How do I change or vary my visa, type of leave or immigration status?
If you required a visa when you entered the UK, you will need to make an application to the Home Office in order to change your status. If you are in the UK and you submit a valid application before your current visa runs out, the conditions of your existing status continue unchanged beyond the normal expiration date. This extension lasts until the Home Office make a decision on your case and until any subsequent appeal process concludes.
If you need advice about which type of visa is most appropriate for you, we can offer you a consultation.
How do I change my job or type of employment?
If you are in the UK with a status that allows work (not including Tier 2 visas), then you do not need permission from the Home Office to change your job. If you are on a Tier 4 visa there are restrictions about how many hours you can work.
If you have a Tier 2 visa and you want to change your job, you may need to make a change of employment application to the Home Office. We can advise in detail on the circumstances in which an application needs to be made to the Home Office.
How do I check that my current immigration status is valid and compatible with my current employment?
If you are in the UK with a visa issued by the Home Office which is not under the EEA Regulations, you will have leave to remain for the period stated on the stamp or biometric residence permit.
How do I extend or renew my existing leave, permission or residence permit?
You must apply to the Home Office for an extension of your current visa before it expires if you required a visa when you entered the UK and currently have limited leave to remain. If you have made a valid application for further leave, your current leave will be extended on the same conditions until the Home Office make a decision on your application, and any subsequent appeal process. Note that if the visa says that you have leave ‘until’ a certain date, then you must submit your application before that date.
How do I make my existing leave or residence permit unlimited (indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence)?
You will need to apply to the Home Office if you wish to get indefinite leave to remain in the UK and you required a visa when you entered the UK. Many categories of leave to remain in the UK lead eventually to settlement.
If you are an EEA national or family member of an EEA national you may acquire settlement automatically. Passportia can help you determine if this is the case.
How do I become a British citizen or get a British passport (registration or naturalisation)?
If you are resident in the UK with no limit on your stay (you have indefinite leave to remain, or you are an EEA National with permanent residence or right of abode) and you wish to become a British citizen, the most common route will be to apply for naturalisation.
To apply for naturalisation successfully you must have done all of the following. You must have lived lawfully in the UK for most of the last 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a British citizen on date of application). You must have been free from restrictions on the period for which you may remain in the UK for at least the last 12 months. You must be of good character, and you must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and knowledge about life in the UK.
Naturalisation is discretionary and some requirements are subjective. Our advisers are expert at conducting naturalisation applications successfully.
Registration is an alternative route to British citizenship and is available in a variety of situations. Passportia is a specialist nationality firm and can provide detailed advice on when registration is available.
How do I appeal against a refusal of leave, visa or permit, British citizenship or passport?
The First-Tier Tribunal hears appeals against immigration decisions of the Secretary of State and Entry Clearance Officers. Only some immigration decisions come with a right of appeal to the Tribunal. In recent years the government has reduced the number of decisions which come with a right of appeal.
If you have been given a notice of decision which carries a right of appeal, you may begin an appeal by sending the notice of decision and completed appeal forms to the Tribunal. This process must be done within strict time limits.
The correct procedure for conducting appeals before the Tribunal is not obvious and you may wish to seek legal advice. Our advisers have years of experience of advocacy before the Tribunal.
When the Home Office or Entry Clearance Officer (at an Embassy or High Commission) makes a decision which comes with a right of appeal, they should notify the applicant and provide them with the relevant forms. However this is not always done. If you think you may have a right of appeal against a decision you can contact Passportia who will advise you if it is possible to lodge proceedings with the Tribunal.
I was admitted to the UK with temporary admission or very short leave. Can my status be improved?
It is possible to appeal this or apply to extend your stay. Temporary admission can be for as little as 24 hours so you must act swiftly.
How do I bring my spouse, partner, child or dependant to the UK?
Many categories of visa under the Immigration Rules permit you to bring certain family members to the UK with you, such as your spouse or civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, or children aged under 18 years.
If you were granted a visa under a category of the Immigration Rules, the rules will state if family members can come with you.
The Tier 4 (General) visa no longer permits you to bring family members in most cases. If your course of study is for longer than 12 months and at NQF Level 7 or higher (Master’s degree or PhD), or you are a new government-sponsored student following a course which lasts longer than 6 months, then you may bring your family with you.
I would like to understand EEA residence permits
EEA residence cards are different from other types of visa. Having an EEA residence card which is valid does not guarantee that your presence in the UK is lawful. For a detailed look at the special nature of EEA residence cards (which used to be known as residence permits) you may be interested in our briefing “Understanding EEA Residence Cards”.
Passportia can advise you on your status if you are unsure whether you are allowed to be in the UK.
I would like to understand Derivative Rights and the Zambrano case
Since the 2004 Free Movement Directive was made, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has identified situations in which EU law would give someone a right to remain in the UK. In 2012 the EEA regulations were implemented to take account of the new case-law, and the new rights created were referred to as ‘derivative rights of residence’.
Not all of the situations identified by the ECJ have been correctly implemented in the new regulations. Passportia can give advice on situations which the regulations do not cover.
In 2010 the ECJ decided the Zambrano case. They decided that if a child who is a national of a Member State needs their parent to look after them, then the Member State has to give a right of residence to the parent as well, if the child would otherwise have to leave the European Union.
How do I buy or rent property in the UK?
UK immigration law does not impose any restriction on a person buying or renting property in the UK. There are many non-residents who own property in the UK and use that property on regular visits. However, many mortgage lenders seek evidence of immigration status when considering an application for a property loan.
I would like to establish my options – I am in the UK legally, or as a visitor or tourist.
Many factors, such as your current status, affect whether you can switch to another category. You should take advice before applying to switch to another category, particularly if you are currently in the UK on a visit visa.
I would like to establish my options – I am in the UK as a refugee, asylum seeker or illegally or as an overstayer or prisoner/detainee.
Being in the UK without valid leave does not prevent you from taking advice or making an application to the Home Office. Passportia deals with all kinds of applications, and this includes bail and asylum. If you are an asylum applicant legal aid is generally available to you. Passportia does not offer legal aid. For longstanding illegal residents there are options that Passportia can explore.