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UK Visas & Citizenship

 

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 10 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 10 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 10 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

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

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If your marriage or partnership breaks down irretrievably due to domestic violence or abuse, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. For further details click here.

 

However, if your marriage or partnership breaks down irretrievably, but no domestic violence or abuse has taken place, whilst you are resident in the UK with Limited Leave to Remain as a partner under Appendix Armed Forces, then you are required to leave the United Kingdom because the sole reason for your UK residence in based on your relationship with the serving member of HM Forces, who is your sponsor. This is because the Immigration Rules require that your relationship be still subsisting and that you intend to continue living together.

 

Once you have separated from your partner, you are no longer meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules in terms of the residence requirements and your conditions of Leave to Remain or Enter (visa), and you are required to either return to your home country, or to apply for Leave to Remain from within the UK, in a different immigration category.

 

However, if you attempt an application for Leave to Remain in another category, you will be expected to meet the requirements or have your matter considered by the Home Office outside the Immigration Rules and/or under the European Convention on Human Rights; or if you have been in the United Kingdom for at least 10 years, you may apply under the Long Residence Rules.

Alternative Applications for Permission to Remain in the UK after the Breakdown of Your Relationship

Alternative Applications Alternative Applications for Permission to Remain in the UK after the Breakdown of Your Relationship

a. 10 Year Continuous Lawful Residence Route (Long Residence)

If you have had lawful residence and lived in the United Kingdom for at least 10 years, then you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.   However, you need to have been living in the UK legally for the whole of the 10 years. The Home Office UKVI does not currently recognise time overseas on accompanied assignments as residence in the UK under the 10 Year Route. For full Home Office guidance on the Long Residence route to settlement click here.

b. Permission to Remain in the UK on the Basis of being a Parent of a British Child or a child who has been living in the UK for at least 7 Years.

 

Your eligibility to apply for a variation of your residence in the UK, will depend on your personal circumstances.

 

The Immigration Rules

The relationship requirements relating to an application for Leave to Remain as a parent are:

  • The child of the applicant must be-
    • under the age of 18 years at the date of application, or where the child has turned 18 years of age since the applicant was first granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a parent under this Appendix, must not have formed an independent family unit or be leading an independent life;
    • living in the UK; and
    • a British Citizen or settled in the UK; or
    • has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application.

Either-

  • the applicant must have sole parental responsibility for the child or the child normally lives with the applicant and not their other parent (who is a British Citizen or settled in the UK), and the applicant must not be eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner under this Appendix; or
  • the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives must be-
    • a British Citizen in the UK or settled in the UK;
    • not the partner of the applicant (which here includes a person who has been in a relationship with the applicant for less than two years prior to the date of application); and
    • the applicant must not be eligible to apply for leave to remain as a partner under this Appendix.
  • The applicant must provide evidence that they have either-
    • sole parental responsibility for the child, or that the child normally lives with them; or
    • direct access (in person) to the child, as agreed with the parent or carer with whom the child normally lives or as ordered by a court in the UK; and
  • The applicant must provide evidence that they are taking, and intend to continue to take, an active role in the child’s upbringing.

 

In Summary
  • If you have a British child or a child who is not a British Citizen, but has been living in UK for seven years continuously, then you will have a case and can apply for permission to continue living in the United Kingdom.  You will be eligible to apply for Limited Leave to Remain as a parent if it can be shown that you have sole responsibility for your child; or you have access rights to the child.
  • Your application to remain in the UK on the basis that you are a parent of either a British citizen child, or a child who has resided in the UK for seven continuous years, will either be considered and granted under the five year route to settlement, or under the 10 year route to settlement.  The route you are placed on will depend on whether you meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules:-
  • Five-year route to settlement: you must meet all of the requirements of the immigration rules.
    • You have sole responsibility for the child or access rights to the child. If the child lives with the other parent, then that parent must also be British or have ILR. You must provide evidence of your sole responsibility or that you take an active role in the child’s upbringing
    • You must have a valid visa, which was issued for more than six months, unless that leave was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings;
    • You must be able to adequately maintain and house yourself and your child
    • You must meet the English language requirement
    • You must meet the suitability requirements (i.e. you have no criminal convictions)
  • Ten-year route to settlement: you will need to meet the following requirements:
    • You have sole responsibility or access rights to the child. If the child lives with the other parent, then that parent must also be British or have ILR. You must provide evidence of your sole responsibility or that you take an active role in the child’s upbringing.
    • You do not meet the English language requirement
    • You must not be in the UK as a visitor or with leave granted for a period of six months or less; unless that leave was granted pending the outcome of family court or divorce proceedings; or
    • You do not have valid leave to remain – you do not have permission to remain in the UK; or your visa has expired, and you are an overstayer.

 

For further details on the Immigration Rules relating to remaining in the UK as a parent of a child in the UK, click here and then open the drop down on ‘Family life as a parent of a child in the UK’.

 

Decision on Application for Limited Leave to Remain as a Parent

If you meet the requirements for Limited Leave to Remain as a parent, you will be granted Limited Leave to Remain for a period not exceeding 30 months, and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds.

 

You will be eligible to apply for settlement after a continuous period of at least 60 months and you will placed on the 5 year route to settlement.

 

However, if they do not meet all the requirements, for example, you do not meet the English  language requirement, or you currently do not have valid leave,  you will be granted leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds unless the Home Office  considers, that you should not be subject to such a condition, and you will be eligible to apply for settlement after a continuous period of at least 120 months in the UK and placed on the 10 year route to settlement. You will therefore be eligible for settlement after completing 10 years lawful residence.

c. Not Lawfully Resident in the UK – Private Life route

In the alternative to the parent route, if you do not have lawful residence in the UK, but you have lived in the UK for 20 years, or if you are under 25 years of age and have lived in the UK for half of your life, you may be eligible to apply for Leave to Remain on the basis of your private life.  Please contact NFF for advice regarding an application of this type. For full details of Private Life in the Immigration Rules , click here and then access the ‘Private Life’ section.

 

If you do not meet any of the above circumstances, then you are advised that you may find that your only option is to leave the United Kingdom and return to your home country.

 

However, there are other exceptional circumstances, which may need to be considered. Exceptional circumstances may include:

  • What is deemed in the best interest of a child
  • Length of time you have spent in the UK, including social, cultural and family ties
  • Any compelling circumstances and whether returning to your country of origin would cause undue hardship and whether there are any insurmountable obstacles for your reintegration into your home country

 

Documentary Evidence Required

You will be required to lodge evidence to support an application for Leave to Remain.  Please contact NFF for advice and guidance on the specific documentary evidence required to support your particular application.

