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
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.

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
    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.
  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
    overseas)
  • 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
    agreements
  • 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
naturalization.

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.

Indefinite Leave to Remain- Calculating the Continuous Period in the UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain- Calculating the Continuous Period in the UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain: Calculating the Continuous Period in the UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the status awarded to overseas nationals living in the UK who wish to live in the country without facing any more immigration restrictions. However, to be eligible, applicants must have accumulated a certain amount of time in the country. This is known as ‘continuous residency’ in the immigration rules.

Calculating continuous residency in the UK can be complicated, particularly if you have frequent or large gaps where you have been absent. For instance, you may be required to work overseas or you have been abroad for holidays. 

Let’s take a look at how you can calculate your own continuous residency – and what you need to do if you feel you may fall short of the stipulated time required.

What is continuous residence for ILR?

In order to be eligible for ILR and therefore settle in the UK permanently, applicants must have adhered to the immigration rules and lived lawfully in the UK for, usually, a period of five years. In some cases, applicants are able to seek ILR status in as little as three years, while others may be required to wait for longer.

Nevertheless, ILR applicants must prove that they have been present in the country throughout the duration of their residency. In other words, applicants must not have spent excessive time overseas in any qualifying period. Lengthy absences abroad could jeopardise your ILR application as it contradicts your intention to become a permanent resident of the UK.

What does the Appendix Continuous Residence 2020 guidance say?

New guidance was brought into effect as of 1 December 2020 – in line with the new post-Brexit immigration rules.

While the rules can vary from person to person, and from visa to visa, most will need to have accumulated five years of continuous residency in the country. And during these five years, applicants must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK during any 12-month period.

How is continuous residence broken?

An applicant will be deemed ineligible for ILR if they have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any given 1-year block. 

However, you can also breach continuous residency if:

  • You have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment
  • You are subject to a deportation order
  • You are placed in detention and marked for removal/deportation from the country 
  • You have any periods where you overstayed your visa permission or any other gaps in your immigration history

What are the exceptions to ILR continuous residency?

Only in compelling circumstances are you able to override the rules around continuous residency. For instance, if you have been required overseas to care for a sick relative, to seek medical treatment yourself, for employment purposes or services to the crown, UKVI may waive the requirement for you.

If you were assisting an international humanitarian crisis, or you were caught in a conflict during your time abroad, this can also be waived for you so that your ILR is not jeopardised by forces outside of your control. Any disruption to your residency as a consequence of COVID-19 can also be considered.

You will need to explain in full detail why you have spent more than 180 days overseas to seek an exemption.

How to calculate continuous residence

As complicated as it may sound, you only need to work out how many days you have been absent from the country during the last five years from the date of your application.

You can retrace your steps by going through travel tickets and stamps in your passport.

It is important to note that absences are calculated on a rolling basis rather than in fixed blocks. Any days, weekends or fortnight trips abroad will all need to be calculated in each 12-month period to give an overall figure. 

You should also be mindful that this doesn’t mean from year to year: it doesn’t mean between January 2020 to January 2021, for example, it means the 12-months preceding the date of your application. This means you might have spent 180 days outside of the UK between October 2020 and April 2021 without breaching the rules as the absences can be split between two different 12-month blocks.

The good news is that you may not qualify for ILR on the basis of your residency by a few days, weeks or months. If so, you simply need to wait until you become eligible again (but be sure to check that you still have permission to remain in the UK while you do so).

Do you need an immigration lawyer to help with the ILR application?

If you need help calculating your continuous residence, or guidance with the ILR application itself, look no further than 1 Absolute Advisor.

Our immigration lawyers are OISC-certified and trained, meaning they are fully capable to assist you with any settlement application you desire and can even help you to reach the ILR requirements.

Get in touch with our friendly customer service team today to discuss your free ILR consultation by calling 0207 993 6762. Hope you have found this article on Indefinite Leave to Remain: Calculating the Continuous Period in the UK useful

Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service

Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service

Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service

Processing times for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can vary considerably, depending on where the
applicant is applying from and how busy UKVCAS is when it receives the application.

There may be delays with the application, too. For instance, if you make a mistake or if the Home
Office requires further information from you. In this case, UKVCAS may put your application on hold
– or outright refuse it if your application is significantly lacking in evidence.

In this blog, we’ll look at the advantages of the Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service and how
you can apply for this fast-track service.

How long is the ILR processing time?

To process most UK visa, status and nationality requests, the Home Office can take as long as 6
months to deliver its verdict. However, on average most people receive a response within 8 weeks (2
months).

It can take longer to process if UKVI has a backlog of applications to examine. Summer holiday
season where tourists flock to the UK is one of the busiest times of year for the Home Office, but
your application can also be delayed for many other reasons, such as if you are applying from
outside of the UK.

If your visa is due to expire soon, it is recommended that you seek a priority service to safeguard
yourself from any periods where you may be accidentally overstaying your visa permission. If
UKVCAS finds any gaps in your immigration history, such as instances where you may have
overstayed, your application is likely to be refused and possibly future applications will be denied,
too.

