Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New successful case and testimonial on application for Indefinite Leave (ILR) for a spouse of a UK citizen, plus 2 children who turned 18 yo but were still applying as dependants.

Russell, just to say thank you for how you handled our application. We really appreciated your level of professionalism and expertise and your calm confidence. You made the whole process so much easier thank you."

This came from Mrs M, a national of Lebanon who made a SET(M) application for herself and SET(O) applications for 2 children who turned 18yo by the time of applying for an ILR.

In this case the main applicant was married to a British citizen and had a Spouse Entry Clearance under the old Rules (ie issued before 9 July 2012). So it was a straightforward SET(M) application. However, the 2 children of the main applicant were issued with dependent visas at the time of entry to the UK and now, by the time of ILR application, they turned 18 yo. It meant we could not include them in the SET(M) application as dependents. Instead we had to add a SET(O) application for each child, at the same time as the main SET(M) application, as well as full SET(O) fee.

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, 21 May 2014

Online OISC LEVEL 1 Course including a mock Level 1 Assessment and real case studies from a practising OISC-accredited immigration company.

This is a most requested training course and you can download our Online OISC Level 1 training course to your computer and study in your own time - to prepare for your OISC accreditation and Level 1 Assessment. No need to travel to a classroom, no need to wait for the next date. You can start your immigration training right now!

We are a practising OISC-accredited immigration company, we have designed this training material to be of practical help for those who are preparing for OISC accreditation at Level 1 and for compulsory Level 1 Assessment. Or perhaps to those who are planning to open a UK immigration consultancy based overseas. It would also be of interest for practicing advisers and immigration lawyers as well as for community group advisers, council or Citizens Advice Bureau workers, volunteers etc.
This is not a boring coverage of the Immigration Rules! We tried to keep the language as simple and entertaining as possible. See the Contents and Extracts on our website!
Please note: we are not the OISC and our courses are designed for training. Taking our course does not guarantee OISC accreditation, you'd have to apply to take an OISC exam for that or submit your CPD record to them if you are already accredited.

1)    You can download the course now:

 2)    You can read here about the benefits and why our course is different:
3) You can find a detailed Table of Contents on the link above, here are 2 examples (of 20):

2 systems of immigration law: UK law and European law | Types of visas under the UK law | Entry Clearance | Visitor visa | Leave to Remain (also called Residence Permit or Limited Leave to Remain) | Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) | It is possible to lose an ILR, however Indefinite it is | Indefinite Leave to Enter | There is also a Leave to Enter
Settlement’ and 2 confusing meanings of this word | Common question:  Passport has expired, do I have to transfer my visa to a new passport | What is Switching? | Common examples when switching is not allowed even though the migrants are desperate to do so | What is the Date of Application and why it is so important? | When is the Date of Application? | In-time and Out-of-time applications

Each category rules consist of 3 parts | My ‘Other way around’ principle | How to determine if switching is possible?| How to determine if a visa allows to work? | Registration with the police | Tuberculosis test | UKBA Staff Guidance

4)    You can find Extracts on the link above too, here are 2 of them:

Extract from the “IMMIGRATION RULES AND HOW TO USE THEM” section:
No one knows everything and remembers all the rules! The trick is to know how to use the Immigration Rules and where to find  the specific information. The Rules may change anytime, and they do change a lot, but if you know how to use the Rules you could check the requirements or check the changes at any time. For example, things like whether a migrant can switch a visa category while in the UK or whether a migrant can work or whether a particular English test is acceptable are all a matter of the Rules, not a matter of guessing.

My ‘Other way around’ principle:
I call it ‘other way around’ because many people tend to think this way: “I am on a Tier 5 visa and want to know if I can apply for a Spouse visa inside the UK”, then they go on the Immigration Rules webpage for the Tier 5 category and try to read the rules there. Understandably, they only find the rules about how to get a Tier 5 visa, which they already have, and not a Spouse visa.

What you need to do is to act the ‘other way around’, ie to check the rules of the category your client is looking to apply for, not the rules of the category in which he/she already has a visa. In our example of switching from a Tier 5 to a Spouse visa it is the Spouse visa rules that one needs to read – to determine if he/she can qualify.

Extracts from the “CRUCIAL TO GET THE BASICS!” section:

What is Switching?
Switchingis not an official term. Switching simply means changing a visa category while inside the UK, ie switching from one to another, such as from a Tier 4 Student to a Tier 2 General; or from Tier 4 to a Spouse visa. Officially it is called ‘applying for a leave to remain in a Tier 2 General category’ or ‘applying for a leave to remain as a Spouse of a UK citizen’. So, we can simply say ‘Switching from a Student visa to a Spouse visa’.

