Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Immigration Corner | Will I be allowed to stay?

Published:Tuesday | December 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Clipart graphic Worried

Dear Mr Bassie,

I would like to know whether someone would be permitted to stay permanently in the United Kingdom with family if he or she was initially just visiting the person.

- JJ

Dear JJ,

It is possible for a person to remain in the United Kingdom with family. A person would need a 'family of a settled person' visa if he/she wanted to stay, 'remain', with a family member or partner. An example could be a spouse who is living in the United Kingdom permanently.

Persons would need to already be in the United Kingdom and from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Persons can apply if they are eligible and need to extend their existing 'family of a settled person' visa or switch to a 'family of a settled person' visa.

It should be noted that the applicant's family member or partner can be a British citizen; have settled in the United Kingdom; or be his/her partner who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. A person may also be able to apply to remain with their child if that person has lived in the United Kingdom for at least seven years.

There are exceptions, for instance, persons may need to apply in a different way if they are outside of the United Kingdom; their partners are from the EEA or Switzerland; the partner originally had a temporary visa as a worker; if the person was the victim of domestic violence or their partner has died; if an application was made for a 'family of a settled person' visa before July 9, 2012; or if a person wanted to reunite with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom.

 

Decision

 

A decision will be made within eight weeks if the application is made online or by post, and usually on the same day if the premium service is used. It should be noted that the applicant will be contacted if the application is complex and will take longer, for example if: the supporting documents need to be verified; or if the applicant needs to attend an interview because of their personal circumstances, for example, that person may have a criminal conviction.

With respect to the fees, this will depend on how the application is made. When made by the applicant, and if applying online or by post, the cost is £811; in person (premium service), the cost is £1,311. Please be aware that the cost is the same for each family member.

Applicants must also pay the health-care charge as part of the application. A person might not have to pay any fees if he/she is destitute and applying on the basis of human rights. However, if eligible, that person must apply by post. If successful, the applicant can stay for two years and six months. The person will be able to apply to extend his/her stay again towards the end of that extension and he/she can also apply to settle permanently in the United Kingdom once he/she is eligible.

It should be noted that successful applicants cannot use the 'family of a settled person' visa to work persons cannot work if they are extending a visa to get married or to become civil partners; study; or bring in some family members. Also, persons cannot usually get benefits or other public funds.

 

Exceptions

 

There are some exceptions and persons may need to apply a different way depending on where they or their partners are, or their situation. If persons are outside the United Kingdom, they should apply to join their family in the United Kingdom if they do not have a valid 'family of a settled person' visa.

Persons can also apply for a family permit if their family members are from a country in the EEA , excluding the United Kingdom, or Switzerland.

There is also an exception where the applicant's partners were in the United Kingdom on temporary visas before settling or becoming British citizens. It should be noted that persons may have to apply as a 'dependent' partner in their original visa category.

Persons may be eligible to settle in the United Kingdom if they have been staying in the United Kingdom with their partner on a 'family of a settled person visa' and in that time: their relationship with that partner broke down because of domestic violence; or that partner died. Persons may also be able to settle permanently in the United Kingdom instead of extending if they had applied for a 'family of a settled person's visa before July 9, 2012.

Persons should check if they can apply for 'family reunion' to stay with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. Persons can only apply inside the United Kingdom if: this is their first application for family reunion; their relationship with their family member started before their departure from their home country because of persecution.

- 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.). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com