1. What do I (a non British soldier) need to consider if I want my spouse or partner to move to the UK with me while I serve?
Your spouse or partner (with whom you have cohabited for 2 years+) can move to the UK with you while you serve here, up to a maximum of 5 years. You both must demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. You need a gross income of at least £18,600 per year and suitable accommodation. Your spouse or partner needs to meet suitability requirements, for example have no unspent convictions, and have passed an approved English language test. After 5 years here as a spouse or partner they can apply to remain in the UK permanently.
2. I have extended family that I want to live with me in the UK. Is this possible?
Your extended family members, such as your parents, would need to qualify as Adult Dependant Relatives under the Immigration Rules to live with you in the UK. There are no special provisions for HM Forces. The requirements are very tough to meet and require relatives to show they have serious care or medical needs that cannot be provided in their home country and that you could support them financially in the UK.
3. What impact might Brexit have on my status and family members?
It isn’t yet known what impact Brexit will have on the status of EEA nationals and their families already in the UK. The Government have made clear that this will form part of the Brexit negotiations once the UK trigger Article 50 early in 2017.
It seems likely that the UK will have to offer some EEA nationals the right to stay as it will seek to obtain reciprocal reassurances for British nationals living and working in other EEA countries. Our advice is that EEA nationals should obtain confirmation of their status in the UK, and Permanent Residence if possible, to seek to secure their right to remain post-Brexit.
The Government have also indicated that they will undertake wider scale reform of immigration law following Brexit which will affect other non-British/EEA nationals either already in the UK or wishing to come here.
4. My husband is thinking of joining the British Army in order to secure citizenship. Is this possible?
Joining the British Army doesn’t in itself secure citizenship. A discharged member of HM Forces can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) having either completed at least 4 years’ reckonable service or if medically discharged. After they have had 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK and Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 12 months they can apply to become British.
5. Is it true I have to be earning £35,000 per year to be able to stay in the UK under new immigration rules?
No. This is only the case for those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a skilled worker under Tier 2. It doesn’t affect those serving in the Armed Forces as HM Forces roles do not fall into this immigration category. There is no minimum income requirement for HM Forces to be able to stay in the UK.
6. If I have a child while in the UK, will they be entitled to British citizenship?
Yes if at the date of birth either one or both parents is:
- A British citizen; or
- Settled (has Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK or British overseas territory; or
- Serving in the Armed Forces.
7. Why should I seek the advice of a solicitor?
UK Immigration law is complex and subject to frequent revision, often with little or no warning. Visa fees are expensive and not refunded if an application is refused. Seeking the advice of a Solicitor will enable you to correctly identify what options are available and ensure you have the required documents before proceeding. This will give you the best chance of success, saving you the time, money and heartache of an application being refused because it was not viable or you didn’t provide the required paperwork.
8. Is there anything else I need to know/pitfalls I should be aware of?
Making sure your Solicitor has the right expertise to help you is vital. UK Immigration law is a specialist area of practice law and not one to be dabbled in. Law Society accreditation or membership of ILPA can confirm specialism. Non-Solicitors must be registered with the OISC to offer immigration advice and it is an offence for them not to be, recognition of the complexity of this area of work.
For over 35 years we have advised EU nationals and their families on their right to remain in the UK. You can contact one of our immigration specialists to discuss your requirements in further detail. Or call us on 0191 243 8164, we can help no matter where you currently reside.