Thursday, 28 November 2013

What’s the difference between 'British by birth' and 'not British but can be registered as British'?

This usually relates to children, so we’ll start from them.

British by birth means the child is British because of his/her family. It can be because of a parent being British, or because of a parent who has an ILR and a has a child born in the UK (who will be British by birth). In this case parents can just apply for a UK passport (here meant as a ‘passport book’), in the same way as British parents apply: sending documents to IPS (Identity and Passport Service), paying a passport fee and getting a passport. Most British-born parents here would not even think about anything else but simply applying for a UK passport (‘a passport’) for their child, without even thinking how lucky the child is :o))

'Not British but can be registered as British' means a child is not a British citizen when he/she is born, so parents could not just apply for a passport. However, in certain circumstances they can register the child, ie submit application form and pay some fee to the UK Border Agency, then wait for a decision. Once decision has been made - and decision is positive - then parents can apply for a UK passport for the child to IPS.

Here it is important to understand that there are conditions to meet when registering a child as British, it is not simply a choice to make a child a British citizen.

For example, an Indian couple have a child born in the UK when one parent is on a Tier 2 visa and the other is on a Dependant visa. The child is not British by birth. When one of the parents (or both but one is sufficient) obtains an ILR, the child can be registered as British at the UK Border Agency. A child cannot become British before that, so an application for registration would be refused before at least one of the parents secures  an ILR.

If the same couple has a child after one or both parents have an ILR, that child will be British by birth and there is no need to register – just get a British passport.

Another example: before 1 July 2006 children born to British fathers were only British by birth if the father was married to their mother.  So, if the parents were unmarried, and only a father was British (mother was non-British), a child was not British at all. Now there is a provision to register such children to become British citizens.

One more example: children born in the UK who are not British by birth can also be registered as  British after spending the first 10 years of their lives in the UK.

Adults: some adult people are British citizens because of their parents (or because they were born in the UK before 1983) but they never applied for a UK passport, such as because they lived outside the UK for all their lives. In this case a person was British by birth and does not need register, he/she should apply for a UK passport, which is possible to do from outside the UK, in many cases sending their application to Liverpool.

Compare with this: before 1983 only men could pass their nationality to their children. So, those who were born before 1983 to a British mother (but not to a British father) was not British. Now there is a provision to register as a British citizen, ie to submit an application to the UKBA, complete and form, pay a fee. There is also a condition of being of good character as most applicants are now adults.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website:


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Another successful Tier 2 case and testimonial

"I wanted to thank Ms Lucy Crompton and Ms Natalia Andrews for all their help. I will definitely recommend them to my family and friends. Very helpful and supportive service. I got an extension for 3 years on Tier 2 General case." 

This came from Zahra, an Iranian national, who we helped to switch from a Post-Study Work visa to a Tier 2 visa inside the UK. We used same-day service in Croydon. We also assisted the applicant's employer with getting a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship including advising on Resident Labour Market Test (which was not required) and on using a Code of Practice and SOC codes.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Immigration questions answered over email - by next working day!

As part of our services we offer advice session, which can be at our office (Tower Hill in central London) or over email. This is available to the migrants as well as to fellow immigrations advisers and solicitors.

Email advice is becoming very popular because it is available to anyone anywhere in the world, plus answers are written and you can refer to them later without a fear of forgetting the advice given. You can also show it to your partner or to your employer.

We promise to provide answers to your queries by the end of the next working day after receipt of advice fee, which is £70 and is counted towards our service fee if you proceed with an application through us later. Advice fee can be paid online on our website or to our bank account.

Examples on the issues we can advise during the session: absences from the UK for an ILR (are they within the limit?), what to do if you have a criminal conviction or a driving offence, how  your British spouse/partner can meet the Financial Requirement, do you pass a points test, what if you changed your name, do you have enough money to satisfy the maintenance requirement, can you leave the UK after you get an ILR and when it can become invalid, what your employer had to do if they want to sponsor you under the Tier 2 category, what if you want to change your employer and similar. 
Advice covers questions about the visa Rules (but not looking at the documents or completing the forms).

To use this service please get in touch  

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor, and also need an advice on the Rules, please email or visit our immigration Training and CDP website:   

Another successful case and testimonial - Romanian national who applied for British Citizenship

'Thanks a lot for all your support! I really appreciated your prompt replies and orderly approach throughout my citizenship application process. All ran smoothly and quickly.'' This came from a Romanian lady, Ms S, who applied for British Citizenship through us in the beginning of October 2013 and the application took only 5 weeks at the UK Border Agency.

