Archive for Human Rights

Did Meghan Markle Applying for a fiancee visa?

Entry clearance is the procedure used by Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) at British missions overseas to check eligibility before a person is allowed to enter the UK, if that person qualifies under the Immigration Rules.   In some cases particularly under the Immigration Rules entry clearance is mandatory.  In all cases, the authority to admit someone to the UK ultimately rests with the Immigration Officer (IO) at the port of entry.

Applicants are also required to submit biometric information as part of the application process and pay the correct a fee which is listed on the Home Office website.

The UK’s immigration control is based on the Immigration Act 1971 amended by subsequent immigration and asylum acts, and the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (the Rules) provided for in Section 3 (2) of the 1971 Act.

 

Entry clearance for fiancée & proposed civil partners

Whether you are applying for settlement in the form of fiancée, spousal, civil partnership, or unmarried partner an application for entry clearance must be made.   The applicant must be seeking entry to the UK to enable their marriage or civil partnership to take place within 6 months of arriving in the UK.  The partner in the UK must either be a British Citizen settled status or have been granted humanitarian protection for example refugee status.    So it is probable that Megan Markle applied to enter the UK on a fiancee visa before she entered the UK this time. It is clear she made the necessary long term changes at her former residence paving the way to settle in the UK.  That would be the correct procedure under the Immigration Rules.

 

IS ENTRY CLEARANCE COMPULSORY FOR EVERYONE?

It is not compulsory for everybody; some people (non-visa nationals) USA is a non visa national, are able to travel to the UK and make their immigration application on arrival to a border force officer at the port of entry, provided their intended stay is for six months or less. But if an applicant knows that they are intending to get engaged in the UK and remain an application would need to be made before.  Most immigration routes now require entry clearance regardless of the applicant’s nationality and some people for whom entry clearance is not compulsory still choose to apply for it.

WHERE CAN I MAKE AN APPLICATION FOR ENTRY CLEARANCE?

You will need to go online and create an account for Visa4UK and sign into that account. In almost all countries, applicants must apply online. The only exception is North Korea.

DOES IT MATTER WHAT LOCATION THE APPLICATION FOR ENTRY CLEARANCE IS MADE?

You cannot  apply whilst you are physically within the UK. The application is made online.  Arrangements will need to be made to ensure all documents are submitted to the relevant visa application center.

The application form must be printed online and the application submitted with their passport and supporting documents, this is usually when they attend the visa application center to give biometrics and, in many cases, although this happens less frequently to attend an interview. Most applicants pay the application fee online, but in some countries, they pay the fee when they attend the visa application center. Applicants usually select a date and time at which they would like to attend a visa application center as part of the online application process.

 

 

 

WILL MY PARTNER BE REQUIRED TO TAKE AN APPROVED ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST?

If they have an academic qualification, in English they will not need to take the test. Provided the qualification is recognized by UK Naric and equivalent to UK bachelor degree or higher. If not they will need to pass an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening. The test is not required by children or adults coming to the UK to be cared for by a relative.

HOW CAN FIRST PRECEDENT & VISA SERVICE HELP IN SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR A FIANCÉE/ CIVIL PARTNERSHIP?

We understand how difficult and stressful the immigration process can be for our clients, looking to make these types of application. This is why we manage these applications with care and sensitivity.  Some clients may simply be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of documents required. Some may have been refused in the past and not sure whether all the information is in place.  It is fundamental to have a sound knowledge of the various appendix and immigration rules. Navigating the various appendixes is never easy. We have been doing this for years. Just one error or oversight may result in an application being refused, and loss of fees, which can prove costly.

We have helped numerous clients achieve a successful application.    We do the legwork and research, online application and prepare supporting documents so you don’t have to.  You can use the time to plan your wedding/ civil partnership. Just like Harry and Megan! Congrats by the way on their engagement.

Immigration law is constantly changing, as a result, Home Office refusals are sadly at an all time high in the UK, however, our success rate is unperturbed by the changes, we consistently achieve positive outcomes for our clients.  Don’t leave your loved one’s application to chance. Leave it to the professionals. First Precedent & Visas Services offers a fully regulated service to level 3, the highest level in immigration services. Give us a call and let us know how we can help you.

If you  have any queries about our Civil Partner or Spousal Visa application, or any other application process please call on (+44) 0208 7691750, or for out of office hours enquires please send us an email to: info@firstprecedent.com and we will send a timely response the next working day.

 

What are the Implications of Brexit for EU national & family members?

brexit

Remember this slogan? Britain is now leaving the UK .

What are the implications? This is the question everyone is asking, particularly EU national and their family members, who face an uncertain future in the UK. Equally perplexing is the effect on the family members of third-country nationals the EU national may be connected with.

The question arises what can be done to protect their status in the wake of Brexit.  Many are concerned that the UK government will use EU nationals as a bargaining tool.

Many EU nationals and their family members are considering applying for British Citizenship or Permanent Residence (PR). A person automatically qualifies for PR if they meet the 5 years residence requirements.  There is the option to apply for Permanent Residence. As one can imagine there has been a surge in applications, at the Home Office in the light of Brexit.     However, proving Permanent Residence is not easy, and it’s important that sufficient evidence is provided. The Home Office will not tell you what you need to submit. The application form is also very lengthy and consists of 85 pages. The form is far from straightforward, and you will definitely need to take your time on this one.

Our experience in this area is that the applicant, whether they are an EU national or a family member has numerous questions, from wanting to know whether they qualify for Permanent Residence, to whether they can include family members on their application at the same time.

Also what are the implications under EU law on becoming a British Citizen?  EU law has always been very generous, when dealing with family reunion cases, particularly from third countries Eg Nigeria Ghana-India etc.  Whereas the Immigration Rules are far more restrictive and make family reunion if not difficult, virtually impossible.   If you are looking to apply for a family permit for a family member or a close relative (extended family members) a lot more information may be needed. If you do decide to become a British Citizen you also need to consider whether your country of origin allows you to hold dual nationality.

The chances are you are reading this because you have a specific problem and you are not clear on your position after Brexit. Whether you are applying for Permanent Residence or deciding to become a British Citizen.   One thing is certain, now is the best time to find a solution as the UK is still part of the EU and will be so for the next 2 years.

 

 

Top Tips to consider in applying for a UK fiancée/ Spousal Visa

 

Are you looking to apply for a spousal/ fiancée visa and not sure how to go about it. Then you may find these tips helpful.

 

Applicants in the UK who are applying to switch for instance from student to spouse should ensure that they meet all the requirements of the immigration rules before proceeding with their application. The sponsor should either have settled status, which means that they indefinite leave to remain ( ILR) or British nationals.

 

An application can be made under the Immigration Rules for a fiancee if you are bringing your partner to the UK with the intention of marriage/civil partnership. If the application is successful, then leave will be granted up a maximum of 6 months, to come to the UK to get married with a restriction on work. If the marriage/ civil partnership do not take place within the 6 months then a further application may need to be considered.

 

The next factor one should consider is the accommodation. Whether this is rental accommodation or owned. It is important to ensure that the accommodation you intend to reside  is not overcrowded and that there is exclusively use.

 

Age is also an important factor. If there is a large age gap between the applicant and sponsor then one should expect that the application will be scrutinized carefully.  Is the relationship has a result of a world wind romance?  then these issue will be looked into. If either party has been divorced then it’s important to show that  they are free to marriage.

 

When and where did you meet? It is a requirement under the immigration rules whether you are applying for a spousal/ fiancée civil partnership visa that you have actually met. The applicant will also need to submit evidence that they speak English   to the required standard.   At least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening if the applicant is from an English speaking country then this is not required.

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Here is a list of some of the documents required.

 

Documents Needed:

  • 2 recent passport photographs and your passport
  • Evidence of your age and your partner’s age
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Evidence that you were both free to marry or enter your civil partnership
  • Evidence that you have met
  • Evidence of your English language ability
  • Evidence that you meet the financial requirement.

 

Financial Requirements:

You must have an income of at least £18,600. If you are sponsoring a child as well as a partner you will need an income of at least £22,400. For each additional child being sponsored you will need an additional income of £2,400. For example, if you are you are bringing 2 children with you to the United Kingdom, you must have and income of £22,400 and £2,400 for the additional child, so a total of £24,800.

Applying for Permanent Residence for Family Members of EEA nationals

 

 Top Tips to consider before applying for permanent residence

Family members of EEA nationals who are exercising rights of free movement are entitled to be admitted to and stay in the UK with the EEA national.  The definition of family members includes the third country nationals, a term used to describe nationals who are not members of the European Union.

Family members of EU nationals also have the right to reside in the UK and do not need to leave the UK if they have overstayed on their visa.

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This is of great advantage to family members, who may have overstayed under the Immigration Rules, and do not have any leave to remain. They are able to regularize their stay in the UK.

Family members issued with a residence permit are also entitled to family reunion, under the   EU law and may also qualify under the Immigration Rules. Reunion can be achieved  under EU law  more effectively, but this needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. It always worth getting immigration advice so one can weigh up the pros and cons. EU law is more generous in allowing family reunion with distant family members, but make sure you check out whether you meet the requirements first.

Family members of EU nationals should note that their rights of residence are dependent on their connections to the EEA national and this can be lost. For instance when the EEA national themselves ceases to be a qualified person, by no longer living and working in the UK.  Divorce is another example, unless the family  member has retained his or her rights of residence.

 Settlement Applications

The EU law does allow all persons who have been admitted under the various immigration categories including family members of third country nationals to apply for permanent residence after 5 years continuous lawful residence.

Family members of third country nationals considering applying should not assume it’s purely a question of meeting the residence requirements, they need to show connections to the EU national.

The immigration Rules now include provision for applicants wishing to remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life.  These rules are located at Appendix FM and Para 276ADE. But once again applicants should also seek advice on their circumstances before deciding the best way to proceed; as they may find out they do not qualify! In view if the ever increasing uncertainty of the UK continuing to be a member of the European Union, seeking advice over rights of settlement is now increasingly  of great importance.

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Are you eligible to apply for limited leave to remain as a parent?

Are you are a parent or carer of a child settled in the UK? Do you have a child born in the UK under 18 years that you would like to maintain regular contact?   Do you have existing leave to remain in the UK? Or are you an overstayer?  The good news is that the immigration rules do make provision, however there are a number of requirements that would need to be met under the Immigration Rules. Applicants should seek the advice of an Immigration Adviser before considering applying, as changes to the Immigration rules may impact and affect the application. Applicants would need to satisfy not only financial & accommodation requirements, but also English language requirements.

 

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If the application is successful, the applicant will be initially being granted 30 months leave, and would be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 60months.

 

Qualifying for indefinite leave to remain 10 years lawful residence

The prospects for many applicants seeking to apply for this represent the final hurdle for achieving their long awaited status.  Depending on the basis of your application e.g. Tier 2 work permits or 10 years lawful residence, you may qualify for indefinite leave either after 5 years or 10 years lawful residence.   Before making these application applicants should check they meet the requirements to ensure that they qualify.

 

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In particular applicants should look closely that they do meet the continuous residence requirements, and that there residence is lawful throughout this period.  Under the Immigration rules continuous residence means residence in the UK for an unbroken period, and the for these purposes a period shall not be considered to have been broken where an applicant is absent from the UK for a period of 6 months or less. So if an applicant who has existing leave travels overseas and return with 6 months. This would be treated as continuous.

Identifying Gaps or breaks in the qualifying period.

What if you do have gaps or breaks in your period of entitlement? Have you made an out of time application in the proceeding period?  If there has been a break, how long is the break?   If you have had a period of overstay during the qualifying period, then this can affect the result of your application.

One should not assume that just because an application meets the milestone of say 5 years or 10 years that you will automatically qualify. In cases where an applicant has a single short gap in lawful residence through making one single previous application out of time by a few days not more than 10 days (e.g. postal strike, hospitalization, administrative error) then it may be possible that caseworkers may exercise discretion in these instances.

If there is a gap or break applicants should ensure that they do get the necessary legal advice before proceeding with their application.

The New Immigration Bill – New Tough Measures Planned

UKBA-LogoAs foretold earlier this year, the Government publishes its new immigration bill today. The bill contains a number of tough measures which has major far reaching social and political  implications for families communities, and society as a whole.

