Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Immigration Corner | Can I stay in the UK?

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 3:00 AM
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Dear Mr Bassie,

I am told that it is possible for me to remain in the United Kingdom with a family member under certain circumstances after visiting. Is this true?

- TG

 

Dear TG,

Persons need to apply for a 'family of a settled person' visa if they would like to stay, that is 'remain', with a family member or partner, for example, a spouse, who is living in the United Kingdom permanently and they are already over there; from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Persons can apply if they are eligible and if they need to extend their existing 'family of a settled person' visa; switch to a 'family of a settled person' visa.

A person's family member or partner should be a British citizen; have settled in the United Kingdom; be the applicant's partner who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. Also, persons may also be able to apply to remain with their child if they have lived in the United Kingdom for at least seven years.

There are some exceptions and applicants may need to apply in a different way if they are outside of the United Kingdom; their partner is from the EEA or Switzerland; their partner originally had a temporary visa as a worker; he/she is the victim of domestic violence or if their partner has died; he/she applied for a 'family of a settled person' visa before July 9, 2012; or if he/she wishes to reunite with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

 

A decision will be made within eight weeks if the application is made online or by post; usually on the same day if the premium service is used. However, a person will be contacted if their application is complex and will take longer, for example, if their supporting documents need to be verified; if the applicant needs to attend an interview; because of the applicant's personal circumstances, for example, if he/she has a criminal conviction.

The cost of the application will depend on how the application is made. For the primary applicant, the cost is £811 - whether online or by post - and £1,311 in person (premium service). For family members, the cost is also £811 - whether online or by post and £1,311 in person (premium service).

Persons must also pay the health-care charge as part of their application and check how much they need to pay before making their application. Persons might not have to pay any fees if they are destitute and applying on the basis of their human rights. If they are eligible, they must apply by post.

If the applicant is successful, he/she can stay in the United Kingdom for two years and six months and he/she will be able to apply to extend again towards the end of that period. A person can also apply to settle permanently in the United Kingdom once eligible.

- 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 (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com.