Indefinite leave to remain is a form of immigration status, which allows the person to stay in the UK indefinitely. It is also known as ILR, and it is different from permanent residence.
The main difference between ILR and permanent residence is that ILR gives permission to stay in the UK while permanent residence provides more rights. Permanent residents are entitled to live, work or study in any country within the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA). They can also apply for British citizenship after five years of living in the UK with permanent residency.
However, people with indefinite leave to remain can only live and work in the UK. Moreover, they must renew their ILR every five years.
The Indefinite Leave to Remain is a document that grants a person the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely.
The ILR is granted by the Home Office, which will issue it if you have been living in the UK for five years and you have not broken any of the conditions of your visa or immigration status. The ILR can be issued at any time after your five years are up, but it must be issued before you reach ten years of living in the UK.
What are the Benefits of Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The benefits of indefinite leave to remain are that the person is able to live and work in the UK without any restrictions. They can also be eligible for public funds and services, such as housing or education.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is a status that gives an individual permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. It is usually granted after five years of continuous residence in the country.
Conclusion: The Lowdown on ILR Vs Permanent Residence
Indefinite Leave To Remain ( also called ILTR) is a UK immigration status that allows non-EEA nationals to live and work in the UK. ILTR can be granted if the applicant has been living in the UK for 5 years on ILTR, has been granted a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’, and has not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any one year.
Permanent Residence (PR) is a UK immigration status that allows non-EEA nationals to live and work in the UK indefinitely. PR can be granted if the applicant has been living in the UK for 5 years on PR, has been granted a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’, and has not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any one year.
The main difference between ILTR and PR is that ILTR only grants permission to stay for five years whereas PR grants indefinite permission to stay.
The UK Global Talent Visa remains one of the most complicated and difficult visa routes across the UK’s infamously arduous immigration rules. Although an exciting option in its bid to attract the best and brightest from diverse fields like research, academia, fashion, architecture, film and TV, arts and culture, digital technology, science, medicine and engineering, applicants must showcase their talents in order to be awarded the visa.
The good news with the Global Talent Visa is that it comes with many advantages. Benefits include a fast-track ticket to permanent settlement in the UK, the ability to easily bring dependents and scope to work in numerous jobs – or none at all – as part and parcel of the route being ‘unsponsored’. However, the difficulty lies with the fact that applicants need either an endorsement from a registered body in the UK, or an award from a very specific list.
In this blog post, (Global Talent Visa Consultant) we’ll be exploring your options for a Global Talent Visa – and how you might need a consultant to maximise your chances of success.
What is the Global Talent Visa?
The Global Talent Visa replaced the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa in early 2020 as the Government wanted to attract the world’s ‘best and brightest’ and felt the Exceptional Talent route was incredibly restrictive in achieving this aim. Indeed, unlike the Exceptional Talent route, the Global Talent Visa is uncapped and encourages as many people as possible to come to the UK to boost the country’s economy and talent pool.
Yet many of the key elements of the Exceptional Talent route remain in the Global Talent Visa. Namely that applicants must prove that they are either a ‘recognised leader’ (exceptional talent) in their chosen field, or an ‘emerging leader’ (exceptional promise).
To prove their status as a leader or emerging leader, the applicant needs to be endorsed by a leading body in the UK and/or have won an internationally recognised award.
How to receive endorsement
The application process is divided into two stages: the endorsement stage and the visa application itself.
Your immigration consultant will advise you to seek endorsement first. You may wish to apply for the visa at the same time, but any complications that arise with your endorsement – or delays – could jeopardise the outcome of your visa application.
To seek an endorsement, you have to apply to one of the following endorsing bodies: The Royal Society (science and medicine) The Royal Academy of Engineering The British Academy (humanities) Tech Nation (digital technology) Arts Council England (arts and culture as well as fashion, architecture, film and television)
UK Research and Innovation (for research)
Each endorsing body will have its own application rules that is catered to your chosen field. However, you will need to prove to the body that you have either exceptional talent or exceptional promise by submitting a portfolio of evidence. Essentially, you must show that you can meet the talent threshold in order to be endorsed.
What other options are there aside from endorsement?
