We offer a highly bespoke service for individual and family visas. At an initial fixed-fee consultation, we will consider your individual personal circumstances and advise you on your eligibility under the rules. We can take care of all aspects of a client’s visa application in competitively priced, fixed-fee packages or, where only legal advice is sought, on a time-only basis.
Up until July 2012, it was reasonably straightforward for a couple to obtain a visa for a non- British citizen spouse, providing the couple could demonstrate (from a wide range of sources including third-party support) that their relationship was genuine and they could maintain themselves without recourse to public funds. Under the old system a spouse visa was issued for two years and indefinite leave to remain, otherwise known as permanent status, was issued at the end of this period.
This fairly light touch system was completely overhauled in 2012, when the Home Office introduced a new chapter to the Immigration Rules – known as “Appendix FM” – which imposes a strict set of substantive and evidential requirements that must be stringently adhered to. The law in this area is stringent – case workers have almost no discretion to overlook errors and every year, hundreds of visas are refused.
Whilst many couples meet the substance of the rules, satisfying the evidential requirements can be difficult, particularly for those with more complex financial arrangements. The main problem is that not every source of a couples “income” can be counted towards the financial requirement. In addition, the rules for those who are self-employed, and for employees of family businesses, are extremely complex.
Children born overseas to a British citizen (who was born in the UK), will automatically be British at birth. However, children born overseas to British parents who were not born in the UK will not be automatically British.
If one of the child’s British parents lived in the UK for three years prior to the child’s birth, the child may qualify to register as British. Otherwise, the child will require a visa to come to the UK.
A non-British step-child of a British citizen will also require a visa to come to the UK, if accompanied by their non- British parent.
Since the changes made in July 2012 to family migration, it has been extremely difficult to obtain a visas for family members other than partners and minor children.
It is also very difficult to obtain a visa for another family member, e.g. adult children, siblings and parents.
An application made on behalf of an adult dependant relative will only succeed where it can be demonstrated that the applicant needs long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK. That care must be needed to assist with everyday personal and household tasks, e.g. washing, dressing and cooking.
In addition, the applicant must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living because it is not available, there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it, or because it is not affordable.
Applicants under this route must also be able to satisfy the decision-maker that they, or their family, can maintain the applicant without recourse to additional public funds.
The former requirements make it very difficult for an applicant to succeed in this category.
We have experience of making successful initial applications and having refusal decisions overturned by the Immigration Tribunal. This is an area of immigration law where appealing a decision can bring success as the courts have proven to be sympathetic to the very difficult situations that families can find themselves in due to visa barriers.
Ancestry visas are for citizens of Commonwealth countries aged 17 and over who are able to demonstrate they have a UK born grandparent. Ancestry can be claimed on the basis of adoption (of the applicant or relevant parent) and can also be based on being born outside marriage in the UK.
An applicant must also demonstrate that they are able and plan to work in the UK.
An applicant who comes to the UK on an Ancestry visa can settle in the UK after five years, providing they meet the additional settlement criteria.
Why choose us?
• Experience: our immigration team has more than two decades’ experience making successful personal visa applications, and the team is Director-led by a Law Society accredited specialist in immigration law.
• A highly attentive, responsive and tailored service to suit the needs of clients.
• One-stop legal service: we collaborate regularly with colleagues specialising in wealth management, tax and pensions to provide a holistic service that is highly valued by international families.
• Access to immigration networks: we are members of a number of professional bodies, including the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) Family Working Group and the ILPA New York Working Group. We are also involved in high-level engagement with Home Office officials to provide the best possible service to our clients, and our team is constantly monitoring and advising on changes to immigration law.
To arrange a fixed-fee consultation today, contact us.