 

Application Forms

Partners of HM Forces personnel whose marriage has broken down and you are the parent of either a British child or your child has lived in the UK for seven years or more. You will be eligible to apply for limited leave. If you are eligible, you will need to apply using the requisite online form.  Please click here and follow the guidance as to which form you will be required to complete.

Fee Waivers on Destitution

Destitution means that you do not have adequate accommodation and/or you cannot meet your other essential living needs because you do not have sufficient income.  If you claim destitution, you may be eligible for a waiver of the Home Office fee.

 

What you need to know before submitting your request

You will be eligible for a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the Home Office fee because you:

  • do not have a place to live and you cannot afford one
  • have a place to live but cannot afford your essential living costs like food or heating
  • have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing

 

You will need to provide evidence that you are destitute.  If you are still residing in Service Family Accommodation and the rent is being covered by the serving partner, or if you are in receipt of local authority support, but have limited income, you may still be eligible for a fee waiver.  However, merely because you have limited income, does not automatically mean you will be considered as destitute by the Home Office.

 

Before you begin your request for a fee waiver, you should read the guidance which includes information about who is eligible for a fee waiver, what destitute means, how to request a fee waiver and the documents you must send in to support your request. For full details on fee waivers click here.

 

If you make a fee waiver request through the online service and you qualify, you must also apply for your leave to remain application online. You may start your leave to remain application online, but it should only be submitted after you have received a decision on your fee waiver request.

 

If you make a fee waiver request before your current leave expires, and then you make an application for leave to remain, the date of that application will be deemed the date you submitted the fee waiver request. If you make a fee waiver request and you have no leave or your current leave has expired and then submit an application for leave to remain, the date of application will be the date you submit that application for leave to remain, not the date you submitted the fee waiver request.

 

You must provide evidence that you qualify for a fee waiver. This will be different depending on your circumstances, but might include documents such as letters local authorities, or bank statements.

 

You will be asked for details and evidence about yourself, any dependants you plan to include in your application for Leave to Remain and anyone else in your household or who helps you with money, accommodation or meeting your essential living needs.

 

There is no charge for making a request for a fee waiver.

 

You can only make a fee waiver request if you are making an application to remain in the UK on the basis of family life or private life for the following routes:

  • as a partner or spouse, under the 5 year route, where you do not need to meet the minimum income threshold because your partner is in receipt of one or more specified benefits
  • as a parent, under the 5 year route
  • as a partner, parent or dependant child based on your family life or private life in the UK, under the 10 year route
  • on human rights grounds, including where you were previously refused under the family route but granted “Discretionary Leave” or “leave outside the Rules”
  • to extend your leave as someone who was refused asylum or humanitarian protection and given “Discretionary Leave” instead
  • to extend your leave as a person who was previously granted leave as a victim of trafficking or slavery.

To apply for a fee waiver of the Home Office fee, you must complete the online fee waiver request form.

 

What happens next

If you qualify for a fee waiver, you will be told by letter, which is now usually sent by email. This letter will include a personalised code that you enter in your application for leave to remain that shows which fee waiver you have qualified for when applying for your leave to remain application.

If you qualify for a fee waiver, you will also not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

 

Application for change of conditions of leave to allow access to public funds because your circumstances have changed

If you are granted Limited Leave to Remain under either the 5 Year or 10 Year Route to Settlement, you will be issued with a condition of ‘no recourse to public funds.  Having no recourse to public funds means that you do not have access to a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income.

 

If so, it means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.

 

However, there are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues it. This will often be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

 

Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:

  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income support
  • child tax credit
  • universal credit
  • working tax credit
  • a social fund payment
  • child benefit
  • housing benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • council tax reduction
  • domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland)
  • state pension credit
  • attendance allowance
  • severe disablement allowance
  • personal independence payment
  • carer’s allowance
  • disability living allowance
  • an allocation of local authority housing
  • local authority homelessness assistance

 

If you can provide evidence that you are destitute or on serious financial difficulties, or where it can be shown that there are other compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child and you require financial support, then you may apply to have your conditions of Leave to Remain varied.

 

To apply for a change of conditions of leave to allow access to public funds:

For the application form, click here. If you already have leave granted on the basis of your family or private life and your financial circumstances have changed.

 

You can apply for a change to your conditions if:

  • your financial circumstances have changed since being given permission to stay in the UK and you are no longer able to provide food or housing for yourself or your family
  • your child is at risk because of your very low income
  • you had financial problems when you first applied but you did not provide evidence of this and you now want to provide this evidence

You can only change the conditions of leave which will allow you to access public funds to which you may be entitled with this request.

 

Eligibility

Click here to check your ability before you apply. You are eligible to apply for a change of conditions if:

  • you have leave to remain under the 10 year partner, parent or private life route, where the applicant claims that refusal of that application for leave to remain would breach their rights (or the rights of other specified persons) under ECHR Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life)
  • you have leave to remain on the basis of other ECHR right

 

You can also be eligible to apply if you have leave to remain under the 5 year partner/parent route. If you are accepted, you would be considered to have moved on to the 10 year route to settlement and as such any future applications for leave will be considered under the 10 year route.

 

However, when you come to reapply, if you feel that you again meet the criteria under the 5 year route you should be aware that any leave you had previously accumulated under the 5 year route will not count towards your new 5 year period.

 

For example, if you previously had 4 years leave to remain under the 5 year route to settlement but applied for a change of condition code and were moved on to the 10 year route, when you next apply under the 5 year route you will need to complete a new period of 5 years in order to then apply for settlement.

 

You will qualify for an amendment to your conditions of leave only if:

  • you are destitute
  • there are particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of your child on account of your very low income
  • there are exceptional circumstances in your case relating to your financial circumstances
  • you are at risk of becoming destitute

 

A person is destitute if:

  • they do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not their other essential living needs are met)
  • they have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet their other essential living needs
  • they are at risk of destitution if either or both of the above are imminent

If you are eligible to apply you will find guidance on how to complete your application and the evidence you need to provide within the online application.  However, if you are in any doubt, please contact NFF for advice and assistance.

 

What happens next

If you meet the requirements for a change to the conditions of your leave to allow you to apply for public funds you will be told by letter or email. This may include a request that you give biometric information (fingerprints and photograph). You would need to do this at a Service & Support Centre (SSC). Information on how to do this will be provided in the decision. The Home Office will then issue you with a new biometric residence permit.

This application is free of charge.

General advice and support on Separation or divorce

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) has compiled a comprehensive information section on the website. This contains information on:

  • General information on separation and divorce
  • Domestic abuse and divorce
  • Accommodation considerations
  • Support for emotions and wellbeing
  • Legal help and advice
  • Financial advice
  • FAQ’s

 

Click here for a link to this information.