You can benefit from bypassing the endorsement rules if you are fortunate enough to have won an award. Some prestigious prize-winning individuals only need to prove their award status to satisfy the endorsement aspect. However, you must have won a relatively high award, like a Brit award, to do so. Have a look at our blog on Global Talent Visa benefits which details more specifically the kind of awards you would be expected to hold to be eligible to bypass the endorsement stage.
Global Talent Visa UK consultant
Because this route is complex and lengthy to participate in, it’s highly recommended that aspiring applicants seek a consultant to assist with the paperwork.
A consultant can guide you every step of the way, giving expert advice and even helping you to meet the high standards and expectations of the application process.
Our immigration consultants can also help you to check your eligibility and compile a portfolio of supporting evidence in your endorsement application. We can vouch on your behalf and help you to maximise your chances of success and mitigate against a visa refusal.
Don’t forget, after receiving an endorsement you will also then need to apply for the visa itself – and it is no guarantee that just because you have been endorsed that your visa will be approved, too.
That’s why our corporate lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor are OISC-certified and trained to help with complex visa and application routes such as the Global Talent Visa. We can help you with both the endorsement stage and the visa application, offering advice, guidance and an expert pair of eyes to ensure you don’t miss anything crucial in the application process.
If you need expert immigration advice with your Global Talent Visa UK application, contact our professional team of immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762. We can offer advice no matter where you are in the world, whether in person, over the phone or via video call.
The Global Talent Visa is a specific migration route for exceptionally talented individuals in specific fields. This includes academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology.
The route was designed to replace the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa in February 2020 in a bid to continue attracting the ‘best and brightest’ candidates from across the world and liberate some aspects of the application process.
Still, applicants are required to have won an eligible reward OR have received endorsement from one of six registered bodies by the UK Government and the application process can be considered one of the most difficult processes to endure.
However, recipients of the Global Talent Visa can reap multiple benefits that many other visa applicants are unable to gain.
In this blog on Global Talent Visa Benefit we’ll explore each benefit of the visa – and give advice as to how you can apply.
Unsponsored freedom A major pulling factor for the Global Talent Visa is that it is an unsponsored immigration route. By contrast, most other visas require a sponsor, whether that is your married partner for a Spouse Visa or your employer for a Work Visa.
What this means is that successful applicants of the Global Talent route can exercise complete freedom over where they work. Like British citizens, applicants can change roles, employers, seek self-employment, set up a company and/or earn money through property or other assets without needing to inform the Home Office.
Five years allowance and fast track to settlement
Many UK visas are capped for three years. After which, applicants are required to either extend, renew or seek an alternative visa in order to remain in the country. However, Global Talent Visa holders are offered a generous five years to live and work in the country.
After accumulating five years of residency, visa applicants can then switch onto the permanent immigration status, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). After 12 months of ILR, you can then seek full British Citizenship.
Yet for Global Talent Visa holders, you can switch onto ILR status after just three years.
Flexible visa length
If you don’t want to remain in the UK for five years, you can instead alter the visa length to suit you. This works both ways: you can renew the Global Talent Visa multiple times, or reduce the amount of time you want to remain in the UK.
Absences from the UK waived
Most other visa applicants are required to meet ‘continuous residency’ criteria when they come to apply for ILR status. This means that they cannot spend huge chunks of time outside of the UK, and must abide by absence rules in order to be eligible. For instance, some visa applicants are limited to spend no more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period.
However, Global Talent Visa applicants do not need to worry about their absences from the UK. Since it is assumed Global Talent holders will be conducting field work and that travel may be a necessary part of the job, the Home Office waives this requirement.
In fact, any time spent outside of the UK while doing research can actually be counted towards your residency.
Bring dependents with you. This is one of the main Global Talent Visa Benefit
In addition, Global Talent Visa holders are able to bring their loved ones with them to the UK. However, this is restricted to immediate family members, such as your partner and children, and you will still need to pay the visa fee of £608 per each dependent.
Lower visa fees
The admin fees for a Global Talent Visa are also much cheaper than the average UK visa. For instance, while some Work Visa applicants can expend to spend within the region of £1,220 to £1,408, the Global Talent Visa costs only £608. However, you will still need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which costs £624 per year, per person.
Demonstrate leadership on a global scale
If you’re already an established academic or researcher, the Global Talent Visa is one way to stamp your mark on the world while in the UK. It allows you to travel in and out of the country as needed for research and work purposes.
How to apply for a Global Talent Visa
The first thing you need to do when seeking a Global Talent Visa is to weigh up if you’re legitimately eligible.
As mentioned, this route comes with numerous benefits, but has a notorious reputation of being difficult to achieve.
That’s because you need to have either:
Won an eligible award
Successfully received an endorsement that proves you are a leader/potential leader in your field Only once you have an award or endorsement are you able to apply for the visa itself.
How to seek an endorsement
In order to prove that you are a leader or up-and-coming leader in your field of work, you need to receive an endorsement from an eligible body to support your claim. For academia and research, you must have a background in either science, medicine, engineering or humanities and have either:
An eligible job offer as an academic or researcher
An individual fellowship
A research grant approved by UK Research and Innovation
An eligible award
Your application peer reviewed It can take anywhere between 2 to 5 weeks to receive a decision on your endorsement, depending on whether your application needs to be peer reviewed. For arts and culture, you must be a leader or potential leader in either combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts. The endorsement falls on the shoulders of Arts Council England to decide, but you must have worked regularly in your field for at least five years and be producing or performing work that Arts Council England deems ‘outstanding’. Likewise for architecture, you must receive endorsement from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which acts on behalf of Arts Council England. In addition to being deemed ‘outstanding’, you will also need to prove that your work is well known in at least two countries. For fashion design, the same as the above criteria applies, but your endorsement will come from The British Fashion Council. Your work must have been sold or exhibited internationally and your portfolio must be recognised by leading figures within the fashion sector. And finally, for film and television, you must have demonstrable work experience in film, television, animation, post production or visual effects. Your endorsement will come from The Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) and you must provide 3 letters of recommendations, up to 10 pieces of evidence that showcase your talent and skills and evidence of industry recognition such as an award.
What is an eligible award for the Global Talent Visa?
There is a long list of eligible awards available under each category, which can be viewed on the Government’s guidance page.
However, to name just a few, you could have won an award in:
Architecture (such as the Pritzker Price or Royal Gold Medal)
Arts and culture (such as the Brit Awards, Hugo Boss Prize, International Booker Prize, International Dublin Literary Award, any Olivier Award, Queen Elisabeth Competition first prizes and Tony Award, among many others)
Digital technology (such as the ACM Prize in Computing or the Turing Award)
Fashion design (such as the Fashion Award – Accessories Designer, or Designer of the Year)
Film and television (such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes or Grammy Award)
Science, engineering, humanities and medicine (such as the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, Balzan Prize, Blue Planet Prize, Centenary Prize, Davis Medal, Faraday Medal, Fields Medal, International Award/Medial, Isaac Newton Medal and Award, L’Oreal- UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Nine Dots Prize, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Economic Science, Literature, Physics or Medicine, and many more) If you possess a prize or medal from the Government’s list, you can also bypass the endorsement aspect and go directly to apply for the visa.
Since the Global Talent Visa is such a laborious, lengthy and difficult visa to apply for, it is highly recommended that you seek immigration advice from a licensed professional.
You don’t want to run the risk of making any errors or mistakes in your application as this could jeopardise your chances of success. And there is lots of room for error in this process as you will need endorsement. You will also need to provide specific documentation that is unique to you and your circumstances.
Fortunately, our corporate immigration lawyers are on hand to help you with every step of the application. All of our solicitors are OISC-certified and trained, meaning you can rest assured that your application is in the best qualified hands possible.
If you found this post on Global Talent Visa Benefit helpful and you need assistance with the Global Talent Visa application, call our immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762.
On 15 March 2022, the UK Home Office issued a new statement of changes to the immigration rules. This has significantly altered the way in which overseas companies are able to set up a new branch in the UK – and how skilled workers are able to migrate to the country for work purposes. Part and parcel of the Government’s “Plan for Growth” package includes new Global Business Mobility routes, in which the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa has been subsequently changed to the UK Expansion Worker Visa, amongst others. What this means is that the Sole Rep Visa will close to new entrants as of 11 April 2022 and prospective workers have a wide range of options to undertake employment in the UK under the shiny new Global Business Mobility Appendix.
However, the route does share some similarities to that of the Sole Representative route – and the criteria can be difficult to satisfy as applicants need to score 60 points to be eligible.
