Fiancé Visa and the Immigration Rules

Fiance-visa and the Immigration Rules

Here, we assess when it may be appropriate to apply for a fiancé visa and the requirements to be met.

For context, Paul called to establish if we could help him apply for a visitor visa from India, our fees, and the time that it would take to secure the visa.

Paul was reluctant to say anything further. It did not stop us asking him several questions to determine that Paul had applied for a visitor visa to enter the UK and had been refused on 2 separate occasions. With further questioning, Paul relaxed and shared that he the prolonged absence from his long-term partner in the UK had taken a huge toll. Paul planned to travel to the UK as a visitor and marry his partner. Once married in the UK, Paul wished to apply for a spouse visa in the UK.

Wrong!

Fortunately, we were able to advise Paul of the flaws in his plans. Under paragraph V 4.2 of the Immigration Rules Appendix V: Visitor, a person entering the UK as a standard visitor must demonstrate that they will leave the UK at the end of their visit. This applies to the Marriage and Civil Partnership visitor visa also, which would allow Paul to enter the UK to marry his partner. As Paul wished to stay in the UK, Paul clearly did not meet the visitor or Marriage Visitor requirements. Instead, he would be hurtling toward visa refusal Number 3.

Paul’s partner, Rita, is an Indian national living and working in the UK as a software engineer. Rita had acquired indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under the highly skilled worker route. Due to Rita’s immigration status, and the couple’s goals, we suggested that Paul apply for a fiancé visa to travel to the UK and we assisted him with the application process.

Overview

An overseas national may travel to the UK to enter marriage or a civil partnership with a person present and settled in the UK. Therefore, under this route, Paul may apply for a fiancé visa to enter the UK to marry Rita, within 6 months of his arrival. Following the marriage, and within the validity of the visa, Paul may apply for a spouse visa to remain in the UK with Rita. The spouse visa will offer Paul a route to settlement and allow him to work in the UK. Paul will not be permitted to work in the UK under the fiancé visa.

Requirements

Under paragraph 290 of the Immigration Rules, to successfully apply for a fiancé or fiancée visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they meet the requirements. Key requirements include:

The intention to marry

Paragraph 290 (i) of the Immigration Rules states that the applicant must seek leave to enter the UK to marry or enter a civil partnership to a person who is present and settled in the UK or who is on the same occasion being admitted for settlement. This includes, a British citizen, person with indefinite leave to remain, or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Rita holds indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or settlement, and is presently in the UK. Rita is therefore eligible to sponsor Paul’s application to enter the UK as her fiancé.

Paul and Rita must also demonstrate their intention to marry in the UK. Paul had bought an engagement and wedding ring for Rita, for which he had the receipts. Paul and Rita also arranged a provisional date for their marriage ceremony with Rita’s church. The documentary evidence was used to support the application.

The couple must have met

Paragraph 290 (ii) of the Immigration Rules states that the parties to the proposed marriage or civil partnership must have met.

Rita and Paul had met in person in India. In fact, Rita had travelled to India on numerous occasions to meet with her family and Paul. In support, Paul had provided photographic evidence of having met Rita in person, together with Rita’s travel itinerary to India and the couple’s communications with each other. We were able clearly document that Rita had spent a significant amount of time with Paul.  This also supported the assertion that the couple were in a genuine relationship.

The couple must have adequate accommodation

The Rules state that the applicant must have adequate accommodation in the UK, from the date of entry until the date of the marriage or civil partnership, without the need to claim State funds or housing support.

Paul and Rita advised that upon Paul’s entry to the UK, Paul intended to reside with his uncle, with the couple living together at Rita’s one-bedroomed flat, once married.

In support of the application, we provided details of Paul’s uncle’s status in the UK, and details of his property and ability to accommodate Paul at his home.

After the marriage or civil partnership, paragraph 290 (v) of the Immigration Rules requires the couple must have adequate accommodation, including for any dependants, without recourse to public funds, which they own or occupy exclusively.

To comply with this requirement, evidence of Rita’s ownership of her London property was submitted.

The couple have adequate funds

Under paragraph 290 (vi) of the Immigration Rules, the parties must show that once married, they will be able to adequately maintain themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds after their marriage or civil partnership.

The financial requirement will apply here. The sponsor must therefore demonstrate that they earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum. Further, the sponsor must have earned the requisite level of income for 6 months immediately preceding the application date.

Rita earned over £70,000 per year plus bonuses. Documentary evidence of Rita’s employment and earnings were submitted to cover a 6 months’ period.

Were children involved in the application, the couple would have been required to meet a higher financial threshold.

The applicant must meet the English language requirement

Under paragraph 290 (viii) of the Immigration Rules, the applicant must provide evidence that they meet the English language requirement by way of an original English language test certificate in speaking and listening from an approved English language test provider. The English language certificate must clearly show the applicant’s name and the qualification obtained at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

The applicant may be exempt from meeting the requirement due to their age, compassionate circumstances or because they are a national of one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; United States of America.

In the absence of an English language test or exemption, the applicant must provide an academic qualification, which is deemed by UK NARIC to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK.

Paul had studied for a Master’s degree in Computer Application, taught to him in English at a university in Bangalore in India. We reviewed Paul’s Master’s degree certificate and forwarded the document to UK NARIC to confirm that the qualification was taught or researched in English. The documentation was submitted to UKVI to meet the English language requirement.

Other concerns

Within the application we also addressed the reasons for Paul’s past visitor visa refusals.

Outcome

As a result of the strong application, Paul received a fiancé visa to enter the UK. At the time of writing, Paul and Rita are due to marry soon and we are guiding them on the next steps.

Conclusion

The fiancé visa (or fiancée visa) is beneficial for overseas nationals looking to not only travel to the UK to marry or enter a civil partnership with a British citizen or settled person, but to stay in the UK after the ceremony. There are requirements to be met under the Immigration Rules, which we have highlighted above.

Another take-way from this post, is that it can help to discuss your aims with an immigration adviser. This will ensure that you are applying for the most suitable visa based on your circumstances. Paul was adamant that the visitor visa was the right option for him. Yet, the option that Paul had chosen was inappropriate for his needs. Speaking with an adviser with knowledge of UK immigration laws can save time, money, and the anguish of a visa refusal.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or help applying for a visa, feel free to contact us.

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5 ways to avoid giving up on your visa application

ways to avoid giving up on your visa application

Applying for a travel visa application can be a daunting process. The immigration requirements can appear confusing and contradictory. Never mind the copious amounts of documents to be gathered. 

We often hear from clients that had put off the visa application process for several years before finally taking the matter forward. 

The need to submit the application becomes more critical for applicants looking to extend their visas to remain in the U.K.  For those individuals, putting off the visa application can lead to a rushed application and at worst, a visa refusal. 

So how can you avoid overwhelm and feeling as if you want to give up before you have even started?

Be realistic about timescales

Visa applications take time to prepare. The U.K. immigration rules are complex and many documents are required. Appreciating that the application will take time to prepare will help you to be realistic about your timescales. 

Don’t compare yourself to others 

Your cousin, your work colleague, your friend applied for a visa within 3 days and received their visa the following week. So why is it taking you so long to make any traction on the application? The best response is not to make any comparisons at all.

Each application will be assessed on its individual merits. Even if you were applying for the same visa type as someone known to you, you may be required to submit different documents based on your circumstances, or to arrange for documents to be translated, of all which take time. 

Therefore, it is best to understand how the immigration rules apply to you and to evidence how you need the requirements. 

Accept that the application process is document intensive

UKVI require documentary evidence to assess whether you meet the immigration requirements. 

Documents must be translated and will often need to be submitted in a prescribed format. Doing so, will ensure that the application goes smoothly. 

Recognising that numerous supporting documents will form part of the application, can help avoid surprises and overwhelm. 

Start early

Like point (1), giving yourself time to prepare the application can be beneficial. Therefore, starting the process early can help. 

While a visa application may be submitted 3 months prior to the anticipated travel date, it can be advantageous to start preparing the application 4 months in advance of the travel date. 

If applying to extend the visa from within the U.K., the application may be submitted 28 days before the expiry of the visa. Yet, preparing the application and documents at least 3 months in advance of the expiry date will allow time to address any gaps and to gather further documentary evidence, if needed. 

Seek help

Some individuals are happy to prepare their visa application without assistance, and we provide several tips in our blog posts on our site to help them achieve a successful outcome.

