How To Find A Referee For British Citizenship

So how to find a referee for British Citizenship? A question we get asked many times.

When seeking to naturalize as a British citizen, you need to ensure that you meet the British
citizenship requirements.

This includes to name a few:

  • Proof of ‘continuous residency in the UK’ (usually for a period of 10 years or more)
  • Proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain status for 12 months
  • Evidence of having passed the Life in the UK test
  • Proving English Language capabilities to a certain standard
  • Passing the ‘Good Character’ test
  • Supplying two referees to verify identity
    As you can see, providing 2 referees is just as important as meeting all the other British citizenship
    eligibility criteria. Yet applicants continually leave their referees to the last minute, falsely assuming
    that it is the least concerning or time-consuming aspect of the application.
    At 1 Absolute Advisor, we have discussed at length the importance of requesting suitable referees
    for British citizenship. For instance, whether your partner can be a citizenship referee (they cannot), your teacher, your doctor or even your friend. Either way, it’s likely you know someone within your reach that can be a suitable referee. But how do you find them? In this blog, we’ll explore your options.

Finding a suitable referee – the requirements

First of all, you need to familiarise yourself with the British Citizenship referee requirements. This

  • Asking two separate people to act as referees who are not related to the applicant or even
    one another AND who have known the applicant in some personal or professional capacity
    for 3 years
  • Asking at least one ‘professional person’;
  • And asking someone else who is over the age of 25 and has a British passport, unless there is
    scope to provide 2 referees of persons with professional standing Both referees need to sign a declaration and essentially endorse your British citizenship application. As such, it is prohibited for convicted criminals and employees of the Home Office to act as referees. This is because no such crimes are ‘spent’ in the eyes of UK immigration law and to mitigate against any potential conflicts of interest or possibly deceptive applications.

How to find a suitable British Citizenship referee who is a professional person

However, just because the requirements are very specific – and asking someone to act as a referee
can be a huge commitment – doesn’t mean finding a referee has to be hard.

In fact, there are dozens of suitable professional persons accepted by the Home Office. This includes
people who work as an accountant, pilot, barrister, journalist, doctor, manager of a VAT registered
company or charity, and many more.

The good news with asking a professional person is that you may have only interacted with them
over the course of three years within a professional capacity. Plus, he/she does not need to be a
British Citizen in order to provide you with a reference.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to find a suitable professional person. Throughout the
the course of your five to ten years of residency in the UK, you most certainly know someone of
professional standing in their community who can vouch for your application.

Who should I ask to be my second British citizenship referee?

Complications may begin to arise with your references if you are unsure who to ask for your second

However, you have options.

You can either choose to ask another professional person or someone who you have known
personally for three years who is over the age of 25 with a British passport.

How can London immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration lawyers in London can help you to find a referee for British citizenship – and more.
Our experts are fully versed in all the UK immigration rules, including nationality and status
applications like Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship.

If you need general advice or a professional to look over your application, we can help. We can even
help you to create an airtight portfolio of supporting evidence and guide you through each step of
the Citizenship application, whether you are seeking to naturalize or through some other route.
Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our leading immigration services
in London.

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees

UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees.

UK Government offers support for Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasion through two Humanitarian Routes As the situation in Ukraine begins to worsen every day, the UK Government has outlined numerous visa packages and rolled out fresh measures to facilitate those fleeing the conflict. Already, the Government has confirmed that Ukrainians in the UK on a Work Visa, Study Visa or Visit Visa will have their visas extended. They may also be able to switch onto a different visa route to remain in the country. And last week, the Government announced it would expand the Ukrainian Humanitarian route in a bid to welcome thousands more Ukrainians to safety.

However, the Ukrainian Humanitarian Route is somewhat limited. Only British family members, or
people who have Settled Status in the UK, are able to sponsor their Ukrainian loved ones to come to
the country. But there is some degree of flexibility in this route as people in the UK can sponsor their immediate and extended family members through the Humanitarian Route.

Family members for the purpose of this route include:

  • Parents
  • A spouse or civil partner
  • Grandparents
  • Children (including adult children)
  • Siblings
  • Extended family members relating to the above
    For instance, someone with Settled Status or British Citizenship in the UK could sponsor their sibling who can also bring their spouse and child. Fortunately, other visa requirements such as English language capability and salary will be waived for the purpose of resettling those in need as quickly as possible. In response to the urgency, the Prime Minister has since announced that a new scheme, an uncapped Sponsored Humanitarian Visa, will also be available for Ukrainians who have no familial ties to the UK but who might be willing to work. The uncapped route means many more vulnerable people will be welcomed on British soil, providing they are sponsored by a professional body like a workplace, or through other means like local authorities and communities. Individuals are able to sponsor people fleeing Ukraine via this route too, and the UK Government is quickly matching those in need to people in Britain who are willing to sponsor. But it is important to note that the uncapped Sponsored Humanitarian Visa means the onus is on the UK sponsoring party to provide housing and integration support. Ukrainians and their British family members can call the free helpline on +44 808 164 8810 for round-the-clock advice, or go to any Visa Application Centre overseas to enrol their biometrics (such as finger prints and ID).

Although the Visa Application Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, has closed as a result of the ongoing conflict,
the UK Government has increased its capacity to facilitate pop-up visa centers in other countries.
This includes Hungary, Poland, and Moldova.