What is the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service and ILR Super Priority
Service?

The Super Priority Service is the fastest route for visa and ILR applicants. With this, you will receive a
decision in as little as 24 hours (by the end of the next working day), providing your appointment is
on a weekday. This service costs £800 alongside your ILR application admin fees.
Second to this is the standard Priority Service where your application will be decided on within 5
working days. This route costs £500 in addition to standard ILR costs and lawyer fees.

What are the benefits of the ILR priority service?


Where time pressures may be a factor, opting for a priority service is clearly beneficial. Your current
UK Visa may be due to expire in the next 6 months, or you need ILR status quickly for another
reason.

However, some people simply wish to secure ILR status as soon as they are able to do so. Providing
you have accumulated five years of continuous residency in the UK and you meet the ILR
requirements, you are eligible to seek this status.

Once you have ILR, you are finally free from immigration control – which means no more UK visa
renewals and Immigration Health Surcharge fees. In fact, ILR comes with a swathe of privileges and
benefits such as access to social housing and financial support.

Clearly, it is an enormous advantage to gain ILR status as soon as possible. After just 12 months
under this status, you can even switch to full UK citizenship.
So whether your visa is due to expire or you are eager to obtain ILR status, the priority service can be
a huge benefit.

How do I book for an ILR Premium Service?

You can book for a premium service with UKVCAS. You must pay the fees in advance when you
submit your application. Alternatively, your immigration lawyer can arrange a premium service appointment for you.
However, please note that 1 Absolute Advisor is not responsible for processing the visa itself and
cannot influence the decision or speed up the process any more so. Your visa outcome lies in the
hands of UKVI.You will need to book for a suitable appointment by checking for your nearest centre location and its
opening hours.

How else can I speed up the ILR application processing time?

To mitigate against lengthy processing delays, it is essential that you submit an accurate, honest and
detailed portfolio of supporting evidence.

Since ILR is a form of status and a step towards British citizenship, UKVI assesses each application
thoroughly. The Home Office wants to make sure that you are upstanding citizen with a
demonstrable history of good behaviour before it is willing to grant you ILR status.

It is therefore widely recommended that you hire an immigration lawyer to help with the application
itself. Your lawyer will be able to verify that you meet all of the ILR eligibility requirements and can
advise you on how best to proceed with your application.

At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration specialists can also help you with the application itself by
pooling together an airtight portfolio of supporting evidence. Our lawyers can even write a formal
letter to the Home Office that vouches for your good character to strengthen your case.

Speak to our immigration experts today by calling 0207 993 6762 to hear more about our custom ILR
packages and our own fast-track services.

British Citizenship Referee

British Citizenship Referee


British Citizenship Referee is an important part of your application. Applying for British citizenship can be a lengthy process. You need to satisfy the British citizenship requirements, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and pass the Life in the UK test. But that’s not all you need to worry about: to naturalise as a British citizen you will also need to provide referees in your application.

Why are referees important for British Citizenship?

No matter which country you originate from, you will need to provide at least two referees to verify
your identity. Even UK-born citizens have to have referees when applying for their British passport.
It is unlikely your referees would jeopardise your application, but the Home Office may contact them
if the decision-maker has any concerns about you.

Who can be a British Citizenship Referee?

The second important thing to note is that not anyone can be a referee for your British citizenship
application.
Your two referees must:

  • Be over age 25
  • Work in a specific profession outlined by UKVI
  • Hold a British passport
  • Have known you for at least 3 years
  • Be upstanding citizens – I.e., have not been convicted of an offence within the last 10 years
    With this criterion in mind, your referee cannot be a close friend, a relative or your lawyer. They
    must be someone you know in a professional capacity but who knows you well enough to confirm
    your identity – like your doctor or dentist.

Who constitutes as an ‘acceptable professional person’?

As mentioned above, your referees must be a professional person.
This includes but is not limited to:

  • Accountants
  • Bank or building society officials
  • Barristers
  • Chemists and most people in the medical profession like nurses and doctors
  • Councillors, civil servants and Members of Parliament (MPs)
  • Dentists
  • Directors or managers
  • Engineers
  • Firefighters or fire service officials
  • Journalists
  • Minister of religion
  • Armed Forces
  • Opticians
  • Post Office officials
  • Pilots
  • Salvation Army officer
  • Social workers
  • Solicitors and paralegals
  • Teachers
    UKVI has a long list of professions it deems acceptable for referees, but if you’re not sure if your
    referee qualifies as a professional person, speak to your immigration lawyer for verification.

How do British Citizenship Referees verify my identity?

Referees must follow strict criteria when verifying your identity for British citizenship. They need to
provide information, including their:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Profession
  • British passport number
  • Addresses over the past 3 years
  • Contact details (phone number and email address)
    The referee is also required to outline how and in what capacity they know you. For instance, a
    teacher may know you through your child attending his or her school.
    Finally, the referee will need to provide a declaration that agrees the photograph is truly you and
    that the details provided in the application are correct.

Do you need help naturalising as a British citizen?

If you need assistance with the British citizenship application, contact our office today. Our
immigration lawyers are well-versed in UK nationality law, and know exactly what UKVI is looking for
in your application.

Ring us today on 0207 993 6762 for a free initial consultation on your case.

EU to British Citizenship

EU to British Citizenship

EU To British Citizenship

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union stipulates key changes to the immigration rules. At
the beginning of January 2021, a new points-based immigration system came into effect, requiring
all new EEA entrants into the country to apply for a UK Visa. Meanwhile, EU citizens already living in
the UK were able to apply for Settled Status.

As such there are numerous routes through which EEA nationals can apply for British Citizenship.

EU to British citizenship through Settled Status

Settled Status is the status granted to EEA nationals who have already lived in the UK for at least five
years up until 30 June 2021 and who have applied under the EU Settlement Scheme. Those who
have accumulated less than five years residency have instead been granted Pre-Settled Status.
The key to remember here is that Settled Status is a form of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Similarly to ILR then, EU nationals with Settled Status can seek to apply for British Citizenship after
just 12 months.
You may also have to check that your home country in the EU permits Dual Citizenship.

EU to British citizenship by naturalisation


To naturalise as a British citizen, you must meet a set of specific criteria. The applicant generally
must:

  • Be aged 18 over
  • Prove English language ability
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Meet the ‘continuous residency requirement’
  • Have an intention to continue living in the UK
  • Pass the ‘good character’ requirement
  • Have Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain or similar residency rights
    Up until the deadline (30 June), EU nationals with a permanent residence card were able to switch
    onto British citizenship with ease. However, it is no longer possible to apply for a permanent
    residence card – and holders must switch onto Settled Status instead.
    EU citizens can naturalise as a British citizen with their Settled Status, but there are different rules
    depending on the applicant’s circumstances.
    Married to a British citizen
    An EEA citizen with Settled Status and who is married to a British citizen does not need to wait 12
    months before applying for UK nationality.
    Another advantage of your married status includes relief from the five years continuous residency
    requirement. Instead, you can apply for British citizenship after just three years of continuous living
    in the UK.

Still, once you have obtained Settled Status you can switch immediately onto full British citizenship.

Not married to a British citizen

By contrast, an applicant who is not married to a British citizen must have accumulated five years of continuous residency on UK soil. In addition, you must live in the UK with Settled Status for 1 year before seeking citizenship. You are permitted to apply exactly 12 months from the date you received your Settled Status.

The British citizenship requirements

Just because you have EU Settled Status does not guarantee you will be awarded British citizenship.
You still need to meet the requirements, pass legal checks and pass the Life in the UK test.

If you need help with the British citizenship application, get in touch with our team of immigration
lawyers. Our OISC-certified solicitors specialise in British Nationality Law, meaning your case will be
handled by a legal advisor with the utmost professionalism. We can advise and even help you with
your citizenship application from start to finish.

Call us on 0207 993 6762 for a free discussion about your case with our friendly client care team.

Skilled Worker Visa Q&A

Skilled Worker Visa Q&A

Skilled Worker Visa Q&A

The Skilled Worker Visa replaced the Tier 2 Work Visa when the UK’s new points-based immigration system came into effect in January 2021. However, the new route shares many similarities to the Tier 2 Visa. Read on to learn more about the Skilled Worker Visa Q&A and its top 10 most asked questions by applicants.

  1. What is the points-based system?

The UK government crafted a points-based immigration system whereby applicants can secure a UK Visa by scoring a certain number of points. This system is meant to be fairer as it allows for some degree of flexibility. 

Applicants can score points based on their education, salary, English language ability, skillset and if they are filling a position on the UK Shortage Occupation List. 

  1.  How many points do I need for a Skilled Worker Visa?

For a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to score a total of 70 points. This is compiled of 50 ’mandatory points’ and 20 ‘tradable points’.

  1. How do I score ‘mandatory’ points for a UK Work Visa? 

As the mandatory category suggests, it is necessary that score these points as gaining these will depend whether or not you are eligible for the visa. 

You must gain the following points:

  • 20 points for a job offer from an approved UK employer (your employer must have a Sponsor License to hire you)
  • 20 points for working a job at an appropriate skill level
  • 10 points for passing the English language test

  1. What are ‘tradable’ points and how many do I need for the Skilled Worker Permit?

As for the tradable points, you can swap how and where you want to score the remaining 20 needed. You can score these points as follows:

  • 20 points can be gained if you are offered a salary above £25,600
  • 10 points can be given if you are offered a salary above £23,040
  • 20 more points can be gained if you are filling a job on the Shortage Occupation List 
  • 20 points are granted for PhD graduates in a STEM subject that is relevant to the job
  • 10 points are awarded for PhD graduates in a non-STEM subject that is relevant to the job

  1. What is the UK Shortage Occupation List?

The UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL) contains a list of job roles considered to be short of labour in the country. Because of the shortages in these sectors and professions, employers can bypass job advertising rules while overseas nationals can benefit from a visa discount if they can fill a position in shortage.