Our client arrived in the UK in 2006 and had a work visa under the Immigration rules. When Romania joined the European Union in January 2007 our client continued working for the same company, also securing a Blue Card on the basis of working in the UK for 12 months ending on or after 1 January 2007.

After Exercising treaty rights in the UK for 5 years, ie having worked for 5 years, Ms S became eligible for Permanent Residence, without having to apply for it. 1 year later she was eligible to apply for British Citizenship.

As usual, we submitted certified copies of the applicant’s passports, which allowed her to travel for work while the application was processed by the Home Office. We usually do not submit the original passports.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Successful case for a spouse of a UK citizen under Exception Ex.1 (based on Family Life)

“I can't thank you enough for your hard work on this. I am so ecstatic I don't know what to say. I am actually in tears!!!”. Mrs A, national of Antigua & Barbuda who applied for a visa in the UK under the  Exception EX.1 for spouses of UK citizens applying on the basis of exceptional circumstances. In this case the Financial Requirement (£18,600) was waived as well as the requirement to be in the UK with a valid visa.

In this case our client entered the UK as a visitor (nationals of Antigua & Barbuda do not need a visitor visa), then made an application for an EEA Residence Card. Unfortunately, it was refused because EEA applications for spouses of EEA (non-UK) citizens while our client was married to a British citizen. This application took the whole 9 months (and was refused), so when it happened Mrs A contacted us for a professional advice.
We submitted application for a leave to remain (ie inside the UK) on FLR(O) form in the so called 10-year Parent/Partner route, even though such applications are discretionary (up to the Home Office to decide), the main thing to prove was that the couple had ‘insurmountable circumstances’ preventing from returning to the applicant’s home country and applying for an Entry Clearance from there.

Our client’s 4 children (all British citizens) had spent a whole year in their respective schools in England and were settled in their lives here. It would have been a disruption to their education. Furthermore, the Sponsor (UK spouse) in this case had a job but it was paying below the required Financial Requirement of £18,600.
This application has been successful and took only about 1 month, which is extremely fast for a postal application these days. The Home Office found the circumstances to be ‘insurmountable’ and also waived the Financial Requirement.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:

Friday, 15 November 2013

Switching from Post-Study Work to Entrepreneur visa: do I really need an advert?

We are often asked by people who are on PSW visas and who are already working as ‘contractors’, whether they also need advertising when they are planning to apply for an Entrepreneur visa.

Contractors usually work as if they were employees but on paper they are self-employed. So, one may be going to the same office every day and working  at the same desk every day and doing the tasks set by his/her ‘employer’. When it is a ‘full-time’ contract then there is no need for advertising from the common sense point of view.

However, visa rules are rarely based on common sense. If the rules say you need advertising then you need to advertising, even if you only produce an advert just for a visa application.

Goes further – an advert must have specific details, such as your name and a business name plus description of your services and your contacts.   

The good news is that it can be an online advert, can be free advertising. If your business is trading online it can be evidence of owning the domain name instead. You can also produce evidence from attending a trade fair (as an exhibitor) or registration with your professional body if it is compulsory for your occupation.

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Switching from Post-Study Work to Entrepreneur visa: do I really need a contract? 

Such a switch (application inside the UK) has many strings attached. There had to be some, since 'only' £50,000 in funds is required, as opposed to the main amount of £200,000. 

So, if you are thinking of switching from a PSW to an Entrepreneur visa then you need to have a business already (or register one before you apply). Registration has to be in place together with things like appointed accountant, a business bank account, business insurance and if applicable, VAT certificate. 

Also, the services your business provides to the clients must be at min NQF level 4 from the Tier 2 Code of Practice (available in the UKBA website). This is the services your business provides rather than what you personally do in your business. 

As evidence of trading you have to indeed provide at least 1 contract. This is compulsory, even though in your work you may not need a contract with every client. These rules are basically written for 'contractors', ie people who are working as if they were employees but are self-employed 'on paper'. 

So contract it is. Goes farther - contract must have specific details, such as full contacts of your client. If you miss 'one little thing', such as client's postcode, then your application may well be refused - however unreliable it sounds.  

