Tel: 020 8811 1532
Mobile: 07538 208096
Fax: 020 3322 7704

What We Do
We have extensive experience in the whole range of immigration, asylum and nationality work, including associated human rights issues, at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. The team at Seraphus have passed the specialist Immigration Accreditation Examinations that were introduced in 2004 and are at Senior Caseworker and Supervisor levels. Our qualifications are supported by our years of experience. We spend time to understand your case, prepare a plan of how to achieve your aims, those aims are then set in motion to (hopefully) achieve the result you desire.

The following is a selection of the services we can provide. Please click on the name of the service that you are interested in to display further information.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (General)

The Points Based System was introduced to regulate non-family migration and most employment and student visas are grant in one of 4 tiers. Tier 1 regulates those who are considered to be highly valued and include entrepreneurs, investors, and those who are considered to have exceptional talent.

This category allows highly skilled people to look for work or self-employment opportunities in the UK and does not require individuals to have already secured a job offer. This category is now closed to new applicants as of 6 April 2011. We are however able to advise those applicant who are currently on Tier 1 visas to make extension applications. After 5 years residence in the UK as a Tier 1 (General) migrant you can apply for settlement.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

This category allows those individuals who wish to set up a business in the UK to enter or remain. They must show that they have a minimum of £200,000 of funds to invest in their business. The business must also create 2 new jobs for UK residents. As well as these requirements the entrepreneur will be required to show that competence in the English language and have at least £3,100 of personal savings. The minimum required for investment can also be £50,000 but there are more requirements attached to this lesser amount. The initial grant of leave will be for a period of 3 years and 4 months. The grant will be subject to the conditions that the individual cannot access public funds, they may be required to register with the police, and they cannot take up employment other than working for the business the applicant has established. This visa can lead to settlement, we can advise you about the requirements if necessary.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

This category is for those individuals who are recognised as world leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering or the arts, and wish to work in the UK. These individuals must apply for entry into the UK and cannot switch into this category from within the UK. There is a quota of 1000 grans per year and the applicant must be endorsed by the Arts Council England, The British Academy, The Royal Society or The Royal Academy of Engineering. If successful the initial grant will be for a period of 3 years and 4 months. This will be subject to the conditions that the individual cannot access public funds, and they may be required to register with the police. This visa can lead to settlement, we can advise you about the requirements if necessary.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

This category allows those graduates who can show that they have developed a world class innovative idea to establish business in the UK after having graduated from a British university. The initial grant of leave will be for a period of 1 year and can be extended for a further year. Once the individual has completed 2 years in this category they may switch into the the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 2 categories if they meet the requirements, for which we can advise upon.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (Investor)

This category is for high-net-worth individuals who want to make a substantial financial investment into the UK. This visa allows those individuals to come to the UK in order to do that. The application will be based on the individual's ability to invest £1,000,000 in the UK. Applicant under this category must evidence their intent to contribute a significant investment in the UK. The initial grant will be for a period of 3 years and 4 months subject to the conditions that the individual cannot access public funds, and they may be required to register with the police. This visa can lead to settlement, we can advise you about the requirements if necessary.

Points Based System - Tier 1 (Minister of Religion)

There is a specific category for ministers of religion who intend on preaching and undertaking pastoral work or missionaries. We can fully advise you if you require a visa in this category.

Points Based System - Tier 2 (General)

The Tier 2 (General) work permit category allows those with a job offer come to the UK to take up that offer. This applies to skilled workers with a salary of £150,000 or more; jobs on the shortage occupation list; and those jobs which satisfy the employer's resident labour market test. Tier 2 (General) immigration offers the possibility of permanent residence in the UK. Candidates living and working in the UK for five years may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Those already in the UK may be able to switch into this category.

Points Based System - Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

This category is for employees of multinational companies who, through existing business needs, require overseas employees to be moved to a UK branch of their organisation This category allows the transfer of long-term contracts, short-term contracts, graduate trainee positions, and skill transfers. As this is a Tier 2 category the Sponsor must be approved by the UK Border Agency and a valid certificate of sponsorship issued. Points are then awarded based on several factors including salary, skills and maintenance.