However, if you are feeling overwhelmed and are considering giving up, seek help.

It may be that a qualified immigration consultant, such as Thomas Chase Immigration, can help you alleviate any concerns, or simply take the visa application preparation off your hands. Many clients fall within this bracket. 

Hopefully, our 5 tips on avoiding giving up on your visa application has made you feel that little bit more positive about the visa application process. 


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or help applying for a visa, feel free to contact us.

EEA Family Permit FAQ

EEA Family Permit FAQ

In this blog post, we answer your frequently asked questions about the family permit.

What is an EEA family permit?

European Economic Area family permits or EEA family permits are issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. The issue of the permits does not fall under the stricter United Kingdom (UK) immigration rules.

The purpose of the family permit is to allow overseas nationals, from outside of the EEA (non-EEA nationals) to enter the UK and accompany or join their EEA family member.

For instance, one of our clients, Jean, was a French national, living in Belgium, with his wife who was a national of Côte d’Ivoire. Jean’s employers offered him the opportunity to work at their London branch. Jean was able to exercise his free movement rights and travel freely to the UK. However, Jean’s wife, Marsha, required an EEA family permit to accompany him to the UK.

Who can get an EEA family permit?

A non-EEA national may apply for an EEA family permit if they are the:

  • Direct family member of an EEA national, or
  • Extended family member of an EEA national

What does the EEA family permit look like?

If approved, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will place a visa vignette in the non-EEA national’s passport.

How do you apply for an EEA family permit?

An application for a family permit must be completed and submitted to UKVI via their online portal. 

How long does the EEA family permit take?

EEA family permit visas are normally processed within 15 to 30 workings days from the date of the biometric appointment.

For example, if the application were submitted on 20 November and applicant provided their biometric data in person on 10 December, then the processing time would begin as of 10 December.

COVID-19: Due to the Covid-19 or the coronavirus pandemic, visa application centres are subject to closure at short notice, sometimes making it impossible for applicants to provide their biometric data. In addition, applications are facing delays to the overall processing times as UKVI work through the backlog of cases.

Can the EEA family permit be refused?

Yes. The EEA family permit application can be refused.

In fact, a former client, Jada, almost gave up on her plans to travel to the UK after her husband’s EEA family permit had been refused on 3 separate occasions. Jada, a Spanish national, and her spouse Sam, a national of Colombia, both lived in Spain and wished to travel to the UK together in order to visit Jada’s extended family.

UKVI had initially refused Sam’s application because they did not believe that Sam was the family member of an EEA national, despite the couple’s assertions that they had provided proof of Jada’s identity.

The couple subsequently submitted a legalised copy of Jada’s passport. And yet on the second and third occasion, the applications were refused because UKVI questioned the genuineness of their marriage and their ability to adequately fund their travel to the UK.

Jada felt exasperated by the couple’s experiences with UKVI. Jada stated that she hadn’t expected the process to be so convoluted and document heavy. After all, she was an EEA national, the couple were married and neither one of them intended to stay in the UK long term. They simply wanted to visit the UK for tourism purposes.

Yet by providing adequate documentation in support of the application, Jada and Sam were eventually able to travel to the UK and catch up with their family members.

See our blog post on EEA family permit refusals.

EEA family permit or visitor visa?

A non-EEA national may apply for a visitor visa to enter the UK. However, where the person is a family member of an EEA family member, it is preferable to apply for a family permit.

Taking the example of Jada and Sam above, Sam intended to travel to the UK and leave at the end of his visit. He could have applied for a visitor visa.  However, the EEA family permit application does not carry a fee and the EU Regulations can be more generous than the UK’s immigration rules that the visitor visa falls under.

Further, Sam would not have been entitled to a right of appeal had he believed that the decision to refuse the visitor visa application was incorrect and worthy of challenge. 

How long is the EEA family permit valid for?

The EEA family permit is valid for 6 months.

Can the EEA family permit be renewed?

If a non-EEA national wishes to travel to the UK after the validity of the EEA family permit, they will be expected to apply for a new permit to facilitate their travel.

However, if the non-EEA national wishes to stay in the UK longer term, they may apply for a document under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to recognise their right of residence.

Can a person work under the EEA family permit?

This is a difficult one. A close family member of an EEA national may exercise their Treaty rights in line with the EEA family member.  For that reason, a non-EEA national should be able to take up employment and work in the UK.

The issue is that the EEA family permit is not listed as an ‘acceptable’ document to evidence a person’s right to work under UK legislation and UKVI guidance. This is in part, because not all EEA family permit holders are permitted to work in the UK without restrictions.

In light of the omission of EEA family permits from the right to work legislation, UK employers are unlikely to hire a person who is not in possession of an approved residence document.

Nevertheless, some employers are aware that they may hire a non-EEA family member if they are satisfied of their direct relationship to the EEA national. And if so, the UK employer will request alternative original documentation such as:

  • Evidence of the non-EEA national’s own identity, such as their passport; and
  • Evidence of their relationship with the EEA family member, such as a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or birth certificate; and
  • Evidence that the EEA national family member has a right of permanent residence in the UK or that they have been exercising their Treaty rights in the UK for more than 3 months.

For the last point, evidence may take the form of an employment contract, wage slips, or letter from a school, college or university with evidence of sufficient funds.

Yet, the risk to the employer of relying upon documentary evidence, other than a residence card or document issued by UKVI, is that the employer will not have a statutory excuse against a statutory penalty.

A statutory penalty can be issued where the non-EEA family member is later deemed to have been working unlawfully in the UK.

So, it is strongly recommended that a non-EEA family member apply for a residence card or seek advice from an accredited immigration advice at the earliest.

Is the EEA family permit a non-settlement visa?

That’s correct. The EEA family permit entitles the non-EEA national to enter and re-enter the UK within the validity of the visa. It does not evidence their right to settle in the UK.

Can the EEA family permit holder travel to Europe?

The UK has not signed up to the Schengen Agreement. As such, EEA family permit holders must apply for the correct visa or visas to travel within the Schengen area.

What happens now that the UK has left the Europe Union?

The UK is no longer a member of the European Union. From 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer be subject to Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. Extended family members will be unable to apply for a permit to enter the UK after this date. Close family members, may in certain circumstances, apply for a permit to join their family members in the UK.

EEA nationals and their non-EEA family members already in the UK, will have a right of residence under the EU Settlement Scheme.

EEA nationals or Swiss citizen, and their qualifying family members may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, where they will be granted pre-settled status or settled status.  

Conclusion

We hope that this blog post answers some of your questions about the EEA family permit and application process.

If you have any queries that you would like us to answer please feel free to post your questions below.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to extend your visa, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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UK Immigration Terms

UK immigration terms

Watch out for our next post in the UK Immigration Terms series.

Do you have any terms that you would like us to include?

Let us know in the comments.


Written by Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration provide immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to extend your visa, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extensions

Tier 1 Entrepreneurs

Joshua’s Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension application was due to be submitted matter of weeks. He had set up a business and invested funds in the UK and was keen to continue to make the UK his home. Joshua was keen to get assistance from a new immigration adviser so as to ensure that the application progressed as smoothly as possible. Below, we set out how immigration requirements and steps taken to prepare the application and secure Joshua’s visa.

Background

In 2008, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route of the UK Points Based System (PBS) was introduced to allow non-EEA nationals to invest specified funds and business acumen in the UK. As an incentive the entrepreneur was given a route to settlement and a right to be accompanied or joined by their close family members.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route replaced the previous, but similar Business Person visa, and the Innovator visa, which was akin to a highly creative Start-up visa, was dispensed with.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur route was very popular. Applicants were permitted to enter the UK or switch into this immigration route with a view to benefiting from the UK’s professional landscape, business support, robust and transparent legal system and professional labour market.

By 2014, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had issued 5,488 Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas, despite the introduction of the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’ in January 2014. Of the visas issued, approximately 4,300 applicants were already in the UK.

Yet, the despite the approval of thousands of Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas, in 2014 and 2015, this represented only 50% of the applications received by UKVI. Further, according to information from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent Government advisory body, only 25% of successful Tier 1 Entrepreneurs applied to extend their visa.

The feeling by 2015, was that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route was being abused, particularly by poorly ill equipped applicants seeking to enter the UK, often with family members, with no genuine intention of setting up or running a business in the UK. In April 2015, UKVI introduced a business plan requirement to help flesh out the applicant’s business intent. Unsurprisingly, UKVI received many ill-prepared business plans by applicants. And in November 2015, rules were implemented for investments by way of a director’s loan.