Posted on: 4th September, 2020

British Citizenship – Children Born in the UK (and Overseas)

Any child born to a serving member of HM Forces on or after 13th January 2010 is automatically a British citizen by virtue of Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (including Reserves subject to Service law by virtue of s.367(2)(a)-(c) of the 2006 Armed Forces act).  If the child’s mother is a civilian and a foreign national, it does not matter whether the parents are married.

 

The requirement to be married to the mother only applies to those who were born before 1st July 2006. The requirement that the child should be born ‘legitimate’ has not been relevant since 01st July 2006.  The requirement to be married to the mother only applies to those who were born before 01st July 2006; in such circumstances, the child can be registered as a British citizen.

A person born in the UK on or after 1 July 2006 is a British citizen if -

Under Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, a person born in the UK on or after 1 July 2006 is a British citizen if, at the time of their birth, one or more of the following applies:

  • either parent is a British citizen
  • either parent is settled in the UK
  • either parent is a member of the armed forces and the person was born on or after 13 January 2010

 

Children born in the United Kingdom to parents who are not British and did not have Indefinite Leave to Remain at the time of their birth and one or both of their parents subsequently enlist into HM Forces after their birth are either entitled or eligible to be registered as British citizens.

  • Children born after 13th January 2010 are entitled to be registered as a British Citizen under Section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act.
  • They are not eligible for a British Passport until they have been registered.
  • Children born before 13th January 2010 are eligible to be registered under Section 1(3). However, they will now also be entitled to register under Section 1 (4).

 

Applications for children to become British citizens need to be made using either Form MN1 or Form T. This will depend of the child’s personal circumstances, or their parents and will also depend on what Section of the British Nationality Act 1981 they are relying on.  Children are not naturalised, they are registered as British Citizens.

 

As a parent, you must ensure that your child is registered under the appropriate provision. A child with an entitlement should be registered under that entitlement and not by use of the discretion under Section 3(1), unless necessary.

 

Failure to register a child under the appropriate Section of the 1981 British Nationality Act could adversely affect future generations. This is because in some cases registration under section 3(1) would give British citizenship by descent, whereas registration under an entitlement provision would give British citizenship otherwise than by descent.

 

The British Nationality Act 1981 contains several provisions which give children in certain circumstances an eligibility or entitlement to registration as British citizens. A few of them are:

 

  • Section 1(3) and Section 1 (3A) applies to those children who were born in the United Kingdom and their parents have either becomes a British citizen, or settled in the UK or have enlisted into HM Armed Forces
  • Section 3(1) application applies to children who may be eligible and registered at the Home Secretary’s Discretion if they do not meet all the requirements
  • Section 1(4) applies to UK born children with residence in the UK from birth to age 10
  • Section 4D applies to children who were born outside the UK to a parent serving in the armed forces.
Registration Under Section 1 (3): = Form MN1
Requirements for Registration under Section 1(3)

Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK;
  • they were not British citizens at birth because at the time neither parent was a British citizen or settled;
  • while they are minors either of the parents has since become a British citizen or settled in the UK, or join HM Armed Forces
  • they are under the age of 18 on the date the application is received
  • they are of good character if over the age of 10

 

Evidence required under Section 1(3)

Applications under section 1(3) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • Child’s full birth certificate showing birth in the UK, parents’ details and registration in the 12 month period following birth
  • Evidence of parent’s British citizenship since the applicant’s birth, such as:
    • a British passport
    • a naturalisation certificate
    • a registration certificate
  • Evidence of parent’s settled status since the applicant’s birth, such as:
    • an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) stamp in a passport
    • a Home Office letter
    • a no time limit stamp
    • a biometric residence permit (BRP) confirming ILR
  • A marriage certificate, if:
    • the parent on whom the claim is based became a British citizen or settled in the UK after the child was born
    • the child was born prior to 1 July 2006 to a father who is a British citizen.

 

Registration under section 1(3) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent.  This means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

Registration Under Section 1 (3A): = Form MN1

Requirements for registration under section 1(3A). Children are entitled to registration under section 1(3A) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • they were born in the UK on or after 13 January 2010
  • they were not a British citizen at birth, as at the time neither parent was:
    • a British citizen
    • settled in the UK
    • serving in the UK armed forces

Registration under section 1(3A) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descent.  This means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

 

Evidence required under section 1(3A) Applications under section 1(3A) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • Child’s full birth certificate showing birth in the UK on or after 13 January 2010
  • Evidence of parent’s service in the UK Armed Forces
  • A Home Office stamp showing the holder is entitled to exemption under section 8(4) of the Immigration Act 1971
  • letter from the Ministry of Defence confirming service in the armed forces (including details of the postings at the time of birth and dates of service)
Registration Under Section 1 (4) = Form T
Requirements for registration under Section 1(4): Children are entitled to registration if:

Section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 allows a child to be registered as a British citizen based on the child being born in the United Kingdom and having lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life.   Children are entitled to registration under section 1(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • It will be deemed a child is entitled to registration under Section 1 (4) if:
    • The child was born in the UK
    • The child was not a British citizen at birth as at the time of birth neither parent was a British citizen nor settled in the UK
    • The child is aged 10 years or over on the date of the application
    • The child has lived in the United Kingdom for the first 10 years of their life
    • The child has not been outside of the United Kingdom for more than 90 days in each of the first 10 years of their life
    • The child is of good character

 

Evidence required under section 1(4)

Applications under section 1(4) must be supported by the following evidence:

  • applicant’s full birth certificate to confirm that they were born in the UK and that they are 10 years or over on the date of application
  • evidence of residence to cover the first 10 years of the applicant’s life

 

The evidence of residence will differ for the different periods of a child’s life and therefore the following documents must be provided:

  • current passport
  • any expired passports
  • medical records
  • vaccination records
  • doctors’ letters o personal child health record (red book)
  • letters from child’s school confirming attendance

 

Registration under section 1(4) gives British citizenship otherwise than by descentThis means that your child will pass on their British nationality to future generations.

Registration at the Home Secretary’s Discretion – Section 3(1) application = Form MN1

A child is also eligible to have an application for registration as a British citizen considered on a discretionary basis. It is not possible to cover all circumstances under which the Home Secretary might exercise discretion. However, consideration will be given to:

 

  • The children’s connections with the United Kingdom – the Home Office would expect the children to be free of any restrictions on their stay in the United Kingdom.
  • Where the child’s future is likely to lie
  • The parents’ views
  • The parents’ nationality and immigration status – the Home Office usually expects both parents to be British citizens or one parent a British citizen and the other parent settled in the UK.
  • Whether the child is of good character.
  • The length of time the child has lived in the UK – the Home Office expects at least 2 years residence (particularly if the child is over the age of 13)
  • Any compelling circumstances.
Section 4 (D) of the British Nationality Act 1981: Citizenship for children born outside the UK whilst a parent is posted on an overseas assignment after 13th January 2010 – Form MN1

Section 4D of the British Nationality Act 1981 came in to force on 13th January 2010. This provision gave a new registration route to those born to a parent in serving in HM Armed Forces. However, only those born on or after 13th January 2010 are eligible to have an entitlement apply for citizenship under section 4D.

