General FAQs

Contents

01   How do I request a copy of my criminal record?

You are able to request a copy of your UK police record by making a ‘subject access request’ to ACRO Criminal Records Office.

This is free of charge and ACRO have one calendar month to complete your subject access request (unless further information is required from you).

To be able to complete the form, you will need:

  • Proof of ID (showing your name and date of birth)
  • A valid email address (for correspondence)

If you are completing the form on behalf of someone else, you will need:

  • A signed letter of authorisation from the person you are applying for
  • Proof of identity that shows the person’s signature (passport, driving licence or identity card)

Once you have downloaded and completed the form, you will need to email it to: subjectaccessrequest@acro.police.uk , ensuring that you follow the instructions on their website.

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02   Can I work if my BRP has expired?

Yes, but only if you made an ‘in-time’ application to remain

For further information see the Right to work in the UK page: Can I still work if my BRP expired but I submitted an application to extend my leave prior to expiry?

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03   Can I get a share code if I have an exempt stamp?

No, you cannot get a share code because you don’t have a BRP. However, your exempt stamp should be accepted by the employer

For further information, see the Right to work in the UK page: How do I prove my right to work in the UK – soldiers and spouses

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04   How can I get my passports returned quickly from UKVI?

You should see gov.uk/visa-documents-returned and complete the form. It should take approximately 10 working days. You may have to withdraw your application. If you have applied for visa application within the UK only the applicant is required to provide their passport. The sponsor (serving person) is not required to send in their passport.

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05   How do I inform UKVI of my change of address?

If you have made an application and have since moved you will need to complete the form at GOV.UK: UKVI – Change your address or your legal representative’s details -When to use the form. You will need to provide photo ID and evidence of your new address – all the information about what will be required is at that link.

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06   Can I bring my parents to the UK to live with me?

UKVI guidance has confirmed that anyone who hopes to bring an adult dependant relative to the UK to join them indefinitely must meet the following requirements:

The relative must:

  • require long-term personal care as a result of age, illness or disability
  • be unable to receive the required level of care in the country where they are living
  • have no one in their country that can provide that care, or it is unaffordable

The sponsor/soldier:

Should be able to prove that they can adequately maintain, accommodate and care for the relative.

To apply, you will need to provide evidence:

  • in support of the application
  • of the family relationship
  • that the applicant requires long-term personal care
  • that they are unable to make arrangements for the required level of care in the country where they are living
  • of adequate maintenance, accommodation and care in the UK, and sponsor undertaking.

The rules are now so tough that 96% are initially refused with a handful more getting through on appeal. AFF is unable to offer advice on these applications; you should seek advice from a registered and reputable advisor.

Find further guidance – Family Policy Adult dependent relatives.

The only other option for most adult relatives is to come over on a visit visa. Further information can be found on our Visit visas page.

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07   Do I have to be married to bring my partner to the UK?

What is the definition of a partner?

  1. spouse; or
  2. civil partner; or
  3. fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner*; or
  4. unmarried partner, where the couple have been in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years. Please see the information on ‘durable relationship’ below.

Coming to the UK in a durable relationship

From April 11 2024 there is no longer a requirement for couples in a durable relationship to have been living together for at least 2 years, as long as the relationship is similar to a marriage or civil partnership and has been subsisting for more than 2 years. To evidence a durable relationship where you are not currently, or have not ever lived together, you will need to provide similar evidence to that which is required to meet the subsisting relationship requirement below. Instead of evidence of cohabitation, caseworkers will want to see other evidence of an ongoing relationship such as evidence of regular communication, visits, holidays, events attended, financial support, joint care of any children the partners have together etc.

See GOV.UK – Relationship with a partner: caseworker guidance for further information. If you are not sure if you meet the durable relationship requirement you should get in touch with the team.

You must have a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship

If you are married or in a civil partnership then your relationship is considered to be genuine but you are still required to show that it is subsisting. There is no requirement to have been living together if this is your first application on the partner route, and caseworkers must take into account cultural/religious considerations. See a list of suggested documents to prove a subsisting relationship, and refer to the table on page 26.

*for further information about the fiancée route and about getting married in the UK, see our General FAQs page.

If they don’t meet the definition of a partner, then you have two options:

Coming to the UK as a fiancé(e) to get married and remain here

Your partner will come over on a fiancée visa, which will be granted for six months but which costs the same as a full settlement visa. You will be required to show evidence that you intend to get married during this six month period. Once you are married, your partner will then need to apply for a visa under the Armed Forces rules. Refer to the ‘Visa to enter’ section for further information.