On 29 March 2019, UKVI closed the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route to all new applicants. Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders already in the UK were permitted to extend their visa. And visa holders may go on to apply for settlement until 5 April 2023.

Extension visas

Why have we presented so much background material about the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route?

To demonstrate that applicants applying under this route were, and to some degree still are, viewed with some skepticism by UKVI officials. Consequently, UKVI will scrutinize the extension application to ensure that all aspects of the immigration rules, under the PBS, are met. That is, has the applicant followed through with the initial business plans as specified in the immigration rules.

If any information is missing within the application, or the applicant fails to demonstrate that the immigration rules have been met in full, the application will be refused.

Extension rules

In order to successfully extend the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, an applicant must comply with the PBS requirements. UKVI will award the applicant points for each of the areas met.

An applicant must score at least 95 points, of which 75 points will be awarded for Attributes under Appendix A of the immigration rules; 10 points for meeting the English language requirements under Appendix B; and 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirements, as below.

Item NoInvestment, business activity and job creationPoints
1You have: (a) registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed, or (b) registered with Companies House as a director of a UK company, or member of a UK partnership. You must have registered within six months of entering the UK with this entry clearance (if you provide evidence to establish your date of entry) or, in any other case, within six months of the date your leave was granted.  20
2You have invested, or have caused investment to be made by one or more third parties, at least £200,000 (or £50,000 if you were awarded points for £50,000 funding or investment in your last grant of leave) in cash directly into one or more UK businesses. You do not need to provide evidence of this investment if you were awarded points under this table in your last grant of entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant.  20
3Within the three months before the date of application, you have been: (a) registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed, or (b) registered with Companies House as a director of a UK company or member of a UK partnership.  15
4You have: (a) established a new business or businesses that has or have created the equivalent of at least 2 new full time jobs for settled workers, or (b) joined or taken over an existing business or businesses and your services or investment have resulted in a net increase in the employment provided by the business or businesses for settled workers by creating the equivalent of at least 2 new full time jobs. The jobs must have existed for at least 12 months during your most recent grant of leave or, where that leave was granted less than 12 months ago, for at least the 12 months immediately before the date of the current application.  20
5You have met the English language requirement10
6You have met the adequate maintenance requirement10
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa extension requirements

Where the application is considered to be less than straightforward, complex, or where there may be an issue meeting the immigration rules, it may be prudent to provide a cover letter to UKVI to clarify the position. Indeed, this is where an approved immigration adviser can prove beneficial. As standard, we provide a detailed cover letter with the application to help UKVI caseworkers understand the applicant’s circumstances and walk them through how the immigration have been met, with reference to the applicant’s specified evidence.

Credibility

The PBS is supposed to be straightforward. If the applicant meets the requirements, they will be awarded the requisite points and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa will be issued to them.

Nevertheless, as stated above, UKVI may view the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application with skepticism and caseworkers are advised to take the following subjective considerations into account:

  • The viability and credibility of the source of the money referred to in Appendix A
  • The credibility of the financial accounts of their business or businesses
  • The credibility of their business activity in the UK
  • The credibility of the job creation for which they are claiming points if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained
  • Any other relevant information

Caseworkers may use evidential flexibility of the immigration rules or verification of the documents to assess the application. This is not strictly necessary due to operational need on UKVI’s part. In the case of R (Sajjad) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 720 (17 April 2019), the Court of Appeal upheld UKVI’s position relating to the strict interpretation of the PBS requirements.

The Court noted:

“The objective of the PBS is to enable the respondent to process large numbers of applications fairly and expeditiously by applying clear and objective criteria. It is well established that applicants under the PBS must take great care to comply with its requirement: ‘…to process large numbers of applications fairly and expeditiously by applying clear and objective criteria'”

Therefore, it is important that approved immigration support is sought where there are any concerns.

Business requirements

Back to our client, Joshua. Under paragraphs 245D to 245DF and paragraphs 35 to 53 of Appendix A of the immigration rules, ‘business’ means an enterprise such as a:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Company registered in the UK

Upon his entry to the UK, Joshua, had diligently followed the steps set out in his initial business plan. Shortly after his travel, he had registered a new limited company with Companies House in the UK, specialising in serving high quality organic food. Let’s call the business, The Max Café Limited (The Max Café). 

As a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Joshua is only permitted to work for the business or businesses that he has established, joined or taken over. As part of the application, we submitted evidence of Joshua’s employment as a director of The Max Café, including a printout of the company’s filing report from Companies House, the Current Appointment Report and confirmation of The Max Café’s registered address, as evidence that the business has premises in the UK.

Had Joshua been a sole trader, we would have submitted documents to demonstrate that he had worked in a self-employed capacity for the business.

When assessing Joshua’s application, the caseworker at UKVI will carefully consider whether Joshua business functions are genuine or if he can be deemed to be merely an employee of The Max Café? Much will depend on whether UKVI are persuaded as to the level of control that Joshua has for business decisions.

As part of the assessment process, UKVI guidance states that caseworkers must consider the following questions, among others:

  • Whether the applicant has responsibility for the success or failure of the business and it can make either a profit or a loss?
  • Whether the applicant can decide what work they undertake, when, where or how they carry out such functions?
  • Whether the applicant can hire someone else to do the work?
  • Whether the applicant is responsible for fixing any unsatisfactory work in their own time?
  • Whether the applicant agrees a fixed price for the work?
  • Whether the applicant uses their own money to buy business assets, cover running costs and provide tools and equipment for their own work?
  • Whether the applicant can work for more than one client, depending on the business type?
  • Whether the applicant can put in bids or give quotes to get work?
  • Whether the applicant is under direct supervision when working?
  • Whether the applicant submits invoices for the work they have done?
  • Whether the applicant is responsible for their own National Insurance and tax submissions?
  • Whether the applicant gets holiday or sick pay when they are not working?
  • Whether the applicant operates under a contract for services or consultancy agreement that uses terms like ‘self-employed’, ‘consultant’ or an ‘independent contractor’?

UKVI will use the questions and answers to gain a better understanding of how the business operates and the roles that the applicant plays within the business. Nevertheless, the questions only form part of the assessment. A negative response to one question will not mean that the application is immediately refused. Rather, UKVI caseworkers are advised to take holistic approach when assessing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application. 

Other activities

As highlighted above, an applicant must only work for the business they had set up, joined or taken over. The applicant may also study in the UK, providing those studies do not prevent the applicant from meeting the extension criteria.

Joshua had a Masters’ degree in Business (MBA) prior to his arrival to the UK. After his initial travel to the UK, Joshua began studying for a short business accreditation in food management. We were able to show that the course was complementary to his business functions, and not detrimental to meeting the PBS requirements.

Funds

To successfully extend the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, an applicant must evidence that they had invested the following funds into a UK business or businesses. That is:

  • £200,000 cash investment; or
  • £50,000 cash investment.

The sums invested in the UK business will depend on the level of funding cited in the applicant’s initial application and the source of those funds.

UKVI will discount any funds spent by the applicant, in a way that is deemed not to be an investment into the business. Therefore, the following investment or spend is excluded:

  • Funds used to pay the applicant’s own salary or remuneration
  • Funds used to purchase the business from a previous owner, where such funds ultimately go to that previous owner, rather than into the business being purchased.
  • Funds invested into a business outside of the one run by the applicant
  • Spending that is not directly for the purpose of establishing or running the applicant’s own business or businesses

Joshua had invested his personal funds of £200,000 into The Max Café, by way of a Director’s loan. This is permitted where the applicant becomes a director of the company. The director’s loan should be unsecured and make clear that any third parties seeking debt repayments will be prioritised, ahead of the applicant.

UKVI are very clear about the funds that will not be deemed to be investment funds. They are:

  • A director’s loan by the applicant to the business that is secured and unsubordinated in favour of third-party creditors.
  • Investment in property development and property management.

The investment in property is an interesting one. The requirement is meant to ensure that funds are invested into the UK economy. There are limited instances where an applicant may invest in a property, which UKVI list in their guidance, and is an example that fits one of our past clients, who has since secure settlement. That is, where the applicant purchases premises to run as a hotel, and the intention is to provide rooms to guests in keeping with that arrangement.