1 Absolute Advisor is also able to help with advice, guidance, and support throughout this difficult
time. If you need help sponsoring a Ukrainian individual or family, we can help. Alternatively, if you
are a Ukrainian national in search of sanctuary, our expert team of advisors can offer full support.
Call us today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our emergency settlement services for
asylum seekers and those in humanitarian need. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said the following about the new announcements: “Putin’s war on Ukraine is monstrous and unjustified and the Government will stand with the people of Ukraine, both at home and abroad.

“I have been talking to our friends in Ukraine and in the region to ensure the humanitarian support
we offer is in the best interests of Ukrainian people. “Our Ukrainian Humanitarian Route will allow families to be reunited in the UK and our bespoke sponsor route will give safety to Ukrainians who have sadly been forced to flee their homes. “This agile response to the despicable Russian invasion is living proof of our New Plan for Immigration – doing what is fair and right to support people in genuine need.”
The UK will also continue to offer defensive weapons and financial support (£220 million) to Ukraine
as the situation evolves.

Please get in touch with our immigration lawyers who can help you with bringing your family from Ukraine via the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme to the UK or if you are Ukrainian Refugee looking to apply for a UK Visa. UK Visa For Ukrainian Refugees.

Who Can Be a British Citizenship Referee?

Who Can Be a British Citizenship Referee?

If you are looking to naturalise as a British Citizen, you will need to provide referees in your British
citizenship application. However, it’s important to note that the requirements around the UK citizenship referees are very specific – you can’t ask a friend or a neighbour (within reason), but you also can’t ask a stranger.

So, who can be a British citizenship referee? In this blog, we’ll explain everything.

What is a British citizenship referee?
First of all, it might be beneficial to familiarise yourself with what a referee is. Essentially, a referee is required to personally endorse your British Citizenship application. This person must be someone you know reasonably well for at least 3 years as they need to confirm your identity. The reason the UK Government stipulates referees as a mandatory aspect of the UK Nationality application is to prevent fraudulent and deceptive applications. Hence, it is important you have the correct referees who can vouch for your identity.

How many referees are needed for British citizenship?
Sometimes, applicants fail to provide enough referees for their application. When this happens, your
application could be delayed or even refused, though usually, the Home Office will grant an
extension in which you must find enough referees who meet the criteria. Fortunately, you only need two referees to apply for citizenship.

Who can be a referee for the UK citizenship application?
The second important thing to note is that at least one out of your two referees must be someone
with professional standing in the community within the UK.
Plus, he/she must:

  • Have known you for at least three years
  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Have full British citizenship with a valid UK passport

Can a relative be a citizenship referee?
In short, it’s unlikely that your relative will be able to provide a reference for your citizenship
application. The rules stipulate that referees must have no family connection to the applicant.

In addition, he/she cannot be:

  • Related to you or your child
  • Your solicitor, agent or immigration lawyer
  • Employed by the Home Office
  • Someone who has been convicted of an imprisonable offence in the last ten years

What is an acceptable ‘professional person’?
As aforementioned, at least 1 of your referees must work in a certain industry to be classed as a
professional person. According to the latest Government criteria, an ‘acceptable professional person’ applies to people who work in any of the following professions:
 Accountant
 Airline pilot
 Articles clerk of a limited company
 Assurance agent of a recognised company
 Bank or building society official
 Barrister
 British Computer Society (BCS) – professional grades with are Associate (AMBCS), Member
(MBCS), Fellow (FBCS) (PN 25/2003)
 Broker
 Chairman or director of a limited company
 Chemist
 Chiropodist
 Christian Science practitioner
 Commissioner for oaths
 Councillor – local or county
 Civil servant (permanent)
 Dentist
 Designated premises supervisors
 Director or Manager of a VAT registered charity
 Director, manager or personnel officer of a VAT registered company
 Driving instructor
 Engineer with professional qualifications
 Fire service official
 Funeral director
 Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
 Journalist
 Justice of the Peace
 Legal secretary (members and fellows of the Institute of legal secretaries)
 Local government officer
 Manager or Personnel officer (of the limited company)
 Member of Parliament (MP)
 Member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
 Merchant Navy Officer

 Minister of a recognised religion
 Nurse (RN, SEN or holder of a BA in nursing)
 Officer of the armed services (active or retired)
 Optician
 Paralegal (certified or qualified paralegals, and associate members of the Institute of
 A person with honours (such as OBE, MBE and so on)
 Personal licensee holders
 Photographer (professional)
 Police officer
 Post Office official
 President or secretary of a recognised organisation
 Salvation Army officer
 Social worker
 Solicitor
 Surveyor
 Teacher/lecturer
 Trade Union officer
 Travel agency (qualified)
 Valuers and auctioneers (fellow and associate members of the incorporated society)
 Warrant officers and chief petty officers

How to find a ‘professional person’ when you live outside the UK
If you are applying for British citizenship and you don’t have a suitable referee – for instance, if you
are legitimately living outside of the UK and don’t happen to know a suitable person for 3 years,
then the Home Office will consider alternatives.

In this unique situation, UKVI will consider a referee if they are a Commonwealth Citizen. They may
also, be a citizen of the country in which you are currently residing. Their identity and capability to be your referee will be formally checked by the British consul.

Will the UK Government assess my referees?
The caseworker assigned to your citizenship application may find it necessary to find out more
information about your referees. Sometimes checks are conducted at random, to ensure compliance, while other times it is mandatory as your referee might have accidentally failed to provide enough information. He/she could be contacted for more information.