Points Based System - Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

The requirements of this category include being endorsed by the appropriate governing body for their sport that they will significantly contribute to their sport in the UK and that they are established at the highest level internationally. Applicants must be able to speak English to an appropriate level.

Points Based System - Tier 2 Sponsorship

Tier 2 employers must be a Home Office registered sponsor before being able to offer employment in this category. But before doing so, the employer must complete a resident labour market test, as well as many other requirements, demonstrating they could not fill the job with an applicant from the European Economic Area (EEA). A resident labour market test is not required for an occupation on the Shortage List.

Points Based System - Tier 4 Students and Sponsorship

Tier 4 allows students from outside, and inside, the UK to apply to study a course with a Home Office sponsored education provider. To apply you will need to prove you have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies accepting you to study a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a 'Tier 4 sponsor'), and that you have acceptable English language skills. You will also need to prove you have enough money to cover your course fees and living costs.

There are strict requirements concerning the format of the CAS and the information that is required to be displayed on the CAS. There are also different requirements for the maintenance depending on the length of the course, where it is being studied, and whether this is your first, or second application, or even if you have switched into this category. There are other requirements that you may need to meet. It is an increasingly complex area of law.

Seraphus helps with initial applications both from outside and inside the UK, as well as challenging those wrongly refused and achieving success either on review from Entry Clearance Managers or on appeal inside the UK. We also help with switching from Tier 4 into other tiers in the PBS.

If you are an education provider and would like assistance with becoming a sponsor we can also provide advice and representation with regards to sponsorship. If you need assistance please do not hesitate to call.

Points Based System - Tier 5 Temporary Workers

Tier 5 regulates the youth mobility scheme and the visa system for temporary workers.

Youth Mobility

The youth mobility scheme allows for nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, Taiwan and South Korea who are aged between 18 and 30 (inclusively) to live and work in the UK. Applications for Tier 5 visas must be made from outside of the UK and will be granted for a period of two years. Applicants cannot extend their leave to remain in this category and they must show that they have £1800 in funds. If you require assistance or advice with your youth mobility visa application please do not hesitate to contact us.

Temporary Workers

Applicants must usually apply for their visa from outside the UK. You will need to meet the maintenance requirement and show that you have obtained a certificate of sponsorship. Visas will be granted for different lengths of time depending on what the nature of your work is. The temporary worker scheme has various sub categories which include the following: creative and sporting, charity worker, religious worker category, international agreement, and government authorised exchange. We can help you to determine which temporary visa is best for you and take you through the process if you require assistance.

Points Based System - Dependents

In order to sponsor an employee or students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) under Tiers 2, 4 or 5 of the Points Based System (PBS), businesses and education establishments in the UK will need to be approved in advance by the Home Office. Sponsors must apply for a licence before they are able to sponsor migrants. Once an establishment has a licence they are allowed to offer a limited number of sponsorship certificates. The certificate of sponsorship does not in any way guarantee or secure the visa if the supporting documentation for an application cannot be verified independently.

Applications to the Home Office are made online, with supporting documentation to be forwarded afterwards. Applicants will need to stipulate on the application form which tiers of sponsorship they require. The Home Office will assess the applications and investigate sponsor, and check their immigration history, to ensure that only licences are issued to bona fide organisations.

The Home Office will continue to monitor licensees to ensure they are fulfilling the requirements of the PBS. This will involve Home Office staff making visits to sponsors (pre-arranged or not) to ensure adequate systems continue. Reviews will be conducted and checks made to ensure that the requirements of the system are not being abused. Large penalties will be issued in instances where non-compliance issues are identified.

An initial registration fee will be payable and will be renewable every four years. On top of this, a set fee will need to be paid when a sponsor issues a certificate of sponsorship. We can assist at every stage, either with one-off applications, or remain on call, subject to an annual fee, as and when help is required.

Points Based System - Employer Sponsorship

In order to sponsor an employee or students from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) under Tiers 2, 4 or 5 of the Points Based System (PBS), businesses and education establishments in the UK will need to be approved in advance by the Home Office. Sponsors must apply for a licence before they are able to sponsor migrants. Once an establishment has a licence they are allowed to offer a limited number of sponsorship certificates. The certificate of sponsorship does not in any way guarantee or secure the visa if the supporting documentation for an application cannot be verified independently.