Workers in high demand such as doctors, engineers, scientists and IT specialists, to name just a few, may accumulate more points just based on their occupation code.

  1. What is allowed and what is prohibited with a Skilled Worker Visa?

With a Skilled Worker Visa, there are some rules and regulations which you must adhere to. You cannot change your job or your employer without re-applying for a new work permit. This is because the Skilled Worker Visa was awarded to you under the condition that you continue to work for the employer that sponsored your visa.

You can, however, work on a voluntary basis or carry out an additional job if you seek permission from UKVI.

You are also permitted to bring existing family members with you to the UK including your partner and children, but they will need to apply for a Dependent Visa.

  1. What is the income requirement of the Skilled Worker Visa?

The financial requirement of the UK Work Visa is far more flexible than it used to be under Tier 2 rules. Before the rule change, overseas nationals had to earn a minimum of £30,000 to be eligible for this type of permit. Now, however, skilled workers can be offered a visa on a much lower salary.

The salary requirement depends on your specific occupation code. Most people will need to earn at least £26,600 per year, unless the ‘going rate’ of the occupation code is higher. 

In some cases, applicants can be awarded a visa with a salary of no less than £20,480. Here, applicants will not gain points for their salary but they can accumulate the points from elsewhere and through a combination of methods. For instance, if they are a ‘new entrant’ to the UK workforce or if they are offered a job on the Shortage Occupation List.

  1. How much does a Skilled Worker Visa cost?

The cost of the visa itself depends on your individual circumstances such as where you’re applying from, how long your visa needs to last and whether your job is on the UK Shortage Occupation List. 

For a 3-year Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to pay £610 if you submit your application outside of the UK. From inside the country, it costs £704. Applicants eligible for a role through the Shortage Occupation List only need to pay £464 for a 3-year work visa.

However, there are additional costs that apply to all visa applicants such as the Immigration Health Surcharge which permits access to healthcare in the UK. You may also decide to hire an immigration lawyer or opt for a fast-track priority service which can vary in cost.

  1. How do I check if my prospective employer has a Sponsor License? 

The Home Office publishes an Approved Sponsors Register where you can search for your prospective employer. 

In addition, your employer must provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) as will need to submit this in your Work Visa application.

  1. How to seek settlement

Generally speaking, once you have accrued five years continuous residency in the UK, you will be eligible to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain). You can accumulate these five years from across different visas, but it is important to note that only some visas count towards residency. Temporary visas such as the Visit Visa do not count.

How can your immigration lawyers help me?

Hope you have enjoyed reading our post on Skilled Worker Visa Q&A. All our immigration specialists here at Absolute Advisor are OISC certified and therefore legally trained to advise Skilled Worker Visa applicants. With decades of experience, our immigration lawyers can make all the difference between success with your application and a visa refusal.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Spouse Visa Application

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Spouse Visa Application

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Spouse Visa Application

The UK Spouse Visa application is notoriously difficult to navigate, partly due to the hefty and lengthy Spouse Visa requirements and the portfolio aspect of the application itself.

The application is well known for its complexity. It can be a huge burden for anyone attempting to navigate through the application process alone, and those who do try without professional support are more likely to fall victim to tedious mistakes. 

Furthermore, UKVI and the immigration officers in charge of assessing each Spouse Visa application exert little leeway when it comes to errors. These decision-makers are tasked with scrutinising each Spouse Visa application it receives. As such, even the most minor errors can result in an outright visa refusal. From there, applicants can either appeal, seek an administrative review or start the process all over again – not to mention that the Home Office does not issue refunds for failed applications.

Our immigration lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor have compiled the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Spouse Visa Application. Read on to learn more about how you can protect yourself – and your wallet – from a costly visa refusal.

  1. Satisfying the ‘genuine relationship’ test

Arguably the highest hurdle of the Spouse Visa application is passing the ‘genuine relationship’ test. This test is largely subjective as an immigration official will assess not only your application, but the legitimacy and sincerity of your relationship. You must prove to the caseworker that your relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’.

UKVI takes this aspect of the application very seriously. The UK Government is cracking down on so-called ‘sham marriages’ and ‘marriages of convenience’ where fraudsters marry for visa privileges. 

Yet there is no set guidance on how to pass the ‘genuine relationship’ test. Your immigration lawyer might advise you to gather evidence of your relationship from the day you met to the current day and map out a timeline. Photographs together, travel tickets, your marriage certificate, holidays taken together and any gifts bought for one another could all be included in your application as proof of your sincerity. Letters from family and friends may also be considered.

  1. The financial requirement 

A second common mistake applicants make is proving that they meet the Spouse Visa financial requirements.