How can your London immigration solicitors help?
1 Absolute Advisor only hires qualified and passionate immigration lawyers. We know the British
citizenship rules inside out – and will know if your referees are suitable enough.

Our lawyers are also able to advise you throughout the Naturalisation application. So, whether you
need general advice or thorough step-by-step guidance, hire one of our expert immigration lawyers
today to ease the stress of the citizenship application. If you’re still unsure, read our top 10 questions about British citizenship referees that our lawyers face every day or give us a call on 0207 993 6762 to find out more.

Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

The British Citizenship application can be a tough one to fulfill. To help you we have compiled Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee

First of all, you need to make sure you can meet the British citizenship requirements – which differ
depending on whether you are seeking British Citizenship through naturalization or UK nationality
through another avenue, such as through Descent or Ancestry.

The requirements for British citizenship include being of age (over 18), having lived in the UK
continuously for at least 5 years (the ‘continuous residence’ requirement), having had ILR status for
12 months and having few absences from the country. You must not have spent more than 450 days
outside of the UK in the past five years.

Another key hurdle to overcome is the Life in the UK test – a mandatory assessment in which
applicants are required to show that they can understand and communicate well in English, plus
have in-depth knowledge about British culture, traditions, history, and general customs. Some refer
to this test as more like a ‘pub quiz’ compared to the English Language test, which is also mandatory
for British citizenship.

However, a key part of your application involves endorsement from at least two referees. This can
be difficult as your referees have to be approved by UKVI.

In this blog, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee our immigration lawyers are routinely asked on the subject of British citizenship referees – and how you can secure a reliable referee to support your UK
nationality application.

  1. Why do I need two referees for British citizenship?
    Whenever anyone makes an application for citizenship in the UK, they are obliged to provide two
    referees. This is to verify your identity, add credibility and to generally ensure you are who you say
    you are.
  2. Who is a suitable referee?
    You can’t recruit a close friend or family member for your referee as UKVI might deem your
    application invalid. This is because your referees must be an ‘acceptable professional person’.
    However, your referee still must have known you for at least 3 years and be a British Citizen
    themselves. Your referee, unfortunately, cannot be your immigration lawyer. Your referee must not be a representative and cannot be employed by the Home Office, either. In addition, your referee must be over the age of 25.
  3. What is a professional referee?
    At least one of your referees must have a professional standing in the UK.

Your acceptable professional referee must work in a respected profession.
For example, as an accountant, an airline pilot, a bank or building society official, a broker, an
engineer, a journalist, a professional photographer, a Post Office official, a teacher, a lecturer, and
more. Those who work in the health sector and the emergency services, like chemists, dentists, fire
services, nurses, opticians, police officers, and social workers, are ideal for your professional referee.
However, you can also ask anyone you may know who works in the legal sector as a barrister,
paralegal, or solicitor. Or someone who holds the position of chair, director, or manager of a Limited Company or VAT a registered charity can also be your referee.

Other roles like Councillors, civil servants, MPs, and Armed Forces/Navy workers can also provide a
reference for your Citizenship application.

There is a long list of suitable professional referees outlined by UKVI which you can look at.

  1. I only know one suitable professional person. Who can be my second referee?
    Generally speaking, you only need one out of the two referees to be someone with professional
    standing. Your other referee can be someone else you have known for 3 years, who isn’t a family or
    friend, but who can still verify your identity. An acquaintance at work or friend-of-a-friend might be able to help – but it may be best to obtain 2 referees that are professionals so that they are no grey areas in your application. If you need help finding a suitable referee, our lawyers at 1 Absolute Advisor can advise you on how you can find one.
  2. What happens if I fail to provide a referee?
    Failure to provide a referee whatsoever in your application could see your citizenship application
    delayed or, in the worst-case scenario, outright rejected.
    If your application has been refused, you can then choose to either challenge the decision via an
    appeal or make a fresh application. However, the likelihood is, if you just need to provide 2 referees and the rest of your application is compelling and accurate, the Home Office may grant you some extra time to find referees. It is worth noting here though that this is at UKVI’s discretion.
  3. What must referees do in my citizenship application?
    Each referee that supports your application needs to prove who they are and briefly explain their
    relationship to you. For example, if you’ve asked your doctor or nurse, he/she will explain that you
    have met in a formal setting.

Your referee must provide their personal information too so that UKVI can verify their identity and
ultimately approve the reference. This includes:

  • Their full name, date of birth and addresses in the last 3 years
  • Details of their profession
  • Their contact details – email and phone number
  • Their British passport number
  • A declaration that he/she is qualified to act as your referee
  • A brief explanation as to how they know you

Your referee must also sign a passport-sized photograph of yourself – the applicant.

  1. What is a ‘British citizenship referee declaration’?
    A declaration is a statement that is signed formally by your referee that confirms your identity. This
  • That your photograph is definitely you (“that the photograph is the true likeness of the
  • That the details you have provided about yourself is correct in the eyes of the referee
  • That the details the referee has provided are also correct
    This statement is mandatory because it outlines that the referee has fully understood what is asked
    of them. It is particularly important that your referees read this part of their agreement. Referees
    who knowingly participate in deception or identity fraud, or knowingly give false information, could
    be fined up to £5,000 or face 3 months in prison.
    The declaration requires your referee to sign an agreement here and essentially endorses your

  • 8 What happens if my referees are not suitable?
    If your referees are not suitable, Home Office caseworkers assigned to your case may contact you – or your referees – for further information. In some cases, your application may be refused.
  • 9 Where should my referees send their reference/Declaration?
    The declaration can either be sent in the post in its original copy to UKVI or scanned through in an
    email to the applicant, who can then attach it as part of their application.
    The scanned copy can be uploaded via the application portal for applicant seeking citizenship by
    applying online.
  • Alternatively, you can pass the reference onto your immigration lawyer to handle.
  1. Do my children need referees for their citizenship application?
    Yes – your children need referees for their citizenship application, too.
    However, it is usually easier to endorse a child’s application as parents only need to ask teachers,
    doctors or other health workers to provide a reference.

