Bishop & Sewell
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Whatever your reason for coming to the UK, visa routes are extensive and can be complex. Where more than one option applies, it is often difficult to know which is best for your situation and needs.

Our expert immigration lawyers can help you understand the Immigration Rules and Home Office guidance, whether you are looking to come to the UK, or you are already here and need to extend your stay.

In addition, our forming families expertise means we can also assist you with the complex international aspects of surrogacy and adoption arrangements.

How We Can Help

You can apply for a visa for the UK if you want to come to the UK:

You might also need immigration advice if you:

European nationals and family members:

  • Joining

 

We can also assist you in appealing a decision made by the Home Office, or applying to request a review of a decision:

Our Team

Even if you are unsure of what rights or responsibilities you have in the UK, Bishop & Sewell can help you to understand the options available to you. Our Immigration lawyers Charles GreenMariam Khaliq and Karma Hickman have an outstanding reputation for acting on behalf of individuals and businesses with highly successful results. As a Department, the team have rankings in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 for their expertise in this rapidly changing area of law.

They have assisted numerous individuals throughout the UK and worldwide, no matter how complicated their case, to obtain a positive result.

Next Steps

Rest assured that our team of specialists will act swiftly will be able to handle your case with the professionalism, patience and sensitivity required to keep you here, now and in the future.

For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our Immigration solicitors, please email immigration@bishopandsewell.co.uk or contact us on 020 7631 4141 and ask to speak to a member of the Immigration team.

As a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national, you may be able to come to the UK to study, work or join family. Whilst the EEA regulations may appear simple, this is not reflected in the UK application process. Whether in the UK or overseas, our immigration lawyers can help to guide you through the Home Office’s requirements.

EEA Nationals​

Nationals of countries in the EEA or Switzerland can live in the UK for three months before they must become economically active or self-sufficient. In the main, the only evidence you need of your right to live or work in the UK is your passport or national identity card. You can also apply for a registration certificate if you want confirmation of your right to live or work in the UK.

Once EEA or Swiss nationals have lived in the UK for five years they may acquire permanent residence. This depends on how you have spent your time in the UK. Having acquired permanent residence, you no longer have any conditions on your stay in the UK and you have enhanced protection from removal. You may wish to apply for a permanent residence card to prove your right to live in the UK permanently. We can help you to do this.

Family Members of EEA Nationals

Family members can include the EEA or Swiss national’s:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Unmarried partner (in a lasting relationship, similar to a marriage or civil partnership)
  • Child or grandchild who is under 21 or a dependant (or that of their spouse or civil partner)
  • Dependant relative: brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, cousin, grandchild, parent and grandparent (or that of their spouse or civil partner)

Different rules and requirements apply depending on the relationship that the family member has with the EEA or Swiss national.

You may also be eligible to apply to remain in the UK under European migration law if you used to have a family member who was an EEA or Swiss national but that relationship has now ended because, for example, they passed away or you have divorced.

Family members of EEA or Swiss nationals may wish to apply for an EEA family permit to come to the UK. This is valid for six months. Once in the UK, you can apply for a residence card as evidence of your right to live and work in the UK. A residence card can last up to five years. After living in the UK for five years, you may be able to apply for a permanent residence card to prove your right to live in the UK permanently.

If you are a non-EEA national family member of a British citizen who has lived in another EEA country you could be eligible to enter and live in the UK under European migration laws.

Becoming a British citizen could have significant implications for you and your family. If you think you are eligible to naturalise or register as a British citizen and want some advice, contact one of our dedicated immigration lawyers.

Naturalisation

You can apply to naturalise as a British citizen if you are at least 18 years old, you are settled in the UK (there are no time limits on your stay), you intend to have your main home in the UK and you meet the good character, residency and knowledge of English and life in the UK requirements.

The residency requirements differ depending on whether or not you have a spouse or civil partner who is a British citizen. If you do not have a spouse or civil partner who is a British citizen, you must usually have lived in the UK for at least 5 years, have indefinite leave to remain/permanent residence and not spent more than 450 days outside the UK.

If your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen, you must usually have lived in the UK for at least 3 years, have indefinite leave to remain/permanent residence and not spent more than 270 days outside the UK.

You will also need not to have breached any immigration conditions in the last 10 years.

Registration

Unless one of your parents was British or settled in the UK when you were born, just being born in the UK does not mean that you are automatically a British citizen. However, you could be eligible to register as a British citizen.

You could apply to register as a British citizen if you were born in the UK, are under 18 years old and either:

  • One of your parents becomes a British citizen or settled in the UK (obtains indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence), or
  • You are at least 10 years old and you have not spent more than 90 days outside the UK during the first 10 years of your life.

If you are making an application once you are over the age of 10 years old you will have to meet the good character requirement as outlined above.

You may also be able to register as a British citizen if you have another form of British nationality, you were born to British parents outside the UK, you have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong or you are stateless. The registration process and requirements are different for each category so it is important to obtain legal advice before submitting an application.

Refusal

There is no right of appeal against a decision to refuse an application for British citizenship. You can though apply for the application to be reconsidered if you believe the decision was not soundly based on law, policy or procedure.

If the decision is maintained, and you believe that the decision is unlawful, unreasonable or there have been procedural errors, you may be able to apply for judicial review. However, this can be a time-consuming, complex and costly process. You should immediately seek specialist immigration advice if you are considering making an application for judicial review.

Consequences

If you are successful in your application to become a British citizen, then you can live and work in the UK free of any immigration controls. Unlike indefinite leave to remain, citizenship cannot be lost due to absences from the UK. You will be able to apply for a British passport and travel freely within the EU. Your children could be eligible to apply to register as British citizens or may automatically be British citizens.

If you have been offered a job in the UK and you are from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you may well need a visa.

Obtaining a work visa can be complex. Our team of qualified immigration solicitors will take the stress out of your visa application. We will guide you through the application process and provide you with clear advice in respect of the requirements.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you have been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts

You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.

Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

There is a limited number of these visas available. 500 visas are released, twice per year.

Tier 2

Tier 2 visas require you to be sponsored by your employer before you can apply to come to the UK to work.

The first step is to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from your employer, who must be a licensed sponsor by the Home Office.

The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation. There are various different types of Tier 2 visa. We can guide you and your employer through the process.

Tier 2 (General)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if you have been offered a skilled job in the UK.

Your sponsor will need to agree to pay you a salary which is above the minimum prescribed by UK Visas and Immigration for the job that you have been recruited for.

You will need to demonstrate that you have the required level of English and you may have to show that you meet certain financial requirements.

Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa if your overseas employer has offered you a role in a UK branch of the organisation.

You can apply for this type of visa as long-term staff, or short-term staff. In either case you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months before the transfer.

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa if you have been offered a job within a faith community in the UK.

Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if you are an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognised by your sport’s governing body as internationally established at the highest level. Your sport’s governing body must endorse your application. You will need to be able to show that your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker

The Tier 5 Temporary Work visas enable you to come to work temporarily in the UK. You need to be sponsored by the organisation that you want to work for.

  • A Tier 5 (Temporary Work – Charity Worker) visa enables you to come to the UK to do unpaid charity work.
  • A Tier 5 (Temporary Work – Creative and sporting visa) enables you to take a job in the UK as a:
    • Sportsperson
    • Actor
    • Dancer
    • Musician
    • Film crew member
    • Someone who works in a creative industry
  • A Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa enables you to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme.
  • A Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa may be suitable for you if you will be contracted to do work covered by international law while in the UK. This includes working for a foreign government; in an international organisation or as a private servant in a diplomatic household. In some circumstances you will also need to show that you have a certain amount of savings.
  • A Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa would enable you to do religious work such preaching or working in a religious order. In some circumstances you will also need to show that you have a certain amount of savings.

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa

You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you:

  • want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years; and
  • are aged 18 to 30; and
  • have a certain amount of savings; and
  • You are British overseas citizen; British overseas territories citizen or British national (overseas); or
  • are from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan
  • you need to be sponsored if you’re from Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea or Taiwan.

Turkish Businessperson Visa

You can apply for a Turkish Businessperson visa if you are a Turkish national and you want to start a new business in the UK or come to the UK to help run an established business. You can bring your family with you. You will have to show that the business (or your proposed role in it) is genuine and viable and that you will play an active part in it. You will also need to meet certain financial requirements.

Turkish Worker Visa

You can apply for permission to stay in the UK as a Turkish Worker if you are a Turkish national and have legally worked in the UK for at least 1 year as:

  • the spouse of a British or settled person without any restrictions on working in the UK
  • a holder of a work permit allowing you to work in the UK
  • a student allowed to work 20 hours a week during term time and full time during vacation periods

Why Obtain Legal Advice?

The Immigration Rules are very strict in respect of the supporting evidence that you must provide with your application. Obtaining good legal advice will significantly reduce the stress of the visa application process and the chances of a refusal.

It is particularly important to obtain legal advice if you have previously been refused entry to the UK.

Every year, thousands of visitors come to the UK on holiday, or to spend time with family and friends. Many more visit on business, or to take advantages of services available here, such as private medical treatment.

If you are from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you may need a visitor visa to come to the UK. Whether you need to apply for a visit visa depends on which country your passport or travel document is from.

You can apply for a visitor visa in order to:

  • Come for a holiday in the UK
  • Visit friends and family
  • Come to the UK for business
  • Come to the UK as a visiting academic
  • Take part in sports or creative events
  • Receive private medical treatment

These are only examples. There are many other reasons why it may be appropriate to apply for a visitor visa to come to the UK. Our qualified solicitors can advise you on the particular circumstances of your case.

Eligibility

To obtain a visitor visa you must show, among other things, that:

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • You are able to financially support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
  • You are able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
  • You will also need to explain and provide evidence of any business activities that you plan to undertake whilst you are in the UK

You will not be allowed to:

  • Study for more than 30 days
  • Take up employment in the UK whilst you are here on a visitor visa

How Much Leave Will I Be Granted?

A visitor visa will usually be granted for 6 months but may be granted for 11 or 12 months in certain circumstances.

If you can show that you have an ongoing need to visit the UK frequently, you may be eligible to apply for a long-term visit visa.

Why Obtain Legal Advice?

The immigration rules are very strict. The refusal of a visa can affect your ability to come to the UK in the future. Obtaining good legal advice ought to reduce the stress of the visa application process and the chances of a refusal.

It is particularly important to obtain legal advice if you have previously been refused entry to the UK.

If you are faced with a refusal, we can advise you on your options and whether you have a right of appeal or administrative review.

Making the important decision to relocate with your family can be a difficult and emotional step. It is often made more difficult by the complex application process for obtaining a UK visa. The bespoke service provided by our immigration solicitors will help to make the process less stressful.

Partners

If your partner has British citizenship, indefinite leave to remain in the UK, asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, then you may be able to join them. There are a number of requirements which both you and your partner will need to meet. These relate to your relationship, finances, accommodation and knowledge of the English language. You are expected to provide a lot of very specific documents in support of your application. Failing to do so will lead to the application being refused.

If you want to come to the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership, you will need to provide evidence that your ceremony will take place within six months of arriving in the UK. Your visa will only be valid for six months and there is an expectation that you will marry during this time. You will then need to make an application to extend your leave as a spouse or civil partner.

If your application is successful, you will be given leave to remain in the UK usually for two and a half years. Before your leave expires, you will need to apply to extend your visa. Your financial and other circumstances will affect how many times you have to apply to extend your visa before you are eligible to make an application to settle in the UK. Settlement means you can stay in the UK without time limit.

Children

If you are a British citizen or have indefinite leave to remain, asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK then your children may be able to join you in the UK. To bring your children to the UK you will need to demonstrate that they are under 18 and not married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life. You will also have to prove that you are financially able to adequately maintain them in the UK and provide suitable accommodation.

Your children will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK if their parents are either living and settled in the UK or also making an application to settle in the UK. If only one parent is settled in the UK or applying to settle in the UK, then the application will only be successful if:

  • The other parent has passed away
  • The parent in the UK or applying to settle in the UK has had sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing
  • There are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make exclusion of the child undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child’s care

Your children will need to make an application for limited leave to remain in the UK if one of their parents has been granted or is applying for limited leave to remain in the UK. Their leave will be granted in line with the non-settled parent. This is the case even if their other parent has settled status. Your children will only be able to apply to settle in the UK once the non-settled parent is eligible for indefinite leave to remain.

Parents

If your child is a British citizen and is living in the UK, you can apply to join or stay with them. You will have to prove that you are taking an active role in the child’s upbringing. You must be able to support and accommodate yourself without claiming public funds. You will also have to demonstrate that either:

  • You are the only parent of the child and you are the only person who is responsible for them
  • Your child lives permanently with another parent or carer who is British or settled in the UK and not your partner, and you want to help raise them

You may also be able to apply to stay in the UK on the basis of your relationship with a non-British child who has lived in the UK for more than least seven years. Evidence will have to be provided to demonstrate that it would not be reasonable for the child to leave the UK.

Adult Dependant Relative

If you are dependent on a British citizen and require an Adult Dependant Relative visa or someone with indefinite leave to remain, asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, you may be eligible to make an application to join them. You must over 18 years old and be related; either their parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter.

You must prove that:

  • As a result of age, illness or disability, you need long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks
  • The care you need is not available or affordable in the country you live in (even if you are given help by your family)
  • The family member you will be joining in the UK can able to support, accommodate and care for you without claiming public funds for at least five years

If your application is successful, then the length of your leave depends on the immigration status of the family member you are coming to join in the UK. If your family member is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, you will not need to extend your leave. If your family member has asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK then your visa will expire at the same time as theirs. You will be able to make an application to settle in the UK once you are eligible to do so.

The UK is world-renowned for providing a safe place to those seeking asylum. But the asylum application process can be complex and daunting. Our Immigration lawyers can help those claiming asylum or who have a Human Rights claim.

Seeking Asylum In The UK

Asylum law is incredibly complex. The UK Home Office will decide whether a person is in need of protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention, or if a person’s human rights are at stake.

Knowing what rights and protections are available to you can help you to properly explain your situation to the Home Office. When preparing your application for asylum it is essential that you receive legal advice from a specialist immigration solicitor.

Asylum is an area of law that is largely governed by International Agreements with a high degree of discretion. Our Immigration lawyers are able to guide you through this complex process of claiming asylum in the UK and can meet you for an initial discussion on what you can expect when you claim asylum in the UK.

How We Can Help

We are able to assist you with:

  • Making an application to register as a British citizen
  • Making an application to naturalise as a British citizen
  • Preparing an application for reconsideration of a refused application for citizenship
  • Challenging a refusal by issuing an application for judicial review

On 23 June 2016, Britain voted in a referendum and decided to end their forty three year membership with the European Union. The primary issue of Brexit appears to be Immigration.

The primary question of law, whether or not the referendum result is legally binding on the government, is yet to be answered, as the European Union Referendum Act 2015 contains no provisions as to its legal effect. We are yet to see what will happen to the rights of the European Union citizens already living in the UK and those who wish to come to the United Kingdom.

Once the Government of the United Kingdom makes a decision to enforce the decision to leave the European Union, terms of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union become applicable. Article 50 provides:

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
  2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
  3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
  4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

The provisions of Article 50 will be engaged only when the United Kingdom notifies the European Council of its intention to withdraw. This notice triggers the obligatory negotiations and agreement of the arrangements of the United Kingdom with the European Union.

The time limit for the United Kingdom to apply law of the European Union relating to the withdrawal is expressed to be: i) the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement, or ii) two years from the notification of intention to withdraw (if no withdrawal agreement has been reached by that time, or iii) any later period approved by the European Council.

The most attractive option following the Brexit is a bilateral agreement between European Union and the United Kingdom. It would be in the best interest of the British citizens living in other European Union Member States, for the United Kingdom to negotiate some form of free movement, as otherwise, the British citizens would become third country nationals and as such subjects to more stringent Immigration rules which are far less favourable than provisions of European Regulations that are implemented in each Member State.

There is a long wait ahead to understand exactly how the Brexit vote to leave the European Union will affect the immigration status of many. Notwithstanding this, we would strongly advise those who may be eligible for Permanent Residence or British Citizenship to make their applications to secure some form of status in the United Kingdom.