Applications to the Home Office are made online, with supporting documentation to be forwarded afterwards. Applicants will need to stipulate on the application form which tiers of sponsorship they require. The Home Office will assess the applications and investigate sponsor, and check their immigration history, to ensure that only licences are issued to bona fide organisations.

The Home Office will continue to monitor licensees to ensure they are fulfilling the requirements of the PBS. This will involve Home Office staff making visits to sponsors (pre-arranged or not) to ensure adequate systems continue. Reviews will be conducted and checks made to ensure that the requirements of the system are not being abused. Large penalties will be issued in instances where non-compliance issues are identified.

An initial registration fee will be payable and will be renewable every four years. On top of this, a set fee will need to be paid when a sponsor issues a certificate of sponsorship. We can assist at every stage, either with one-off applications, or remain on call, subject to an annual fee, as and when help is required.

Domestic Worker

If you plan to accompany your employer as a domestic or household worker, it is necessary to apply for a Domestic Worker visa. This visa is suitable for chauffeurs, gardeners, cooks and nannies who fulfil the requirements. You will generally be issued with a visa for 6 months or less depending on how long your employer will stay in the UK. It is also possible to extend your visa. You are allowed to change jobs provided you continue to work as a domestic worker in a private household. In order to apply under this category you must be aged 18-65, you must have been employed by your employer for one year as a domestic worker prior to coming to the UK, you must intend to work for the employer whilst he or she is in the UK and you must be maintained and accommodated without recourse to public funds.

European Nationals and their Family

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family members have a right to live, work and study in the UK. These rights are conferred upon these individuals by virtue of them being EEA nationals and the family members of EEA nationals. These are rights as opposed to something you need to apply for, which is completely different to the application process under the Immigration Rules. The family members who have these rights are the EEA, national’s spouse or civil partner, children of the EEA national or their spouse/civil partner who are either under the age of 21 or dependent upon them, and the dependent relatives in the ascending line (e.g. parents) of the EEA national or their spouse/civil partner. Other family members can take advantage of European migration rules but they first need to apply to the Home Office to be recognised as an extended family member. We can hep you with such applications.

If you are an EEA national or the family member of a EEA national (as defined above) and you are in the UK it is not necessary for you to apply to the Home Office for any documentation proving your entitlement to live here. However, and this is particularly relevant for those family members who come from outside the EEA, it may make your life easier when you need to prove your right to remain in the UK if you have an EEA residence card. An application for a residence card now attracts a small fee and should be made to the Home Office with proof establishing that you are the family member of an EEA national who is either working, studying, or looking for employment.

EEA nationals can enter the UK freely with the minimum of documentation. You are not required to apply for entry clearance. All you are required to show is your passport or national identity card. If you are making an application to join your family member who is an EEA national in the UK you are not required to apply for a family permit, but such an application will facilitate your entry into the UK and is advisable particularly for nationals of those countries who would otherwise require a visa to visit to the UK.

After 5 years in the UK as an EEA national who is working or studying you would have acquired permanent residence. Again it is not necessary to apply for a document confirming this as it happens automatically, but it may be useful to prove your entitlement to remain in the UK and access benefits available to British nationals. The EEA national’s family members will also acquire permanent residence after 5 years.

There are different rules applicable to nationals of accession states, which we can advise you about if necessary. If you are a Turkish national and wish to work in the UK, the Ankara Agreement may be of use to you and we can advise you accordingly.

Settlment (Indefinite Leave to Remain)

Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) means you can remain in the UK without any further time restrictions on your leave. You will have no restrictions on your ability to study, or seek employment. Settlement also leads to being able to apply for British Nationality.

ILR can be granted once you have been living in the UK for a required amount of time, the length of that time is dependent on the type of leave you currently hold. You will need to prove this, as well as other requirements including the amount of time you have been absent from the UK. If you have any unspent criminal convictions this may have consequences to your application, and it may mean you would be best to wait until those convictions are spent. Some convictions may prevent you from applying for settlement entirely.

If you need help with a settlement application please do not hesitate to contact us.

Visitors and Short Term Entry

If you are coming to the UK for a limited period, generally not exceeding 6 months, you can apply for a short term visit visa. You must prove that you can cover the cost of your journey, and accommodate yourself, without any expense to the UK government. The most common type of visitor visa is the general visitor visa, which is for tourists. There are however many specialised visit categories including child visitors, business visitors, entertainers, visitors in transit, persons requiring private medical treatment, entry for marriage, visitors undertaking permitted paid engagements, sports visitors, parents of a child in school visitors, prospective entrepreneur visitors and student visitors. Visas can be granted for a single or multiple visit and are generally an individual who is granted a visitor visa cannot stay in the UK for more than 6 months on one visit (although there are some exceptions).

This category of application should be straight-forward, however, it is often the category which attracts the highest refusal rate. If it is refused, there is limited scope for appeal, so often you will be required to make a completely new application. It is important that the application is prepared well, and evidence is provided to confirm your intention to return home. This is where we can help, call us now for further information.

Entry Clearance

Nationals of countries from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who wish to come to the UK must first apply for a visa, which is also known as obtaining entry clearance. Non-visa nationals, people from countries not listed in Appendix 1 of the Immigration Rules, who wish to visit the UK for up to six months do not need to apply for prior entry clearance.

Family members are also required to obtain prior entry clearance unless they can prove they are the family member of an EEA national. If this applies to you, please see the section on European nationals and their family members.

We can advice on, and prepare, applications to come to the UK in any category under the Immigration Rules including family visits and spouse application, family reunion, for work or study. There are many categories to chose from, contact us to see which is suitable for you.

International Protection - Asylum

The United Kingdom is signatory to various international agreements which require that protection is given to those who are in need. We provide advice and assistance in regards to all aspects of asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claims. We offer legal aid to those individuals who qualify for asylum, humanitarian protection and certain human rights claims. This includes those who need to make fresh claims.

Asylum

If you are facing risks in your home country, protection is given under British, European and international law. If you feel that you are at risk in your country of origin you may meet the definition of a refugee. A refugee is someone who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country’.Once you have claimed asylum the Home Office will determine whether you meet this definition.

The asylum process can be very daunting to those who need to use it. We are able to take you through the process step by step, giving you detailed advice and assistance at every stage. We will help by taking a detailed witness statement of your experiences and highlight to you what are the important aspect to be included. This is a vital document which will be the centre of your asylum case and therefore making sure that this is done in the correct way is essential to your chances of success.

As well as advising you, and preparing you for each stage in the process, we will make legal arguments to the Home Office, and if necessary to the independent judge who will consider you case on appeal. At Seraphus we are accredited to represent you at the Immigration tribunal if necessary and because we are a law firm we are in a position to take your case to the higher courts if necessary.

International Protection - Family Reunion

Individuals who have been granted international protection as a refugee or on humanitarian grounds are entitled to have their pre-existing, pre-flight family members join them in the UK. This is known as family reunion and only applies to the spouse or civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, and children of the refugee or individual with humanitarian protection. There is no fee for this application and you do not need to show that their is adequate accommodation to house you or sufficient income to maintain you, nor do you need to fulfil the English language requirement. This makes the application process easer to complete than the rules applicable to British nationals, settled persons and post flight refugee family members.

It is nonetheless important that the correct forms are completed and the appropriate and sufficient supporting evidence is submitted to the Entry Clearance Officer at the correct entry clearance post. If you require assistance with such applications we can take you through the process step by step and prepare your application or we can give you one off advice to help you prepare your case. Unfortunately however legal aid is no longer available for such application following the changes introduced in April 2013.

International Protection - Fresh Claims

You may be in the UK because you previously claimed asylum or humanitarian protection but for whatever reason these claims were refused by the Home Office and the courts. If this is the case and you feel that you have new evidence that has not yet been considered by the Home Office or the court which either creates a new risk for you or helps to prove that your previous claim was true, you may be able to make a fresh claim for international protection. This evidence can be in the form of specific documents that you have obtained that corroborates your original claim, or you have a witness who is willing to give evidence in support of your claim, or perhaps there has been a change in your country of origin.

If your original case was decided a long time ago there are good chances that the situation in your home would have changed. This might make your claim for international protection stronger. The laws and rules that the Home Office and the court follow when deciding your case may also therefore have changed. Fresh claims are often quite difficult to establish and the threshold that the Home Office uses to determine whether your new evidence meets the fresh claim test can be difficult to meet. We are able to give you a clear and honest assessment of your fresh evidence and the chances of success.

If you would like to assess whether there are any merits in you making a fresh claim for international protection contact us and we can advise and assist you with this.

International Protection - Human Rights

The United Kingdom is signatory to various international agreements which require that protection is given to those who are in need. We provide advice and assistance in regards to all aspects of asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claims. We offer legal aid to those individuals who qualify for asylum, humanitarian protection and certain human rights claims. This includes those who need to make fresh claims.

Human Rights

The 1998 Human Rights Act gives further legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights not only impact matters of life and death, they also affect the rights you have in your everyday life. These rights impact what you can say and do, your beliefs, your right to a fair trial and other similar fundamental rights that many people take for granted. Most rights have limits to ensure that they do not unfairly damage other people's rights. However, certain rights, such as the right not to be tortured, can never be limited by a court or anybody else.

The British authorities have signed up to protect certain rights that are considered fundamental. The rights that are protected by the Human Rights Act include:

- the right to life
- freedom from torture and degrading treatment or punishment
- freedom from slavery and forced labour
- the right to liberty
- the right to a fair trial
- the right not to be punished for something that was not a crime when it was committed
- the right to respect for private and family life
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- freedom of expression
- freedom of assembly and association
- the right to marry and to start a family
- the right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights and freedoms
- the right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
- the right to an education
- the right to participate in free elections
- the right not to be subjected to the death penalty

If any of these rights or freedoms are breached by the authorities in the UK or if returned to your home country these rights would be interfered with, you have a right to an effective remedy in law in the UK. The UK is under an obligation not to remove or deport you to your country of origin, and to allow you to stay in the UK, if upon return to your home country your human rights would be disproportionately or unjustifiably interfered with. Human rights arguments can often be raised in the process of an immigration or an asylum case and we are well versed in these legal arguments.

If you are in a situation in which you believe that your human rights are being violated, it is advisable to see if the problem can be resolved without going to court by following the relevant complaints procedure. With regards to immigration and asylum law, this means that the arguments should first be made to the Home Office. Where you believe your rights have not been respected and you cannot resolve the problem outside court, you are entitled to bring a case before the appropriate court or tribunal in the UK. The court or tribunal will then consider your case. Before you decide to take any legal action is important that you seek legal advice and we can help you with this.

International Protection - Humanitarian Protection

If you fear what may happen to you in your home country and you are seeking protection in the UK you are likely to go through the asylum process. But instead of requiring refugee protection you may be in need of humanitarian protection. If you fear that the situation in your country is so bad that you would be at risk of being the victim of indiscriminate violence, or subjected to ill treatment, torture or even death if you were to be returned, you may qualify for humanitarian protection. We can assist you through the process and explain your rights and what you can expect at every stage.

International Protection - Settlement

If you were granted refugee status or international protection this is likely to have been for a period of 5 years. If that 5 years is coming to an end you may be entitled to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)) in the UK. Settlement is usually granted in such cases provided an application is made before your refugee visa expires. The Home Office does take into account however any criminal convictions you may have obtained during your stay in the UK and whether you have returned to, or requested a passport from, your country of origin.

An application made before the expiry of your visa will ensure that current status continues and allows the Home Office to consider your case more efficiently. If successful you will continue to be a refugee until the point where you naturalise as a national of the UK or another country, or you apply for a passport from your country of origin. We can help you make an application to the Home Office for settlement in the protection category and legal aid is available for such applications.

Family Life - Adult Dependent Relatives

The amendments to the Immigration Rules introduced on 9 July 2013 significantly changed the rules applicable to those making applications to remain in the UK or to come to the UK to be with family members. More specifically the amendments deal with four categories of family migration: partners, parents, adult dependent relatives, and children of parents in the UK. These changes were brought into force to incorporate human rights considerations.