In that case, it was made clear to UKVI that the client had used the purchase property to facilitate the provision of services to guests, and was not relying upon the capital gain from the property or from rental income. In Joshua’s case, submitted evidence of the transfer of funds into The Max Café, including documents from his accountant and a copy of the Director’s Loan Agreement.

Job Creation

Applicants seeking to apply for an extension of their Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa must, as part of the application, evidence that they have created the equivalent of 2 full-time paid employment positions, for at least 2 people who are settled in the UK. For the purposes of the application, a full-time position is seen as a 30-hour working week. Where the applicant has joined and invested into an existing business, they must show that they had created 2 additional full-time employment roles.

The rules relating to job creation can be quite intricate. For instance, each job role must have existed for at least 12 months. The job role need not have been filled for 12 consecutive months. Instead, one job role may have been filled by a resident worker for 6 months in one year, and 6 months in the following year. Nonetheless, where this applies, the applicant must demonstrate that the job was the same role.

What the applicant cannot do is arrange for settled workers to combine 2 different roles to meet the 12 months’ requirement. Therefore, the applicant running a dental practice cannot employ a full-time settled worker as a sale assistant for 6 months in one year, and combine this with the job of a full-time dentist for 6 months thereafter.  See our recent blog about how the pandemic may impact upon Tier 1 Entrepreneur’s visa requirements.

Joshua met job creation immigration requirement because The Max Café had employed 4 full-time settled workers in the UK for at least 12 months. It is not necessary for the settled workers to be in employment as of the date of the application, though they must have been employed for a 12 months’ period.   

Had Joshua been registered as self-employed, rather than as a director of a limited company, Joshua would have been expected to have employed the settled workers directly.

As part of the application, we submitted evidence of The Max Café’s job creation in the form of:

  • Printouts of Real Time Full Payment Submissions to confirm the reporting of the company’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax to HMRC, showing the total payments made to the settled employees and tax deductions 
  • Duplicate salary slips or wage documents issued to the workers covering the full period of their employment
  • Confirmation of the start date, number of hours paid and the hourly rate for each employee used to claim points, including any changes in the number of hours paid or hourly rate and the dates of the changes
  • The passport biographical pages (the page with the person’s photograph and personal data), of each employee
  • A copy of the immigration stamp or endorsement within the passport, their full birth certificate showing the name of at least one parent, where the employee is an overseas national
  • A printout from Companies House of the company’s filing history page and the applicant’s personal appointments history, showing the date of their appointment as director

Had Joshua joined and invested in an existing business, he would have needed to submit a letter from an accountant, to verify the dates of the job creation.

Joshua was surprised by the need for him to collate and provide such documents. After all, the information to be submitted was held by various government bodies. Joshua’s view was that UKVI can simply access the required information from HMRC or the local Council. That is not how the application process works. It cannot be stressed how important it is for all applicants to ensure that the specified documents are with the UKVI caseworker before the date of the decision. If not the application will be refused.

There are provisions for UKVI to contact the applicant or representative for further information, clarification or even document. But such provisions are time limited and may not allow the applicant sufficient time and opportunity to gather and provide the requested data.

English language

As of 29 March 2019, all applicants will automatically score 10 points for English language. This is because they would have met the requirements in the previous application for Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

Joshua was therefore awarded 10 points for English language.

Adequate maintenance

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur who is seeking to extend their visa must show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves (and any dependant family members). If evidenced, UKVI will award 10 points for maintenance.

Sufficient funds mean that the applicant has held £945 of personal savings, for at least 90 consecutive days’ period immediately preceding the application date. In Joshua’s case, this was evidenced by providing his personal bank statements for the relevant period.

Applicants should be careful not to focus solely on the meeting the business requirements at the expense of demonstrating that they can continue to look after themselves in the UK, otherwise the application will fail.

Criminality

Underlying all of the requirements is the ‘genuineness test’ that was introduced by UKVI to determine whether the information and applicant are credible – see above under Credibility.

Criminal and civil record checks will be carried out in every application. Given that UKVI is not bound to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, every criminal offence will be considered as part of the application no matter how minor or when the act was committed. Fortunately, Joshua did not have any concerns. Still, it is important for an applicant to consult an approved immigration adviser if they have any questions or concerns.

Processing times

Processing times for an application to extend the Tier 1 visa, submitted via the standard route, is approximately 6 months, though applications are normally concluded within 8 weeks.

Joshua submitted his application by way of the super priority service. For a premium, this guaranteed Joshua a decision within 24 hours.  

Length of stay

Joshua attended the Service Centre near Central London to provide his biometric data and his application was approved soon after!

Joshua had initially been granted 3 years and 4 months leave to enter the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur. Following the success of his Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension visa, Joshua was granted a further 2 years leave to stay in the UK.

Conclusion

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route was introduced to allow business minded individual to contributes to the UK economy. Due to apparent abuse and concerns, the visa route was closed to new applicants. Nevertheless, current Tier 1 Entrepreneur may continue to extend their visas and apply for settlement. Given the background of this category, it is absolutely crucial for applicants to properly prepare their applications to secure the necessary points under the PBS as well as meet the overriding credibility considerations.

We have highlighted some key things to consider, which we hope has been of help to you.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to extend your visa, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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Football visa options: Travelling to the UK to play football

Football visa

Pursuing a footballing career in the United Kingdom (UK) is a dream for many.  And a difficult one. After all, football requires commitment, dedication and ability. There is the competition from peers. And yet, harder still is securing a football visa to travel to the UK to pursue a football career.

Potential professional football players from within the European Union (EU), and are nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA), are free to move between Member States to pursue their footballing career.  See our blog post about the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU for information about the restrictions to freedom of movement.

For those outside of the EU, it is imperative to find a football club willing to sponsor a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and sporting) visa or Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visas are issued for the length of the applicant’s contract or up to three years, whichever is the shorter period. There is the possibility of extending the visa up to a total of 5 years. Whereas the Tier 5 visa is issued for the length of the applicant’s contract or up to 12 months, whichever is the shorter.

The sponsoring club will be responsible for securing a Governing Body Endorsement and issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Determining the correct visa option will depend on the applicant’s skills, experience and nature of their sporting career, as the immigration rules dictate that, a person wishing to play football in the UK must be internationally established at the highest level, and their employment must make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level.

This strict requirement was introduced in response to the Football Association’s concerns about the high percentage of overseas nationals, participating in the Premier League at the expense of homegrown talent. See: Dyke: Work permit changes will benefit English football.

Some feel that the threshold is now too onerous. There have been a high number of Tier 2 (sportsperson) visa refusals, leading some overseas footballers and coaches to look to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa or Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa categories. And yet, the Tier 1 visas specifically prevent applicants from working as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. This also applies to the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa.

Pursuing a footballing career

For those from outside of the EEA, wishing to pursue their footballing career in the UK, the first step is to go to the website of the football club that you wish to play for.

Most football clubs in the UK have a global football scouting system, where they attend matches overseas in order to identify top talent. If an individual is identified as a potential elite or first team player, the club will help the person to arrange a football visa. Therefore, playing for your local football club is a good place to hone in on your craft and be spotted.

A large number of football clubs do not accept football CV s and speculative emails, though a few do. Some clubs post dates of upcoming trials on their website and may expect interested individuals to already have status in the UK or an appropriate visa in place.

The Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) represent Football Scouts all over the world and provide details on their site about upcoming trials  as well as information about how to get scouted.

But be careful! The FA issued a warning about individuals, who may be falsely presenting themselves as licenced agents or football club employees, while claiming to be in a position to arrange all manner of football trials.

Please do not part with money, or arrange the transfer of funds to someone promising, by email or letter, that they can arrange a football trial. Please do your research and make background checks.

If you have any doubts about the promises made or doubts about the correspondence received, which claim to come from a club or agent/intermediary, the FA advise that you  should contact The FA Financial Regulation team directly for advice.

Good luck!


First published on 24 February 2017. Updated on 24 April 2020 with guidance relating to pursuing a career in football in the UK.

Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to enter or remain in the UK, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs.

British Citizenship Ceremonies Update

British Citizenship Ceremonies

You have successfully applied to naturalise as a British citizenship, and now you must attend a British citizenship ceremony. What can individuals expect at the and the British citizenship ceremonies and how will this be affected by the need for physical or social distancing due to the coronavirus?

We set out the position below.

Timescales

All individuals that have successfully applied to naturalise as British citizens, and who are over 18 years of age, must attend a citizenship ceremony.

British Citizenship ceremonies are organized by the local council and normally take place in groups, though it is possible to have a private ceremony for an additional fee. Private ceremonies can be beneficial, where an individual wish to invite more than the permitted guest allocation which currently stands at two guests.

Normally, the individual must contact the local authority and book a date for the ceremony, within 21 days of the date of their Citizenship Invitation Letter sent by the Home Office.

For individuals that are abroad, yet intending to live in the UK more permanently, they may postpone their ceremony until their return.  If so, they will have up to 3 months to book the ceremony.

Latest position due to the coronavirus

Due to coronavirus, the Home Office has said that individuals will now have 6 months to book their British citizenship ceremonies.

The Home Office advise that any delays in attending the ceremonies, as a result of the coronavirus, will not affect the outcome of the application itself.

Therefore, they will not rescind the decision to approve the application to naturalise because an individual is unable to attend an appointment due to the pandemic.

Nevertheless, while it is good to know that individuals will have more time to attend British citizenship ceremonies because of the coronavirus.

The downside is that such individuals will not be officially viewed as British until such time as they attend the ceremonies and say an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen, and pledge loyalty to the UK.  

It is at the end of the ceremony, an individual will be presented with their Certificate of British Citizenship and a Welcome Pack. The Certificate will evidence the person’s legal acquisition of British citizenship, and should therefore be kept safe. It is not advisable to alter or even laminate the document.

The Certificate of British Citizenship will also be required as part of an application for a first British passport.  

It is advisable to avoid altering or even laminating the certificate, as HM Passport Office may refuse to accept the document as evidence of citizenship. If so, a new certificate will need to be obtained.  

Conclusion

British citizenship ceremonies allow individuals that have successfully applied to naturalize, to mark the occasion. At the ceremony, individuals will be given official documentation of their status.

The pandemic has impacted those who may not yet have attended the ceremony and the Home Office has provided updated guidance.

We have highlighted some key things to consider, which we hope has been of help.

Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre

If you have a coronavirus and UK immigration query UKVI advise that you contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre at: [email protected]. Emails must be in English.

The Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre will typically respond to emails within 5 working days.

The Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre can also be contacted by phone on: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Calls are free of charge. Please do not call the team if you have already sent the team an email. This will only waste time and slow down response times.

For anyone wishing to seek clarity about their immigration status, we recommend that you seek expert immigration advice.

All the best and please stay safe!


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to naturalise or register as a British citizen, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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Coronavirus and UK Immigration

Coronavirus and UK immigration

First published on 28 March 2020. Last updated 22 May 2020.

Many of our clients have expressed deep concern about their immigration circumstances, in light of the coronavirus or Covid-19. Here we look at UK Immigration and Visas’ (UKVI’s) latest guidance on coronavirus and UK immigration.

Background

Due to the Covid-19, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised British citizens not to travel internationally, unless their travel is deemed to be essential. We have one client, a British national, who is considering travelling to Canada to be with his Canadian wife, as she is now no longer able to progress her spouse visa application

For those wishing to travel, it is important for those individuals to be aware of the latest travel information, as countries continue to review their containment measures and restrict travel. Such measures can be introduced by countries without notice and individuals can be arrested if laws around quarantine and self-isolation are not adhered to. Therefore, travellers are advised to check the latest position with your travel provider or consulate and only travel is absolutely necessary.  

Current UK visa holders unable to leave the UK

There are a number of visa holders in the United Kingdom (UK), whose UK visas are due to expire. Failure to leave the UK on or prior to the expiry of the visa will normally cause significant issues to a person’s immigration history. Our strong advice has, and always will be, to adhere to the terms of the visa. Yet, many individuals are finding it extremely difficult to secure their travel to leave the UK and travel overseas.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to flights being cancelled, and some airlines have ground flights altogether. The Home Office has fortunately recognised the difficulties facing UK visa holders in the UK and and announced, subject to UKVI guidance, that such individuals will receive an automatic extension of their visa until 31 March 2020.

On 24 March 2020, UKVI updated their guidance. The current position (as of today’s date at least), is that visa holders, with visas that are due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, will receive an extension of their stay until 31 May 2020. Initially this had been restricted to Chinese nationals because of the extreme difficulties they faced returning to China but has now been widened.

The extension of the visa length applies to UK visa holders who cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions in place or self-isolation related to coronavirus, so this will apply to a significant number of individuals. Nevertheless, in order to fall within the provisions, UKVI advise that visa holders with visas expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) so that UKVI may update their records.

As of 22 May 2020, UKVI advise that visas may be extended until 31 July 2020, for those unable to leave the UK because of Covid-19 related matters.

UKVI state that any emails sent to CIT, seeking an extension of leave, should provide the following information:

Their full name (including any middle names);

  • Their date of birth (in the following format – dd/mm/yyyy);
  • Their nationality; and
  • Their previous visa reference number.

The UK visa holder is also asked to provide an explanation as to why they cannot leave the UK and return to their home country. For example, this may be due to the closure of the border or inability to secure travel arrangements.

UKVI will acknowledge receipt of the email and go on to consider the contents. If satisfied, UKVI will inform the visa holder of the temporary extension of their visa.  

This is a helpful solution for UK visa holders facing uncertainty over the coronavirus and UK immigration status. It may be that coronavirus and UK immigration measures remain in place beyond 31 May 2020. If so, UKVI will no doubt look to extend their measures. UK visa holders that receive an extension or have a visa due to expire soon after 31 May 2020 are advised to pay close attention to any updates from UKVI.

In the interim, it is advisable for UK visa holders impacted by the coronavirus to collate and retain records of any communications with UKVI relating to the extension of their visas, and of any communications relating to cancelled travel or travel difficulties. This includes screenshots of any attempts to book their overseas travel.

UK visa holders wishing to stay in the UK long-term

UKVI had initially advised that Chinese nationals in the UK under the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa category could exceptionally switch to a Tier 2 General visa from within the UK. That is, if their UK visa was due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

The requirements for affected individuals to first leave the country and apply from overseas has been set aside for the present time.

On 24 March, UKVI provided coronavirus and UK immigration guidance to UK visa holders who would ordinarily return to their home countries in order to apply for leave to enter the UK under a new visa category. In light of the travel difficulties and coronavirus, UKVI advised that such visa holders may exceptionally apply to switch into a longer term immigration category from within the UK.

This option is available to UK visa holders until 31 May only and applies to individuals whose visas may have already been extended until 31 March 2020.

As of 22 May 2020, UKVI updated their guidance so that the deadline for making an application, from the UK, to switch to a visa that would normally require a person to apply from your home country has been extended to 31 July 2020

Individuals seeking to apply for a longer term visa from within the UK must ensure that they meet the visa requirements under the immigration rules, otherwise the application will fail. They must also pay the correct UK application fee and immigration health surcharge, is applicable.

Applications may be made online. However, UK applicants should note that they will not able to book a biometric appointment as per usual, as the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS), Post Office enrolment services and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus.

For anyone that has submitted an application and had managed to book an appointment, or have a biometric enrolment letter, applicants will be contacted directly and told what to do next.

The terms of the individual’s current visa will continue until a decision has been made on the new application. Their immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of their inability to attend an appointment or enrol their biometric data at a participating Post Office. It is therefore crucial that any new immigration application is properly prepared so as to avoid an adverse decision.

UK visa holders with an expired 30 day visa

When an applicant’s visa application to work, study or join a family member in the UK is approved, UKVI will issue the applicant with a visa vignette in their passport to facilitate their entry within a 30 day period. Once in the UK, the visa holder must replace the visa vignette with a Biometric Residence Permit valid for the period of leave.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, some visa holders in the UK have been unable to replace their 30 day visas with Biometric Residence Permits. If so, UKVI advise that the visa holder contact them via email to request a replacement visa. The visa holder must include the following within the email:

  • Name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • GWF reference number

The email subject line should state: ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’.

If the visa holder has already contacted UKVI, the email should highlight this. UKVI will respond to the email in due course with a view to issuing a replacement visa vignette in the passport.

UKVI has stated that visa holders in this situation will not be penalised because they are unable to collect the Biometric Residence Permit while social distancing measures remain in place.

The process involving the replacement of the 30 day visas will be in place until the end of 2020.

Tier 1 Entrepreneurs in the UK

On 3 April, UKVI updated their guidance to take into account the impact of Covid-19 on businesses continuity.

UKVI states that Tier 1 Entrepreneurs, whose business has been disrupted by the pandemic, will no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each.

