All Articles: key post
What is the no recourse to public funds condition?
The “no recourse to public funds” condition is imposed on grants of limited leave to enter or remain with the effect of prohibiting the person holding that leave from accessing certain defined public funds, set out at paragraph 6 of the ...7th December 2023
Making sense of sole responsibility for child visas in immigration law
The “sole responsibility” immigration test comes into play where one of the parents of a child is relocating to the United Kingdom and one parent remains abroad. The United Kingdom’s immigration rules effectively presume that a child ...15th November 2023
What are the 10 and 20 year rules on long residence?
The immigration rules allow people to apply to remain in the UK on the basis of long residence. Those here lawfully can apply for indefinite leave to remain following 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK. Those who had periods of overstay ...27th October 2023
Briefing: what is the law on deporting foreign criminals and their human rights?
Deportation proceedings pit the rights of the individual against those of the state, appointed guardian of the public interest. And as very clearly stated in primary legislation, the deportation of foreign criminals is in the public interest. The law ...5th October 2023
What is the difference between refugee status and humanitarian protection?
On the face of it, refugee status and humanitarian protection seem like two sides of the same coin. Both are a form of international protection granted to a person in need. Both result in a grant of five years’ permission to remain in the UK on ...26th September 2023
What are the immigration rules for a visit visa to the United Kingdom?
A visit visa is a visa allowing a person to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months at a time, during which time they are not allowed to work. Visa nationals have to apply for and be granted a visit visa before they travel otherwise they will au ...24th September 2023
General grounds for refusal: criminal convictions, public good, character, conduct and associations
Criminal convictions and other signs of poor character can, unsurprisingly, negatively affect applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK. Those caught out by these rules over the years include former boxer Mike Tyson, Duane “Dog the Bou ...15th September 2023
Refugee family reunion: a user’s guide
This post is intended for refugees (including those with humanitarian protection), their families and their friends trying to understand the rules on refugee family reunion. The requirements to be met are fairly straightforward and simple for chi ...7th September 2023
How to apply for a UK spouse or partner visa
Spouses and partners of British citizens or people settled in the UK can apply for a visa to join or remain with their loved ones. These applications are dealt with by the Home Office under the immigration rules. Specifically, the part of the rules th ...5th September 2023
General grounds for refusal: alleged deception, false information and innocent mistakes
Making a mistake on an immigration application form can be disastrous. If the mistake is interpreted by officials as an attempt to mislead or deceive, the application may be refused. If the application was for entry clearance, it can also lead to a te ...31st August 2023
How to apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa
The UK Expansion Worker visa is part of the Global Business Mobility route. It enables overseas businesses seeking to expand into the UK to temporarily assign senior managers and specialist employees, including business owners, to the UK to establish ...25th August 2023
What are the financial requirements for UK spouse and partner visas?
The Appendix FM minimum income requirements for spouse and partner visas can catch out even those with enough money to meet them. Having the money only takes you so far: the income must come from a specific source, must be calculated in a certain way, ...21st August 2023
How to make a complaint to the Home Office
Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. If the same applies to the Home Office staff who have the unenviable job of fielding complaints about their colleagues from irate migrants and their lawyers, t ...16th August 2023
What are the immigration rules for settled returning residents of the United Kingdom?
A “returning resident” is a resident of the United Kingdom with settled status who returns to the country after a lengthy absence abroad. Ordinarily, when a person refers to “returning residents” they might be talking about a t ...21st July 2023
There is no 180 day a year rule for visitors to the UK
One of the most common UK immigration myths is that there is a maximum permitted stay of 180 days in a year (or six months in 12 months) for UK visitors. This myth has been propagated not just by migrants but also by advisers and even UK Border Forc ...11th July 2023
What is the refugee definition in international and UK law?
Lawyers do not own the word “refugee”. The term has been in use since the eighteenth century and has its own evocative, wider meaning in the public consciousness. Those fleeing Ukraine or relocating to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong can ...19th June 2023
Youth Mobility visa: what is it and how does it work?
A Youth Mobility visa enables people aged 18-30 to live and work in the UK, usually for up to two years. It used to be called the “working holiday-maker scheme” and some people may still call it that. Crucially, there is no requirement to ...12th May 2023
Exceptional circumstances in a spouse or partner visa application under Appendix FM
In other posts we have looked at the requirements to be satisfied by a spouse or partner who seek leave to enter or remain. Under Appendix FM, the sponsor can be a British citizen, a settled person, a refugee, or someone with humanitarian protection, ...5th April 2023
Leave to remain application date: how to calculate it and why it is important
You’ve left extending your visa until the last minute and are now in danger of missing the deadline. Does this matter and is there anything you can do about it? The answer to the first question is a resounding yes. Fortunately, in most cases, th ...12th October 2022
Fee waivers: what can you do if you cannot afford to pay your immigration application fee?