The amended rules do not apply to those individuals who are in the UK on visas obtained under the old immigration rules. The old rules will continue to be applicable to those individuals along with certain suitability requirements introduced in July 2012.

Adult Dependent Relatives

Since the changes to family migration n 9 July 2012 the rules for adult dependent relatives have become particularly onerous. If you are a parent, grandparent, child, or sibling of a settled person or a person with refugee or humanitarian protection in the UK, and you are not in a subsisting relationship (unless your partner is also apply to come to the UK) you may qualify for a dependancy visa. You will however have to show that you require long-term personal care and that there is no one that can care for you in your home country or that it is unaffordable. An application of this kind can only be made from outside the UK.

Your sponsor will need to show that they can adequately maintain and accommodate you without recourse to public funds and they must sign an undertaking that they will care for you for a period of 5 years. If successful in this application you will be granted settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain).

It is difficult to meet the rules in this category, so we would recommend advice before making this application. Please contact us if you require assistance.

Family Life - Children Born in the UK

It is often the case that foreign nationals who have children born in the UK assume that their children are British. This is not necessarily the case and much depends upon the immigration status of the parents. If your child is not British, and is not entitled to British nationality, an application can be made for your child to be granted immigration status in line with your leave to remain as the parent. If you have no leave to remain in the UK we can advise what application is best to be made for your child. We can discuss your case and advise you on the best course of action for your child.

Family Life - Children of Parents in the UK

There are different rules that apply to the children of those individuals who are in the UK and are British, settled or have refugee or humanitarian protection status, and those who have limited leave to remain in the UK.

If you are the parents of a child and you are either settled in the UK or coming to the UK with the child, and the child has no other parents outside of the UK, or you have sole responsibility of the child, or exclusion of the child would be considered undesirable, you may be able to apply for your child to join you. You will be require to show that you can maintain and accommodate your child without access to public funds, that your child is under 18 years of age and that your child is not living an independent life. If successful your child will be granted settlement in the UK.

If you have limited leave to remain, as well as showing that you, as the parent, are in the UK or coming to the UK with the child, you will need to show that you are in an immigration category with a view to settlement, for example in the spouse category. You will have to show that the child has no other parents outside of the UK, or that you have sole responsibility of the child, or exclusion of the child would be considered undesirable. Your child may be able to join you if you can maintain and accommodate your child without access to public funds, your child is under 18 years of age and is not living an independent life. If successful your child will be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK for a period of 27 months.

Please contact us if you require more detailed advice or if you require assistance with the preparation of your application. We can also assist in cases where your child is adopted, the child is de facto adopted, or the child is being brought to the UK for adoption.

Family Life - Parents of Children in the UK

If your child is either British or settled in the UK and they are under the age of 18 you may apply to join them in the UK.You must show that you have sole responsibility or access rights to the child and that you intend to continue to perform that role. Family relationships are not always straight forward and therefore proving that you are solely responsible for your child may be difficult. You will also need to show that you are able to adequately maintain and accommodate yourself.

If this application is successful you will be granted 33 months if you are applying to join your child from outside of the UK. If you are switching into this category you will be granted 30 months leave to remain. You will need to complete 60 months in this category in order to apply for settlement. This may however be problematic for those individuals whose child is over the age of 13 when they apply as their child would reach the age of majority before they complete the required 60 months.

We can also advise if you are in the UK with limited leave to remain as a partner and wish to switch into the parent of a child in the UK category.

If you are in the UK under the ‘old’ pre 9 July 2012 rules then you will continue on the old route to settlement, which we can advise fully upon if required.

Family Life - Partners

The partner provisions allow foreign nationals that are already married, civil partners, fiancés/fiancées, proposed civil partners and unmarried partners of British citizen, persons who have settlement status in the UK, or those who have refugee status or humanitarian protection, to enter or remain in the UK.

There are various requirements to be fulfilled before an application will be successful, these include a relationship requirement (the Home Office must be satisfied that the relationship is genuine), the financial requirement (you must show that you have a minimum annual income of £18,600 and be adequately accommodated) and an English language requirement (unless you are exempt).

The initial grant of leave for those applying in the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner categories will be for a period of 33 months if you are entering the UK or 30 months if you are already in the UK 2 year period. There will be no restrictions on your ability to work or study, but you will not be entitled to access public funds.

If you are applying in the fiancé/fiancée/civil partner category you will be granted 6 months leave to enter during which time you will be unable to work or study. Once married you need to switch into the spouse/civil partner category where you will be granted 30 months leave to remain.

At the end of the 30 or 33 month period you will need to apply for a further 30 months leave to remain, which will be granted provided that the requirements continue to be met. Upon completion of 60 months in the UK in the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner category you will be able to apply for settlement. The Home Office will need to see proof that the relationship is still ongoing before they will grant settlement, you will also be required to pass the Life in the UK test.

The requirements for those applying to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse changed on 9 July 2012 and therefore many individuals will currently be in the UK on the ‘old’ partner rules. If this is the case you will continue on the old route to settlement in which you may be able to apply for settlement after 2 years.

The Home Office will expect a large amount of documentary evidence establishing that the relationship exists and is genuine. This involves a lot of time and preparation, and it often requires documents that applicants did not originally think would be useful. Moreover, with the changes introduced in July 2012 the application process has become more complex and therefore legal advice for these types of applications is indispensable.

Family Life - Relationships that End

If you are in the UK based on your relationship with your partner, and this relationship breaks down before you are granted settlement, you may still be able to remain in the UK. The Immigration Rules provides for those whose marriage or civil partnership breaks down as a result off domestic violence. The application to the Home Office can be made free of charge if it can be shown that you are destitute and legal aid is also available for this type of case. If this application is successful you will be granted settlement. These cases are often difficult to prove and require a lot of evidence, therefore the assistance of a legal advice will be in invaluable.

If your spouse or civil partner has died while you are in the UK on a partner visa you may be able to apply for settlement if you can show that your relationship was subsisting and that you intended to live together permanently. We can assist you such applications, however legal aid is no longer available for these cases.

Long Residency and Private Life

An individual who has been in the UK for 10 years of continuos lawful residence can apply for settlement. Prior to the changes introduced on 09 July 2012 an individual who had been in the UK for 14 years of continuous unlawful residence could apply for settlement, however, since this date these routes to settlement have closed to new applicants and have been replaced with various other routes to settlement.

If you have been in the UK for 20 years unlawful residence; you are under the age of 18 and have lived in the UK continuously for 7 years; you are aged over 18 but under 25 and have spent at least half of your life continuously in the UK; or you are aged over 18 and have lived in the UK for less than 20 continuous years but you have no ties to your home country, you may be able to make an application under the new private life provisions that replaced the former long residence rules.

If you would like to establish whether you are in a position to make an application under one of these rules or you would like assistance making your application, please contact us for further information.

Policies, Concessions & Overstayers

The Home Office often introduces policies and concessions which may be of relevance to those individuals who cannot meet the strict requirements of the Immigration Rules.

Those individuals who previously had leave to remain in the UK which expired more than 28 days ago will more than likely be required to make a discretionary application to the Home Office to regularise their immigration status.

If you feel that you have a strong reasons to remain in the UK and you cannot meet the Immigration Rules, we can discuss whether an application outside of the Immigration Rules should be made.

Immigration Audit

If you are unsure about your immigration status in the UK, we are able to obtain your records from the Home Office, with your consent, establish what your immigration status is and advise you on the best course of action to take. We can then assist you with any application that is appropriate for you.

The immigration audit that we provide is a service that is suitable for people who want to check their status and prepare for their future. It is also suitable for people who are overstayers, and want to know how to regularise their immigration status.

Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence

If you're in the UK based on your relationship with your partner, and you are a victim of violence, you may still be able to remain in the UK even if your relationship breaks down. Contact us to find out if we can help you.

British Nationality

After a period of settlement (leave without restrictions under the Immigration Rules or Permanent Residence under European law) you can apply for British Nationality (or Naturalisation). There is no requirement to do so, you can remain with settlement status and keep your existing nationality. There are some benefits to becoming British, for example, you will no longer be under immigration control, you can apply for a British passport, which will allow you to travel freely within the European Economic Area (EEA) and you have the benefit of the protection of the UK Government when overseas.

An application for naturalisation can only be made for adults, minor may be able to register as British citizens. If you wish to naturalise as a British citizen you will have meet the residence requirements, English language and knowledge of life in the UK requirements, be of good character and attend a citizenship ceremony.

There are various ways in which an individual may have automatically acquired British nationality, this depends on a number of factors including your date and place of birth, the nationality of both parents, and in some cases whether your parents were married at the time of your birth. British nationality may be acquired by birth or adoption in the UK, but this does not happen in every case, simply by virtue of being born in the UK you do not become British. If you were born outside of the UK to British parents you may have acquired British nationality.

Some people, usually minors but also certain adults, can apply to register as British citizens. This is not the same as naturalising. Of all the immigration categories, citizenship is the most complex and we would always recommend legal advice before making an application. Particularly since the fees attached to nationality applications can be quite high and an adverse decision is not an appealable decision. You may not even need to apply for registration or naturalisation as you or your children may already be British.

If you would like to determine whether you are eligible for British nationality or whether you have acquired it automatically please contact us for advice.

Returning Residents

If you have been granted settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK, you are generally unlikely to encounter any difficulties reentering the UK. There are however certain circumstances in which difficulties may arise, these include if you have been outside of the UK for a period of more than 2 years, if you sought assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK, or you are not seeking admission for the purpose of settlement.

If you encounter any of these problems our trained staff are able to advise and assist you with how best to proceed. Contact us on info@seraphus.co.uk for further information.

UK Ancestry Visas

There is an immigration category for nationals of commonwealth countries who have an ancestral link to the UK to apply for leave to enter the UK. This will e granted for a period of 5 years and will lead to settlement. Those individuals who wish to apply must show that they are aged 17 years or over; that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922, or on a British- registered ship or aircraft; that they are able to work and intend to take up or seek employment in the UK; and that they can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants while in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Detention and Deportation

In law there is a presumption of liberty and therefore detention can and should be challenged. The Home Office can only detain you for a reasonable period of time for limited reasons, these are to effect removal, to establish your identity or the basis of your claim, or because they believe that you are likely to fail to comply with conditions. If you are detained under immigration powers and you would like assistance obtaining bail we can help you with this. Legal aid may be available for such cases.

An individual may be issued with removal directions if the Home Office has determined that that individual does not have any right to remain in the UK. If you have been issued with removal direction this decision can be challenged before an independent tribunal, for which we can assist. The tribunal will decided whether removal will interfere with your rights protected under the Human Rights Act or under European law.

If you are issued with a deportation order you are required to leave the UK and you are prevented from returning while the deportation order is in place. This is automatically issued to those persons who have committed a criminal offence which has attracted a criminal sentence of imprisonment for 12 months or more. Deportation order may however be issued in other circumstances as well. The issue of a deportation order attracts a right of appeal to an independent tribunal. The judge in this case will decide whether deportation will interfere with the rights protected under the Human Rights Act or under European law.

If you have been issued with removal direction or a deportation order we can help you challenge these decisions. If you have already been deported we can also help you to apply for your deportation order to be revoked. Please contact us if you need advice or assistance. Legal aid is available in certain cases.

Appeals and Reviews

Seraphus is a solicitors practice which allows us to represent you at appeals, at Home Office and Entry Clearance reviews, Judicial Reviews and appeals to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Since we are in a position to represent you at all levels we will continue to look after you at every stage, we do not refer you somewhere else. We will give you an honest opinion as to the success of your initial application to the Home Office and the Entry Clearance Office, so our success rate at this stage is very high. We have also had a great deal of success in getting visa refusals reviewed and overturned.

If you come to us following the refusal of an application that you have made yourself, we will provide you with an honest assessment of your case. We will work with you to decide if an appeal, or a new application, is the best and most cost efficient way forward.

Everyone at Seraphus is specialised at presenting appeals at the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, this helps to keep the overall cost of legal advice down as this will be included in the overall fixed fee.

This list is not exhaustive, there are many routes available for people to come to, or stay in the UK, and it is often difficult to list every available category. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss which category is suitable for you.