Instead, the 12 month period that resident workers must be employed for, may be made up of multiple employees across different months.

Time during which the employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12 month period.

If the Tier 1 Entrepreneur has not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time their visa expires, they may be allowed to temporarily extend their stay to enable them to meet the requirement.

It is helpful that UKVI has taken this flexible approach to Tier 1 Entrepreneurs. Normally, UKVI can be extremely rigid when applying the rules under the points based system, something we intend to cover in a later blog post.

Thinking ahead, we suggest that Tier 1 Entrepreneurs collate any data to evidence how the disruption to their business has manifested as a result of Covid-19. This may include collating published government announcements about the closure of certain sectors to better implement physical distancing, and accounts data.

Doing so now, can make the preparation of the extension or settlement application much easier, particularly if memories fade about such things with the passage of time.

Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics in the UK

For doctors, nurses and paramedics in the UK, who work for a National Health Service (NHS) employer, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020, their visas will be automatically extended by one year. On 1 May 2020, UKVI extended this list to include some frontline health workers and their family members – see below.

UKVI will contact NHS employers directly to identity staff that are eligible for the automatic extension. UKVI will then advise the employers and eligible individuals about the new visa status.

The automatic visa extension announcements will also apply to the family members of doctors, nurses and paramedics, where the visas are due to expire before 1 October 2020.

The extension is free and UKVI state that such visa holders will not be required to pay the immigration health surcharge. Such a shame that UKVI cannot indefinitely waive the immigration health surcharge for doctors, nurses and paramedics visa holders.

In addition, doctors, nurses and paramedics, working in the NHS, will no longer have restrictions placed on this as to the number of hours that they may work or volunteer each week. This will apply if they are:

  • A Tier 4 student
  • Tier 2 worker and the NHS job is a second job
  • A visiting academic researcher
  • A holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer

UKVI have extended the deadline by which pre-registration nurses may sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). This has been extended to 31 December 2020.

On 1 May 2020, UKVI added further guidance for frontline health workers working in different locations and/or those carrying out supplementary work. The list of frontline workers affected by the guidance was also expanded to include more occupations. The list of frontline health workers is as follows:

  • Biochemist
  • Biological scientist
  • Dental practitioner
  • Health professional
  • Medical practitioner
  • Medical radiographer
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Paramedic
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Therapy professional

If an NHS/ frontline worker is unsure whether their profession is eligible, they may wish to check with their employer who will be in a better position to advise.

UK visa applicants outside of the UK

There has been little comfort for UK visa applicants awaiting a decision on their application submitted from outside the UK. Even less for UK visa applicants that are in the process of submitting their application or were due to attend a biometric appointment.

UKVI have been slow to issue coronavirus and UK immigration guidance, in the main because they are also reliant upon the third party visa application centres to process the applications in various global locations. In turn, the third party visa application centres have found themselves in a difficult position as they try to ensure the safety of their staff and members of the public.

Due to the pandemic, and mobility restrictions placed in order to control and minimise the spread, many UK visa application centres (VACs) have closed their offices. The few VACs that remain open are providing limited services. For instance, the VAC in Moscow had stayed open, though they had closed on 29 March until further notice.

Applicants waiting for a decision on their applications have been advised by UKVI to contact the relevant VAC in their location. That is:

  • TLS contact for UK visa applicants in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East; or
  • VFS global for all other locations.

Where the UK visa applicant had submitted their application and was due to attend a biometric appointment at a centre that is no longer open, the applicant will be contacted directly by TLS Contact or VFS Global and told that their appointment is no longer taking place. We have already seen this with clients that had biometric appointments scheduled in the US, Delhi, Beirut and parts of Europe. This is particularly distressing for individuals facing continued separation from their family members and we continue to assess the situation on their behalf.

In some locations, the VAC have already return the documents to the applicants as the applicant wait for information about the decision making process. Applicants concerned about their original documents or passports will have their documents returned to them by courier, if the courier service was procured and the courier routes remain open.

If the passports are currently with the VACs and the applicants would like to secure their return,  the applicants are advised to contact either TLS contact or VFS global directly. The VAC will assist the applicants in arranging a courier service for the return of the passports.

The VACs will prioritise the return of all documents once centres are reopened. Anyone that remains concerned about the passport should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline.

Those entering the UK from overseas

From 8 June, those seeking to enter the UK will experience new rules due to Covid-19. The new rules apply to UK residents and visitors.

Travelers and returnees to the UK will need to provide their journey and contact details, by way of an online form prior to arriving to the UK. Proof of completion of the online form will need to be shown at the border.

Upon their arrival, the person will be expected to stay at the address provided in the online form, for an initial period of 14 days. In other words, they must self-isolate.

Providing no Covid-19 symptoms are experienced within the first 14 days, the person may stop self-isolate but must follow government guidelines relating to social and physical distancing in the UK.

They are also advised by the government to download the NHS contact tracing app, though details will be provided by the Department of Health shortly.

The new rules will be regularly reviewed by the UK government and may be subject to change. Therefore residents returning to the UK and travelers are advised to check the latest public health advice on coronavirus before traveling.

From 8 June, a person may be fined £100 if they refuse to provide their contact details, and £1,000 if they refuse to self-isolate in England and Wales. Further action may also be taken.

Enforcement measures in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be announced soon.

A person seeking entry to the UK, who refuses to complete the form and provide the address where their will self-isolate, may be refused entry into the UK. This does not apply to UK and settled nationals, though they may receive a fine for non-compliance.

Prospective UK visa applicants outside of the UK

Individuals that are preparing their applications for submission to the VAC are also experiencing uncertainty. It is presently providing very difficult to secure their English language test or Tuberculosis screening certificates. Applicants are advised to visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the LanguageCert website or contact their test centre for more information.

As for UK visa holders whose visa were not activated by their travel to the UK, and whose visas have expired, UKVI suggest that the person should re-start the visa application process. So for instance, one person who had been issued with a EU Settlement Scheme family permit 6 months ago, and had not yet traveled to the UK, and can now no longer do so, will have to apply for a new family permit. It will not be possible to extend the terms of the family permit to allow her to enter the UK at a later date.

Tier 4 Students

On 20 April, UKVI provided detailed guidance relating to Tier 4 sponsors, Tier 4 students and short term students.

Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre

If you have a coronavirus and UK immigration query UKVI advise that you contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre at: [email protected]. Emails must be in English.

The Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre will typically respond to emails within 5 working days.

The Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre can also be contacted by phone on: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Calls are free of charge from within the UK. Please do not call the team if you have already sent the team an email. This will only waste time and slow down response times.

For anyone wishing to seek clarity about their immigration status, we recommend that you seek expert immigration advice.

All the best and please stay safe!

Conclusion

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have an ever increasing pervasive impact on people’s lives, be it health, the ability to work and conduct your day-to-day affairs, or UK immigration status. It is imperative in these times that individuals follow the medical advice of self-isolating and social-distancing so as to minimise the spread of the coronavirus to ourselves, our family members and wider community.

 Coronavirus and UK immigration advice will differ whether you are a UK visa holder in the UK seeking to return to your home country and cannot do so because of the pandemic; are in the UK and hope to stay longer term, or have applied for a UK visa from overseas. We have highlighted some of the steps that can be taken depending on your circumstances. We hope that the above guidance is of help and we will aim to be keep you updated during these tumultuous times.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to enter or remain in the UK, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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Coronavirus and travel restrictions

Covid-19

A significant number of countries around the world have introduced strict travel restrictions as they seek to control and manage the incidence of coronavirus in their locations. Here, we provide a brief summary of the latest position to help you assess your next steps.

International travel restrictions

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) assessed the novel coronavirus or Covid-19, as a pandemic. At the time, there were 118,000 cases of the virus in 114 countries. And sadly, 4,291 people had lost their lives.

Below is a brief summary of the stringent travel restrictions or border controls, that countries have introduced in order to reduce or contain the spread of coronavirus.

Australia

On March 19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all visitors, except for citizens and permanent residents and their close family members, would be prevented from travelling to Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs in Australia has advised Australian nationals and permanent residents against all non-essential travel at this time. For Australian nationals temporarily outside of the country, the authorities advise their citizens to return to Australia, by commercial means, as soon as possible.

For those permitted to enter the country, the Department of Home Affairs states that all entrants must self-isolate for 14 days. In particular, they advise that:

  • A person may board a domestic flight to their intended destination in Australia to self-isolate there;
  • If they are well and not symptomatic, the person may self-isolate in a hotel; and
  • If the traveller does not comply with their 14-day self-isolation requirements, they may face a range of penalties that exist in each State or Territory.

Home Affairs advise visa holders in Australia to apply for a new visa before their current visa expires. However, they may be eligible for a temporary extension or bridging visa in order to protect their immigration position until a decision is made on the visa application.

Contact should be made with Home Affairs as soon as possible.

Bahrain

The authorities in Bahrain have announced that it will be testing all permitted travellers to the country for the coronavirus and requesting that they undertake mandatory self-isolation for a 14-day period.

Citizens and residents have been encouraged to avoid non-essential overseas travel.

Bangladesh

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh announced, that with effect from midnight on 21 March, scheduled commercial passenger aircraft departing from European and other destinations, will not be authorised to land at any international airport in Bangladesh. That said, the country is servicing flights from parts of the UK.

Travel restrictions will remain in place until 31 March, though are subject to extension and change at short notice.

Canada

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in Canada has issued a Level 3 warning against all non-essential travel at this time, due to the coronavirus.

Travel restrictions will apply to those seeking entry to Canada who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or immediate family members of Canadian citizens, aeroplane crew members, diplomats and US citizens.

Canadian nationals may sign up to the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

China

The Chinese authorities have introduced a number of coronavirus containment and quarantine measures across the country.

International travellers permitted to enter parts of China will be quarantined for 14 days and there have been restrictions placed against travel between regions.

On 13 March, the Chinese authorities issued a new order, to ensure compliance with quarantine measures aimed at preventing people spreading the virus across the country.

Anyone deemed to have failed to comply with the new containment or testing measures may face a sentence of up to three years in prison. This applies to both Chinese and overseas nationals.

Finland

The Finnish Government has declared a nationwide state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As a result, Finland has closed its borders to non-Finnish citizens and non-permanent nationals.

The international airports of Helsinki, Turku and Mariehamn will remain open for returning passengers. Border crossing places in Northern Finland to Sweden and Norway will also remain open to returning passengers.

The travel restrictions will remain in place until 13 April 2020, though measures can be extended at short notice.

In addition, the Finnish Ministry of Transport has announced the suspension of the VR passenger rail service between Finland and Russia.

France

On 16 March, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the closure of the country’s borders with effect from 17 March. That said, French citizens and permanent residents would be permitted to return to France.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises its citizens against all non-essential travel overseas at least until 29 March. This includes travel to the United Kingdom, though it excludes Northern Ireland.

The authorities have taken a number of strict measures to limit non-essential movement within the country, including curtailing non-essential trips and strongly requesting that residents remain in their homes, except in very limited circumstances.

Germany

On March 15, the Government of Germany advised residents against all non-essential overseas travel until at least 29 March. The restrictions apply to travel to the United Kingdom, though it excludes Northern Ireland.

Germany has seen a significant number of cases of coronavirus reported across Germany, particularly in North-Rhine Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.  

The authorities state:

EU-citizens and citizens of Great Britain, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members will be allowed to transit through Germany to reach their home countries. The same will apply for foreigners holding a residence permit in one of these countries. Other people may be rejected entry, if they cannot provide proof of urgent reasons for their entry“.

Temporary borders controls have been introduced between Germany and France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark.

Ghana

On 21 March, the Government of Ghana announced the closure of the country’s borders, with effect from 22 March. The restrictions apply to non-Ghanaian citizens and permanent residents.

Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, announced that airlines had been instructed not to allow such anyone infected with the coronavirus to embark; and also urged border posts not permit such travellers into their jurisdiction.

Guatemala

As of 16 March, Guatemala has introduced international travel restrictions from the UK, as well as visitors from some European countries, Canada, the United States, South Korea and Iran.

Jamaica

Jamaica has imposed travel restrictions on travellers from Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, Singapore, Germany, Spain, France and the UK, as a result of the coronavirus.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton said that anyone arriving from countries where there is community spread will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Dr Tufton stated: “We still maintain [those] restrictions… but for all other persons travelling, once they come from a country, where there is internal spread, they will be required to be quarantined.”

Japan

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended that Japanese nationals and residents defer all non-essential travel.

The country has also restricted travel into Japan as it seeks to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Malaysia

With effect from 16 March, the Malaysian authorities has shut its borders to travellers and restricted movement within the country in order to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures will remain in place until 31 March, though may be extended at short notice.

Nigeria

On March 18, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced that the country would be restricting entry into the country for travellers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Self-isolation, for a period of at least 14 days, has introduced for nationals from high-risk countries, including many part of Europe.

On 21 March, the Government widened its restrictions by closing its international airports at Lagos and Abuja from March 23 for one month.

Sierra Leone

As with many other countries, citizens and residents of Sierra Leone have been advised to postpone any intended travel to any country, which has reported confirmed case of COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary.

For UK nationals arriving into Sierra Leone, who may not display symptoms of the coronavirus, including those travelling from countries with 50 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus, they will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine for a 14-day period.

Trinidad and Tobago

On 16 March, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the closure of the islands’ borders to overseas nationals, with the exception of permanent residents, with effect from midnight 17 March.

Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country but will be subjected to quarantine for a 14-day period.

Prime Minister Dr Rowley stated: “We will cease to accept people into this country who are not nationals of this country,” adding “We are basically disconnecting ourselves…”.

Qatar

The Qatari authorities have temporarily suspended overseas nationals from entering the country, until further notice.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Effective from 19 March 2020, the UAE will only allow its citizens to enter the country. All UAE residents who are abroad will not be allowed to re-enter the UAE for a period of at least two weeks, a period that could be extended.  

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted: “From 19 March, the UAE will temporarily suspend all visas on arrival with the exception of Diplomatic passport holders”.

In fact, as of 19 March, the UAE have restricted all visitors from entering the countries.

The UAE authorities have stated that any violation of instructions and procedures put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be treated as a criminal offence.

Any non-UAE nationals looking to travel to the UAE are advised to contact the UAE consular services and travel providers for the information about the latest position.

United States of America (US)

On 16 March 2020, the United States had extended their travel ban to the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, after having initially excluded the UK from the European travel ban announced on 11 March.

And on 19 March, the US State Department had issued a Level 4 warning, the highest level possible, advising its citizens not to travel abroad. It urged Americans: “….in countries where commercial departure options remain available” and to “arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.” 

The US has suspended routine visa services in most countries. Effective 20 March 2020, the US State Department’s passport services will be limited to ” customers with a qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours”.

This has a major impact upon US citizens, particularly US citizens in the UK and those seeking to travel to or relocate to the UK.

Conclusion

Coronavirus has had a pervasive impact on people’s lives, be it health, the ability to work and conduct day-to-day activities, social distancing efforts and/ or the ability to freely travel. It is important to reflect on whether any planned international travel is essential, and if so, to be aware of the continuing impact of coronavirus and international travel restrictions.

 We hope that this summary provides a snapshot of the sorts of measures that countries are taking. And we strongly suggest that you check with the appropriate consular services and travel operators before undertaking any travel.

Stay safe!


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to enter or remain in the UK, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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Immigration award winner

Global Advisory Experts

Thomas Chase Immigration has been named UK Visa Consulting Firm of the Year in England – 2019 by Global Advisory Experts.

Global Advisory Experts’ annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world since 2010.

Their awards are designed to reward those most deserving in this global and very challenging environment by way of a rigorous process.

Awards are allocated solely on merit and recognize leaders in their respective fields. There is never any commercial requirement and further, no award can be guaranteed by payment, only by merit, sheer determination and hard work.

Global Advisory Experts 2019 Award Winner: UK Visa Consulting Firm of the Year in England 

Global Advisory Experts’ award winners’ include: KPMG; Deloitte, Asian Capital; EY and BDO.

Carla Thomas, Managing Director of Thomas Chase Immigration noted:

‘Thomas Chase Immigration is delighted to be named an immigration award winner for the category of UK Visa Consulting Firm of the Year in England – 2019 by Global Advisory Experts. Thomas Chase Immigration looks to provide clients with a sleek, responsive and high quality service.

‘Immigration can be complex, less than straightforward and conflicting. It is for good reason that our tagline is ‘Taking the complexity out of immigration’. By taking the time to understand the needs of the client, Thomas Chase Immigration can provide the most suitable advice and best services to its clients.’

