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Settlement Routes – Dependants & Visit Visas

Settlement Routes – Dependants & Visit Visas

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 in 06 above.

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