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website:

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Romanian/Bulgarian nationals: main issues when applying for Permanent Residency and British Citizenship

These are based on our experience as a London-based practicing immigration company.
Confusing ‘5 years of residency’ with the ‘5 years of exercising treaty rights in the UK’. First is a myth, latter is a compulsory requirement. All EU nationals, including Romanian/Bulgarian must show they have exercised Treaty rights in the UK for continuous 5 years, rather than just being in the UK for 5 years. Examples of exercising treaty rights: working, being self-employed; plus studying and/or being self-sufficient (in both cases applicants need private medical insurance). If there is a break in exercising treaty rights then you will not qualify for Permanent Residency and therefore, won’t qualify for Citizenship either (Citizenship is mainly based on qualifying for Permanent Residency).

In many cases we have to find a point where exercising treaty rights in one or more in the above activities became continuous. For example, counting from the date of start of the last job when there was a long break in employment before that, even if you worked for, say, 3 years before the break.
Breaks in work can only be solved by having a private medical insurance at the time (otherwise it’s a break which ‘re-starts the clock’). May sound a bit complicated but it means the following: if you were not working (as an employee or self-employed) then you will only be considered as exercising treaty rights if you had private medical insurance at the time.

Private medical insurance if officially called Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and basically means an alternative to using the NHS. This insurance is required for students and self-sufficient EU nationals, including Romanian/Bulgarian.
Time and time again we hear “I quit that job and was not working for  a few months. I had some savings left and I could support myself. Medical insurance? No, I did not need it, I was not using the NHS”. Well, it is not relevant if you did not need the NHS and did not use it. What matters is that for breaks in working you had insurance.

Likewise, it does not solve a problem if you now rush and buy this insurance because it will be valid from now. A bit like trying to get fire insurance when the house is already on fire.
Working ‘cash in hand’. This might have saved you on paying taxes but comes to bite right back. Since there is no official records of such work (HMRC did not know about that) it will not be counted as working. If you did not have the above private medical insurance then this will be a break in exercising Treaty rights.

Students who work before legally allowed. Unlike other EU nationals, Romanian/Bulgarian and now Croatian nationals can only work while studying when they have obtained a Yellow Card, not before that. So, if you happened to start working (while studying) before your Yellow Card was issued to you, that was illegal and won’t be counted as exercising Treaty rights as a worker (but studying will be counted if you had complied with the conditions for students, see below). This points does not apply to those who had work authorisation otherwise, before studying, for example, if you had a Blue Card and then started a new course, in this case a Blue Card allowed to work without needing a Yellow Card.
Students without comprehensive sickness insurance. From 20 June 2011 students from EU countries, including Romanian/Bulgarian, are considered as self-sufficient and must have private medical insurance while studying, otherwise it won’t be counted as exercising Treaty rights. The catch here is that even if you were studying before 20 June 2011 you still need to show you have had that insurance at the time, ie before or after 20 June 2011, ie for any time spent in the UK studying. This affected those who did not have insurance at the time because they 1) they did not know about it (most commonly) and/or 2) because it was not required at the time. Unfortunately, the changes were applied retrospectively.

There is an exception. If you obtained a Yellow Card as a student before 20 June 2011, without needing comprehensive sickness insurance (as it was not needed back then), then you can now be treated as if you had it. So, the changes from 20 June 2011 do not affect you. However, if you have never applied for a Yellow Card you need to show you had this insurance even before 20 June 2011. Also, if you had a Yellow Card as a student, then applied for a Blue Card to work and then returned to study again, then this exception only applies to the period of studies before the Blue Card.
Finally, thinking you can apply for citizenship after 5 years in the UK. Wrong! First you need to qualify for Permanent Residency, which requires 5 years of continuous exercising Treaty rights, as above. There is no obligation to apply for permanent residency but you must show how you qualified for it, when you apply for Citizenship. Then there is an extra rule of waiting for 12 months after qualifying for Permanent Residency because of the rule of being ‘Free from immigration restrictions for at least 12 months’. This effectively means at least 6 years in the UK. The only exception is those who are married to UK citizens - they don’t need to wait for a 6th year.

There are also other issues but not enough space to cover them all. For example, those who stop exercising Treaty rights because of a maternity leave (or rather quitting a job and letting a non-EU spouse support financially) or those who have problems because their colleges were closed or courses cancelled. There are also some more examples of exercising Treaty rights, such as working but having an accident, these are less common cases, so we don’t cover them in this general post.
For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CDP website: