process for all applicants which includes Commonwealth candidates. For further information about Royal Navy Careers, including the Royal Marines – click here. The additional Information contained in Naval Families Federation (NFF) website is intended to pull together this information along with additional information that will help to guide and inform candidates and their families through some of the common pitfalls and frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) regarding the Royal Navy.

Joining the RN/RM as a Commonwealth Applicant

Joining the Royal Navy or Royal Marines as a Commonwealth Applicant

Commonwealth and Non British Candidates

The Royal Navy has received a large amount of applicants from Commonwealth member countries wishing to join the Naval Service in all branches. Due to this large demand anyone applying will have their enquiry put on hold, however, please be reassured your contact details and date of application have been captured in our records, and we will be in touch with you when we are in a position to move your application forward.  For further information click here.

Royal Navy Commonwealth Applicants

You can find all the roles currently available to Commonwealth applicants in the link below. To apply, you will need to hold a valid passport and meet the eligibility criteria for your chosen role. If you’re an overseas applicant, you need to be age 18 or over and have a Visa. If you live in the UK, you can apply from age 16 and will need a biometric residency card. For further information click here. It is important to look at all aspects including information about bringing your family to the UK.

Royal Marine Commonwealth Applicants

Royal Marines Commandos are among the most highly trained, elite amphibious soldiers on the planet. They tackle our most challenging operations, using their unique skills and the all-important state of mind that separates them from every other force. Now, if you’re a Commonwealth citizen, you could be one of them, even if you aren’t a UK resident. For further information click here. It is important to look at all aspects including information about bringing your family to the UK.

Official Guide for Potential Royal Navy and Royal Marines Candidates from Outside the UK

For detailed information into the selection process that you must undertake in order to join the Royal Navy (RN) or Royal Marines (RM) and to inform you of some of the challenges that you may encounter as an overseas applicant click here.

Posted on: 7th September, 2020

As the date for the UK to leave the EU looms ever closer, this sub-section of the website is dedicated to any announcements and changes that may affect our service personnel with EU or EEA family members. The following information contained in 01 is taken from the MOD EU Exit Update 4 dated 10 May 2019 which can be found here.

Immigration & the EU Settlement Scheme

When the UK leaves the EU, the rules that allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to live in the UK will change. This information is provided to help you and your family prepare for these changes. You are strongly advised to prepare by ensuring that EU, EEA or Swiss nationals who are members of your family understand their position regarding their immigration status in the UK. A flow chart has been provided on page 7 to give you a guide to the immigration requirements for family members of UK Service Personnel and Crown Servants when the UK leaves the EU.

 

EU, EEA and Swiss national dependants accompanying UK national MOD personnel in countries within the EU

If you are currently on assignment within the EU, and your accompanying dependants (such as children, spouses, partners, parents, or grandparents) are with you, they will be able to return to the UK under current rules until 29 March 2022 (even if they have not lived in the UK before). They will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme once they have been to the UK (if they have lived in the UK prior to your posting they can apply now). After this date such family members will be able to return to the UK by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules.

 

EU, EEA and Swiss national dependants accompanying UK national MOD personnel in countries outside the EU

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who are dependants of a UK Service Person or Crown Servant currently on assignment outside the EU are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they lived in the UK before going on the posting. Successfully applying to the EU Settlement Scheme will grant them a UK immigration status which will give them permission to travel to and live and work in the UK after free movement ends. The Home Office has confirmed that, in both a ‘no deal’ and a ‘deal’ scenario, EU, EEA and Swiss national spouses, partners, and dependants accompanying Crown Servants and Service Personnel overseas who have previously resident in the UK will have their time abroad on posting counted towards UK residence under the scheme. They will need to demonstrate residence in the UK within six months of going to your posting. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways, including through HMRC records, bank statements, bills, or plane tickets.

 

For guidance on what evidence you will need to produce please follow the official guidance here.

 

If you don’t have this evidence available and if your EU, EEA or Swiss national spouse, partner, or dependants accompanying you on your posting did not live in the UK beforehand then they will need to come to the UK before the ‘specified date’ (exit day if there’s no deal; 31 December 7 2020 if there’s a deal) in order to qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme. If they do not, then they will need to meet the UK’s domestic Immigration Rules at the point at which they wish to come to the UK.

 

Dependants who are EU, EEA or Swiss nationals living outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland and who cannot demonstrate that they were in the UK before posting please contact the MOD EU Exit Team by email with the subject “EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME”. We can then advise you on next steps: SPOEEUX-EUExitGrpMailbox@mod.gov.uk

 

More information on applying to the EU settlement scheme from outside the UK can be found here.

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. For detailed information please have a look at the .gov website here.

 

To go straight to the application click here.

Travel to Europe will change after the transition period. If you are visiting Europe from 1st January 2021, you may need to take extra steps before your trip. Be prepared. Read the latest information by clicking here.

Posted on: 7th September, 2020
Updated on: 24th September, 2020

The aim of the information contained within the UK Visas and Citizenship pages of the Naval Families Federation Website is to assist Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families, the Chain of Command and Supporting Agencies to navigate their way successfully around the UK’s Immigration Rules and specifically Appendix Armed Forces of the Immigration Rules without making any costly errors or errors which could result in significant implications for future immigration applications.

 

The Visas and Citizenship pages of this site have been compiled with the support of Joanne Sullivan from GBS UK Immigration who specialises in UK Armed Forces Immigration Law.

Disclaimer

The information contained in the UK Visas and Citizenship section of the Naval Families Federation Website is for general guidance only. The information is provided by the Naval Families Federation and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

 

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the Naval Families Federation. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

 

Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, the Naval Families Federation takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.

Client Care Letter

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). The following member of staff is authorised to provide immigration advice and services at the levels listed below. Other NFF staff are not authorised and are therefore only able to pass on information from the authorised advisor or signpost to the website for further information.

 

Adviser: Peter Hawley

Level and Categories: Level 1 All categories

 

Who we offer advice to

NFF will only take on cases/enquiries from serving military personnel or their families. We will also assist veterans and their families who are still under the Armed Forces Immigration Rules.

 

Levels and areas of advice

Peter is authorised to provide immigration advice for all applications within the Immigration Rules within the following categories at Level 1:

  • Applications for entry clearance, leave to enter and leave to remain for visitors and family members
  • Nationality and Citizenship,
  • Some aspects of EU and EEA immigration law

 

He will not advise on enquiries relating to student or work visas as these are outside the scope of the NFF.