 

All children born to Foreign and Commonwealth serving members of HM Forces outside the UK whilst their parent was or is on an overseas posting are eligible to apply to be registered as British Citizens.

 

Requirements for registration under Section 4(D): Children are entitled to registration under Section 4 (D) of the British Nationality Act 1981 if:

  • A child was born overseas after 13th January 2010
  • Evidence confirming that the parent who is serving in HM Forces was posted/serving overseas at the time of birth, the date and place of birth of the child and the date and place of recruitment of the serving member.

 

Children Born Overseas Before 13th January 2010 to Foreign and Commonwealth Members of HM Armed Forces on an Overseas Posting: – Form MN1

For those who were born before 13th January 2020, the Secretary of State has agreed to routinely exercise her discretion and register a child under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 where:

  • The child was born outside the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories before 13 January 2010; and
  • At the time of the birth, their father or mother was:
    • a foreign and Commonwealth member of the UK Armed Forces; and
    • serving outside the United Kingdom and the qualifying territories
    • consent of both parent’s; and
    • If the person is aged 10 or over on the date of application, the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are of good character

 

Important Note:  the child’s mother does not have to accompany the parent who is serving in HM Forces on the overseas assignment for the child to be eligible to register as a British citizen.

However, if the child was born overseas when the HM Forces parent was serving in the UK, then the child is not eligible to be registered as a British citizen.

 

As of 1 April 2015 children born to non-British parents serving on an overseas assignment can be registered as British at public expense. For further information refer to 20150408 DIN ‘Family Migration Rules for UK Armed Forces family members who are Non-British’.

British Citizenship – Acquisition by Naturalisation as an Adult

Becoming a British citizen (Naturalisation) is a significant life event. As a serving member of the Armed Forces, naturalisation is not needed for service reasons therefore it is a personal choice for the service person to make. All costs associated with naturalisation are a personal responsibility (as stated in BR 3 Chapter 19 para 1914).

 

The requirements for naturalisation as a British citizen differ depending on whether or not you are applying on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen. There are two routes for naturalisation, under s6(1) BNA 1981) or, where the applicant is the spouse of a British citizen, s6(2). In addition to this, if you are applying as a Serving Member of the RN or RM and from a Commonwealth Country, see the section on  “Crown Service”.

Naturalisation if Married to or the Civil Partner of a British Citizen (Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981)

A person who is married to or the civil partner of a British citizen is not automatically entitled to become a British citizen by naturalisation. A decision can only be made to grant citizenship if the individual is living in the UK and can satisfy the legal and residence requirements outlined in Booklet and Guide AN and Application to Naturalise as a British Citizen. The details are outlined below –

 

The Legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that:
  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Are married to or the civil partner of a British citizen on the date of application
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking (but see the section on those who are not of Sound mind)
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
    • You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK by:
    • Are of good character
      • You should read the guidance in the booklet carefully. More detailed information can be found here
    • If you have a non-custodial criminal conviction, then you will be unable to apply for citizenship until three years after your conviction. Non-custodial convictions include court-imposed fines for drink-driving and speeding, as well as fines for assault, battery etc. Fines imposed through a summary hearing or courts marshal also result in a non-custodial criminal conviction
    • If you have a custodial sentence of up to 12 months, you won’t be able to apply until 10 years after your conviction. Custodial convictions include time spend at MCTC Colchester
    • For information on which military offences are considered to be criminal click here
    • Breach of Immigration Law
      • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration law during the residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
      • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
    • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 3 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements:

 

The Residence Requirements
  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 3 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • For example, if your application is received on 05/05/2021, you should have been physically present in the UK on 06/05/2018.
  • Most applications that fail do so because applicants have applied even though they cannot satisfy the residence requirement to be present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period.
  • You must not have had more than 270 days outside the UK in the 3-year period before making the application (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application, (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application.
    • Usually there is a stamp or sticker in your passport, or you have a biometric residence permit, saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. (but see the table in the section on Immigration Time Restrictions in this guidance).
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration laws during the 3-year residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
Naturalisation If you are NOT married to or the civil partner of a British citizen (Section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981)

Naturalisation if not Married to or the Civil Partner of a British Citizen. A person who is not married to or the civil partner of a British citizen is not automatically entitled to become a British citizen by naturalisation. A decision can only be made to grant citizenship if the individual is living in the UK and can satisfy the legal and residence requirements outlined in Booklet and Guide AN and Application to Naturalise as a British Citizen.

 

The Legal requirements you should meet before you apply are that
  • Are aged 18 or over when you apply
  • Intend to continue to live in the UK, or to continue in Crown service, the service of an international organisation of which the UK is a member, or the service of a company or association established in the UK
  • Are of sound mind, so that you understand the step you are taking (but see the section on those who are not of Sound mind)
  • Can communicate in English (or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic) to an acceptable level
  • Have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK
  • You can demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK by:
  • Are of good character
    • You should read the guidance in the booklet carefully. More detailed information can be found here
  • If you have a non-custodial criminal conviction, then you will be unable to apply for citizenship until three years after your conviction. Non-custodial convictions include court-imposed fines for drink-driving and speeding, as well as fines for assault, battery etc. Fines imposed through a summary hearing or courts marshal also result in a non-custodial criminal conviction
  • If you have a custodial sentence of up to 12 months, you won’t be able to apply until 10 years after your conviction. Custodial convictions include time spend at MCTC Colchester
  • For information on which military offences are considered to be criminal click here
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration law during the residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
  • Have lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before you apply and meet the following residence requirements:

 