The significance of switching is this: switching means applying inside the UK and it is only allowed if the Rules specifically allow so. If switching is not allowed then the applicant has to return to their country and apply for a visa from there, which means he/she would be applying for an Entry Clearance.

What is the Date of Application and why it is so important?

Imagine this: you are making an application today but tomorrow the Rules are changing, which rules would apply? Or you have made an application a month ago, your visa expires in 2 weeks time and your application is not going to be decided before then, are you going to become an overstayer through no fault of your own?

A Date of Application idea deals with such issues. If the date of your application is before the Rules changed then your application is going to be considered under the Rules in place before the changes. For example, Spouse/Partner visas rules were significantly changed on 9 July 2012, yet those who applied before that, even on 8 July 2012, had their applications considered under the old rules, even if the decision was made a few months after the rules changed.

If the date of your application is before your last visa expired then your status remains the same as it was on the date of application for as long as it takes for a new application to be considered. However long it takes, even if the last visa expired by then. Officially it is extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, which automatically extends the ‘last visa’ for as long as it is going to take for a decision on the new application. This means migrants do not become overstayers through no fault of their own?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

New successful case and testimonial on application for an EEA Residence Card for a spouse of an EEA national.

"I would like to thanks Lucy and Natalia for the top service and the help with my wife´s Visa application. We had a successful outcome much sooner than expected and they were at all the application time in touch with us to keep us up to date regarding the application process. They are 100% advisable and reliable, we are very happy and we will pass their details to our friends in case of need."

This came from Francisco, a German national whose spouse is from Chile and needed a visa to live and work in the UK. A Chilean spouse in this case arrived as a visitor, ie without a visa, to the UK and we made an EEA2 application. In this case our client was exercising Treaty rights as both a worker and a self-employed person, so we used a combination of documents and application was approved within approx 2 months.

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, 14 May 2014

New successful case and testimonial on a Spouse visa extension which was considered under the 'old rules'.

"I would like to thank you millions and millions of times for the hard work you had to put in on my behalf and the professional manner in which my complicated case was dealt with, I will definitely recommend 1st 4Immigration as they treat each customer as an individual not just a number".

This came from Maher, national of Tunisia, who applied for an extension of his Spouse visa through us. Maher’s visa was issued under the old rules, ie before 9 July 2012, so we processed extension under the old rules either (ie under the Transitional Arrangements).

In this case we could not submit an application for an ILR, even though the applicant had completed 2 years in the UK on a Spouse visa, because not all requirements for an ILR could have been met at the time of application. We also had to explain that the nature of the applicant’s job (as a carer) required him to travel and be away from the marital home. With the appropriate documents from his employer, this was not a problem.

The outcome was a Spouse visa extension for another 2 years and as soon as our client is ready he will be able to apply for an ILR.

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:

Monday, 12 May 2014

Online immigration training and accredited Continuing Professional development (CPD): Online course British Citizenship - a Dream for Many! CPD 7 hours.

For our colleagues Immigration Advisers and Solicitors. Our online training course is accepted by The OISC and SRA, CPD ref number EJE/14IM.

British Citizenship - a Dream for Many! 7 hours CPD credit.

This course includes the requirements for the 4 main groups of applicants: spouses/civil partners of British citizens, European/EEA nationals, their family members and ‘everyone else’. Plus new English language rules from 28.10.2013, criminality rules from 13.12.2012.

Download from our website, study in your own time on any computer, iPad or iPhone, complete the test and we will award your CPD hours and send you a certificate. Visit website now to download or to read a detailed table of contents, objectives and extracts:  

This online training course is offered by our company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, which is a practicing immigration company, registered by The OISC at a highly respectable Level 2, based in the City of London. We’ve had almost 100% success rate in 2013 and 100% rate in 2012!
1st 4Immigration Ltd, OISC no F200800152, SRA ref EJE/14IM.
68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. and





4 types of rules - 4 groups: Spouses and civil partner of British citizens, EEA nationals, family members of EEA nationals and 'Everyone else'.

SECTION 1: We start from the most common group – ‘Everybody else’.

Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship! | Common mistake: ‘skipping’ an ILR | TIP -The main challenge on the way to Citizenship is to qualify and secure an ILR  | Example: A client asks “I have an Entrepreneur visa, when can I apply for a British passport?” |
Condition 2: Having an ILR for at least 12 months | CASE STUDY: Canadian national holds and ILR and is married to another Canadian national who holds a Spouse visa | TIP - Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens don’t need to wait for 12 months after an ILR.

Condition 3: Five years of continuous legal residency in the UK and being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA | 3.1) Legal residency | Exemption from immigration control | Being in any place of detention or prison | Illegal residency | 28 days of overstaying is not ‘overstaying’.  | 3.2) Continuous residency | CASE STUDY – from Tier 1 General straight to Citizenship? | 3.3) Being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA
Condition 4: Good character | 4.1) Paying taxes | TIP – Unemployed clients | CASE STUDY – Chinese national who doesn’t have a job | 4.2) Criminal convictions, civil judgments, driving offences, fines, fixed penalty notices, cautions | Before 13 December 2012 - Spent and Unspent criminal convictions | From 13 December 2012 - Criminal convictions | TIP – applicant’s offence may have happened after he obtained an ILR | Table of offences and impact on applications | TIP – changes under 4. in the above table (non-custodial sentence) actually means ‘good’ news for many | Single conviction for a minor offence | Driving offences: drink-driving, driving without insurance, driving whilst using a mobile phone and similar | Fixed Penalty Notices | Fines | More than one sentence | TIP – It is the prison sentence that counts, not the time served | TIP  - Suspended sentence | TIP – Admonished sentence (in Scotland) | Charged with offence and awaiting trial or sentencing | Terrorism | CASE STUDY – Russian national with a ‘spent’ drink-driving offence | 4.3) Bankruptcy.

Condition 5: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK (KOLL) | Examples of applicants who still need to meet English and/or Life in the UK requirements, even though they did not need it for Settlement | And those who are exempt altogether | 2 ways of meting this condition |  Life in the UK Test | TIP -Life in the UK Test does not have expiry date | On a humorous note | English language requirement – new from 28 October 2013.
Condition 6: Absences from the UK (rules are not the same as for an ILR!) | Date of Application (and how far back absences are counted) | Basic rules on absences | Differences from the ILR rules (and will be confusing for your clients) | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 5 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months | CASE STUDY – Indian executive with frequent global travel | TIP – last 5 years before Date of Application are assessed | Why is it important? Because you will have clients who get an ILR and then take up a lucrative job offer abroad | What’s the solution? | TIP – absences while application is being considered |

FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship, various examples -  9 scenarios

Do we need to send original passports? | ID document used for a Life in The UK Test | Referees | Who can be a Referee? | TIP – Can a representative of the applicant act a Referee? | Common question – “I don’t have anyone who’ve known me for 3 years and who is British or a professional” | Full List of Acceptable Professional Persons | Processing time | CASE STUDY - a Greek doctor | CASE STUDY - Lithuanian national who was a worker and a student | Is same-day service available?

Citizenship ceremonies | TIP - Date of ceremony | TIP -This is where he/she becomes a British Citizen! Not when he/she gets a British passport
British by descent’ and ‘British otherwise than by descent’ – the difference | British ‘otherwise than by descent’ | Who is British otherwise than by descent? Common examples | ‘British by descent’ | Who is British by descent? Common examples.

SECTION 2: Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens.
ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE THE SAME AS 'EVERYBODY ELSE' generally but some details are different.

Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship!

Condition 2: Good character.

Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK.
Condition 4:  Three (3) years of legal continuous residency in the UK| Anomaly in this requirement | Before 9 July 2012  |
Transitional arrangements | From 9 July 2012 | Even more common mistake – skipping an ILR or skipping extension application | The right route now is | Alternative right routes.

Condition 5:waiting 12 months after an ILR (not actually applicable).
Condition 6:Absences from the UK | Basic rules | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 3 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months.

FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship for Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens  - 8 scenarios
SECTION 3: European (EEA) nationals

Rules are the same as for ‘everybody else’ but applied differently | Who are EEA nationals? | TIP - EEA is not the same as Schengen area | How to count residency | Most EEA nationals – from 30 April 2006 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 May 2004 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 January 2007 | European citizens often don’t have visa stamps in their passports (they don’t have to) | A growing number of Greeks and Italians are applying for British Citizenship.
General rules:

Condition 1: 5 years of residency in the UK
Condition 2: Good character and criminality | ‘Criminality’ rarely prevents from Permanent Residency under the EU law… | … but does apply under the British Nationality law.

Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK | EU/EEA citizens don’t have to meet this rule for Permanent Residency… | … but have to meet for Citizenship:
Condition 4: Absences from the UK | Absences are not the same as for Permanent Residency | Exceptions.

Condition 5: No permanent residency status – No citizenship! | Same condition but with a difference | So, how does one get an ILR if one doesn’t get any visa stamps? | Examples of exercising Treaty rights | Worker | Self-employed person | Student | Self-sufficient | Jobseeker | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to Retirement | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to a work accident | Exercising Treaty rights in the UK continuously qualifies an EU citizen for Permanent Residency (with a ‘visa stamp’ or without) | Not ‘continuous residency’ but ‘continuous exercising of Treaty rights’ | Date when this point has been reached | TIP - Date of issue on the visa document is not relevant.

TIP - Romanian/ Bulgarian nationals do have restrictions on working in UK but not on qualifying for an ILR | EU2 nationals who had UK visas before Bulgaria/Romania joined the EU in 2007 | CASE STUDY - Romanian national who has been working since 2004 | Summary of restrictions and documents for EU2 nationals | Restrictions in place from 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2013 | What about when restrictions on workers are lifted?

Again the same rights but again with a difference | Unique rule for the A8 nationals - Workers Registration Scheme | WRS was relevant for an A8 national for the first 12 months of working in the UK | What counted as ‘continuous 12 months’? | WRS was stopped in May 2011 but is still important for your applications | What if an A8 applicant didn’t register under WRS? | CASE STUDY – Hungarian national who has never registered under WRS.
Condition 6: waiting for 12 months after permanent residency | If your client does not have a Permanent Residency document | If your client has a Permanent Residency document

CASE STUDY – dual Dutch/Brazilian national who is a civil partner of a UK national

European family members of European nationals, such as ‘Polish married Polish’ | Non-EEA family members of EEA nationals, such as ‘Canadian married to German’ | TIP - Direct and extended family members, why does it matter? 

DIRECT non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | This is what most non-EU nationals have | And this is what the law allows | Date on a 'visa stamp' does not matter | Example 1: a Canadian meets a German while both are in the UK and a German is working | Example 2: German national is working in the UK and he meets his partner in Canada | Example 3: German national and his Canadian spouse are both living in Canada | CASE STUDY – Russian national married to a Belgian | But bear in mind those who retained residency rights | And bear in mind Surinder Singh route | Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route | Other family members of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route.

EXTENDED non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | Here dates on ‘visa stamps’ matter!


British Nationality Act 1981 | From 1 July 2006.  

1) If child's mother is British | 2) If child’s father is British | 3) If child's parent (one or both) is not British but has permanent residency in the UK | 4) If the child's parents hold a limited leave to remain, ie Tier 1, Tier 2, Work Permit, Ancestral visas etc | 5) If the child's parents are European citizens | 6) Children who spent the first 10 years of their life in the UK.

7) Difference between 'British by birth' and 'not British but can be registered as British'?

Example 1: Indian family who came to the UK together | Example 2: Indian national came to work while his family joined much later | Example 3: Russian step-child of a UK citizen.

Example 1: British parent was born in the UK but his child was born outside the UK | It is possible that both parents are British but only one can pass nationality | Example 2 | Example 3.

SECTION 1: People born before 1983 to British mothers
Those born before 1983 to a British mother can now register as British.... | ... but only if all other requirements have been met also | CASE STUDY – South African national on Ancestral visa but who is eligible for a UKM application.  

Thursday, 8 May 2014

When you have a UK Spouse/Partner visa, can you leave to stay abroad for a while, without losing a visa?

We are asked this question quite a lot. Some applicants find the (wrong) rules which say you can’t be away from the country for more than 90 days. Others think it is 6 months in each year, which is wrong again.

With Spouse/Partner visas there are still no rules apart from one paragraph on the Guidance saying each case is assessed on its merit and particular attention should be paid if the couple spent apart more than 50% of the visa duration. A visa in this category is issued for the purpose of residing in the UK. There is no limit on absences but also there is no rule of spending every single day in the UK.

There is another thing you need to bear in mind: meeting the Financial Requirement for a next application, ie for an extension or an ILR.