European citizens who have no documents identifying their status in the United Kingdom, and their family members have the following options:

  1. Apply for registration certificate (European citizens) or residence card (for non-European citizens) to register their residence in the United Kingdom. Both documents can last up to five years, after which the holders may be eligible to apply for permanent residence.
  2. Apply for permanent residence, following a continuous period of five years. Nationals from the A8 countries – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia must bear in mind that their application for permanent residence may not be successful if they were working in the United Kingdom between 2004 – 2011, without being registered under the Worker Registration Scheme. As at the time there were certain exemptions from the registration under the Scheme, please contact us to arrange an appointment to assess your eligibility.
  3. Apply for British citizenship. Prior to November 2015, European nationals applying for British citizenship were able to submit their application for Naturalization without having a document certifying their permanent residence. From 12 November 2015, all European citizens wishing to apply for British citizenship must prove their status by submitting document certifying permanent residence.

Do you want to come to the UK to study? Are you a student in the UK who wants to apply for another course or extend your study?

The UK is renowned for having some of the best educational institutions in the world. Many people from across the world travel to the UK to complete part of their education. Whilst the opportunity to study in a new country is exciting, sorting out your visa can be stressful.

If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland you are likely to need a visa to study in the UK.

Whether you need a short-term study visa, or a Tier 4 (General) student visa, our qualified immigration solicitors can advise you. We can also provide advice if you have a child who is in need of a visa for their primary or secondary education or if you want to carry out academic activities

Short-term Study Visa

You can apply for a Short-term Study visa if you are enrolled on a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course or a training course. This type of visa may also be appropriate if you wish to do a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad.

Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you are 16 or over and you:

  • Have received an unconditional offer on a course with a licensed tier 4 sponsor;
  • Can speak, read, write and understand English. You will usually have to pass a test to prove this;
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course. The amount will vary depending on your circumstances and where you intend to study

We can advise you whether the course that you wish to study meets the criteria specified by the Home Office. We can also provide you with clear, easy-to-follow advice regarding the eligibility and maintenance requirements.

Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa

You can apply for a Tier 4 (Child) visa for your child if they are between 4 and 17 years old and wish to come to the UK to study at an independent school.

Academic Visitor Visa

The Academic Visa is a sub-category of the Standard Visitor route and allows applicants to come to the UK to carry out academic activities.

Why Seek Legal Advice?

The immigration rules are very strict. Obtaining good legal advice will reduce the stress involved when applying for your visa.

If you have been refused a student visa, we can help you make a fresh application. We can also advise on varying or extending your student visa.

Not everyone manages or is able to conceive, and they and same sex couples may choose different options to create their family. Issues around forming families can be difficult, but they need not be devastating. We provide constructive and pragmatic advice in a supportive way.

We have a specialist forming families team and can help advise on:

Karma Hickman of the Forming Families team is recommended in Chambers & Partners as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in its 2017 rankings, noting that she “stands out for her ability in complex international surrogacy and partnership cases.” She also provides pro-bono immigration advice at sessions hosted by the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.

You can also find us listed on the Donor Conception Network’s Lawyers Supporters scheme.

We have a strong track record in achieving the best results for our clients. While every case is unique, all share one common feature – the need for sound advice and careful guidance.

Whatever the issue, there is a solution to help you and your family.

International Issues

Increasingly, commissioning parents are entering into arrangements with surrogates outside the UK. The issues identified above also apply to international surrogacy arrangements but the international element raises many further complications. The primary one is getting the child back into the UK after the birth.

Our International Surrogacy page provides a more detailed list of the issues you need to consider but key concerns include:

  • The nationality;
  • Whether the child needs a visa to enter the UK;
  • Different approaches overseas to the commercialisation of surrogacy – in many countries, payments in addition to expenses are legal and required;
  • The fact that a surrogacy arrangement might be enforceable abroad but not in the UK; and
  • Differences between countries about who is treated as a surrogate child’s legal parents (in the Ukraine and some US States, for example, the commissioning parents are automatically the child’s legal parents).

How We Can Help

  • Advise those considering surrogacy and whether it is suitable;
  • Represent commissioning parents in proceedings for a Parental Order;
  • Advise on your child’s nationality and immigration position under UK law;
  • Assist in bringing your baby back to the UK;
  • Provide written opinions and advice for those living abroad about whether and how UK surrogacy law applies to them, and
  • If a Parental Order is refused or cannot be made, advise on other orders that might be made to recognise the child’s relationship with commissioning parents.

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