Where can I access immigration advice?
I hope you have learned from this post of Top 10 Questions Regarding British Citizenship Referee If you need help with the British Citizenship application, including finding a suitable referee, we can help you. At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration experts specialize in British nationality law. What this means is that we are trained and qualified to give you the best legal advice in your citizenship application – no matter how complicated it may seem or if you have already started the application. Speak to our customer care team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our British citizenship advice sessions.

Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirement

spouse visa accommodation requirement

UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirement

The UK Spouse Visa is just one of many categories belonging to the family migration route. What this
means is that applicants are required to satisfy numerous immigration requirements, including the
accommodation requirement as outlined in Appendix FM.

But what are the Partner Visa accommodation rules? Let’s take a look.

What is the UK Married Partner Visa accommodation requirement?
Essentially, married couples who intend to live in Britain must prove that they have adequate
accommodation and living space that is compliant with the country’s housing and living standards.
As a general rule of thumb, this means that the property must:

  • Be owned or occupied exclusively by the applicant
  • Has enough bedrooms to accommodate any dependents such as children
  • Not be obtained through public funds
  • Not contravene public health and safety regulations

How to prove exclusive occupation
Spouse Visa applicants are required to prove that their prospective property in the UK is to be
owned or occupied exclusively by the couple. However, if you’re moving into a house share, house of multiple occupancies or with other family members, you don’t need to own the entire property in order to meet the accommodation requirement.

Here, you will only need to prove that you are occupying at least one suitable bedroom and that
your addition to the household will not lead to overcrowding. Applicants can prove that they exclusively occupy the space by providing evidence of rental or mortgage agreements and/or written statements by other occupants in the house, if applicable.

What are the ‘room standards’ for the Spouse Visa accommodation requirement?
Part and parcel of the UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirement are to ensure that occupants are
not overcrowded in unsuitable properties. This requirement is specifically included to ensure that
migrants who come to the UK do not end up in cramped, overcrowded, and/or substandard housing
arrangements. The Housing Act 1985 stipulates a ‘room standard’ test which essentially assesses the number of people needing a bedroom which is split dependent on age and gender.

The rules are:

  • A child under the age of 1 does not could as a person and does not need their own bedroom
  • A child aged 1-10 counts as ‘half a person’ and can share a bedroom
  • Couples can share a room
    However, it is important to note that occupants of the opposite sex and are aged over 10 years old
    cannot share a room and must have their own bedrooms. For instance, if you have two 11-year-old
    children of the opposite sex.
    This also means children between the age 1 and 9 are able to share a bedroom, but theirs must be
    separated from the couple/adult bedrooms.

What counts as a room?
The room can only be considered suitable for an occupant if the floor area is larger than 50 square
feet. However, spare rooms and living rooms that can reasonably be converted into a bedroom can also
count as a room if you need the space. Kitchens and bathrooms are not counted here.

Exceptions the overcrowding rule
There are, however, a handful of circumstances in which applicants can enjoy an exception to the
overcrowding rule. This includes situations where alternative accommodation arrangements need to be made but have not yet begun. For example:

  • If you have a new-born baby
  • If you have a child who is turning 11
  • If you have a friend/family member staying in the house temporarily
  • If the local authority has granted permission, such as ‘licenced overcrowding’

How to prove to UKVI that your accommodation is suitable

As you will need to prove that your accommodation in the UK is ‘adequate’, you need to submit
evidence of your living arrangements.

You can submit any of the following documents:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • A signed and dated letter from the landlord/estate agent
  • Mortgage agreement
  • A signed and dated letter from the mortgage provider
  • Title deeds (which can be obtained by UK Land Registry)
  • The floor plan/blueprint of the property
  • The property listing when it was advertised online
  • A cover letter detailing the property
  • Evidence of a Housing Report that has been signed and dated
  • A written statement from a friend/family member who owns the property and will be
    sharing the space with you and your partner

How can your London immigration lawyers help?
Our immigration lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor offer comprehensive Spouse Visa advice
packages. What this means is that we can help you to create an airtight portfolio of evidence and
help you throughout your Spouse Visa UK journey.

Proving that you can meet the accommodation requirement is essential for the success of your visa
application. Yet too many applicants fail to satisfy the requirement and underestimate how much
evidence is really required. Take a look at our advice on the top 10 mistakes to avoid with your Spouse Visa application too, as the accommodation requirement is just one aspect of the many Married Partner Visa immigration rules. If you want to improve your chances of a visa success, call our immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762 for a free case consultation.

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé Visa or Spouse visa?

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé visa or Spouse visa?

Is it better to get a UK Fiancé Visa or Spouse visa?

When it comes to getting married and celebrating life with the one you love, lengthy visa applications and the hassle of paperwork might seem like the last thing on your priority list. But it’s important that you identify early on which type of Partner Visa matches your circumstances. After all, there’s not just the UK Spouse Visa and Fiancé(e) visa to choose from. There is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa, Marriage Visitor Visa, and General Family Visa. However, if you’re planning on tying the knot – whether in marriage or through a civil partnership – or you have done so already, it’s highly likely either the UK Fiance Visa or Spouse Visa is the right route for you. Yet you might still be wondering which one is best out of the two.

So, let’s take a look at your possible options and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Getting married in the UK

First of all, if you’re not already married yet, then you won’t be able to apply for a UK Spouse Visa.
However, seeking a Fiancé Visa or Marriage Visitor Visa depends on whether or not you and your
partner want to marry in the UK, and if you want to stay in the country afterward and live together
as a family.

You may prefer a Fiancé Visa if:

  • You are already engaged and intend on marrying in the UK
  • You intend on marrying within 6 months of receiving entry permission (the visa)
  • You want to switch from a Fiancée Visa onto a UK Spouse Visa to remain in the UK after
    marriage The key benefit of the Fiance Visa is that you can easily switch onto a full UK Spouse Visa without
    ever needing to leave the country. However, the downside is that this is a lot of paperwork to contend with. Plus, you’ll still need to meet the complex Spouse Visa requirements, even if your Fiance Visa application is accepted.
    It is no guarantee that you will be successful with your Married Partner Visa application even once
    you have married. The Marriage Visit Visa, meanwhile, is for couples who want to marry in the UK but who may not
    have an immediate intention to remain in the country after the wedding – if at all. Essentially the Marriage Visitor Permit allows couples to marry in the country for up to 6 months, after which they must return to their original country of residence. You cannot transition from a Marriage Visit Visa onto a Spouse Visa as you need to leave the UK at the end of your wedding.

Living together in the UK

For a UK Spouse Visa, at least one of the applicants must be a British citizen or permanent resident
of the UK. This is important because he/she will then ‘sponsor’ their loved one’s visa application. In
turn, this will allow the couple to live together under the same roof in the UK, providing that they can also satisfy the Spouse Visa accommodation requirement. The Fiance Visa does not mean you and your fiance will be able to live in the UK after your marriage has taken place. However, you can switch onto a Spouse Visa without needing to leave the country. Only with a Spouse Visa are you able to remain in Britain for up to 2.5 years. After 2.5 years, you can then seek a Spouse Visa extension. And, once you have renewed your visa and accumulated five years in total, you can switch onto permanent residency status like Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Therefore, if you and your married partner have dreams of living together in the UK once you have formally wed or entered a civil partnership, then the Spouse Visa is the route to go.

Which visa has faster processing times?

Generally speaking, most Family Visas are processed at the same time and should take no longer
than 12 weeks. But you may want to consider this waiting time when booking your wedding venue
and travel tickets if you are seeking a Fiancé Visa. By contrast, a Marriage Visitor Visa can take as little as three weeks to receive a decision. However, any mistakes or missing pieces of evidence in your application could also increase the processing time as UKVI will need to contact you for further information. If you’re concerned about processing times, UKVI does offer fast-track and super-priority services at a premium cost.

Our immigration lawyers in London here at 1 Absolute Advisor can also ensure that your application is to the
the highest standard before you submit it to the authorities, increasing your chances of a seamless
turnaround and visa success.

How long does the Fiancé Visa and the Spouse Visa last?

The Fiance Visa is designed to give you adequate time to marry in the UK. Whereas, the Spouse Visa
exists to support newly married couples into the near future, ensuring that they can live together in
the UK.

The length of stay is as follows:

  • A Fiance Visa expires after six months
  • A Spouse Visa lasts for 30 months
    The UK Spouse Visa is not an indefinite visa. Before your 30 months of permission expires, you will
    either need to extend/renew the Spouse Visa or switch onto an alternative visa, such as a Work Visa,
    in order to remain in the country.

Which visa has an easy application process?

The application process for any type of Family Visa in the UK is far from easy. However, with that
being said, the Fiance Visa could be considered slightly easier as it has fewer immigration requirements and criteria to overcome. The UK Spouse Visa application contains some of the most rigid and complicated immigration rules across the entire Tiered, Points, and visa system. This is because the route became a common avenue for fraud and exploitation where applicants marry for the sole purpose of a visa advantage. However, with the right immigration advice and professional guidance, the application process can be smooth and straightforward.

What are the visa fees for fiancée and married partner visas?

Another key factor you must consider is the cost:

  • The UK Fiance Visa costs £1,523
  • The UK Spouse Visa costs £1,523
  • The Marriage Visitor Visa costs £95
    As you can see, the Visit Visa is significantly cheaper than that of the other two. However, this is
    because there is no expectation of you to remain in the UK after your wedding. It is also pertinent to note that while the UK Spouse Visa and Fiancée Visa is the same price, if you opt for the fiancée route with a view to switch onto a Spouse Visa, you will have paid £3,046. And this fee doesn’t include other mandatory costs like the Immigration Health Surcharge or lawyer fees.

What are the options for couples who don’t want to marry?

If you and your partner do not want to marry at all and you are not currently engaged, you can seek
an Unmarried Partner Visa instead. This visa permits applicants to live together on UK soil, however, the application process is significantly harder and more stringent as you have to prove that your relationship is ‘akin to marriage’.
You also have to prove that your relationship is serious enough to last.

How can your immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration experts are well-versed in all areas of UK family law, including the Spouse Visa,
Fiance Visa and more. We can help you to apply for the right visa which matches your individual circumstances and needs. We can speak to you no matter where you are in the world. Get in touch today by calling us on 0207 993 6762 and find out about our bespoke Spouse Visa advice services.

ILR 2 Year Absence

ILR 2 Year Absence
ILR 2 Year Absence

ILR 2 Year Absence

Indefinite Leave to Remain After 2 Years Absence

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a highly sought-after status in the UK as it allows holders to live
and work in the UK while being free from immigration restrictions. With this status, you are able to
participate in UK life as though you are a British national.

However, it vastly differs from full British Citizenship as ILR status still comes with some strict rules
and regulations. The main difference is that while UK citizenship is granted for life and with no
restrictions whatsoever, ILR has an expiry date and can be revoked in some circumstances.
So, let’s take a look at what may happen to your ILR status after 2 years of absence.

What are the ILR absence and expiry rules?

LR is granted to applicants who can meet a set of specific criteria, otherwise known as the ILR
requirements. One such requirement dictates that applicants must intend to make the UK their
permanent home, and some applicants include a statement of this intention when submitting their
documents to the Home Office.

And although ILR holders are free to come and go from the UK as they please, the status will become
void after two continuous years outside of the UK, Ireland, or the Crown Dependencies (the Isle of
Man, Guernsey, and Jersey).

This means that after just two years outside the UK, you will lose your settled status and may need
to re-apply for a visa in order to return.

However, if you return to the UK intermittently, you may not lose ILR status. Every time you leave
the country, the 2-year countdown begins and restarts again once you re-enter. However, if you’re
only coming to the UK in short bursts, the Home Office may grow suspicious of your intention to live
in the country.

Are there any exceptions to the ILR 2-year absence rule?

You may be exempt from the ILR expiry rule if:

  • You are a Commonwealth citizen
  • You are a dependant of a member of HM Armed Forces (and therefore accompanied them
  • You are a dependent of someone with Settled Status, British Citizenship, ILR or permanent
    residence who is employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the
    Department for International Development or the British Council (and therefore
    accompanied them overseas)
    However, the Home Office may also be more lenient with your expiry if you can prove that you had
    compelling reasons to be absent from the UK, such as caring for a sick relative, for work purposes or
    for studying.
    UKVI will also consider your case if you were seeking a unique type of medical treatment abroad that
    is not currently available in the UK.

How to re-enter the UK after ILR expires

Fortunately, you don’t need to re-start all over again if your ILR status expires but you wish to return
to the UK. You can apply for a Returning Resident Visa instead. If you are successful, the Home Office may
consider restoring your initial ILR status. However, you must detail the reason for your absences and
again reinstate your sincere intention to make the UK your permanent country of residence.

The Returning Resident Visa is extremely restrictive. After all, you must make a compelling case that
you will not lose your status again as you intend to live in the UK permanently – a statement which
maybe undermined by your long absence from the country previously.

You can strengthen your case for a Return Visa by showing:

  • You have strong ties to the UK, like close familial links, employment, mortgage or rental
  • That your strong ties to the UK were maintained throughout the duration of your absence
  • The length of your absence
  • The length of your original UK residence (I.e., If you sought ILR through the 5-year or 3-year
    settlement route)
  • Your reasons for absence from the UK with specific details
    The longer you have been away from the UK, the more difficult it becomes for you to apply for this
    visa as you will struggle to prove that you have maintained ties to the country.

What if my Returning Resident Visa is refused?

You will be denied entry into the UK if you attempt to re-enter without a Returning Resident Visa.
And, since your ILR status has expired, you will have no legal footing to enter or remain in the UK
whatsoever. In the event that your Return Visa is refused, you can seek to appeal the decision – or even take it
further to an administrative review. To take this forward, it is highly recommended that you seek
advice from an immigration lawyer who can also represent you in a Tribunal hearing.

How can your London immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration lawyers specialize in UK nationality and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.
Not only can we help you with your ILR or British citizenship application, but we can help you in the
rare event that your status is canceled or expires. Speak to our immigration experts today by arranging a free consultation on 0207 993 6762. Our lawyers can speak to you over the phone or online, no matter where you are in the world.

UK ILR Priority Services

UK ILR Priority Services
UK ILR Priority Service

What are the UK ILR Priority Services?

UK Visa waiting times are considerably longer. It is not unusual for applicants to be left waiting
months for a decision on their application – which is only met with further frustration if the
application is refused.

For those seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the wait can be agonizing. After all, you are
seeking permission to make the UK your permanent home. You may feel as though your life is on
hold while you wait for the green light from UKVI. Indeed, ILR is certainly one application where you
hope for a fast turnaround.

However, UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) suffers from a backlog of
applications. Not only does it outsource the processing part to a private company, but the Covid-19
pandemic has piled on the pressure and has only served to exacerbate waiting times for decisions on
all UK visas, citizenship applications, and ILR applications.

But despite the backlog, some applicants are able to jump ahead of the queue. This is known as ‘priority processing’. In this blog, we’ll be answering all your questions regarding the UK ILR Priority Services and what else UKVI offers to speed up the process for those seeking ILR status.

What is the role of UKVCAS in the UK ILR application?

UKVCAS invites ILR UK applicants to attend a meeting. This is to confirm your identity and register
your biometric information. This information is then passed from UKVCAS onto UKVI, where an immigration decision-maker will thoroughly assess your application. The key difference here is that while UKVCAS deals with
processing, UKVI examines your application – such as your personal eligibility and if you have met all
the ILR requirements.

How long does it take for the UK to process ILR applications?

Standard processing time can take as little as eight weeks. However, other times, it can take as long
as six months.

The waiting period depends on the following things:
Where the applicant has applied from (the UK or overseas)
If there are any errors in the application
What type of visa or status the applicant is seeking (e.g., British citizenship by naturalization
typically takes longer than a Work Visa)
If the applicant has paid for a super-priority service

What are the ILR Super Priority Services?

Fortunately, there is one way you can mitigate against a six-month wait: by opting for a Super
Priority Service. The Super Priority Service route for ILR applicants costs £800. This fee is in addition to the usual ILR application fees. However, ILR priority applicants benefit from a leap ahead in the queue – and can
expect to receive a decision by the next working day.

What other fast-track services are there for ILR?

In addition to the priority route, those seeking ILR can opt for a fast-track service instead.A fast-track service significantly speeds up the processing time but isn’t as expensive as the super-priority route. Instead, an ILR fast-track applicant can expect to pay around £500 on top of their ILR application and can expect a verdict on their application within five working days.

Does a fast-track or priority visa increase the success rate?

It is important to note that a fast-track and super-priority service offered by UKVCAS does not influence UKVI’s decision on your application. You are simply paying to speed up the processing time. In fact, you may still experience delays if you have made a mistake in your application or UKVI needs further clarification on a certain aspect of your application. Therefore, there is no actual 100% guarantee that you will receive a verdict in a 24- hour or 5-day window.

Should I use a fast-track processing service with my ILR application?

Not every single person seeking ILR will benefit from a fast-track service. Your immigration lawyer
may even advise you against the super-priority service. Equally, if you decide not to hire an immigration lawyer and you attempt to complete the application alone, you are more likely to make tedious mistakes. As innocuous as they may be, these mistakes could cost you your entire application, or at least will certainly jeopardize the processing time. UKVI may have to contact you again for further information to rectify the mistake. If your application is delayed due to errors you have made, even after forking out for a super-priority or fast-track service, it is unlikely you will get your money back.

How can your immigration lawyers help?

Although we cannot change UKVCAS’ processing time, we can streamline the ILR application process.
Our immigration lawyers can assist you from start to finish with your ILR application, which includes
full guidance, legal advice, and a thorough document review.

Benefits of having ILR In the UK

Benefits of having ILR In the UK

What are the benefits of having ILR in the UK?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status allows holders to live in the UK without enduring any
immigration restrictions. For instance, you will not need to renew your UK Visa.

Additionally, those with ILR status find they are granted access to many more benefits. And after just
12 months, ILR holders can apply for British Citizenship, otherwise known as British citizenship by

Read our blog to learn all about the UK ILR benefits – and how our team of London immigration
lawyers can help you.

What is ILR?

First of all, ILR is a form of benefit in its own right. This is because it is an immigration status that
liberates applicants from visa rules and regulations. Indeed, ILR applicants are granted much more
freedom in the UK than those with a standard UK Visa. Notably, this includes being able to live in the
UK ‘indefinitely’ as a permanent resident. For this reason, it is not suitable for people who do not
intend on making the UK their home.

Free from immigration restrictions

Although it is important to note that ILR is not the same as British citizenship, having ILR means you
do not need to deal with visa renewals, extensions or new visa applications. Essentially, you are free
from immigration control.

Free NHS care

All those in need of healthcare in the UK have access to it. However, foreign nationals are not able to
use the NHS for ‘free’ in the same way that British citizens can. Instead, they must pay a levy in
advance and at a set fee should they need NHS treatment while in the UK.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a mandatory fee that is attached to visa applications. All
applicants must prove that they have paid the fee in order to be granted a UK Visa.
However, a key UK ILR benefit is that you no longer need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
With ILR status, you can access healthcare as of when and where you need it without needing to pay
for it.

Access to welfare support

Visa holders in the UK are normally prohibited from accessing public funds, due to the policy ‘No
Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF). In some cases, NRPF can be waived, but only in certain
circumstances such as if you are a victim of domestic abuse.

However, with ILR status, you are able to claim public funds in the UK alongside UK citizens and if
you are eligible. This includes Universal Credit, but also other support safety nets like social housing,
carer’s allowance, child benefit, council tax reductions, disability allowance, and more.

Sponsor family members

As a UK ILR holder, you are able to ‘sponsor’ existing family members to come and live with you in
the UK. This includes the Spouse Visa and all other forms of Family Visas. Being able to ‘sponsor’
loved ones for the purpose of immigration law is a right that is only shared by British citizens.
But your family members will still need to ensure that they meet the immigration rules. Just because
you have ILR status does not guarantee their success. Your new rights in the UK do not extend
onto your loved ones – they have to go through the immigration process in the UK themselves.

The route to British citizenship

Finally, a major benefit of UK ILR status is that you have a one-way ticket to British citizenship in as a
little as 12 months. If you are married to a British citizen, you may even be eligible to apply for
British citizenship immediately after being awarded Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You still need to make sure you meet all the British citizenship requirements, but once you have
bypassed this final hurdle in the UK immigration rules, you can seek a British passport and live in the UK without any restrictions whatsoever. As a UK citizen, you’re free to come and go from the
country as often as you like and you are able to vote in all local and national UK elections.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?

If you wish to live in the UK on a permanent basis and enjoy the benefits of having ILR in the UK, our immigration lawyers based in London can help. With decades of experience between us and the right qualifications to issue legal advice, our immigration lawyers can make all the difference between a visa success and a visa refusal.
Our lawyers help ILR applicants every single day. We understand the application process can be
burdensome and lengthy at the best of times, let alone if you have other commitments such as full-
time employment and child-rearing.

But at 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration specialists shoulder the brunt of the burden so that you
don’t have to. We are able to take on your case, no matter its complexity, and at a time that suits
you in your busy life. Our immigration experts can even speak to you over the phone if you prefer.
So speak to our client care team on 0207 993 6762 to hear more about our specialist ILR lawyers and
exactly how we can help you.

Reasons For ILR Refusal

Reasons For ILR Refusal

Reasons For ILR Refusal

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of permanent residency for non-British nationals living in the UK. However, the status requires applicants to meet a set of stringent criteria – the ILR requirements – and the route is notorious for high refusal rates.

If your ILR application has been refused, you have a few options to challenge the decision. Let’s take a look at what those options are and how our immigration lawyers in London can help. 

Why has my ILR status been refused?

UKVI examines each and every visa and status application it receives, some with more scrutiny than others. For instance, the UK Spouse Visa also has a high bar for eligibility and, therefore, above-average refusal rates.

Likewise, the Home Office can reject your application based on general grounds for refusal. 

Your ILR could have been refused for a number of reasons, from insufficient evidence in your application to failure in meeting the ILR eligibility requirements. In some circumstances, you may be able to re-submit your application if you can rectify any mistakes that you have made.

The Home Office will usually provide a Letter of Refusal which may outline why you have been refused, or might simply state that you have been unsuccessful. 

It can be devastating to receive a Letter of Refusal due to many reasons for ILR refusal. However, there are steps you can take to appeal the decision. The good news is that it is unlikely you will be deported, providing your current permission (a UK visa) hasn’t expired.

What are the reasons for ILR refusal?

Generally speaking, you will need to pass the following requirements to be successful with your ILR application:

  • Pass an English language test 
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Prove you are of “good character” (I.e., that you have not broken any UK laws or breached any immigration rules) 
  • Prove your absences have not exceeded 180 days in any 12-month period

Failure to meet the above requirements will likely result in a refusal. However, that’s not to say that you are prohibited from ever seeking ILR – you just might need to wait until you are eligible.

For example, if you were refused due to absences from the UK, you only need to wait until you have accumulated enough time living in the UK.

Similarly, if you were refused because you did not pass the English language test or Life in the UK test, you can re-sit these exams until you pass.

However, applicants usually fail to prove that they meet the requirements, even when they do. The form for ILR, SET (O), is extremely complicated to navigate alone, yet filling out any section with incorrect or false information can also result in a refusal. This includes:

  • Submitting incomplete evidence
  • Submitting false documents 
  • Failure to attend interviews/questions relating to your application 
  • Lack of sponsor to vouch on your behalf
  • Lack of records regarding lawful residency and/or immigration history 

If you have a criminal conviction, it is important to note that convictions are not ‘spent’ in the eyes of immigration law in the UK. You must state your conviction and, in some cases, the Home Office may refuse your ILR application because of it on ‘good character’ grounds.

How do I appeal an ILR refusal? 

Fortunately, if your ILR application has been refused, you can usually appeal.

However, once you have written notice of your refused application, you have a very strict timeframe to act. If you wish to appeal, you only have 14 days from the date of the refusal to appeal if you are in the UK. If you’re outside the country, you have 28 days.

The appeals process is time-consuming and expensive, and you may need to challenge the Home Office’s decision at a tribunal hearing. Here, you can choose whether you want to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you, or if you would prefer to challenge it alone. The judge(s) examining your case are independent of the government and will make an impartial decision based on the facts and evidence of the case, but it can be complicated.

If the appeal route is not an option for you, you can apply for an administrative review instead which costs £80. Similarly, you must apply within 14 days. However, you are only able to do so in the event that you do not have the right to appeal in the first place. During this process, you are unable to apply for any other visa or status.

Finally, you can challenge the decision through a judicial review. This is extremely rare and is only available in certain circumstances. Technically, here you will be challenging UKVI itself and is therefore only advised if you have a strong case and solicitor to help you through it.

Why am I prohibited from appealing my ILR refusal? 

In some cases, you may be prohibited outright from even launching an appeal. If you have any gaps in your immigration history or if you have overstayed any visa permission while in the UK, it is highly likely you will be refused and barred from appealing the decision. 

In such circumstances, you may need to wait a few more years until you can seek ILR status again. Take a look at our guide on the 10-year route to settlement and get in touch with our immigration lawyers if you wish to enquire about this route instead. 

How can an immigration lawyer help? 

By hiring an immigration lawyer to assist with your ILR application, you can safeguard yourself from a refusal as there are many reasons for ILR refusal. Indeed, a lawyer will ensure you meet all of the eligibility requirements and that your application is to the highest standard before you even submit it.

However, if you have submitted an ILR application already and have since received a visa refusal, you can either apply again from scratch, appeal the decision, and/or even take it to an administrative review.

Again, your immigration lawyer will be able to advise you on your next steps here as it may be in your best interests to simply start the application process again. 

If you need advice or guidance with your ILR application, our immigration lawyers here in London are on hand to help. Just give us a call on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our bespoke ILR support packages.

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