Do you need immigration advice? Our immigration lawyers here in London are on hand to help you with any Work Visa or business mobility route you require. Call us today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more.
What is the UK Expansion Worker Route?
The UK Expansion Worker Route is part of a larger package in the new immigration rules belonging to the Global Business Mobility category.
The Global Business Mobility package includes the following routes:
Senior or Specialist Worker Graduate Trainee Service Supplier Secondment Worker High Potential UK Expansion Worker
What are the requirements of Expansion Worker UK Visas?
Although the UK Expansion Worker route is a brand new option introduced into the immigration rules, it does share some similarities with the now-expired Representative of the Overseas Business route.
One of these similarities is that applicants must be migrating to the UK for business purposes – which includes sending a senior manager to set up and trade in a new UK branch with a view to expand the businesses’ presence overseas.
The rules stipulate that the overseas company must not already have a trading presence in the UK.
As a general rule of thumb, applicants must:
Have worked for the company for at least 12 months (or earn a high salary)
Be a senior manager or specialist employee
Earn a minimum salary of £42,000
Receive a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer
Demonstrate they have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience for the job The applicant will need to accumulate 60 points based on their sponsorship, skill level and salary. However, there are also some major alterations in the rules – notably the loss of settlement rights for staff who set up shop in the UK and the requirement for Sponsorship.
How to score 60 points for the UK Expansion Worker Visa
Most work visa routes to the UK hinge on the applicants’ ability to score eligibility points. For the Expansion Worker Visa, prospective employees must accumulate 60 points based on the following:
Sponsorship (20 points): Gained with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a recognised sponsor. The employee must already be working for the sponsored party and have worked outside of the UK already for at least 12 months. The only exception to this rule is if the employee is classed as a ‘high earner’, or is a Japanese national seeking to set up a UK branch under the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Skill level (20 points): Can be gained by demonstrating the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to succeed in the job.
Salary (20 points): The applicant must be offered a salary that matches the accepted occupation code. At a minimum, this must be £42,400.
The salary requirement
The individual tasked with setting up a presence in the UK must have already worked for the company for a period of at least 12 months OR be earning a high salary in the region of £73,900. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be paid an appropriate salary in accordance with the relevant job code in the UK, which can be higher if you plan on establishing the branch in London. However, the minimum salary to be eligible for the route is £42,000.
Two-year leave only
Unlike the Sole Rep Visa, applicants are only permitted to work in the UK for two years. What this means is that UK Expansion Worker applicants are not eligible for settlement in the UK such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
This is certainly something to consider as businesses may need to transfer and make staff arrangements every two years.
However, it is still a great opportunity for managers with an entrepreneurial spirit and who wish to relocate to Britain for a short yet reasonable amount of time. And, should they like their position in the UK, managers can always seek to extend their leave for up to five years.
But even so, it still will not result in the option to settle in the UK permanently.
Requirement for sponsorship
The immigration rules for the Expansion Worker Visa stipulate that applicants require proof of sponsorship. What this means is that UK employers are required to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship – and in order to do so, obtain a Sponsorship Licence from the UK Government.
This normally applies to UK-based companies, so it remains unclear as to how an overseas business which has no presence in the UK would be able to apply for a Sponsor Licence. However, the Home Office will issue guidance on this shortly, and it may be that overseas businesses are able to apply for a Sponsor Licence if there are plans in place to expand in the UK.
Flexibility on shareholding
While the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa dictated that employees who have more than 50% shareholding in the business were ineligible to apply, this requirement has been scrapped in the new Expansion Worker Route.
This is of huge benefit to your business as your senior manager can have shareholding and other financial interests in your business without jeopardising their visa application to come to the UK.
Flexibility on staff numbers
Another key benefit of the Expansion Worker route is that businesses can send more than one eligible applicant to the country. The previous Sole Representative Visa only permitted one employee entry into the UK to establish a UK branch. Now, however, a whole senior team can apply together and migrate to the UK to propel the business in Britain. It is important to note that each staff member still needs to meet the immigration requirements of this visa category and will still need to score the relevant 60 points each.