In addition, Thomas Chase Immigration became another immigration award winner, after receiving the Immigration & Nationality Consultancy of the Year award from Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2020.

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Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration advice and assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

Spouse visa extension

Spouse Visa Extension

We had helped Shelby (not her real name) secure an extension of her spouse visa. She first approached us two months prior to the expiry of her current spouse visa because, in her words, she felt ‘clueless’. So we answered her questions and helped her through the application process. Here’s how we were able to secure Shelby’s spouse visa extension.

Requirements for a spouse visa extension

Shelby, a US citizen, and her British husband, Den, had been married for several years. Shelby had applied for a spouse visa to enter the UK, from the US, in order to join Den. Though she had used the services of another immigration advisor, she was clear that she did wish to use them again.

We took Shelby through the requirements of paragraph R-LTRP.1.1 of the immigration rules and explained that an applicant from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, holding a spouse visa, may apply for a spouse visa extension. When considering the application UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will assess whether:

  • The applicant continues to be the family member of a British national or settled person; and
  • Whether they continue to live with their spouse, in the UK, on a permanent basis.

As with the initial application for a spouse visa, the applicant must prove that:

  • The couple are 18 years of age and over;
  • The relationship remains genuine and subsisting;
  • The couple still intend to live with each other in the UK in a relationship akin to marriage;
  • The couple have an adequate place to live in the UK;
  • The couple can adequately maintain themselves;
  • They have a good knowledge of the English language and
  • They meet the suitability requirement.

In effect, UKV will test out the merits of the relationship again and the extension application may be refused if her circumstances had changed drastically or she had provided false or incomplete information.

We assessed Shelby’s, and Den’s, circumstances against each of the immigration requirements. But first, we verified Shelby’s immigration status. It should be noted that when applying for an extension of stay as a spouse of a British citizen, or settled person in the UK, the applicant’s presence in the UK must be lawful.

A person with a tourist or visitor visa, or visa issued to them with less than 6 months’ leave, (unless they were here as a fiancé/ fiancée or proposed civil partner), cannot apply for an extension of stay as a spouse. Instead, they must leave the UK and submit an application for an initial spouse visa from their country of lawful residence or nationality.

The couple are 18 years of age and over

We referred to Shelby’s and Den’s, passports. We submitted Shelby’s original current and expired passport. A certified copy of Den’s full passport was also submitted.

The relationship remains genuine and subsisting

For the initial spouse visa application to enter the UK, Shelby had submitted her original marriage certificate as well as numerous photographs of her and Den together. Shelby had also submitted a selection of screenshots of her communications with Den.

Here, we submitted the original marriage certificate as part of the spouse visa extension application. And Shelby and Den were advised to provide documentary evidence that they have been living together in the UK as a married couple.

We advised the couple to submit evidence of cohabitation in the UK, such as their joint tenancy agreements, joint utility letters and joint bank statements covering the last 2 years. Where Shelby and Den did not have possess joint letters, we submitted individual letters sent to them at their shared residential address.

Shelby questioned whether it was necessary to collate and submit such documents, given that UKVI had already accepted the existence of their relationship and marriage. After all, copies of documents from the earlier application were held by UKVI. She is not the first client to say this. In their guidance of November 2014, UKVI caseworkers are advised to make further enquiries of the applicant and sponsor, if the caseworker has any concerns as to whether the relationship is genuine or continuing. Further, UKVI may invite the applicant for an interview, and it the enquiries, and/or interview, prove unsatisfactory, the application will be refused.

It is therefore important to submit the correct information and documents in support of the immigration requirements.

The couple still intend to live with each other in the UK in a relationship akin to marriage

For the initial spouse visa application to enter the UK, Shelby had submitted numerous photographs of her and Den together. She had also submitted a selection of their communications to each other. UKVI is not necessarily concerned with such evidence here.

As above, to assess whether a couple intend to continue living together, UKVI will carefully consider the information and documentary evidence provided. That data will be used to determine whether the relationship and marriage is genuine and as such, whether the couple intend to continue living together in a close relationship. 

The couple can adequately maintain themselves

On 9 July 2012, a minimum financial requirement, based on income, was introduced into the Immigration Rules for applicants applying for a spouse visa or a spouse visa extension. Applicants, whose partners are in receipt of disability living allowance, personal independence payment, or other specified benefits are not required to meet the minimum financial requirements.

All other applicants must evidence that they or their partner earns £18,600 per annum. This figure will increase for each additional child included in the application. The requirements have since been adapted to apply a more flexible approach’

In Shelby’s case, Den earned an annual income of around £55,000. Shelby and Den were advised to submit Den’s Contract of Employment, payslips and corresponding bank statements covering the 6 months’ period immediately preceding the application submission date.

The couple have an adequate place to live in the UK

All applicants applying for a spouse visa extension under the 5 years’ route must evidence that they have adequate accommodation in the UK without the need to claim State funds. This applies whether the applicant’s partner is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (or other specified benefits) or not.

UKVI guidance states that the accommodation must be suitable for the applicant, their partner and any family members in the household, whether the family members are included in the application or not. The property must be one which the family own or which they occupy exclusively.

Shelby and Den jointly rent a 2-bedroom flat in Central London. We advised them to submit the Tenancy Agreement in support of the application.

Similarly, another client, Sam, who also applied for a spouse visa extension, rented a large 2 bedroomed flat with his civil partner and another tenant and that tenant’s partner, in a flat-share arrangement. In that matter, Sam was advised to not only submit the Tenancy Agreement in support of the application, but also, a letter from the Landlord confirming the arrangement and layout of the property. UKVI approved Sam’s application and the accommodation was seen as adequate because Sam and his partner had, as a minimum, exclusive use of the bedroom.

Under paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, the term ‘occupy exclusively’ means that at least a part of the accommodation must be for the exclusive of the applicant and their partner (or their family).

As to Shelby, had she owned the property, we would have advised her to submit evidence to support this, such as a copy of the property deeds or a letter from a bank or building society confirming the mortgage arrangements. In other words, the documents to be submitted will depend on the individual circumstances.

They have a good knowledge of the English language

The Immigration rules state that an applicant must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language by way of specified evidence. The applicant must:

  • Be a national of a majority English speaking country listed in paragraph GEN.1.6 of the immigration rules. That is: Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America; or
  • Have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Secretary of State; or
  • Have an academic qualification recognised by UK NARIC to be equivalent to the standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK, which was taught in English; or
  • Be exempt from the English language requirement under paragraph E-ECP.4.2. E-ECP.4.2. The applicant is exempt from the English language requirement if at the date of application- (a) the applicant is aged 65 or over; (b) the applicant has a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents the applicant from meeting the requirement; or (c) there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK.

The immigration rules state that an applicant applying for a spouse visa to enter the UK must have a basic knowledge of the English language, at level A1. In the case of the Spouse visa extension application, the applicant is required to submit an English language pass certificate at A2 level. The spouse visa application will be refused if the applicant submits an English language pass certificate below level A2.

As a US citizen, Shelby was able to rely on her current passport as evidence of meeting the English language requirement.

The suitability requirement

When assessing the spouse visa application, UKVI will also test whether it is suitable to grant the applicant leave to remain under paragraph S-LTR.1.1 of the immigration rules. Therefore, the applicant’s character and conduct, their previous immigration history, whether they have accrued debt to the National Health Service (NHS), and whether they have co-operated with their enquiries will be assessed.

Absences

Shelby’s application to extend her spouse visa was approved under the same day service. Shelby was not required to provide details of her absences as part of the application. Longer term, Shelby would like to apply for settlement once she has held the spouse visa for 5 years. As such, we advised Shelby to be mindful of her absences from the UK over the course of her residence in the UK. This is because, the settlement, or indefinite leave to remain, application carries a strict absence requirement, which if not met could lead to the refusal of the application.

Conclusion

The application to extend the spouse visa in the UK must be approached with due care and attention. As with Shelby’s matter, it is important to demonstrate how each of the requirements under the immigration rules are met. The fact that the initial spouse visa to enter the UK, was granted, is not an indication that the application to extend that visa will be immediately approved without scrutiny. By reviewing the above tips, we hope that you will secure the extension of the spouse visa.

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Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or assistance with your application to extend the spouse visa, feel free to contact us.

Contact us at [email protected], and visit  https://www.thomaschaseimmigration.com/contact-us to arrange a consultation. Or learn more about from our blogs

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