Financial Requirement: you need to remember that the same will be applicable at the next stages, ie at the extension and ILR. Since the Financial Requirement is often based on the last 6 or more often 12 months, the couple needs to bear it in mind and plan in advance. For example, it would work if the couple returns to the UK and starts a new job 6 months before the next visa application and use that job as long as it pays £18,600 (unless children are added, then the couple need more income).

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, 7 May 2014

(More added) Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa: what questions are asked at the interview?

We had a post under this name in February 2014 and here is a more updated one, with more examples.

Have you applied for an Entrepreneur visa inside the UK? Or switching to it from Post-Study Work where you need to already have a business? If Yes, it is very likely you will be invited for an interview. If you have not been invited yet then it is very likely you will be invited.
In many cases we had, the UK Visas & Immigration (former UKBA) invites for a face-to-face interview in Sheffield or Leeds, although sometimes with a very short notice. In this case the applicant has a chance to prepare for the interview. You may also be phoned by a caseworker and asked questions, effectively conducting a phone interview right at that moment. It may happen on a Saturday.

If you are asked to attend an interview, an letter  of invitation does not say what you may need to bring at your interview. In the recent cases it says to send any extra documents prior to the interview. And at the interview itself one client of ours was told “I am only here to write your answers and do not have details of your case’.

Here are some examples of questions we have seen our clients asked. Please remember you may be asked different questions but you may still find it useful:

“I looked at your website, you say (this) or (that). Can you provide more information on it?” The point here is that you need to expect to be asked about anything on your website.

 “Your business plan says (this) or (that). Can you provide more details?” A good lesson to learn here! A business plans tends to be like a CV – a lot is promised on it yet not everything reflects the reality. Here you have to be prepared for questions about anything in your business plan. Or, if not too late, to think well before writing your business plan.

For ‘contractors’, usually having a contract with IT or accountant firm: “You have a contract to work at the client’s premises Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm. How are you going to combine this with developing your business?”

“Do you have an accountant?” and “Do you have business insurance?” We normally advise to include this with the application but the UKBA may also ask about Employer’s Liability Insurance, even though there is no requirement to employ people at the initial visa application. It is a requirement at the extension stage, so technically, this is when Employer’s Liability Insurance will be relevant. However, it will not hurt to include it anyway.   

“Are the funds still available”? Meaning that you have not spent the £50,000/£200,000. The funds must be kept on your account or invested in the business but not in paying yourself.

The following are most recent additions, based on more recent cases:

Questions about UK employment law and employees rights, such as: “How much is a minimum wage in the UK?” This is probably because an Entrepreneur visa implies creation of at least 2 jobs in the UK, however, this has to be met when applying for an extension, not for an initial visa.

If you provide evidence from your clients based outside the UK, you may be asked “Why didn’t they hire someone in their own country to do this work?”.

You may be asked about your qualifications and how they are related to your kind of business.  
Questions about your business: what has been done so far, why this type of business ,why in the UK, competitors, market size, office space.

Also, if there is an emergency plan in case the business fails.

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:

Thursday, 1 May 2014

New successful case and testimonial on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, switching from Post-Study Work visa (occupation Software Engineer)

"11 months of support ! Natalia and the great team of 1st 4immigration helped me from the beginning, before 8 months of the expiry date of my postgraduate student work visa. They have shown me all of the available options to start my business and get the visa. I faced many difficulties while I was preparing my documents for the entrepreneur visa (HMRC, Bank,etc..) , they were always available for advice.

After I submitted my application to the UKBA, I assumed 1st 4immigration role has finished, however, the UKBA asked for an interview with me to give more explaining about my business, I was surprised by 1st 4immigration support and advices at this point since they received the whole fees, they suggested to provide extra documents and even helped me to find an adequate accountant and tax advisor ! After the interview , the decision on my application was late and I was in need for the passport in order to renew my visa in another country, as usual, Natalia shows the available options for me, however, while I was thinking about those options , I received the good news from her , I got the visa :).

I know and I have read about many people who have applied through solicitors for this visa with missing or even wrong documents such as applying with job title less than NQF level 4 ! I would really like to thank you for tens of supporting emails through this long trip of preparing and waiting !  I definitely recommend 1st 4immigration for anyone who is planning to apply for a visa in the UK, you will never find one who can help to give the right answers of tens of your questions without any delay."

This came from Anas, national of Syria, who was switching from Port-Study Work to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Anas was invited for an interview in Leeds and was asked tricky questions, such as 'How much is UK minimum wage?' All went well in the end and after 4 months of waiting visa has been granted for 3 years.

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: