Category: Asylum Legal Aid

Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK

“Due to the operational impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), most of the UK’s visa applications centres are currently closed. All visa decision waiting times will be delayed until further notice. The ‘priority service’ and ‘super priority service’ are suspended for applications made outside the UK.”

Here’s what you need to know.

(Updated as of 27 March 2020)

If you want to visit the UK:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)
  • You may be able to get your visa faster if you are visiting the UK for a holiday / business trip / to get married / to see family or friends

If you’re travelling through the UK:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)

If you want to study in the UK:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)
  • You may be able to et your visa faster if you’re applying for a short-term / general student / child student visa

If you want to work or invest in the UK:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)

If you want to join family in the UK:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 12 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)
  • You may be able to get your visa faster if you’re applying to settle in the UK as a spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or is settled in the UK

Family reunion:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 12 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)

Commonwealth citizens / Returning residents / Replacement biometric residence permits / Replacement residence cards / Transfer your visa from your passport / Certificate of entitlement:

  • Usually, you should receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre – (1 week is 5 working days)

For more information on visa decision waiting times on applications outside the UK, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service and all scheduled appointments will be held remotely. Please be advised that whilst our remote drop-in service will be held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm, our Friday service (usually held in Preston) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Requesting personal information held in the borders, immigration and citizenship system

When you request personal information held on the Home Office’s immigration records, this is known as a ‘subject access request’. As there are three types of requests (each with different requirements), this guide will provide further information.

Here’s what you need to know.

(Updated as of 24 March 2020)

Basic request:

  • Electronic summary of your immigration history
  • Visa applications submitted from outside the UK (as part of entry clearance)
  • Entry and exit in and out of the UK

Specific request:

  • A list of your applications
  • A particular decision letter
  • The outcome of an appeal

Detailed:

Here, you can request a copy of your Home Office paper file. Though an electronic summary will be sent initially (as with a basic application), this option allows you to request further information which may not have been included in the basic request.

Applications can be made online via www.visas-immigration.service.gov.uk or by email at subjectaccessrequest@homeoffice.gov.uk. Please be advised that due to coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption, the Home Office are currently unable to respond to requests sent via post or requests for paper records.

As the subject access request service provides personal information, evidence will be required to ensure the identity of the parties involved. Evidence includes but is not limited to:

  • Photo identification – passport/driving licence/bio-metric residence card
  • Written confirmation of a true likeness from: solicitor/chartered legal executive/registered charity
  • Letter of permission
  • Proof of relationship – If the request is being made on behalf of a child under 12

For more information on requesting personal information held in the borders, immigration and citizenship system, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/Skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service and all scheduled appointments will be held remotely. Please be advised that whilst our remote drop-in service will be held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm, our Friday service (usually held in Preston) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Visa extension for NHS frontline workers

In a move to keep focus solely on fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has made a major announcement which impacts those working on the NHS frontline.

Here’s what you need to know.

(Updated as of 31 March 2020)

  • Doctors, nurses and paramedics employed by the NHS with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year
  • The extension is also applicable to family members
  • Pre-registered overseas nurses who typically must sit their first skills test within 3 months and pass within 8 months will now have the deadline extended to the end of the year
  • Extensions to NHS visas are automatic and exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge

For more information on visa extensions for frontline NHS workers, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service and all scheduled appointments will be held remotely. Please be advised that whilst our remote drop-in service will be held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm, our Friday service (usually held in Preston) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

EEA FREE MOVEMENT RIGHTS: FAMILY MEMBERS OF BRITISH CITIZENS

Since March 2019, applicants for an EEA residence card can be either a family member or an extended family member of a British citizen, this is in light of the Banger judgement and subsequent changes to the 2016 European Economic Area regulations. If the conditions are met, a family member or an extended family member of a British citizen will be treated as if they are the family member of a European Economic Area (EEA) national under the 2016 regulations.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • If the British citizen exercised free movement rights as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student in an EEA host country immediately before returning to the UK, or had acquired the right of permanent residence in the EEA host country
  • If the British citizen would satisfy the conditions for residence if they were an EEA national (that is they are within their first 3 months of residence or are a qualified person)
  • If the family member or extended family member and British citizen resided together in the other EEA member state and that residence was genuine
  • If the extended family member’s residence in the other EEA member state was lawful
  • If the family member or extended family member met these conditions for the entire period being relied upon
  • If the purpose of the residence in the EEA host country was not to avoid any UK immigration law applying to non-EEA nationals (for example the Immigration Rules)

For more information on free movement rights for family members of British citizens, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service will be held remotely on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton). Please be advised that our Preston drop-in service held on Fridays have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK

The British Nationality Act 1981 provides that a person applying for naturalisation must have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK, and of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic. Regulations specify how a person can demonstrate knowledge of English language. Since 2007, the requirements for certain Indefinite Leave to Remain applications have included knowledge of English and of life in the UK.

This guidance tells you about the knowledge of language and life requirement for those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Naturalisation as a British citizen.

Here’s what you need to know.

  • Applicants must meet the ‘knowledge of language’ requirement by either:
    • having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
    • having a degree that was taught or researched in English
    • being a national of a majority English-speaking country and knowledge of ‘life in the UK’ requirements
  • Applicants must meet the ‘life in the UK’ requirement by taking the test booked through gov.uk
  • There are exceptions to these requirements (for a definitive list, please get in touch)

For more information on Knowledge of language and life in the UK, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk to book a telephone/skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service will be held remotely on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton). Please be advised that our Preston drop-in service held on Fridays have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Home Office Fees

As of 29th March 2019, there have been amendments to the Home Office Fees. Whilst the changes are comparably insignificant, please be aware the price of their ‘Super Priority Service’ has risen from £610 – £800.

For a comprehensive list, please click here.

Visitor Visa

“I’d like to visit the UK, you say to yourself. Amazing! Whether it’s a holiday to visit family and friends, business, or for another reason, for example medical purposes, you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa before you proceed to book a plane ticket.

Here are a few things you need to know.

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before travel, typically resulting in a decision being granted within 3 weeks of your application. Usually, you can stay in the UK for up to 6 months. However, if you need to stay longer or visit more frequently, you can apply for a long-term Visitor Visa.

The fees are:

  • Standard visitor – £93
  • Up to 11 months (for private medical care) / up to 12 months (academic on sabbatical) – £186
  • 2 years multi-entry – £350
  • 5 years multi-entry – £636
  • 10 years multi-entry – £798

Please be advised that Home Office fees are subject to change.

As a minimum, you must provide evidence such as:

  • Your ability to accommodate support yourself and any dependants for the duration of your trip
  • Documentation illustrating you intend to return to your home country at the end of your visit

For more information on Visitor Visas please come along to one of our drop-in services. These are held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton), and Fridays between 10am – 1:30pm (Preston). There is a £24 charge for the consultation.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Spouse Visa

You’ve met the one. You’ve nurtured a relationship. You’ve planned a life; together. However, due to the reality of immigration laws, there are rules and procedures that must be followed before you can be legally reunited with your loved ones in the UK.

Here are a few things you need to know.

As the partner of an applicant for a spouse visa you must be, a UK citizen, have Indefinite Leave to Remain or have refugee status.  Additionally, you must have either:

  • £18,600 in employment income
  • £62,500 in savings

Please be advised there are other ways in which you can satisfy the financial requirement.

Additionally, your partner will need to:

  • Complete a level A1 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) English Language test with a Home Office approved body
  • Attend an application centre in their country of origin to provide biometric information such as photographs and fingerprints

Please be advised that any original supporting documents may be sent to Sheffield as part of the application. In addition, evidence will also be required to prove the validity of your relationship, that you are free to marry, and that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner.

As part of the application, the fees are:

  • £1000 Immigration Health Surcharge
  • £1523 Spouse Visa fee
  • £825 (our fee including VAT)

Please be advised that the Home Office fees are subject to change.

For more information on partner based visas, please come along to one of our drop in services. These are held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton), and Fridays between 10am – 1:30pm (Preston). There is a £24 charge for the consultation.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Sky High Immigration Appeal Fees Are Here!

Earlier this year the Government’s Consultation on proposals for the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) fees was published with an indication of a fivefold hike in appeal fees.

On reading the document it was unthinkable and unimaginable that further pressures should be placed on individuals already quite stretched to even afford the Home Office application fees.

It was not that long ago there were no appeal fees; in fact it was approximately five years ago that immigration appeal fees were introduced in October 2011.

The dawn of high immigration appeal fees is here, full details of which can be found using the following link: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/928/made

As of today, Monday 10th October 2016, it will cost £490.00 as opposed to £80.00 to request a paper appeal and £800.00 instead of £140.00 for an oral appeal in the First-tier Tribunal. A fee of £455.00 has been introduced for applications to the First-tier Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

Applications to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal will cost £350.00 and a subsequent appeal hearing will cost £510.00. However, the date for introducing these fees has yet to be determined.

There are appeal fee exemptions for certain individuals/type of applications. For example, those who qualify for Legal Aid or have an asylum appeal or can show they are destitute will continue to be exempt from paying an appeal fee.