Immigration applications are extremely expensive. Most requests for permission to stay in the UK (other than under the Points Based Immigration System) now cost £1,048. In addition, applicants may need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (£624 a ...12th July 2022
Free family visas: the entry clearance fee waiver policy
The Home Office has published guidance on fee waivers for entry clearance applications (in other words, when it is possible to get a visa for free). This is important as the fees are set at a level that is prohibitive for many families. The waiver app ...30th June 2022
Briefing: What rights do refugees have under the Refugee Convention?
Asylum lawyers like me tend to focus on just one clause of the Refugee Convention: the definition of a refugee. This is the gateway to formal recognition as a refugee and is therefore of vital importance to any person seeking asylum. From this definit ...22nd June 2022
General grounds for refusal: owing a debt to the NHS
Owing a debt to the National Health Service is a ground for refusing applications for permission to enter or remain in the UK. Such debts arise because “overseas visitors” are charged for certain types of NHS treatment. The National Health ...6th June 2022
Briefing: invalid immigration applications
For a UK immigration application to be considered at all, it must be valid. Whether an applicant meets the criteria is a moot point if this first, fundamental requirement isn’t met. Validity is a bit like oxygen: all things being well, it is invisib ...25th April 2022
Briefing: indefinite leave to remain for people with refugee status or humanitarian protection
A successful application for asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK results in the grant of five years’ permission to stay, on what is known as a “protection route”. People granted permission on a protection route then need to a ...11th April 2022
How to apply for a UK domestic worker visa
There is a UK visa for overseas domestic workers, first introduced in 2002. Although the Immigration Rules do not define “domestic workers”, the route is typically used by nannies, cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, personal carers and protectio ...22nd February 2022
Briefing: what is section 3C leave?
If a migrant makes a valid application to extend their leave (permission) to be in the UK before it expires, their existing leave will be rolled over until a decision has been made on the application, even if this is after the original expiry date. Th ...1st November 2021
How does the Home Office assess sexual identity in asylum claims?
People claiming asylum based on their sexual orientation, including homosexuality and bisexuality, may form part of a “particular social group” which qualifies for protection under the Refugee Convention. In deciding whether to accept an ...22nd October 2021
Can children and parents apply to remain after seven years’ residence?
From a child’s perspective, seven years of residence in the UK can be literally a lifetime. It may be the sum of all the child’s experience and the UK may be the only home they know in any meaningful sense. On top of that, children do not make the ...18th October 2021
How to apply for an International Sportsperson visa
Yesterday brought about a new immigration route for international sportspeople aged 16 or over wishing to enter the UK. It is intended to create a simplified visa arrangement for elite and internationally established sportspeople and sports coaches. D ...12th October 2021
Briefing: what happens to EU citizens who miss the settled status deadline?
The Brexit vote, the triggering of Article 50, the failed May deal, the Johnson capitulation, the legal exit at the start of 2020 and the economic exit at the year’s end have all come and gone. On 30 June 2021 comes another milestone: the deadli ...28th June 2021
Briefing: how to apply for a student sponsor licence
International students are worth billions to the UK economy in higher education fees and indirect expenditure, benefitting local communities financially as well as enriching them in non-economic terms. Being able to attract overseas students is crucia ...21st June 2021
Can asylum seekers work while waiting for a decision on their case?
A recent technical error cutting countless asylum seekers off from their already-meagre support payments of £39.63 a week has shed light on the difficulties those applying for asylum face in meeting their basic needs while their claims are being cons ...16th June 2021
How to apply for a Skilled Worker sponsor licence
With EU free movement fading into memory, the main visa route available for non British and Irish nationals wanting to work in the UK is now the Skilled Worker visa. The Skilled Worker visa is a sponsorship system: a foreign worker cannot simply app ...7th April 2021
How to apply for the UK’s Global Talent visa
The UK’s Global Talent visa went live in February 2020, replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. Far more flexible than its predecessor, and with no cap on the number of people who can enter with this visa (why restrict talent!), it has fast ...2nd March 2021
Briefing: what is the English language requirement?
The English language requirement can be generously viewed as the Home Office’s response to the biblical Tower of Babel story: society is undermined by its people’s inability to speak the same language. But as anyone who has ever had the misfortune ...1st December 2020
How does Brexit affect Irish citizens in the UK?
The UK government’s policy is that Brexit will not affect Irish nationals at all. Other EU citizens have to apply for a new “settled status” or risk losing their right to live and work in the UK after June 2021. But the government’s position i ...20th November 2020
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge and how much does it cost?
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee levied on the majority of UK visa applications. The Immigration Health Surcharge is on top of other Home Office immigration fees and designed to land in a different government pocket. Also sometimes know ...27th October 2020
How to apply for a UK Ancestry visa
People from Commonwealth countries often ask whether they can get a British visa on the basis of their country’s historical ties to the UK. The answer is, generally speaking, “no”. But there is one route which is open only to, althou ...10th September 2020
Briefing: the support system for migrant victims of human trafficking
When the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced, it was heralded by the government as a momentous piece of legislation which would “give protection to the victims who need it”. The Act introduced a reformed system for identifying, supporting and p ...24th August 2020