Considering the many key changes to the Sole Rep Visa route, it is highly advised that businesses seek immigration advice to assist with them with their application. Your business overseas will need assistance in obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence. Meanwhile, the applicant – or team – will need advice on how to satisfy the immigration rules for this specific route. At 1 Absolute Advisor, all of our immigration lawyers are OISC-trained and certified in all aspects of corporate and business immigration law. We can help both your business and your team to migrate to the UK, whether you need full visa assistance or general guidance.
Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out about our global business immigration advice packages.
FAQs How long can I extend the Expansion Worker visa for?
The Expansion Worker Visa route typically only lasts for two years, after which you must seek to extend or renew the visa. In total, you can remain in the UK with this permission of leave for up to five years. However, it is worth noting that it still will not lead to settlement such as ILR or British Citizenship.
How can I seek settlement with an Expansion Worker Visa?
Settlement, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), is usually only gained after a period of five years of continuous residency in the UK. Yet overseas nationals operating under an Expansion Worker Visa are prohibited to switch or seek any form of settlement. Nevertheless, it is possible for managers to switch onto a completely different route entirely, such as a Skilled Worker Visa or similar, which then begins the count towards continuous residency and thus settlement.
I already have a Sole Rep Visa. Do I need to switch onto the UK Expansion Worker Route?
If you already have a Sole Representative Visa, you don’t need to worry as your visa won’t expire overnight. You don’t need to change anything. In fact, since you have already been awarded the visa and are in the UK already, you are able to extend your leave and apply for settlement without any disruption. In other words: your Sole Rep visa is still permitted up until it naturally expires. The change in the immigration rules if only of concern to brand new entrants.
Applicants who wish to apply for British Citizenship must be mindful that they need two referees to support their application as outlined by the UK immigration rules.
The purpose of referees is to verify your identity and ultimately your validity for British Citizenship.
The referee requirements state:
At least one referee should be a person with ‘professional standing’ in the UK
And your other referee should be a British citizen passport holder and EITHER a ‘professional person’ or over the age of 25 years old
You must have known your referee(s) for at least 3 years
What does ‘professional standing’ mean for the Citizenship application?
For the purpose of gaining British citizenship, a person in a professional standing must be working in a certain career and/or at a certain level in the eyes of immigration enforcement. There is a long list of eligible people who can fit this criterion which you can read about in our blog, who can be a British citizen referee? However, you might be wondering if your manager or colleague at work can endorse your citizenship application – and the answer is: it depends.
When can my manager be the referee for my British citizenship application? It largely depends on what industry you are working in. For example, if you work in hospitality or retail, it’s unlikely your boss will be able to act as a referee for your UK Nationality application. However, if your manager has a senior position within a company, he/she could be one of your referees. For instance, if your manager also owned the restaurant you were working in, then they would be a suitable referee.
In the list of ‘professional persons’, the Home Office will accept the following:
Managers or Directors of a VAT registered charity
Managers, Directors, or Personnel Officers of a VAT registered company
Managers or Personnel Officers of a Limited Company This means that while your colleague and possibly boss will not suffice as referees, the director of the company you work for might be able to act as referee.
Can I ask any manager or director of a company to be my British Citizenship referee?
You don’t necessarily need to work in a specific place in order for the manager/director to act as a referee. However, your referee must have known you and have had some degree of personal but professional relationship with you for at least three years. In other words, you can’t just ask a stranger who happens to manage a company to act as your referee. You still have to know them personally.
What must my manager do to support my Citizenship application?
As per any British Citizenship referee, you will need to approach your manager and ask them if they would be willing to provide a reference. It would also be wise to inform them of what is involved in the referee process as your manager will need to convey some personal details to UKVI in order to credibly vouch for your application.
Their full name
Addresses over the past 3 years
Their date of birth
Their profession (I.e. Manager of a VAT registered company)
Their contact details including phone number and email address
Their British Passport number
A short declaration outlining how they know you personally and for how long
Their signature to confirm the declaration
What is the ’referee declaration’?
The referee declaration is important for UKVI to take your application seriously. This declaration is a kind of formal written agreement between the referee and the Government that he/she:
Knows you personally
Is not a relative, solicitor, or agent representing you
Is not a relative of your other referee
Is not employed by the Home Office
Has not been convicted of an imprisonable offense in the last 10 years
Is willing to give further details on their knowledge and relationship with the applicant
In addition, the referee’s signature is to ‘declare and confirm’ the following:
That they are qualified to act as referee
That the photograph of the applicant is ‘a true likeness’ (I.e. a genuine photo)
That they understand each point in the requirements (written above)
That the information provided by the applicant in the British Citizenship application is correct
That the information provided by the referee in the British Citizenship application is correct
That they understand that they could be fined up to £5,000 or face prison for up to 3 months if knowingly given false information in the application as a referee
The last point is very serious to note and emphasizes the importance of seeking a reputable and genuine referee and, likewise, for referees to be mindful of who exactly they are vouching for as they could be held to account if the applicant submits a deceptive or fraudulent application.
What if my managerrefuses to supply information?
It is a possibility that your referee declines the opportunity to support your application. Although there is no cost involved on their behalf, it is still a personal request and he/she might feel uncomfortable for whatever reason.
If your manager refuses, you can’t take them to a court or challenge their decision. You simply have to find another referee from elsewhere and respect their decision.
How can 1 Absolute Advisor help? Our immigration lawyers here in London are more than happy to help you with your British citizenship application. We can even help you to find suitable referees to support your application if you’re unsure who to ask. Call 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our bespoke British Citizenship application advice services.
So how many referees do I need for British Citizenship?
If you’re thinking of applying for British Citizenship, there are a number of requirements you must be aware of ahead of submitting your application.
Indeed, there is a long list of British Citizenship eligibility requirements which range from concrete requirements, like passing the Life in the UK test and English Language tests, to ambiguous requirements like proving you are of ‘good character’.
In addition, you need to prove that you have continuously remained in the UK for a certain number of years and prove you are who you say you are.
The Home Office has established measures within the application process to stamp out cases of identity fraud and deception. As a result, British Citizenship applicants are also required to obtain people to prove their identity – these are your ‘referees’.
But how many do you need and what do they need to do? Let’s find out.
How many referees do I need for the citizenship application?
You only need two referees to apply for British Citizenship.
However, you must have known your referees personally for at least three years, but they cannot be a relative or friends. It’s important you choose your two referees wisely as the success of your application hinges on your identity and character – the two elements which your referees are endorsing.
What are the referee requirements?
Not everyone is eligible to be a referee for citizenship. In fact, your referee must meet the Home Office’s expectations – failure to do so could seriously jeopardize your application, if not delay the process.
Fortunately, you only need to obtain two referees who:
Have known you for at least 3 years
Are not a relative, agent, solicitor, or employee of the Home Office
Do not have any criminal convictions in the past 10 years
Do both of my referees need to be of ‘professional standing’ for citizenship?
You might already know that at least one of your referees has to be of ‘professional standing’ in the UK – I.e., that they work in a specific industry or have a specific job title as outlined in the UK Government’s Citizenship criteria. For example, your manager or director of the company you work for could act as your referee, but there are plenty of other professions which fit the bill, too. However, you don’t need two ‘professional standing’ referees, though if you have two to hand, that might be a preferable route to take.
Your second referee, if he/she is not a person of professional standing, instead must be a British Citizen with a UK passport and be over the age of 25 years old. Both referees are required to sign a declaration to endorse your application and verify your identity.
Can I submit multiple referee declarations in the UK Nationality application?
UK Government immigration guidance clearly stipulates that you need two referees, so it is probably best that you stick to this figure and submit no more (or no less) than the two required. It is also important to note that is it not uncommon for UKVI to reject Visa and Status applications if the caseworker assigned to your application judges that there is too much information in your portfolio, and likewise if it is too little. In the event that your portfolio has too much information, the decision-maker might ask you to amend the application as it might extend beyond reasonable expectations and what you have paid in admin fees to process it. You have to establish the right balance and ensure you are meeting the criteria coherently and appropriately.
At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration lawyers know exactly what UKVI is looking for in each Citizenship application it receives. We can advise you on your next steps and ensure you have a watertight portfolio of evidence that doesn’t overwhelm the caseworker nor miss any important points.
Get in touch with our client care team today by calling 0207 993 6762.
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 includes:
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 referee.
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 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:
A spouse or civil partner
Children (including adult children)
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.
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 Paralegals) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is a ‘British citizenship referee declaration’? A declaration is a statement that is signed formally by your referee that confirms your identity. This includes:
That your photograph is definitely you (“that the photograph is the true likeness of the applicant”)
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 application.
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.
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.