Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Immigration Corner | Seeking to stay in the UK as partner dies

Published:Tuesday | December 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

My sister was in a relationship and living with that person in England and they were planning to get married shortly. Unfortunately, my future brother-in-law died suddenly. I do not believe that my sister is prepared to return home to live. Is it possible for her to remain over there if she does not have her permanent residency?

I would appreciate any advice.

- N.S.

Dear N.S.,

Persons can apply to settle in the United Kingdom if their partners die and they are either in the United Kingdom as the partner of a 'settled person', that is, the principal person had 'indefinite leave to remain' and they are their dependent; in the United Kingdom as the partner of a British citizen, for example, the person married a British citizen and had obtained a United Kingdom visa on that basis.

It should be noted that 'partner' could be a person's spouse, civil partner, or someone whom he/she is living with in a relationship that is like a marriage or civil partnership.

Other criteria that must be met is that they must have been in a genuine relationship with the partner and intended to live permanently with each other in the United Kingdom at the time of the death. In addition, the principal partner must have been 'present and settled' in the United Kingdom at the time of the death, for example, and not living permanently in another country.

With respect to applying to settle in the United Kingdom, persons can apply any time within reason after their partner's death. Those persons should download and fill in the SET(O) form and send it to the address on the form. This can be downloaded from the website. The related fees are listed on the form. Please note that applicants can include their children who are under 18 years of age as dependents when applying.




Just for completeness, please note that there are three things a person must do in the first few days after someone dies in the United Kingdom. First, he or she should get a medical certificate from a general practitioner or hospital doctor, as the death will need to be registered. Second, persons must register the death within five days or eight days if in Scotland. After registering the death, a person will then get the documents needed for the funeral. Third, persons will need to arrange the funeral. Persons can use a funeral director or arrange it themselves.

In addition, persons may be able to use the 'Tell Us Once' service to report a death. This service provides the facility of assisting persons to advise most government organisations of the death in one go. A person does not need to deal with the will, money, and property straight away.

I hope this helps.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practices 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).