Please see list below for a summary of the main proposals:

  1. Stop migrants using public services
  2. Easier deportation procedures;
  3.  Private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants;
  4. .Introduction of a requirement for students to make a contribution to the heath service;
  5.  Banks will be required to check known databases of offenders before opening bank accounts;
  6. Introduction of powers to check and revoke driving licenses where immigrants have overstayed;
  7.  Restriction on ability for detainees to apply for bail if repeatedly refused;
  8. Clamp down on sham marriages or civil marriages to gain immigration advantage
  9.  Redefine how the courts apply Article 8 ECHR

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Qualifying for lndefinite leave to remain after grant of discretionary leave

ilrApplicants who have been granted discretionary leave to remain outside the immigration rules are eligible to apply for settlement after 6 years.     The Home Office policy has in the past been to grant discretionary leave where an applicant raised human rights or medical issues.  

If the leave was granted before 9 July 2012   then after accruing 6 years continuous residence they will be eligible to apply for ILR.

However applicants who have been granted discretionary leave after 9 July  2012 will need to complete at least 120 months, (i.e. a total of 10 years normally consisting of four 2.5 year periods of leave), before being eligible to apply for settlement.

Are you looking to qualify under the 20 years Long Residence Immigration Rules?

20 years Long Residence Rule

 The Prime Minister with Home Secretary Theresa May On announcing that UK Border Agency will be split

The Prime Minister with Home Secretary Theresa May On announcing that UK Border Agency will be split

 As a result of the changes in the Immigration Rules effected from 9 July 2012. The requirements to qualify for further leave have been extended from 14 years to 20 years.   But what you may not be familiar with is the other changes, affecting qualifying for settlement. The new changes mean that applicants will have to wait a very long time after the 20 years to be able to achieve settled status. This could potentially have a devastating effect particulary if an applicant is looking to apply for a fiancée or even a spousal visa.

The new changes will have come as a bitter blow for those who were hoping to apply, the latter end of that year under the 14 years rule in 2012. Applicants then were able to qualify for  indefinite leave  remain (ILR) then.  Only to find now that the goal post has been moved.  They will now have to consider waiting for a further 6 years, until 2018 to apply, and even longer to qualify for settled status.  

Applicants in this category can include overstayers, failed asylum seekers, dependents, and young adults who came to the UK at a young age.  Applicants in this category will need to reconsider their position carefully, and their options in the light of these changes.   Are there any other routes open to regularize their stay?  It will be worth seeking professional legal advice.

Applicant should also note that is important that they are able to demonstrate close ties and connections in the UK, as well as demonstrating that they have been resident in the UK for 20 years as claimed.   It is also well worth checking that their application does not fall for refusal under any of the other grounds of refusal , and appendix FM.

The Immigration Rules are more generous to minors who have lived in the UK continuously for at least 7 years, and also to young adults aged 18 years or above, and have spent at least half of their life in the UK.  Also those who are over 18, who have lived continously in the UK for less than 20 years, but have no ties in their former country. In these cases these applicants do not need to be in the UK for 20 years to apply under the long residence rules.  

 Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR)

Applicants who qualify under the 20 years long residence will no longer automatically qualify for ILR straight away, but will be granted further leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months, that will need to be renewed. After 10 years following their long residence, they will be eligible for indefinite leave.

Therefore some applicants   under this category would need to be in the UK for 30 years before they are able to apply for settled status.

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Introduction of the 7 years Concession

Article 8 ECHR The right to family life

It looks like this is by far the best kept secret of the current coalition government. With effect from 13 Dec 2012 The Immigration Rules have been amended to introduce the 7 years concession. The concession is about assessing whether to grant leave to a family member on the basis of their family life with a child in the UK. The concession is all about recognizing the importance of stability for a child and the difficulties and implications of breaking off these links.

The guidance now sets out the new guidelines that will need to be considered .The guidance reflect the duty under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and immigration Act 2009 to have regard to the welfare of the child who are in the UK. So if the applicant has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who is under the age of 18, and is in the UK its worth getting professional legal advice, to see if it is worth applying. See requirements listed below:

The applicant has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who
(aa) is under the age of 18 years, or was under the age of 18 years when the applicant was first granted leave on the basis that this paragraph applied;
(bb) is in the UK;
(cc) is a British Citizen or has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application ;and
(ii) it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK; or
(b) the applicant has a genuine and subsisting relationship with a partner who is in the UK and is a British Citizen, settled in the UK or in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection, and there are insurmountable obstacles to family life with that partner continuing outside the UK.

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