UK Immigration Blog

UK ILR Priority Services

UK ILR Priority Services
UK ILR Priority Service

What are the UK ILR Priority Services?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the ILR Super Priority Services?

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

What other fast-track services are there for ILR?

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

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

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

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

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

How can your immigration lawyers help?

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

Benefits of having ILR In the UK

Benefits of having ILR In the UK

What are the benefits of having ILR in the UK?

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

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

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

What is ILR?

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

Free from immigration restrictions

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

Free NHS care

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

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

Access to welfare support

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

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

Sponsor family members

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

The route to British citizenship

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

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?

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

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

Reasons For ILR Refusal

Reasons For ILR Refusal

Reasons For ILR Refusal

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

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

Why has my ILR status been refused?

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

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

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

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

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

What are the reasons for ILR refusal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I appeal an ILR refusal? 

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

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

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

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

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

Why am I prohibited from appealing my ILR refusal? 

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

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

How can an immigration lawyer help? 

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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
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

  • 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.

Discuss Your Case For FREE