The Residence Requirements
  • You must have been physically present in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands on the day 5 years before the application is received by the Home Office.
  • For example, if your application is received on 05/01/2022 you should have been physically present in the UK on 06/01/2017.
  • Most applications that fail do so because applicants have applied even though they cannot satisfy the residence requirement to be present in the UK at the beginning of the residential qualifying period.
  • If you are a current or former member of the UK armed forces, you may not have to meet this requirement, if you were serving outside of the UK on the date 5 years before applying.
  • You must not have had more than 450 days outside the UK in the 5-year period before making the application (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must not have had more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12-month period before making the application, (but see the table in the section on Absences from the UK in this guidance).
  • You must be free from immigration time restrictions on the date of application and have been free from immigration time restrictions for the 12-month period before making the application
    • Usually there is a stamp or sticker in your passport, or you have a biometric residence permit, saying that you have indefinite leave to enter or remain or no time limit on your stay. But you may have a letter from the Home Office saying that you are free from immigration conditions. (but see the table in the section on Immigration Time Restrictions in this guidance).
  • Breach of Immigration Law
    • To meet the residence requirements, you should not have been in breach of immigration laws during the 5-year residential qualifying period. You should have been here legally. This means you must have had the necessary permission under the immigration laws and complied with any requirements to be in the UK. You may be refused if you have been in breach of immigration laws during the residential qualifying period
    • Any immigration offences will also be considered as part of the good character requirement. This includes immigration breaches in the 10 year period before you apply for naturalisation – see “immigration related issues” section in the good character guidance for further details
Applications for Commonwealth personnel (Crown Service)

For serving members of HM Armed Forces who are from a Commonwealth Country, the application process differs slightly to the routes for civilian applications. This is in recognition of the fact that the Residential Requirements are often not met due to the fact that the serving person may have been out of the UK on Operational or other duties for a significant amount of the 5 year qualifying period. It is only an alternative to the requirements about residence in the UK: you must still satisfy the requirements about character, language skills, knowledge of life in the UK and future intentions.

 

A Commonwealth serving member of the RN/RM;

  • CAN apply for citizenship whilst serving as long as they have lived in UK (or on overseas assignments for five years
  • CAN count any time spent legally in the UK prior to joining the RN/RM. This includes time spent on visit visas
  • DO have to have served for a minimum of 12 months prior to applying
  • DO have to include a unit letter to confirm date of enlistment and that time spent overseas was due to military Service.
  • DO NOT need Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) first
  • DO have to meet the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement (KoLL), regardless of how long they may have served for (refer to the main requirements section above)
  • DO NOT have to meet the requirement to have been in the UK on the first day of the five-year residential qualifying period
  • DO have to meet the good character requirement, including the requirement to have been lawfully resident for the previous 10 years. Please refer to the ‘main requirements’ section above
  • DO have to pay the fee
  • DO NOT have to send your passport in, a scan of your passport can be sent in along with the other supporting documents

 

NOTE – from 1 December 2013 it no longer matters if the serving person becomes a British citizen prior to the spouse applying for ILR. The serving person’s nationality will no longer affect a spouse visa application.

 

Application Process

It is now necessary to apply online for citizenship if you are in the UK.  You can access the form and guidance here.

  • You should write down all of your trips outside the UK – under ‘reason for trip’ you should write ‘Crown Service’ (unless you went outside the UK for non-Service reasons).
  • Where it says ‘do you meet these residence requirements’ you should select no
  • The next question states ‘please tell us which of the requirements you do not meet and the reason you do not meet them.’ You should write in the box: I do not meet the residence requirements because I have spent more than 450 days outside the UK due to Armed Forces Service. I have provided a letter which confirms this.
  • The from will then ask the about your Crown Service, you should select Yes and then complete the rest of the form.
  • You should provide a unit letter to confirm that your time out of the UK was due to Crown Service.

 

Biometric enrolment

As part of your application, all applicants are required to enrol their biometric details for the purpose of identity verification. This includes those who are “Exempt from Immigration Control” as a member of HM Armed Forces

Where you give your biometric information depends on how you’re making your visa or immigration application.

You’ll be told where to go after you’ve applied

Your application may be rejected as invalid if you do not enrol your biometrics when requested. For more information about enrolling biometrics and the current fee. For more information on Biometric Residence Permits please click here.

HM Forces: Criminality
HM Forces: Criminality – Meeting the Good Character Requirement

 

Good Character

To be of good character you should have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observe its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident of the UK. Checks will be carried out to ensure that the information you give is correct.

If you are not honest about the information you provide, and you are registered on the basis of incorrect or fraudulent information you will be liable to have British citizenship taken away (deprivation) and you may be prosecuted. It is a criminal offence to make a false declaration knowing that it is untrue. For full details see the guidance here.

 

Military Conviction or Criminal Conviction

Behaviour which is not a crime in civilian life can be a disciplinary matter in HM Forces. There are two types of non-criminal conduct (disciplinary offences):

  • Offences listed on Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Armed Forces Order 2009), for example, misconduct towards a superior officer or using force on a sentry. These offences will appear on a criminal record and can be considered by the Home Office when undertaking a broader consideration of character, conduct and association requirement of the suitability requirements in Appendix Armed Forces.
  • Non-criminal conduct (disciplinary offences) which are not listed on Schedule 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Armed Forces Order 2009), for example, disobeying an order or being untidily dressed. These offences must not appear on an applicant’s criminal record and if they do they must not be considered for immigration or nationality purposes.

A disciplinary or conviction in a military court (whether a Summary Hearing or Courts Martial) is not necessarily considered to be a criminal offence and therefore may not affect an application for settlement or Citizenship.  However, it is prudent to take advice prior to applying for either Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship if an applicant has a criminal conviction or a service related offence.

 

Offences against military service law are set out in the Armed Forces Act 2006 and fall into two categories:

  • criminal conduct offences
  • non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offences.

 

The Home Office will consider any criminal conduct offence imposed under service law in the same way as one imposed by a civilian court.

However, a non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offence will not be treated in the same way as criminal convictions and should be disregarded by the Home Office for immigration and nationality purposes.  However, non-criminal conduct (disciplinary) offences, may be considered when considering character and conduct requirements under the suitability requirements of Appendix Armed Forces.

Please note, that absent without leave (AWOL) is considered a non-disciplinary offence and is therefore not normally recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC), but time spent AWOL and any punishment received, must be disclosed to the Home Office.

 

Offences dealt with in the Armed Forces (Minor Punishments and Limitation on Power to Reduce in Rank) Regulations 2009, must also be disclosed by applicants as criminal convictions.

Single criminal conduct offences which have attracted the following sentences will be disregarded by the Home Office as a conviction for immigration and nationality purposes:

  • restriction of privileges
  • stoppage of leave
  • admonition (caution or warn)
  • reduction in rank.

However, if an applicant has numerous minor punishments, particularly over a short period of time, the Home Office will consider these in line with the character, conduct and associations aspects of the suitability criteria.

 

Types of Non-criminal (disciplinary) offences – Armed Forces Act 2006

Convictions for the offences detailed below should not be recorded on the PNC and should not be treated as criminal convictions or considered when the Home Office assesses good character.  Convictions for these offences need not be disclosed by the applicant on the application form unless they include any punishment received for a period of absence without leave (AWOL).  However, it is not advisable to withhold information from the Home Office.

