Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Immigration Corner: How do I get an exemption?

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I understand that there are categories of

persons who are able to work in the United Kingdom and be exempt from immigration control. Could you expound on this please?

- SP


Dear SP,

A person may get an exempt vignette or he/she can apply for an exempt vignette if that person does not normally need a visa to work in the United Kingdom because that person is exempt from immigration control.

Although the exempt vignette can help avoid delays when entering the United Kingdom, it is not necessary to have one.

A person is eligible to apply if he/she is a diplomat, or working for a diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom, and if that person was outside the United Kingdom when offered the post; or if that person is an overseas government minister on official business, or travelling with one as part of his/her job.

A person may also be eligible if he/she is a member of Commonwealth or Overseas Territories, armed forces posted in the United Kingdom or training in the United Kingdom; a head of state, or working for a head of state, for example, on a state visit; or if exempt from immigration control for any other reason. It should be noted that some family members might also be able to get an exempt vignette.


time restrictions


When applying for an exempt vignette, a person should use the section in the visa application form for requesting an exempt vignette. The applicant must fill in the relevant visa application online and then proceed to book an appointment at a visa application centre. The applicant should be aware that the earliest date that an application can be made is three months before he/she enters the United Kingdom. Please note that these applications are free and that a decision will be made within three weeks of receipt of the application. The exempt vignette will be added to the applicant's passport for him/her to show when entering the United Kingdom.

It is necessary to provide certain documents when making this application. An applicant will need to provide a current passport or other travel identification; a passport photo; evidence that he/she is going to the United Kingdom as part of his/her job, if relevant, for example, a letter from a government or a foreign ministry. Just for completeness, applicants should be aware that they cannot apply online if the applicant is from Cuba or North Korea.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.).