The sponsor of the visa (the partner who is settled in the UK) must earn at least £18,600 per annum, which is known as the ‘Minimum Income Threshold’. This can be met through a combination of ways, including:

  • Income from employment
  • Non-employment income (like rental income)
  • Savings
  • Pension 
  • Self-employment income
  • Some benefits 
  • Maternity pay

But applicants can fall short of submitting all the necessary documents. 

It is also common for applicants to miscalculate their finances, particularly if he/she earns below the minimum income threshold.

  1. Unoriginal and unofficial copies

Visa applicants more generally tend to make the mistake of sending unoriginal or unofficial copies of documents. And while the Home Office changed its position in 2018 to permit photocopies, there are still some instances where applicants need to submit the original document. 

For Spouse Visa applicants, the original passports belonging to the couple will need to be shown as proof of their identity, but most other documents can be scanned.

However, bank statements and payslips that are submitted to satisfy the financial requirement need to be official with headed stationary and the bank or company logo on every page. These statements must also be recent – no more than 28 days old from the day it is received. 

  1. Incorrect or incomplete statements 

Since the Spouse Visa application has such high criteria, there is little room for error. The application must be concrete and coherent for the caseworker to make a fair verdict.

Any documents or statements that are incorrect or incomplete will be rejected by UKVI. The decision-maker will spot any signs of inconsistency or gaps in your application. If you lie or provide misleading information, the Home Office may even flag your application as deceptive, so it’s always best to be honest and full with your answers.

If evidence becomes outdated or invalid by the time it reaches the Home Office, UKVI does grant applicants the opportunity to rectify the error. However, applicants have only 10 days to supply the correct information.

Either way, submitting incorrect or incomplete forms is bound to delay the Spouse Visa processing time, so double check your application. You can even hire an immigration lawyer for a thorough document-check. 

  1. Insufficient evidence – or too much 

Failing to prove that you meet the Spouse Visa criteria with sufficient evidence is another area where applicants tend to go wrong. 

The Spouse Visa requirements are long, and you must prove that you can meet every single one with confidence. Your visa may be delayed or refused if you provide insufficient evidence.

On the other hand, while most of this guidance suggests the Married Partner Visa demands a plethora of evidence, there is also a risk of submitting too much information. Unnecessary additional information may cast a doubt over the sincerity of your application – and the caseworker will take even longer to read through it.

To mitigate against a delay or visa refusal, make sure to create a portfolio of evidence that answers all the questions, requirements and criteria succinctly and in few documents.

  1. Sitting the wrong English language test or letting it expire

A key component of the UK Married Partner Visa application is the English language test, referred to as the ‘Secure English Language Test’ (SELT). The SELT is necessary for overseas applicants to prove that they can communicate and understand English to a certain degree. Yet applicants either sit the wrong test or their certificate expires before they apply for a visa.

While there are many centres offering English language courses and examinations, only few SELT providers are approved by UKVI. This means the applicant may need to travel to the appropriate test centre, as well as pass at least level A1.

The Home Office states applicants can only take a SELT test with one of the following providers:

  • IELTS Selt Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson
  • Trinity College London
  • PSI Services (UK) LTD

It is also important to note that the SELT certificate can be no older than two years old when applying for a Spouse Visa. If your certificate has expired, you will need to re-sit the test and submit your new certificate in your visa application.

  1. Translation

All official documentation in the Spouse Visa application has to translated into English or Welsh (depending on where you plan on living). This may mean you need to pay a translation fee, too.

Applicants often slip up here by failing to get their documents translated in full by a verified translator.

  1. Applying as a visitor

The Visitor Visa is one of a handful of UK visas where applicants are unable to switch or amend their immigration status. Visitors are permitted entry into the country for visiting, family or tourism purposes only. 

For marriage, applicants can either apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa or a Fiancé Visa. The former permits overseas nationals to enter the UK for 6 months to give notice of marriage, after which they must leave the country, while the Fiancée Visa allows holders to switch onto a Spouse Visa to remain in Britain after tying the knot. 

Therefore, visitors are unable to switch onto a Spouse Visa as a key condition of the visit permit is that they leave the UK once the visa expires.

  1. Letters

Letters and written statements are encouraged by UKVI as it gives the caseworker some context to the documents that you have supplied. 

You may already need your manager to provide an ‘employee’s letter’ as proof of your employment and salary – but you should also consider writing your own declaration. Your statement could assist in meeting the ‘genuine relationship’ requirement as you could outline your plans for the future when living with your married spouse in the UK.

Although letters aren’t compulsory, it may be the final piece of the puzzle that UKVI considers when making its decision. 

  1.  Attempting the application alone

Now that you know the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Spouse Visa Application.Finally, the most common mistake that failed Spouse Visa applicants make is attempting the application alone.

Most visas on the UK’s points-based immigration system and its tiered system are complicated to navigate, and the Spouse Visa has gained notoriety for being the most complex of them all.

The best way to mitigate against the vast majority of these mistakes is to hire an OISC-certified immigration lawyer. Having a professional pair of eyes examine your visa application can make all the difference between a stamp of approval – or a stamp of rejection.

If you need help meeting the Spouse Visa requirements, speak to our immigration lawyers in London today. Our Spouse Visa specialists can help you to tackle the application, or simply provide a document-check. Call us today to find out how our team can help you on 0207 993 6762.

UK Student Visa New Rules 2021

UK Student Visa New Rules 2021

UK Student Visa New Rules 2021 : What is the cost for university students and how to apply 

With September now looming just beyond the horizon, there will be many last-minute applications submitted by those wishing to study a course in one of Britain’s universities through clearing. But for international students, they will also need to apply for a student visa formerly known as Tier 4 Student Visa too, which isn’t always straightforward or cheap.

Read on to learn about the Student Visa requirements, how much the Student Visa costs and how you can apply. 

About the UK Student Visa New Rules 2021

If you are planning to travel from your home country to study in the UK, you need to apply for a Student Visa. Your visa will cover you for the entire duration of your course and for a maximum of 5 years. You are able to extend your Student Visa if you need to.

To be successful in your visa application, you must already have accepted an offer to study in one of the UK’s academic institutions. This is important because your university will ‘sponsor’ your visa, essentially endorsing your application. However, please note that ‘sponsorship’ does not mean your university will pay for your Student Visa: it will merely validate your visa application.

Fortunately, beyond obtaining a Certificate of Acceptance CAS from your university, you won’t need to submit much else in your visa application. You’ll only need proof of your identity (such as your passport), evidence of your finances and proof of payment for your visa and surrounding fees.

Financial requirements 

As an international student, you are unable to apply for benefits or Student Finance, which is the loans company that assists British students with their tuition fees and maintenance. 

As a result, you will need to prove that you can afford to live in the UK independently without state support throughout the duration of your course. 

Generally speaking, you will need £1,023 per month for up to 9 months for any course undertaken outside of London. Meanwhile inside the capital, you will need £1,334 saved per each month of residency up to 9 months.

This means that in addition to your Student Visa fees, you will also need substantial savings that will last you the entire 9 months of the academic year and per each year you intend on living in the UK.

Who needs to pay for a Student Visa?

You will need to pay for your visa if you originate from overseas, including EEA citizens. Universities do not pay this fee for prospective students, though you can apply for scholarships and bursaries depending on your chosen place of study.

It is important to stress that the Student Visa is not just for university students, it is also applicable to international students who are looking to study in a UK school, college or other academic setting. 

The Student Visa fees are as follows:

  • £348 to apply while outside the UK
  • £475 to switch onto a Student Visa while already in the UK
  • £470 per each year of study for the Immigration Health Surcharge

1 Absolute Adviser – immigration lawyers in London

If you need professional guidance and support with your Student Visa, speak to our immigration lawyers in London today. Here at 1 Absolute Advisor, we can help you with your Student Visa application from start to finish, so ring us for a free consultation on 0207 993 6762 today.

UK Spouse Visa Sham Marriage

UK Spouse Visa Sham Marriage

Spouse Visa UK: What is a ‘sham marriage’?

The UK Spouse Visa is notorious for high refusal rates and unprecedented speculation on behalf of
the Home Office. Immigration enforcement has gate-crashed weddings and generally invaded
people’s personal lives when investigating so-called ‘sham marriages’.
But what is a sham marriage and why is it relevant to Spouse Visa applicants?

A sham or a scam?

The first point to consider is that the UK Spouse Visa rules dictate the applicants must be in a
genuine, long-lasting relationship. As a result of this requirement, UKVI will dig deeply into your
relationship to establish its sincerity. If, for any reason, the decision-maker perceives the relationship
to be a ‘sham’, it will result in a visa refusal.

The definition of a sham marriage is one in which a couple chooses to marry for the sole purpose of
an immigration advantage. Indeed, a UK Spouse Visa will allow any non-British individual to move to
the UK and seek settlement after a mere five years. Seeking a Spouse Visa when you’re not really the
spouse of a British national is considered a direct abuse of the immigration rules. If the couple are
not genuinely together, UKVI will consider the relationship fraudulent and the application itself
deceptive. You may even be banned for a certain amount of time from applying again.


Similar to a sham marriage, however, is a ‘marriage of convenience’. Here the couple may genuinely
be together, but decide to marry for the purpose of a visa. This is much harder for UKVI to prove, but
nonetheless stresses how crucial it is to hire an immigration professional: you wouldn’t want to slip
up casually that you had planned to marry for visa purposes.


Through the eyes of UKVI, sham marriages and marriages of convenience are virtually the same.
Therefore, applicants must be vigilant when it comes to proving that they are in a genuine
relationship.

How to pass the ‘genuine relationship’ test


Part and parcel of proving to the UK Government that the relationship is real involves submitting
evidence of having met at least once, proof of a legally binding marriage (with a certificate) and a
declaration that the couple intends to live together under the same roof in the UK. To build a
compelling case, applicants may submit years of evidence of their relationship such as travel tickets
and holidays taken together, text message exchanges and photographs together.
It is important to note that even having children and being married will not guarantee a successful
Spouse Visa application.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?

Our immigration lawyers in London are well versed in the UK Spouse Visa rules. We know exactly
what UKVI is looking for when it assesses your relationship and how you can prove you are genuinely
together. Don’t be a victim of UK Spouse Visa Sham Marriage

By hiring an immigration professional, you can mitigate against the high risk of a visa refusal. We will
even help you to build a compelling portfolio of supporting evidence which documents your
relationship from the day you first met.

If you need help with your Spouse Visa UK application, get in touch with 1 Absolute Advisor today on
0207 993 6762.

Immigration Lawyer In Watford

Immigration Lawyer In Watford

Are you looking for an Immigration Lawyer In Watford who can assist you with your UK Visa Application.

Immigrating to the UK, whether temporarily or permanently, can be a difficult and costly procedure for individuals who want to do so. Like most immigration departments the UK Home Office state that foreign nationals are not obliged to hire immigration lawyers to complete their immigration paperwork, this does not imply that you should do it on their own. Because of the complexities of immigration rules and the significance of each immigration case, you must hire an immigration lawyer to help you through the process.

Our Immigration Lawyer in Watford can help you great deal be it a visit visa or a spouse visa or if you wish to apply for British Citizenship.

We offer you affordable and reliable services starting from a consultation to filing your application with the Home Office. We make the entire process easy and stress free. It starts with a friendly phone call where our advisers will understand your case and make an assessment. You will then be told about the merits of your case. You can engage in one of our three service option.

Option 1: Consultation Advice. This is normally done via a zoom video call where we will advice you about your case and how best to make an application.

Option 2: Review Service. This will include a thorough review of your application and supporting documents that you have included in your application. This will ensure that you are able to file this application yourself with confidence.

Option 3: Full Service. We file the application on your behalf and represent you until you get your visa. This is the most comprehensive service.

If you are looking for a reliable, affordable and friendly immigration lawyer call us today 0207 993 6762 or simply fill in a free call back form.

UK Spouse Visa From Pakistan

UK Spouse Visa From Pakistan

UK Spouse Visa From Pakistan

If you’re a Pakistani resident with a British spouse who is either a British citizen or has indefinite permission to stay in the UK, you’re probably looking for how to apply for a spouse visa to join or stay with your partner.

The Home Office handles these applications under the Immigration Rules. “Appendix FM” (FM refers to family members) and “Appendix FM SE” (SE refers to specified evidence) are the sections of the Rules that applicants must traverse.

The regulations are not simple to comprehend. For example, paragraphs are not numbered but are tagged with acronyms, rules relate to other laws in other sections, and paragraph and sentence structures do not always seem to make any sense.

In this article, we aim to shed some light on the criteria that must be fulfilled when applying for a UK spouse visa from Pakistan.

Step 1: UK Spouse Visa From Pakistan

Like with other countries, the first step is to fill out the visa application form on the gov.uk site. This includes filling out a long application form with questions about your history and present situation. Pay special attention to whether or not all data is factually correct and consistent with prior applications. You will be prompted to pay your application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (the mandatory charge to access NHS in the UK for the visa’s duration) after the form has been verified. The application will be deemed filed after the money has been received successfully.

Step 2: UK Spouse Visa From Pakistan

The next step is to schedule and arrange an appointment to have your facial image and fingerprints (also known as biometrics) enrolled and have your papers submitted to the decision-makers. These may be done via the gov.uk link at the bottom of the submission page.

You will be taken to the VFS Global website after clicking on that link. For those unfamiliar, VFS Global is an outsourced service provider firm contracted by the Home Office to perform administrative duties connected to visa processing.

The appointment is set up by selecting a day and time from an online calendar. In Pakistan, there are four options: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Mirpur. After you’ve scheduled an appointment, you’ll need to determine how you’ll provide your evidence.

Through VFS Global, you have four options for submitting your evidence to UK Visas and Immigration, the decision-making entity:

  • Upload supporting documentation to the VFS Global website on your own time (no additional charge): This is how most people typically go about things. It guarantees that you can inspect all the evidence submitted and don’t have to rely on a third party to do so. All scans must be properly uploaded before the appointment, and evidence of upload must be given along with the normal passports and ancillary items brought to the biometrics session. Unless you pay for the ‘keep my passport’ service, they will generally keep your passport (criteria and fees apply).
  • At the Visa Application Centre, there is a Document Scanning Assistance Service (additional fee PKR 4790 or GBP 22): This option may be bought in advance via VFS Global, with the receipt being presented to the biometrics session with your original passports and appointment sheet. Everything will be scanned and returned to you by the VAC personnel. Unless the extra service of retaining the passport is bought, the passport is generally kept, just as option one.
  • A walk-in settlement scanning service is available in the United Kingdom: For an extra GBP 75 charge, the UK-based sponsor steps in and gets all papers scanned.
  • Settlement scanning service in the United Kingdom: For an extra GBP 100, you may send it via post (with GBP 25 extra for secure return)

The UK options are generally ideal for people who have all of their papers in the UK and do not wish to scan them or transfer them to Pakistan.

The waiting period for evaluation starts after you attend your biometric appointment and submit your documents in one of the numerous methods allowed. According to the general service requirements for settlement applications, a decision is made after 12 weeks of the biometrics being registered. Priority service is available for individuals who fulfill the requirements for an extra fee of PKR 121,104 or GBP 547.

UK Visas and Immigration intends to come to a decision in 30 working days of the biometrics being registered under this scheme. The catch, of course, is that this is just an ‘aim,’ not a promise. Despite fulfilling the qualifying requirements and exhibiting no factual or evidentiary complications, applications in Pakistan, regardless of which VAC is selected, typically exceed this timeframe. Therefore, it is important to keep delays in mind when considering buying this service or preparing ahead.

Eligibility Requirements

All of the criteria in Appendix FM, paragraphs E-ECP.2.1 to 4.2, must be fulfilled to be given entry clearance as a spouse.

The applicant’s sponsor has to be British or has restricted refugee or humanitarian protection leave in the UK. (Rather than Appendix FM, refugees may be allowed to bring certain relatives into the UK under the “family reunion” regulations.)

The applicant and the sponsor should be at least 18 years old at the time of application and not have a “prohibited degree of relationship.” This implies they can’t be so close that marrying them would be illegal in the UK (for example, sister and brother and sister).

The parties must also have met face-to-face, have a real and ongoing relationship and plan to permanently live together in the UK.

If the individuals are married or in a civil partnership, their relationship must be legal, and any prior relationships must have ended permanently. Fiancées who want to marry must be willing to marry in the coming six months.

Applicants seeking entrance clearance must have completed an English language exam in speaking and listening at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Level A1 or above.

Only a provider authorized by the Home Office may administer the exam. Lists of these providers are updated regularly, so double-check that the institute you’re applying to is still on the list before submitting your application.

Documents Required

To prove that the applicant meets all of the criteria for a UK Spouse or Partner Visa, they must provide appropriate supporting documents, which the UKVI will examine as part of the application.

The following documents must be submitted with your spouse visa application:

  • Passport must be valid.
  • Proof of your relationship’s genuineness
  • Proof that you’ve met the financial requirements
  • Proof of English language proficiency.
  • Proper accommodation

If you want to travel to the UK as a spouse or partner, you must:

  • Right to reside in the nation from where the applicant is applying
  • TB Test certificate, if required.

Read here for a detailed UK Spouse Visa Document Checklist

Decision

The decision is announced through a cryptic email that tells you that a decision was made in your case (they don’t bother to tell you the outcome). They usually text or email you again after that to inform you that the actual passport and decision letter are available for pickup. The choice is disclosed within the package after it has been collected.

If your visa is approved, you will get your passport returned with an entry-clearance vignette stamp allowing you to enter the United Kingdom. This will be valid for 30 days for spouse/partner visas. After arriving in the UK, you will be given a Biometric Residence Permit, a card that looks like an ID card and has all of your visa information and duration. This is usually collected at a post office near your home in the UK or from a separate location if you specified a different address while filling out the online application form. Those awarded fiancé visas will not get a Biometric Residence Permit; instead, their whole 6-month stay will be validated on the passport vignette.

Concluding Remarks

Those who do not want to return to the VAC after the decision has been made may pay for a courier service to send their passport. The service costs PKR 2750 or GBP 12.5 and is promoted on their website as “safe and easy.” If you’re interested, you may get it ahead of time on VFS Global’s website.

Harsh Refusal UK Spouse Visa

Harsh Refusal of UK Spouse Visa

Harsh Refusal UK Spouse Visa in a recent case where the applicant wanted to apply for a UK Spouse Visa Set entry clearance for his wife and 5 year old son to the UK.  The sponsor applicant and his wife had been married for over five years and were living in Peru. The wife had a five year old son from her previous relationship.  They all visited the UK for a short period of time on a UK Visitor Visa to see what it is like to live in the UK and naturally they fell in love.  So they decided to apply for a UK Spouse Visa along with their son.

They gathered the UK Spouse Visa Document Checklist after a long struggle for her to meet the UK Spouse Visa English language requirement finally the application was submitted.  Since the sponsor was living in Peru he did not meet the UK Spouse Visa financial requirement of £22400 so they had to rely on their savings.


Considering the UK Spouse Visa processing time they had their application decision made within the time frame. The results were unbelievable, the Home Office granted the wife entry clearance but refused her five year old son. The reason for refusal was that despite the mother having the sole custody of the son, the biological father had visitation rights.  


They now had to re-submit a new application with evidence of no objection from the biological father and a new child custody order that does not contain visitation rights. They are now awaiting a decision. Stay tuned to know the results.


The reality is no matter how well prepared you think you are such Harsh Refusal UK Spouse Visa by the Home Office is possible even if they seem illogical. Why would you grant a visa to the mother and not her child as if they would stay apart?

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