Coming to the UK on a Marriage Visit Visa to get married only

This visa allows your partner to get married in the UK, but they will need to leave the UK after six months.  Once back in the home country, your partner will need to apply for a settlement visa to come to the UK. See gov.uk/marriage-visa/overview for further information.

How do I get married in the UK?

It’s important that you read the information at gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/foreign-national.

If you do not have a marriage visitor visa or family visa:

You can still give notice of your intention to get married or form a civil partnership but the immigration authorities at the Home Office will be told.

The Home Office might:

  • ask questions about you and your relationship – if this happens you may need to wait up to 70 days before getting married or forming a civil partnership
  • decide not to approve your notice – if this happens you cannot get married or form a civil partnership in the UK

What if my partner is already in the UK on a different visa?

As long as your partner has a valid visa issued for more than six months, then it is possible to switch onto the Armed Forces rules. However, you have to either be married or have been living together for the previous two years. For information on how to switch onto the Armed Forces rules, see our Visas page.

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08   I am a serving soldier, how do I get my exempt stamp transferred to my new passport?

The unit guide to supporting non-British nationals provides the relevant guidance for the unit.

Passport Endorsement SP. When you are accepted into Regular Service or have your Country of Origin (CoO) passport renewed, your unit administration office must carry out the immigration control actions at Annex A, this includes explaining the contents of Appendix 1 and giving you a copy of Appendix 1.

Once the Home Office (HO) Armed Forces Team (AFT) at UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) receive your CoO passport and unit letter they will write to you to confirm the conditions of the endorsement.

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09   My spouse is coming to the UK, I need an address for the application form, when can I apply for SFA?

The unit guide to supporting non-British nationals provides guidance at para 30:

In summary whilst you can apply for SFA once you have completed Phase 2 training, and can be allocated a quarter, it is not possible to occupy the SFA until your family’s visas have been granted. This is to ensure that all family members have the correct visa before they come to the UK (i.e. not a visit visa).

Process for applying for Service Family Accommodation (SFA)

For personnel bringing families from their country of origin, the recommended step by step process for applying for SFA is below.

It is not necessary to have an address in order to submit a visa application, if you have not been allocated a quarter you can just put the unit address down on the form. The ‘employer’ letter provided by your unit will confirm that housing will be allocated on arrival.

  • The Service Person (SP) submits e1132 application prior to submission of visa application.
  • The SP ticks visa required box on e1132 – this invokes an automatic deferment of 14 weeks from acceptance of offer by SP to move-in date.
  • If the visa application is confirmed by UKVI within that time, the SP can speak to Pinnacle Home Services Team and, if SP provides proof of visa acceptance, bring forward move-in date.
  • If the visa application is delayed, the SP should speak to Pinnacle and explain circumstance: Pinnacle can then reschedule the move-in appointment. Depending on availability of SFA to house other entitled families, Pinnacle will decide whether to reschedule the move-in date or to offer another property once the visa has been confirmed.

What should SP do if they have concerns?

  • The SP should be able to approach RAO or UWO who can advise them. The SP can also speak to Pinnacle for advice – 0800 031 8628 (Option 2).
  • The SP is responsible for managing their e1132 application, and need to keep Pinnacle updated with what is happening with the visa application, with evidence where available.

If you have been advised that you cannot apply for SFA until your family have visas, please get in touch with us.

For general information about the SFA application process please see AFF Housing: Using the e1132 to apply for SFA

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10   Complaints procedure

If you have been waiting for a long time for your visa to be processed, you can make a complaint at GOV.UK: Complaints procedure.

The quickest way is to send an email to complaints@homeoffice.gov.uk with all details. You should receive a response within 20 days.

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11   I currently live in the UK but I want to visit Europe/USA on holiday

If you do not have a British passport, then depending upon your nationality, you will usually need a Schengen visa to visit Europe (even if you have ILR). This currently covers 22 countries within Europe and will allow you to stay for up to 90 days (although this varies depending on which country issues the visa).

A Schengen visa is applied for at the Embassy of the country in which you will be spending the most nights on your trip or, if you are spending the same amount of nights in more than one country, then you apply for the visa from the Embassy of the country which you will enter first.

You will need to ensure that you have three months left on your UK immigration visa at the time that you return from your holiday. For more details and information on how to apply for a visa from France, see France in the UK – Consulate General of France in London. For links to the embassies of other Schengen countries, see Schengen Visa Information.

To travel to the USA it may also be necessary to apply for a visa, this can be done via the American Embassy in London, see U.S Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom for all information.

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