 

Peter is not authorised to provide advice and services at Level 2 for immigration connected to the Armed Forces Rules. If any Level 2 advice is required, this will be referred to one of two agencies dependent upon the circumstances. These are Katherine Houlston of the Army Families Federation (AFF) who is qualified to Level 2 and Joanne Sullivan from GBS UK Immigration. This advice includes:

  • Assistance and advice with applications for settlement on the grounds of domestic violence
  • Assistance and advice with applications to extend or settle under the Armed Forces rules
  • Assistance and advice with applications for settlement on the grounds of long residence
  • Human rights applications for spouses of soldiers
  • Representations to UKVI in support of cases
  • Drafting client statements
  • Lodging notices of appeal and statements of additional grounds

 

Both Peter and Katherine are unable to represent clients at the Immigration Tribunal or make applications for Judicial Review. Should the case require work to be undertaken which is outside the work permitted, you will be referred or signposted to a higher level adviser within 3 days.

 

Signposting and referrals

NFF is committed to giving people timely service from an appropriate source as soon as possible, if necessary by signposting or referral.

 

  • Signposting
    If, after initial assessment, we cannot provide the service needed, we will direct you as soon as is appropriate:

    • Enquiries not connected to the military will be signposted immediately to the OISC website or Gov.UK for a list of regulated advisers
    • Enquiries from veterans may need to be signposted to an appropriate RN or RM veteran’s charity depending on the level of service required and the length of time since discharge. Peter will suggest the appropriate RN or RM veterans charity and with your permission, consult with them to see if they can take the case on. If this is not possible, Peter will assist with finding a suitable local advisor.
    • Enquiries relating to specific areas of law not provided by Peter will be signposted to a suitable local advisor.
    • Enquiries beyond Level 2 advice will be signposted to a suitable local advisor.

Peter may recommend a suitable adviser but, the decision whether to choose that adviser will remain with the client.

 

  • Referrals
    It may not always be possible to continue with a case if it becomes too complex or it reaches a level outside Peter’s authorised level of advice. In such situations Peter will:

    • inform the client immediately
    • direct them to another advisor or organisation
    • contact the new adviser and make an appointment for the client; and
    • arrange for the transfer of the client’s file with the client’s consent.

Peter may recommend a suitable adviser but, the decision whether to choose that adviser will remain with the client.

 

Obtaining additional advice

It may be necessary to seek additional advice or opinions on some cases, this will be done only with consent and with no charge being incurred. All action taken will be documented on the clients file.

 

Payment

NFF is a registered charity and does not take any payment for any advice or information given.

 

Confidentiality

It is NFF policy to retain complete confidentiality unless the individual concerned gives permission for disclosure, except in extreme circumstances. All information about individuals, which is recorded in any way, is kept secure. All conversations on the phone are conducted privately.

 

Report on progress

You will receive regular updates on the progress of the case and we will always try to keep you informed of any unexpected delays to the work. You may ask Peter at any time for a progress report using the contact details given to you.

Complaints procedure

If at any stage you have any concerns regarding the conduct of your case, please raise them to Peter or to Jane Williams, the Director of Operations and Families Engagement, preferably in writing.

For full details of the complaints procedure click here. If we are unable to resolve matters to your satisfaction or you wish to pursue your complaint through other channels, you are entitled to contact the OISC at any time. The OISC is the public body, which regulates immigration advice and services within the UK. Their address is: The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, 5th Floor, Counting House, 53 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QN.

 

Your file

The OISC requires us to keep a copy of your case file for up to 6 years after your case is closed. After that this maybe destroyed, unless you make arrangements to collect it from us thereafter. Unless you specifically tell us otherwise, your file may be reviewed by the OISC in the course of their duties. If you have any concerns about this, please discuss this with Jane Williams.

 

**Video filmed on: 27th May, 2020

Posted on: 7th September, 2020

The Immigration Rules relating to fiancées, spouses, partners and children of British Citizens and Foreign or Commonwealth nationals who are serving members of HM Forces changed on the 1 December 2013.  It saw the addition of Appendix Armed Forces (AF) of the Immigration Rules coming into force.

 

The guidance below is aimed at anyone that applied and paid for a visa on or after 1st December 2013.

 

Anyone who applied and paid for their visa prior to this date and is looking for advice on their next visa is to contact the Naval Families Federation to discuss the options that may be available to them. Part 7 Transitional arrangements are highlighted below.

Appendix Armed Forces (AF)

From the 1st December 2013 Appendix Armed Forces applies to all applications for leave to enter or remain as dependants of serving members of HM Forces.

 

The new rules require the serving member of HM Forces, irrespective of whether they are British citizens or Foreign and Commonwealth, to be in receipt of a minimum income or £18,600 per year in order to sponsor a dependant into the UK.

 

The minimum income increases depending on how many dependants those serving wish to sponsor.

 

In addition to the minimum income required, there is also an English language requirement for those over the age of 18 years who come from non-English speaking countries.

 

The Immigration Rules (Appendix Armed Forces) require the serving member of HM Forces, irrespective of whether they are British citizens or Foreign and Commonwealth, to support an application for –

 

Limited Leave to Remain or Enter:
  • In receipt of a minimum income or £18,600.
  • Minimum income increases depending on number of dependants applying.
  • Requirement for an A1 English language test (Non-English speaking countries of origin)
  • If applying from certain countries outside the UK, have a TB Test to prove they are clear of TB
  • Form FLR (AF) cost £1033 per applicant within UK; Or
  • Entry clearance from outside UK cost £1523 per applicant from outside UK.

 

Applicants under Appendix AF will be eligible for ILR upon completion of 5 years’ residence based on marriage.  The Immigration Rules (Appendix Armed Forces) require the serving member of HM Forces, irrespective of whether they are British citizens or Foreign and Commonwealth to support an application for –

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain:
  • In receipt of a minimum income or £18,600.
  • Minimum income increases depending on number of dependants applying.
  • Requirement for a B1 English language test (Non-English speaking countries of origin)
  • Form SET (AF) cost £2389 per applicant
Income Threshold - Applications under Appendix AF

Minimum Income Requirement for British and F&C HM Forces to sponsor a dependant into the UK under Appendix AF:

  • Applying with no child dependant – an income before tax of at least £18,600 a year
  • Applying with one child dependant – an income before tax of at least £22,400 a year
  • Applying with two child dependants – an income before tax of at least £24,800 a year
  • Applying with three child dependants – an income before tax of at least £27,200 a year

 

If an HM Forces member is applying with more than three dependent children, they must demonstrate an income before tax of at least £27,200 a year plus £2,400 for each additional child.

For further information on how the financial requirements can be met by serving RN or RM members please see the Minimum Income Threshold guide adapted by the NFF.

 

The full guidance can be found here.

Examples

EXAMPLE 1
Arthur joins the Royal Navy from St Vincent. He is married to Rosetta who has remained in their family home in St Vincent and they have no children. On joining the RN, Arthur’s salary is £15,672 and on completion of 6 months this increases to the level 1 salary of £20,000. On completion of his phase 2 training Arthur wants to bring his wife Rosetta to the UK. Based upon his salary alone, the earliest that he will be able to do this is one year from his entry into the RN as he will need proof that he has been earning over the level required (18,600) for a period of 6 months before the date of the application.
EXAMPLE 2
Jacobus joins the Royal Marines from Pretorius, South Africa. He is married to Jenny and they have two children, Henry and Jessica and they live in their family home in Pretorius. On joining the RM’s, Jacobus’ salary is £15,672 and this then increases to £20,000 after 6 months from entry into the RM’s.  This date is known as the “Incremental Bonus Date” or IBD. On this date each year, his salary will increase to the next pay level. Jacobus wants to bring his family to join him in the UK and he contacts the NFF to explore the options that may be open to him. He is informed that based upon his salary alone, the earliest that he will be able to bring his family complete, to live with him will be five years from the date that he joined the RM’s. This is based upon the fact that he will need to be earning at least £24,800 in order to sponsor a partner and two dependent children into the UK. On the current RNRM pay scales he needs be on level 5 (currently £24,843) for a period of six months before applying.  This could take him five years to achieve.

There are additional ways that Jacobus may meet the financial requirements. See Notes below.

For the Armed Forces Pay Review Body report for 2020 with Rates of pay, click here  – Pay scales from page 61 onwards.

 

Note

Children who are British Children and currently, those who are EEA nationals and those with ILR are not included in the financial assessment and will not need to meet the financial requirement.

 

If a serving member is not in receipt of a basic gross salary to meet the financial requirement, they may meet the requirement, if they include overtime and bonuses.  In this respect that they be required to produce evidence of gross income over the 12 month period preceding the date of the application.  This is known was Category B.

 

Savings may also be taken into consideration and in some instances, third party support.  Please contact Naval Families Federation for advice in respect of savings and third party support.

 

Click here for evidence from pensions/allowances/ cash savings (if applicable).

Entry Clearance and Limited Leave to Enter as a Partner of a Member of HM Forces
Entry Clearance and Limited Leave to Enter as a Partner of a member of HM Forces

 

Appendix AF Immigration Rules Relating to Entry Clearance and Limited Leave to Enter as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Appendix AF of the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is outside the United Kingdom;
  • has married the serving member of HM Forces
  • meets the English language requirement; and
  • meets the financial requirements.
  • has made a valid application for limited leave to remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces;
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9 of these rules; See Part 2 Suitability requirements;
  • meets the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 20 of these rules; See Part 4 – Partners of Members of HM Forces;
  • is not a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the member of HM Forces, unless:
    • the applicant is in the United Kingdom with leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner under paragraph 23 (and that earlier leave was granted in respect of the current sponsor);
    • there is good reason why the marriage or civil partnership has not taken place during that period of leave; and
    • there is evidence that the marriage or civil partnership will take place within the next 6 months;

 

Important Note – For information on fiancé/civil partner visa and marriage visa, please refer to ‘Entry into the UK as a Fiancé(e) or Proposed civil partner of a serving member of UK armed forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces’ in section below.

 

The sponsor must provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, for the family, including other family members who are not included in the application but who live in the same household, which the family own or occupy exclusively: accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if-

  • it is, or will be, overcrowded; or
  • it contravenes public health regulations.

 

Evidence of Accommodation
  • Land Registry Title/mortgage statement (if purchased)
  • Licence agreement or letter from HM Forces if proposing to reside in MOD Family Service Accommodation; or
  • Letter from a family member who is providing accommodation and evidence of their identity, land registry title deeds or tenancy agreement and permission from the Landlord if rented.

 

English Language Requirement

The applicant must provide specified evidence that they-

  • are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State;
  • have an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be equivalent to the standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English; or
  • are exempt from the English language requirement.

 

For the purposes of paragraph 68(a) of the Immigration Rules a person is deemed a national of a majority English speaking country if they are a national of the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United States of America.

 

Please visit this page for information on approved English Language tests and test centres.

 

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Family members of a serving member of HM Forces are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. If you are a partner of a serving member of HM Armed Forces and have been inadvertently charged for the IHS please contact the Naval Families Federation to discuss the possibility of a refund.

 

Documents Required to Support the Application

It is necessary to provide supporting documentation to support the application for permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom based on marriage to a serving member of HM Forces.

 

Evidence of UK Accommodation and HM Forces Sponsor’s Income and Finances

  • Letter confirming sponsor’s HM Forces service and salary, date of enlistment and date of proposed discharge. For a template letter, click here.
  • Sponsor’s wage slips (at least 6 months) if printed from JPA, please ensure that they are certified by HM Forces; or 12 months, if relying on Category B.
  • Sponsor’s P60’s for year for end of the most recent tax year. If printed from JPA, please ensure that they are certified by HM Forces
  • Personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the payslips, showing that the salary has been paid into an account in the name of the person or in the name of the person and their partner jointly (at least 6 months) or 12 months, if relying on Category B.,

 

Entry Clearance and Leave to Enter granted will normally be:

(a)   for whichever is the shortest period of:

  • 5 years;
  • the remaining duration of the applicant’s partner’s enlistment;
  • the remaining duration of the applicant’s partner’s extant leave under paragraph 276KA or 276QA of these Rules or paragraph 15 or 19 of this Appendix or under the concession which existed outside these Rules whereby the Secretary of State exercised her discretion to grant leave to enter or remain to a member of HM Forces who has been medically discharged; or
  • in the case of a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, a period not exceeding 6 months; and

(b)       subject to the following conditions:

  • no recourse to public funds; and
  • in the case of a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, a prohibition on employment.

 

Application Process

Important note: You cannot enter the UK on a visit visa if you are planning to settle as you will not be able to switch onto a dependant’s visa once in the UK.

Important note: You must travel to the UK within 30 days of the validity of the visa. If you cannot travel within this time you will need to apply for a replacement biometric card.  All first time applicants need to apply for limited leave to enter using the online form.

 

  • To apply for a visa, click here.
  • On the ‘confirm your visa type’ page, scroll down and select – “Partner of a current or former member of UK Armed Forces (HM forces)”.
  • If you are also applying to bring your children into the UK with you, you will need to make a separate application for each of them. You will need to select the option for ‘Child of a current or former member of UK Armed Forces (HM forces)’. See Children’s section below.
  • Under ‘select a visa type’ scroll down and click on ‘limited leave to enter as the partner/child of a serving member of UK Armed Forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces’
  • If you are not married and are applying to enter the UK to get married you will need to select the first option ‘Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a serving member of UK Armed Forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces’ To see further information on this visa, see section below.
  • You will not be eligible for indefinite leave until you have spent 5 years on limited leave under Appendix Armed Forces.
  • You will also have to complete an ‘Appendix 2 AF’ form which you will be given a link to after you have selected the options above. This form must be printed and completed
  • After you have submitted your online application form and have paid the requisite fee, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a visa application centre to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photograph).
  • At or prior to the appointment, you’ll have the option to self-upload, or for a fee, use an Assisted Service to scan your documents that show your eligibility. The document checklist in your application explains what to provide. Some visa application centres may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
  • You may have to travel to get to your nearest visa application centre (this could be in another country).
  • For a flowchart of the visa application process, click here.
Limited Leave to Remain as a Partner of a Member of HM Forces

Appendix AF Immigration Rules Relating to Limited Leave to Remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Appendix AF of the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is in the United Kingdom, but not:
    • as a visitor;
    • with valid leave that was granted for a period of 6 months or less, unless that leave:
    • is as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner; or
    • was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings;
    •  on temporary admission or temporary release; or
    • after the date on which paragraph 1 of Schedule 10 to the Immigration Act 2016 is commenced, a grant of immigration bail in circumstances in which temporary admission or temporary release would previously have been granted;
  • is not in breach of immigration laws, except that, where paragraph 39E of these Rules applies, any current period of overstaying will be disregarded;
  • has married the serving member of HM Forces meets the English language requirement; and
  • meets the financial requirements.
  • has made a valid application for limited leave to remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces;
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9 of these rules;  See Part 2 Suitability requirements.
  • meets the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 20 of these rules; See Part 4 – Partners of Members of HM Forces.
  • is not a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the member of HM Forces, unless:
    • the applicant is in the United Kingdom with leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner under paragraph 23 (and that earlier leave was granted in respect of the current sponsor);
    • there is good reason why the marriage or civil partnership has not taken place during that period of leave; and
    • there is evidence that the marriage or civil partnership will take place within the next 6 months;

 

The sponsor must provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, for the family, including other family members who are not included in the application but who live in the same household, which the family own or occupy exclusively: accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if-

 

  • it is, or will be, overcrowded; or
  • it contravenes public health regulations.

 

Evidence of Accommodation
  • Land Registry Title/mortgage statement (if purchased)
  • Licence agreement or letter from HM Forces if proposing to reside in MOD Family Service Accommodation; or
  • Letter from a family member who is providing accommodation and evidence of their identity, land registry title deeds or tenancy agreement and permission from the Landlord if rented.

 

English Language Requirement

The applicant must provide specified evidence that they-

 

  • are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State;
  • have an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be equivalent to the standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English; or
  • are exempt from the English language requirement.

 

For the purposes of paragraph 68(a) of the Immigration Rules a person is deemed a national of a majority English speaking country if they are a national of the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United States of America.

 

For information on approved English Language tests and test centres, see here.

 

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Family members of a serving member of HM Forces are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. If you are a partner of a serving member of HM Armed Forces and have been inadvertently charged for the IHS please contact the Naval Families Federation to discuss the possibility of a refund.

 

Documents Required to Support the Application

It is necessary to provide supporting documentation to support the application for permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom based on marriage to a serving member of HM Forces.

 

Evidence of UK Accommodation and HM Forces Sponsor’s Income and Finances
  • Letter confirming sponsor’s HM Forces service and salary, date of enlistment and date of proposed discharge. For a template letter, click here.
  • Sponsor’s wage slips (at least 6 months) if printed from JPA, please ensure that they are certified by HM Forces; or 12 months, if relying on Category B.
  • Sponsor’s P60’s for year for end of the most recent tax year.  If printed from JPA, please ensure that they are certified by HM Forces
  • Personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the payslips, showing that the salary has been paid into an account in the name of the person or in the name of the person and their partner jointly (at least 6 months) or 12 months, if relying on Category B.

 

Passport requirement

From 6th April 2015, all applicants for limited or indefinite leave to remain are required to submit a valid passport, travel document or national identity card with their application. If a passport is not submitted the application will be returned as invalid.

 

There are certain circumstances in which this requirement will be waived:

  • If there is no longer a functional national authority to provide a new document or no Embassy or consular service in the UK
  • The national authority have run out of documents
  • The application for replacement has been made but the issuing authority cannot provide a document in time for the application to be made before the leave expires
  • The applicant cannot obtain a document for reasons of national or personal security
  • If the national authority is unreasonable in its demands
  • If alternative evidence is required it must include the applicant’s full name, date of birth and nationality, e.g. driving licence, NHS card.
Indefinite Leave to Remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces (Settlement)
Indefinite Leave to Remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces (Settlement)

Appendix AF Immigration Rules Relating to Indefinite Leave to Remain as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Appendix AF of the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is in the United Kingdom;
  • is not in breach of immigration laws, except that any period of overstaying for a period of 14 days or less is to be disregarded;
  • has a partner who:
    • is a foreign or Commonwealth citizen who is a member of HM Forces with at least 5 years’ reckonable service in HM Forces; or
    • has been granted, or is being granted at the same time as the applicant, indefinite leave to enter or remain under paragraph 13 or 16 of this Appendix or paragraphs 276E-Q of these Rules; or
    • is a British Citizen;
  • can demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the UK in accordance with the requirements of Appendix Knowledge of Life in the UK to these Rules;
  • meets the financial requirements of Appendix AF; and
  • has completed a continuous period of 60 months with leave under Appendix AF as the partner of the same member of HM Forces, excluding any period of entry clearance or limited leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner.
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of unsuitability

 

Life in the UK Test

A crucial requirement when applying for indefinite leave to remain is that you will need to show that you know about life in the United Kingdom. All applicants for permanent settlement must have passed the ‘Life in the UK’ Test. Please click here to find out more about the Life in the UK tests including application process.

 

Meeting the English Language Requirement

If the applicant is from a non-English speaking country, they are also required to pass an English language test.  In order to meet the English Language requirement, an applicant must prove one of the following: –

  • they are a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  • have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum level of B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a English language test provider approved by the Secretary of State; or
  • have an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be the equivalent standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English; or
  • they are exempt from the English language requirement.

 

For the purposes of paragraph 68(a) of the Immigration Rules a person is deemed a national of a majority English speaking country if they are a national of the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United States of America.

 

For information on approved English Language tests and test centres, see here.

 

Evidence of Cohabitation

You must also provide evidence that your marriage subsists and evidence of cohabitation for the five-year probationary period. You are required to provide at least six items of correspondence, addressed to both of you jointly during the five-year probationary period.    If you are unable to provide documents that are addressed to both of you jointly, it is acceptable to provide letters addressed to either of you individually. The current requirement is to provide 6 letters or documents each from three different sources.  The dates of these letters or documents should be spread over the five years probationary period.  An example of the documents that should be produced to show five years cohabitation is as follows:

  • telephone bills or statements
  • gas bills or statements
  • electricity bills or statements
  • water rates bills or statements
  • council tax bills or statements
  • local social services department
  • local health authority
  • Government department or agency (e.g.  Department of Health, Inland Revenue, Department of Work and Pensions, Employment Service)
  • bank or building society statements or passbooks
  • credit card statements
  • insurance certificates complete with address
  • mortgage statements or agreement
  • tenancy agreement if in service family accommodation

 

The Suitability Requirements

Your application for Leave to Remain may be refused if you do not meet the suitability requirements. Most of these requirements are listed below but for a full list of all suitability requirements look at Part 2 of Appendix AF.

 

Application will be refused if any of the following apply:

  • Custodial conviction of less than 12 months within the previous 7 years
  • Custodial conviction of 12 months – 4 years within the past 15 years
  • Custodial conviction of 4 years or more*
  • Non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record within the 24 months prior to the date on which the application is decided
  • In the view of the Secretary of State the person’s offending has caused serious harm or the person is a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law
  • Permitting the applicant to remain is not conducive to the public good because their conduct, character, associations or other reasons make it undesirable to allow them to remain in the UK
  • An application will normally be refused if any of the following apply:
    • Whether or not to the applicant’s knowledge:
      • false information, representations or documents have been submitted in relation to the application (including false information submitted to any person to obtain a document used in support of the application.
      • there has been a failure to disclose material facts in relation to the application*
      • the applicant has failed to pay charges in accordance with the relevant NHS regulations on charges to overseas visitors; and the outstanding charges have a total value of at least £500

 

If you have a non-custodial conviction or a custodial conviction of less than 4 years then you are able to apply for limited leave to remain (if all other requirements are met).

 

As from 3 November 2016 there is no longer a 28-day period following the expiry of a visa in which a valid application can be made.  It is now 14 days.  If an application is made after the expiry of the visa, you will be considered to be an overstayer.

 

However, Paragraph 39 of the Immigration Rules allows a concession to the general rule. ‘An out of time application will not be refused on the basis that the applicant has overstayed where the Secretary of State considers that there is a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, given in or with the application, why an in time application could not be made, provided the application is made within 14 days of the expiry of leave.

 

For detailed information on Specified Evidence click here.

 

Application Process

You need to complete the online form SET (AF) click here – Under Category of Leave select the box which applies below.

 

Apply as a partner or a child under Appendix Armed Forces

Select this category if you are a partner or child who did not hold entry clearance or limited leave to remain, issued before 30 November 2013, or you did not apply for leave to enter or remain before 1 December 2013, or you are switching into this category from a different category

  • I am applying as the partner or child of a foreign or Commonwealth serving or discharged member of HM Forces
  • I am applying as the partner or child of a serving British citizen or discharged member of HM Forces

Complete the rest of the form as instructed.

Immigration Rules relating to Foreign & Commonwealth serving in HM Forces – Basics Part 7 – Transitional Arrangements
Immigration Rules relating to Foreign & Commonwealth serving in HM Forces – Basics Part 7 – Transitional Arrangements

Partners and children of Foreign or Commonwealth serving members of HM Forces who initially applied for leave to enter or remain on or before the 30th November 2013 will continue to be considered under Part 7 Paragraphs of the ‘old’ Immigration Rules. There is no minimum income threshold or maintenance requirement.  Neither is there a requirement to speak English and for settlement, there is no requirement to pass the Life in the UK test. Partners and children of Foreign or Commonwealth serving members of HM Forces who initially applied for leave to enter or remain on or before the 30th November 2013 will continue to be considered under Part 7 Paragraphs of the ‘old’ Immigration Rules.

 

  • Subject to meeting settlement requirements of Part 7 Immigration rules (transitional arrangements):
    • Still married to serving member HM Forces
    • Minimum of 5 years’ service
    • Married a minimum of 2 years
    • No minimum income requirement
    • No requirement for English language test
    • No requirement to pass the Life in the UK test.
  • Form Set (AF) cost £2389 per applicant.
  • If unable to meet 1 or more of above requirements, but marriage is still subsisting they can apply for an extension of leave (FLR – AF) at a cost of £1033.

 

Please contact Naval Families Federation for advice before proceeding with an application under Part 7 Transitional Arrangements for your matter to be assessed.

 

Important to Note

Leave to Enter and Remain (Amendment) Order 2015

In accordance with the Leave to Enter and Remain (Amendment) Order 2015, a foreign national who has been granted leave under the Immigration Rules as a spouse or child of a serving member of HM Forces is to be treated as if they were resident in the United Kingdom if they accompany the serving member on an HM Forces posting.

 

The amendments to the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000 in relation to HM Forces’ families makes sure that any time spent accompanying the sponsor on an overseas posting will count towards the qualifying probationary period of 60 months. This is a requirement for settlement under Appendix Armed Forces.

 

This means any family members who have valid leave as a dependant of a member of HM Forces will not automatically lose their permission to stay if they remain on an accompanied posting overseas for a period longer than 2 years.

 

Click here for more information.

 

Partners and children of members of HM Forces

13A.—(1) Any period of time spent by a person to whom this article applies accompanying their partner, or, as the case may be, parent, who is posted outside the United Kingdom as a member of Her Majesty’s Forces does not count towards the period mentioned in article 13(4)(a).

(2) This article applies to a person who has leave—

(a)as the partner or child of a member of HM Forces under Appendix Armed Forces to the immigration rules (“Appendix Armed Forces”)(3);

(b)as the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, or child of a member of HM Forces under Part 7 of the immigration rules(4); or

(c)as the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, or child of a British citizen or person who is settled in the United Kingdom under Part 8 of the immigration rules(5) where that British Citizen or, as the case may be, settled person, is a member of Her Majesty’s Forces.

(3) In paragraph (1)—

(a)the reference to a person’s “partner” means—

(i)in relation to a person falling within paragraph (2)(a), the partner in respect of whom they have leave under Appendix Armed Forces and,

(ii)in relation to a person falling within paragraph (2)(b) or (2)(c), the spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner in respect of whom they have leave under Part 7 or, as the case may be, Part 8, of the immigration rules; and

(b)the reference to a person’s “parent” means the parent in respect of whom they have leave under Appendix Armed Forces, or, as the case may be, Part 7 or Part 8 of the immigration rules.

(4) In this article “Her Majesty’s Forces” has the same meaning as in the Armed Forces Act 2006(6).”.

Entry into the UK as a Fiancé(e) or Proposed civil partner of a serving member of UK armed forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces
Entry into the UK as a Fiancé(e) or Proposed civil partner of a serving member of UK armed forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces

When entering the UK as a partner of a serving member of the Armed Forces, it is important to understand the immigration rules definition of a “partner”. In order to be eligible to enter as a partner you must be:

  • Married or in a civil partnership to the serving member or
  • The fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the serving member or
  • You must have been living together with the serving member in a relationship akin to a marriage for at least two years prior to the date of the application.

 

What is a Fiancé(e) or Proposed civil partner visa under Appendix AF

This visa will enable you to enter the UK in order to marry your UK partner who is a serving member of the Armed Forces and is British or is ‘present and settled’ which includes those “Exempt from Immigration Control” as a member of the Armed Forces. It is only valid for 6 months. You will be expected to have married during this time and then will have to apply for a ‘further leave to remain’ visa under Armed Forces rules. It can eventually lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

 

Fiancé(e) Visa Requirements

The fiancé(e) visa requirements are that:

  • You are outside the UK
  • You are the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a serving member of the Armed Forces and you are seeking entry to the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place
  • You and your partner must be:
    • Both over 18 years of age
    • Not within a prohibited degree of relationship see here
    • Must intend to live together permanently in the UK, and
    • Must have met in person
    • In a relationship that is ‘genuine’ and ‘subsisting’
  • Any previous relationships must have broken down permanently unless, it is a relationship which falls within paragraph 278(i) of these rules
  • You meet the English language requirement
  • If applying from certain countries outside the UK, have a TB Test to prove they are clear of TB.
  • You meet the financial requirements
  • You must show that there will be adequate accommodation for when you arrive in the UK, as well as for any dependants that you may have
  • You do not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9 of these rules; See Part 2 – Suitability requirements.
  • You meet the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 20 of these rules; See Part 4 – Partners of Members of HM Forces.

 

Leave to Enter under Fiancé(e) Visa

Entry clearance in the case of a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner under paragraph 23 of Appendix Armed Forces will normally be:

  • A period not exceeding 6 months; and
    • Subject to the following conditions:
      • No recourse to public funds; and
      • A prohibition on employment

 

Application Process

Important note: You cannot enter the UK on a visit visa if you are planning to settle as you will not be able to switch onto a dependant’s visa once in the UK.

Important note: You must travel to the UK within 30 days of the validity of the visa. If you cannot travel within this time you will need to apply for a replacement biometric card.

 

  • All first time applicants need to apply for limited leave to enter using the online form.
  • Prepare your information and documents. Click here for further details.
  • To apply for a visa click here.
  • On the ‘confirm your visa type’ page, scroll down and select – “Partner of a current or former member of UK Armed Forces (HM forces)”.
  • Under ‘select a visa type’ as you are not married and are applying to enter the UK to get married you will need to select the first option ‘Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a serving member of UK Armed Forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces’
  • Visa application fee is £1523
  • You are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
  • You will also have to complete an ‘Appendix 2 AF’ form which you will be given a link to after you have selected the options above. This form must be printed and completed
  • After you have submitted your online application form and have paid the requisite fee, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a visa application centre to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photograph).
  • At or prior to the appointment, you’ll have the option to self-upload, or for a fee, use an Assisted Service to scan your documents that show your eligibility. The document checklist in your application explains what to provide. Some visa application centres may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
  • You may have to travel to get to your nearest visa application centre (this could be in another country).
  • For a flowchart of the visa application process, click here.

 

Getting Married in the UK

Click here to see information on how to get married or enter a Civil Partnership in the UK. Migrants who wish to give notice at a non-designated register office will need to provide evidence that they are not subject to immigration control, that they meet other existing requirements for giving notice e.g. evidence of nationality, name and surname and date of birth, and that they are free to marry.

 

Next Steps

Once married, an applicant will be able to apply for leave to remain as a partner. Such applications need to be made before the expiry of leave as a fiancé(e). To make an application, an applicant does not need to leave the UK and re-enter as a spouse. The application can be made from within the UK.

Case example

Thomas is a PO who was assigned to Norfolk, Virginia USA for two years. Whilst he was there he met and fell in love with Diane who worked at the Naval Base. Prior to his return to the UK, Thomas proposed to Diane and she was thrilled and accepted the proposal. Thomas returned to the UK to his new assignment to RAF Marham and the couple managed their relationship from a distance via Skype, telephone calls, letters and a visit back to the USA during the Christmas leave period.

Thomas and Diane want to move their relationship forward and to set a date for the wedding.

The couple look at Diane’s visa options to settle in the UK and identify three possible options.

Disclaimer: The options identified below are for illustration purposes and are in no way intended to persuade or direct someone on a particular pathway.

Option 1

Diane applies for entry into the UK as a Fiancé(e) or Proposed civil partner visa under Appendix AF and set a date for the wedding to ensure that they are married no later than the fifth month of the six month visa that is issued. This then ensures that they have enough time to put together the next application for ‘further leave to remain’ in the UK. On a successful application for further leave to remain, in accordance with Appendix Armed Forces of the Immigration rules, Diane is issued 5 years leave to remain and is not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

 

Cost of this route =

  • Initial Fiancée visa – £1523
  • Flight to UK
  • Application for Limited Leave to Remain after the marriage – £1033
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) – £19.20
Option 2

Diane applies for a Marriage Visitor visa. This visa allows her to enter the UK in order to get married but does not allow her to switch into a visa in order to settle in the UK. Diane would come to the UK for the marriage and this must be within the allocated 6 months of the Marriage Visitor Visa and then she would have to return to the USA and consider applying for entry clearance into the UK as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Appendix AF of the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules. Diane is then issued 5 years leave to remain and is not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

 

Cost of this route =

  • Flights to UK to get married
  • Marriage visitor visa – £95
  • Flight to USA
  • Application for Limited Leave to Enter UK – £1523
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) £19.20
  • Flight to UK
Option 3

Diane gets married to Thomas in the USA and then submits an application for entry clearance into the UK as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Appendix AF of the United Kingdom’s Immigration Rules. Diane is issued 5 years leave to remain and is not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

 

Cost of this route =

  • Return flights to USA for Thomas to get married
  • Application for Limited Leave to Enter UK – £1523
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) £19.20
  • Flights to UK
Children’s applications

Please note that all children have to make separate applications to enter the UK even if they are travelling with a parent.

 

Eligibility Requirements for Children

A ‘child’ is defined through their relationship with the sponsor parent, as set out in the eligibility requirements.

  • be under the age of 18 at the date of application
  • if aged 18 or over at the date of application, was last granted leave as a dependant of a member of HM Forces
  • be a child of a British citizen in HM Forces including one who was naturalised after five years reckonable service
  • be a child of a foreign or Commonwealth citizen serving in HM Forces
  • be a child of a discharged member of HM Forces, discharged within the two years immediately before the application, who has either been granted, or is being granted at the same time as the applicant under paragraphs 13-19 of Appendix Armed Forces

 

Important –  Currently a step-child of HM Forces is not defined as a dependent child.  This means that they cannot strictly be sponsored under Appendix Armed Forces, unlike the civilian route under Appendix FM. Therefore, the application will be considered under Article 8 of the European Convention on Humans Rights.  You are strongly advised to seek legal advice prior to proceeding with an application on behalf of a step-child.

 

The child must not:

  • be married or in a civil partnership
  • have formed an independent family unit
  • be leading an independent life

 

They must also meet one of the following:

  • their other parent must:
    • have been granted or be being granted at the same time as the applicant, leave as the partner of a member of HM Forces under Paragraphs 23, 27, 28, 32  of Appendix Armed Forces
    • have died
    • the sponsor parent in HM Forces must have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing
    • there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make the applicant’s exclusion from the UK undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for their care

 

Child applicants over the age of 18

Children of serving members of HM Forces who are aged 18 or over will only qualify under the armed forces rules for leave to enter, remain or settlement in the UK if they last held leave as the child of a member of HM Forces under Appendix Armed Forces or paragraph 276AH of the Immigration Rules.

 

If they are applying for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) and are over 18 years of age, the applicant must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the UK, in accordance with Appendix KoLL (see related link: Knowledge of language and life in the UK).

 

In addition to meeting the general eligibility requirements, the child must also meet the financial requirements in Part 12 of Appendix Armed Forces, unless Appendix Armed Forces indicates they must meet a maintenance requirement. Click here for full information.

 

The financial requirement needs to be met by those making an application under Appendix Armed Forces unless otherwise stated in that Appendix, where a maintenance requirement must be met. If you are unsure as to whether the minimum income requirement or a maintenance requirement is required to sponsor your child, please seek the advice of NFF before proceeding.

 

Generally, to sponsor just one child, you will be required to meet the financial requirement and not the maintenance requirement.  You must show that you are in receipt of a minimum income of: –

  • £18,600

 

If you are not meeting the minimum financial requirement, bonuses and overtime may be taken into consideration to meet the financial requirement of the Immigration Rules, if your basic gross salary does not meet the minimum income requirement.  This is known as ‘Category B’.

 

You must also provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, for the family, including other family members who are not included in the application but who live in the same household, which the family own or occupy exclusively: accommodation will not be regarded as adequate if-

  1. it is, or will be, overcrowded; or
  2. it contravenes public health regulations.

 

Immigration Health Surcharge

Child dependants of HM Forces are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.

 

TB Test – Visa applicants only – this does not apply for in country application

There are several countries in the world where applicant’s applying for a UK visa will be required to have a TB test prior to submitting an application for entry clearance.  Before proceeding with an application, please check the list of countries here to find out if your child requires a TB test.

 

All children who derive from any of the countries listed in the link above are required to have a TB test prior to submitting an application for Leave to Enter the United Kingdom.  Your child must see a clinician who is approved on the list who will decide if they need a chest x-ray. Children under 11 will not normally have a chest x-ray.

 

Your child must attend an approved clinic and complete a health questionnaire.  You can find the approved clinic in your child’s country of origin in the link above. If the clinician decides your child does not have TB they will be provided with a certificate.  You must include this certificate with your child’s UK visa application.

 

Documents Required to Support the Application

It is necessary to provide supporting documentation to support your child’s application for permission to enter or remain the United Kingdom as a dependent child.   The documents listed below are the minimum documents required to support an application.  You should consider providing additional documents which confirms that you have maintained a responsibility to your child, and you continue to provide financial and emotional support.  Please seek advice from NFF before proceeding with an application.

 

Primary Documents
  • Child Passport
  • Sponsor’s British or Commonwealth passport and exemption endorsement
  • Child’s Birth certificate

 

If the other parent is not accompanying the child; examples of the following evidence should be provided:

  • A detailed letter/statement from you confirming why the child cannot continue to reside in their country of origin
  • Documentary evidence which categorically shows that the relative cannot continue caring for the child, in addition to evidence of their identity.
  • If the other parent is still alive, evidence must be produced that the other parent has no objections to their child being removed from their country of origin

 

Evidence of UK Accommodation and Sponsor’s Income and Finances
  • Letter from a Commanding Officer (or designated Officer) confirming the HM Forces sponsor’s service, including join date, end date and salary. For a template letter, click here.
  • The HM Forces sponsor’s wage slips (at least 6 months) if the sponsor is in receipt of a basic gross annual salary, which meets the financial requirement and therefore relying on Category A. If relying on bonuses etc to meet the minimum income requirement, 12 months of wage slips must be produced. This is known as Category B.  You must seek advice if relying on Category B
  • P60’s for most recent Tax Year
  • Your Bank Statements (at least 6 months) – if relying on Category A; 12 months if relying on Category B.
  • Evidence of UK accommodation (for example, if in family service accommodation, we will require the licence/tenancy agreement.
Application Forms
  • Application made outside UK (Entry Clearance) –  Click here
  • Extension (within UK) – Form FLR (AF) Click here
  • Indefinite leave to remain – Form SET (AF)  Click here

 

Application process

For the application process, please follow the steps detailed under the appropriate partner routes above.

 

Home office Fees

The current fee for Entry Clearance (visa – overseas application) is:  £1523.00

The current fee for Leave to Remain (in country application) is:  £1033.00 plus £19.20 Biometric Enrolment Fee

The current fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain (in country application) is £2389.00 plus £19.20 Biometric Enrolment Fee

Visit Visas

In order for someone to visit you in the UK, if they are a Non EEA national (stand by for changes after Brexit), they will need a visa to do this. If they are a national of certain countries, they will need to apply for a UK Visitor Visa prior to departure. These are known as “Visa-Nationals” (for a full list click here and look at “Appendix 2 Visa Nationals List”). They are a Non-Visa National if they are not from one of the countries on that list and these include countries such as the USA and Canada. In most cases Non-Visa Nationals may apply for leave to enter as a visitor on arrival at the UK border although in some cases it would be wise to apply such as:

  • They have previously been refused UK visas
  • The applicant (the person applying) wants better peace of mind and does not want to risk being refused when they arrive at a UK airport!

 

UKVI Definition of a Visitor

‘A visitor is a person who is coming to the UK, usually for up to six months, for a temporary purpose, for example as a tourist, to visit friends or family or to carry out a business activity.

Visitors cannot work or study in the UK unless this is allowed by the permitted activities that are set out in these Visitor Rules.’

Click here for the full rules.

 

Applying for a Visit Visa

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain a visitor’s visa and this is affected by a number of different factors such as immigration history, nationality and country of residence, ties to the home country, personal ties and a whole list of other factors. A significant amount of documentary evidence is now required to prove that the person visiting you has an intention to return to their home country on completion of their visit and within the guidelines of their visa.

 

For all Visa-Nationals and Non-Visa Nationals who wish to apply before they travel, the application must be done online. For the application form, click here.

 

Documentary Evidence Required

The “Burden of Proof” is your responsibility and not the Home Offices therefore it is essential that you provide credible evidence that you intend to abide by the visitor rules. You must ensure that any evidence that you submit:

  • Is verifiable – if your evidence can’t be authenticated by an independent person or agency then your credibility may be doubted.
  • Is In English or Welsh – If not you must provide a translation by a translator that can be verified by the Home Office
  • Should be originals not photocopies
  • It is your responsibility to make sure that you submit the best documents to support your application. The Home Office can refuse your application rather than ask you to send in further information.

 

The main requirements that they will need to prove are:

  • They are able to support themselves financially whilst in the UK
    e.g. Bank statements and proof of earnings – a letter from their employer
    **There is no set level of funds required for an applicant to show this.
    If you are the sponsor and you are providing financial support, then you will need to supply a letter confirming your relationship with the visitor and you will need to provide bank statements and payslips to prove that you have enough money to support them.
  • They have somewhere to stay
    The sponsor (serving person or spouse) will need to provide proof that the visitor can stay in the quarter. See below for further information.  If you live in your own house, you should provide the address and a letter confirming that they are able to stay with you.
  • They intend to return home at the end of their visit 
    This is the most difficult one and is the reason most visit applications are refused. They will need to provide as much evidence as possible of their personal circumstances in their home country e.g. family/employment/studies/financial circumstances. If they have stated on the online form that they have an income in their home country, they will need to provide evidence to prove this. If they don’t, the application will be refused. It is strongly recommend that you read the guidance about ‘genuineness and credibility’ on pages 16-19.

 

For Guidance on Supporting Documents
  • Visiting the UK  
  • In addition, whilst this is not a requirement, it is advisable for the visitor to provides a supporting statement/covering letter with the application to explain the purpose of travel and to give detail of their circumstances in their home country. However, it is essential that anything you write in this statement can be backed up with evidence in the form of supporting documents i.e. “if you say it – prove it!”
  • UK visit visa template letters: Detailed & Generic

Visit Visa FAQs

What can I do if the visa is refused?

There is a limited right of appeal for visit visas, you may re-apply at any time (unless the application was refused under general grounds, which restricted your return to the UK). You must ensure that the reasons why your previous application was refused are fully addressed, either through written explanation and/or submitting additional documents.

Staying in Service Families Accommodation (SFA)

The rules for visitors staying in SFA are governed by JSP 464, Part 1 which states;

Visitors: Occupants may have visitors in addition to the permitted occupants to stay at the property on a temporary basis only. These visits are to be no more than 28 days (aggregated or continuous) in any 93-day period unless permission has been obtained from DIO in consultation with the Local Service Commander.

 

You must apply in writing, to the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) (or local housing allocation office if serving abroad). You need to include the following information in your letter:

  • Serving person’s name, Unit
  • Address of SFA
  • Full name and date of birth of your visitors
  • Reason for visit and length of stay.

 

There have been a number of cases where DIO Service Delivery Accommodation has refused to allow a visitor to stay for longer than 28 days. If your request has been refused, you should raise it through your chain of command in the first instance.

Access to Healthcare

You should ensure that all visitors are covered through medical or travel insurance prior to travel. NHS secondary care is charged at 150% of the standard NHS rate if you are from a non-EEA country and is therefore expensive and failure to pay an NHS debt can result if future immigration applications being denied.

 

Click here for further information.

GP / Primary Care Treatment

GPs have discretion to accept any person, including overseas visitors, to be either fully registered as a measure of an NHS patient, or as a temporary resident if they are to be in an area for between 24 hours and three months.

 

No registration application can be refused on the grounds of race, gender, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, diversity or medical condition.

 

In reality, this means that the practice’s discretion to refuse a patient is limited. There is no minimum period that a person needs to have been in the UK before a GP can register them. Furthermore, GPs have a duty to provide free of charge treatment, which they consider to be immediately necessary or an emergency, regardless of whether that person is an overseas visitor or registered with that practice.

Visitors for Deployment Support / Childminding

The visit guidance states:

“Where a family member is coming to look after a child in the UK, this is permitted provided it is for a short visit and does not amount to the relative being employed as a child-minder. You must be satisfied that the visit is of a short duration and the relative is a genuine visitor.”

 

So it is possible to come to help look after a child during a serving person’s deployment, for example to provide emotional and practical support to a spouse. It is important to remember that the duration of the visit visa is 6 months. Some Naval deployments can exceed this so please take this into account. It is unlikely that the Home Office will allow family members to come over on a regular basis to look after the children of single service personnel.  It would be expected, in such circumstances, that the serving person would have made other UK-based arrangements for the care of their children.

Extending visit visas

A standard visitor and a visitor for marriage or civil partnership, who was granted a visit visa or leave to enter for less than six months may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor so that the total period they can remain the UK (including both the original grant and the extension of stay) does not exceed six months. An application will need to be made using form FLR(IR) and the full cost paid.

 

UKBA guidance makes it clear that visas issued for six months can only be extended in compassionate circumstances, for example the illness of a close relative. For all other cases, it would not be advisable to make an application to extend, you should leave the UK and return at a later date.

Frequent and Successive Visits

Information taken from the Visit Guidance found on page 17 here states

“There is no specified maximum period which an individual can spend in the UK in any period such as ‘6 months in 12 months’. However, if it is clear from an individual’s travel history that they are making the UK their home you should refuse their application”.

 

The Home Office caseworker will check

  • The purpose of the visit and intended length of stay stated
  • The number of visits made over the past 12 months, including the length of stay on each occasion
  • The time elapsed since the last visit, and if this amounts to the individual spending more time in the UK than in their home country
  • The purpose of return trips to the visitor’s home country and if this is used only to seek re-entry to the UK
  • The links they have with their home country
  • Evidence the UK is their main place of residence, for example
    • if they have registered with a GP
    • send their children to UK schools
  • The history of previous applications, for example if the visitor has previously been refused under the family rules and subsequently wants to enter as a visitor, you must assess if they are using the visitor route to avoid the rules in place for family migrants joining British or settled persons in the UK.
Posted on: 8th September, 2020