 

Contrary to Armed Forces Act 2006 Part 1 – Offences

Section 1 – Assisting an enemy

Section 2 – Misconduct on operations

Section 3 – Obstructing operations

Section 4 – Looting

Section 5 – Failure to escape

Section 6 – Mutiny

Section 7 – Failure to suppress mutiny

Section 8 – Desertion

Section 9 – Absence without leave

Section 10 – Failure to cause apprehension of deserters or absentees

Section 12 – Disobedience to lawful commands

Section 13 – Contravention of standing orders

Section 15 – Failure to attend for, or perform, duty

Section 16 – Malingering

Section 17 – Disclosure of information useful to an enemy

Section 18 – Making false records

Section 19 – Conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline

Section 20 – Unfitness or misconduct through alcohol or drugs

Section 21 – Fighting or threatening behaviour

Section 22 – Ill–treatment of subordinate

Section 23 – Disgraceful conduct of a cruel or indecent kind

Section 25 – Misapplying or wasting public or service property

Section 26 – Definition of public property or service property

Section 31 – Hazarding of ship

Section 32 – Giving false air signals

Section 33 – Dangerous flying

Section 34 – Low flying

Section 35 – Annoyance by flying

Section 36 – Inaccurate certification

Section 37 – Prize offences by officer in command of ship or aircraft

Section 38 – Other prize offences

Section 39 – Attempts

Section 41 – Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring.

 

Useful information and Links

For more information see related links to:

  • Appendix Armed Forces here
  • HM Forces Criminality here
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1981 (Armed Forces) Order 2009 Schedule 1 here
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1981 (Armed Forces) Order 2009 here
  •  (Minor Punishments and Limitation on Power to Reduce in Rank) Regulations 2009 here

For information on how to contact UKVI regarding Citizenship applications here.

To request your documents to be returned here.

Posted on: 3rd September, 2020

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Definitions of Domestic Violence and Abuse

The Home Office definition of domestic abuse and violence is considered to be any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

 

Other forms of abuse, which may not be violence, but equally as abusive, are considered to be controlling or coercive behaviour which is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent.

Controlling behaviour is either:

  • isolating them from sources of support
  • exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain
  • depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • regulating their everyday behaviour

 

Coercive behaviour is either:

  • an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation
  • other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim

 

No distinction should be made between psychological (mental) abuse and physical abuse when the Home Office assesses if a person has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse.

 

The Royal Navy has a policy of zero tolerance of Domestic Abuse and has procedures in place to provide confidential advice and support to those subjected to it. The Naval Service Family and People Support (NS FPS) or SSAFA can be approached in the first instance, they will provide a caseworker who will listen and provide information. This is a confidential service; they will not speak to your partner’s ship or unit unless you ask them to or unless there are child protection issues.

 

They will need to make sure that you and any children you have are safe, and will work with other agencies to protect you and your family.

 

For details of how to contact NS FPS, click here.

For details of how to contact SSAFA, click here.

Eligibility

The domestic violence rules do not apply to:

  • the spouse, unmarried partner or registered civil partner of a sponsor who has only limited leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • fiancé or fiancées or proposed civil partners
  • people seeking asylum in the UK
  • the spouse or civil partner of a foreign or Commonwealth citizen who is serving, or has served, in Her Majesty’s (HM) forces and who has not completed a minimum of 4 years’ reckonable service

 

The domestic violence rules do apply to:

  • A partner of a serving member of HM Forces who is a victim of domestic violence are:
    • they had leave as the partner of a British citizen in HM Forces
    • they had leave as a partner of a foreign or Commonwealth citizen serving in HM Forces with at least four years’ reckonable service at the date of application

 

Partners of Foreign or Commonwealth members of HM Forces with 4 years’ service may make an application for settlement based on domestic violence, this is because 4 years’ service is the point at which the sponsor could settle if discharged from HM Forces.

 

Domestic abuse may be conducted by other family members, and not just the partner.  Those who are directly related to the victim, may be in-laws or step-family.

 

If an applicant submits evidence to show that their relationship has broken down because they have been subjected to domestic violence from someone other than their partner, they can still qualify for settlement under the rule. Evidence must clearly show that the violence has been the reason for the breakdown of the relationship between the applicant and their partner, for example where the person who abuses the applicant is a member of the partner’s family and against whom the partner offers no protection.

 

It should be noted that the spouse of a serving member of HM Forces who is a victim of Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse does not have to wait until the end of the probationary period.

 

Neither do they have to rely on the serving member to support their application.

 

A victim of Domestic Violence or abuse may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) on their own merit, so long as the incidents of DV have been evidenced.

 

Evidence to substantiate must include at least one of the following:

  • Non-molestation/protection order, Court conviction or relevant police caution

 

If they are not able to provide any of the mentioned pieces of evidence, they should provide at least two of the following:

  • Medical report, an undertaking given to a court by the perpetrator, a police report, letter from social services, letter from domestic violence support organisation or refuge, MARAC risk assessment, or other (UWO letters of evidenced incidences).
Evidence of Domestic Abuse

The types of evidence which may be produced and factors which should be taken into account by the Home Office when considering whether the evidence produced meets the requirements for a grant of leave can be found in the Home Office guidance. To see this evidence click here and go to pages 22 to 29.

 

Application process: You need to apply on form SET (DV). For the form and further guidance, click here. The Home Office fee is £2389 per applicant. If you can show that you are destitute, you do not have to pay the fee. You will need to evidence this – please see the next section.

Fee Concession & Application for Recourse to Public Funds
Eligibility and criteria for those applying for leave to remain under the destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and you do not have an income of your own and you find yourself destitute, you may be eligible for the Home Office fee to be waived and granted access to public funds.

 

This section informs you of the requirements which must be met for an applicant to qualify for temporary leave outside the immigration rules, under the destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession.

 

Definition of Destitution

A person is considered destitute by the Home Office when they do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it, or they cannot meet their essential living needs.  It could also be when a person has demonstrated, by way of evidence, that they would be rendered destitute by payment of the Home Office fee, because whilst they have adequate accommodation and can meet their essential living needs:

  • they have no additional disposable income such that either:
    • they could pay the Home Office fee; but
    • payment would compromise their ability to continue to accommodate themselves adequately or meet their other essential living needs

 

From 1 April 2012, those who meet the DDV concession criteria are granted 3 months leave outside the immigration rules (LOTR) with a condition code that does not restrict access to public funds.  Only those eligible to apply for leave under section DVILR under Paragraph 40 of Appendix Armed Forces are eligible for the DDV concession.

 

The concession only applies to applicants who have previously been granted leave to enter or remain as the spouse; civil partner; unmarried or same-sex partner of any of the following:

  • British citizen;
  • Settled person;
  • Member of HM forces who is exempt from immigration control and has served for at least 4 years

 

The Home Office will reject an application for the DDV concession, from those whose partner:

  • is not at the time of application a British citizen or settled in the UK;
  • was not at the time when the leave as a partner was first granted, a British citizen or settled in the UK;
  • is not a serving member of HM forces, considered exempt from immigration control with 4 years’ reckonable service.

 

The concession applies to those who from 1 December 2013 were last granted leave under paragraph 23, 26, 28 or 32 of Appendix Armed Forces and are the partner of a member of HM forces who is British, settled, still serving and considered exempt from immigration control and has at least 4 years’ service as a regular, or was granted limited leave to remain on discharge; and

  • claim that their relationship with their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex- partner has broken down as a result of domestic violence;
  • claim to need access to funds in order to leave the relationship;
  • intend to apply for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence under paragraph 40 of Appendix Armed Forces or section DVILR of Appendix

 

To benefit under the destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession, victims of domestic violence and abuse who need access to public funds, must complete and submit the LOTR (DVV) form to the Home Office by email.

  • For online application form and guidance, click here.
  • To apply for destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession, click here.

 

In order to qualify for a grant of limited leave under the DDV concession, an applicant must:

  • have submitted a completed LOTR (DDV)
  • meet the eligibility requirements of the DDV concession

 

Those who meet the criteria of the DDV concession should be granted leave outside the rules (LOTR) (DDV) for 3 months on conditions permitting employment and immediate access to benefits (code 1A).

 

The Home Office will send the applicant a letter which confirms they have been granted LOTR (DDV) and issue a status document by way of a biometric residence permit (BRP).

 

After being granted 3 months leave to remain, with access to public funds and a concession of the Home Office fee, the applicant should submit their SET(DV) application before their 3 months’ limited leave expires. The Home Office encourages those who are granted 3 months’ LOTR to submit a SET(DV) application within 8 weeks of their initial grant to make sure their case is considered before their leave under the concession expires.

 

If an applicant fails to submit their SET(DV) application within the 3 months limited leave, they will become an overstayer and may become subject to removal.

 

It is important to note that if leave is granted under the DDV concession, the applicant must make a separate application for Department for Work and Pension (DWP) benefits or housing benefits and will be assessed against the normal DWP criteria.

 

A grant of leave under the DDV concession is recognition that an applicant is destitute at the time the request is decided and does not guarantee that any subsequent application for leave under the domestic violence rules will be granted.

Summary
  • Part 6 of Appendix Armed Forces applies to partners of members of HM forces who are the victim of domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse incidents must be documented & evidence produced.
  • The dependant is not required to meet the 5 years’ probationary period.
  • Application form Set (DV) cost £2389 per applicant
  • If destitute, they may apply for a concession of the fee and recourse to public funds.
Army Families Federation (AFF) F & C Support Project

The AFF Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist is an OISC Level 2 qualified advisor who has been providing qualified immigration advice and practical support for Army families for a number of years. She has developed specialist knowledge of supporting F&C victims of Domestic Abuse (DA). Through a close working relationship with NFF, AFF are able to offer this specialist DA support to Royal Navy, Royal Marines personnel and their families.

 

Funded by the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund, AFF is able to provide practical one-to-one support to F&C families dealing with domestic abuse.

 

The support can be offered in any location in the UK or overseas. AFF will do all the substantive work required to make the applications, including collating all evidence, completing the forms and writing letters of representation.

 

If you are currently supporting an F&C spouse in these circumstances who needs immigration advice, then please contact AFF at fcsupport@aff.org.uk

 

If you are the spouse in need of support, you can contact AFF directly, but they would prefer that you are referred to them via a NS FPS or SSAFA caseworker.

 

Click here for further guidance on domestic abuse for the Armed Forces community.

Qualified Immigration Advice

Applications made for ILR as a victim of domestic abuse, or those made under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, should not be attempted without qualified immigration advice.

 

If you use the AFF support project detailed above then the AFF’s F&C Specialist is a qualified advisor, registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to provide immigration advice up to Level 2. If you wish to use a different advisor, then you should ensure they are also registered with the OISC to provide advice up to Level 2 or 3. Currently the Naval Families Federation are only qualified to level 1 and therefore can’t assist with these types of applications. NFF have a close working relationship with GBS UK Immigration who are based in Portsmouth and have a specialist in Armed Forces Immigration law. For their contact details and to see if they can assist you please see here.

 

Can I get Legal Aid?

Since April 2013, Legal Aid has only been available for applications under the DV rules.  Legal advisors can claim some of their costs back for these cases, but there is a cap on the amount they can claim. You may find that the amount of work they are willing to do is limited to completing the application form. Law centres are a good place to start if there is one in your area.

 

What should the immigration adviser do?

A good immigration adviser will begin by assessing the merits of your case. If they consider that your chances of being able to remain in the UK are very slim, then they should inform you of this. If you decide to go ahead with an application, then your immigration adviser should assist with the following:

 

  • A detailed statement: This provides the opportunity for you to put the facts of your case to the decision maker (the UKBA caseworker). Your immigration adviser should draft this statement using the information you have given them. It should tell your story in a compelling and persuasive way so that the caseworker will be convinced of the merits of the case.
  • Supporting documents: Your immigration adviser should give advice on the evidence that needs to be provided with your application. The facts that you put in the statement above will need to be corroborated by other types of evidence, usually documents such as bank statements, photos, bills, letters, and reports – medical or other expert reports. A UKBA decision maker is not required to accept the facts in the statement if they can reasonably be expected to be supported by other evidence.
  • Letter of representation: The adviser should also prepare a letter in which they give the legal argument for your right to remain in the UK. They will refer to immigration rules where appropriate, or to other, similar, cases where judges have ruled in favour of a right to remain.

 

What happens if my application is refused?

If you are given the right to appeal, then your adviser should discuss the merits of this with you. They should take you through the process and the timescales.

You will only have ten days following receipt of your refusal notice (Notice of Decision) to lodge the appeal. On average, it takes six months for an appeal to be heard at the immigration tribunal. Appeals can be very expensive and are not covered by Legal Aid.

 

Complaints about immigration advisers

If you think your immigration adviser has given you poor advice or an inadequate service, you can complain to the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

You can complain about any adviser, solicitor, barrister, OISC regulated adviser or unregulated person operating within the UK and providing advice and services relating to immigration to the UK

Useful information and links
  • To see the guidance that the Home Office follows when considering applications from people who claim to have been victims of domestic violence or abuse, click here.
  • For guidance on the eligibility and criteria for those applying for leave to remain under the destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession, click here.
  • ‘No defence for abuse’: a strategy to tackle domestic abuse within the defence community. To see the MOD strategy, click here.
  • For information and guidance for those affected by or dealing with cases of domestic abuse in the Armed Forces community, click here.
  • For information about domestic violence and abuse in the Armed Forces and the help available to victims, perpetrators and the chain of command,  click here.
  • For information for Armed Forces personnel and their families who are stationed overseas, click here.
  • For feedback on common concerns raised by victims and perpetrators from the Armed Forces Community, click here.
  • Handbook to help and inform civilian support services who are working with Armed Forces families affected by domestic abuse, click here.
Posted on: 3rd September, 2020

If you have lost your partner or parent, please contact NFF for support, guidance, and advice. Below are the basic requirements of the Immigration Rules relating to an application for either Indefinite Leave to Enter or Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis that your HM Forces partner or parent has lost their life whilst in service.

 

Understandably, you will be grieving and possibly in shock at the loss of your loved one and should have the support of the Naval Service Families and People Support (NS FPS).

 

Every effort will be made to support you through this very sad and difficult time.  NFF can assist with the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Enter and provide you with any help, support, guidance and if deemed in your best interests, assist you with obtaining support from external agencies.

 

Under the Immigration Rules, a partner is considered a person, other than a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. Therefore, if you are in the United Kingdom and you are a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a serving member who dies, you will not be eligible to apply for settlement on the basis that your HM Forces fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner has lost their life.   However, please seek NFF advice, there may be other options open to you, especially if you had a child together or if you are a woman and are currently pregnant and expecting the HM Forces person’s child.

Bereaved Partner

A partner qualifies for settlement as a bereaved partner if they make a valid application and their deceased partner was either:

  • a British citizen in HM Forces (including one who has naturalised after five years reckonable service)
  • a foreign or Commonwealth citizen serving in HM Forces
  • a discharged member of HM Forces who is a British citizen or had been granted or was seeking at the same time as the applicant leave to enter or remain under paragraphs:
  • 276E-QA of the Immigration Rules – click here then on HM Forces
  • 13-19 of Appendix Armed Forces

 

Paragraphs 276E – QA of the Immigration Rules this relates to Part 7 of the Immigration Rules concerning applicants who originally applied before 1st December 2013.

 

And, at the time of their partner’s death, their relationship met the following criteria:

  • they and their partner:
    • were both aged 18 or over
    • were not within the prohibited degree of relationship (not be so closely related) that their marriage would not be valid in the UK
    • intended to live together permanently
    • had met in person
    • the relationship was genuine and subsisting and each of the parties intended to live together permanently

 

For this Part, a reference to a member of HM Forces includes a former member of HM Forces who was discharged more than 2 years ago if that member of HM Forces:

  • is a British citizen; or
  • was granted leave under Appendix Armed Forces; and
  • the applicant had leave under Appendix Armed as the partner or child of a member of HM Forces prior to the sponsor’s discharge.

 

Please note that you do not have to pass the Life in the UK test nor the B1 English Language Requirement for a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of being a bereaved partner.

 

Indefinite Leave to Enter

Entry Clearance and Indefinite Leave to Enter as a bereaved partner of a member of HM Forces will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is outside the United Kingdom as a result of accompanying their sponsor on an overseas posting;
  • has made a valid application for entry clearance and indefinite leave to enter as the bereaved partner of a member of HM Forces;
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9; and
  • meets the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 34. (Bereaved partners)

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner of a member of HM Forces will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is in the United Kingdom;
  • has made a valid application for indefinite leave to remain as the bereaved partner of a member of HM Forces;
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability; and
  • meets the general eligibility requirements.

 

Application Process
  • The application is done on form SET (AF)
  • NFF can assist and advise you with this process
Bereaved Child

The requirements for qualification as a bereaved child are that they have made a valid application and the parent who has died was at the time of their death:

 

  • a British citizen in HM Forces including one who has naturalised after five years reckonable service
  • a foreign or Commonwealth citizen serving in HM Forces
  • a discharged member of HM Forces who is a British citizen or had been granted or was seeking at the same time as the applicant leave to enter or remain under paragraphs:

 

They must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • Their other parent must also:
    • be a member of HM Forces who was granted or is being granted at the same time, leave to enter or remain under paragraphs 23-33 click here, which relates to those were in the process of applying for Limited Leave or 35-37 of Appendix Armed Forces click here , which relates to those applying for Indefinite Leave or paragraph 276S, V or AE of the Immigration Rules or under the concession for bereaved partners of foreign or Commonwealth members of HM Forces; this relates to Part 7 of the Immigration Rules concerning applicants who originally applied before 1st December 2013.
    • have died
  • the HM Forces parent has had sole responsibility for the applicant’s upbringing
  • there are serious or compelling family or other considerations which would make exclusion of the child from the UK undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the applicant’s care

 

Indefinite Leave to Enter

Entry clearance and indefinite leave to enter as a bereaved child of a member of HM Forces will be granted to an applicant who was either:

  • under 18 years of age at the date of application; or
  • aged 18 or over at the date of application and was last granted leave to enter or remain under paragraph 43 or 47 of this Appendix or paragraph 276AH of these Rules;
    • is outside the United Kingdom;
    • is not married or in a civil partnership;
    • has not formed an independent family unit;
    • is not leading an independent life;
    • has made a valid application for entry clearance and indefinite leave to enter as the bereaved child of a member of HM Forces;
    • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9; and
    • meets the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 51.

 

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved child of a member of HM Forces will be granted to an applicant who:

  • is in the United Kingdom;
  • was either:
    • under 18 years of age at the date of application; or
    • aged 18 or over at the date of application and was last granted leave to enter or remain under paragraph 43 or 47 of this Appendix or paragraph 276AH of these Rules; and
  • is not married or in a civil partnership;
  • has not formed an independent family unit;
  • is not leading an independent life;
  • has made a valid application for indefinite leave to remain as the bereaved child of a member of HM Forces;
  • does not fall to be refused on the grounds of suitability under paragraph 8 or 9; and
  • meets the general eligibility requirements in paragraph 51 click here

 

Children’s Application Process
  • The application is done on form SET (AF) 
  • NFF can assist and advise you with this process
Bereavement Support
Naval Families Federation (NFF)

The NFF has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to Bereavement Support for serving spouses and children. Click here for links to a wide range of support services that may help during this distressing time.

 

Naval Service Family and People Support (NSFPS)

For any “death in service”, the family will receive dedicated compassionate support from a member of NS FPS. For further information on the support that they offer and their contact details, click here.

 

Government guidance

Emotional and practical support for bereaved families and loved ones is available from government departments and approved charities

  • Click here for guidance for those who have lost their serving person.
  • Click here for information on bereavement compensation.
Posted on: 2nd September, 2020