Overseas assignments for F&C families

Contents

01   Things to consider prior to an overseas assignment

If the Service person has been assigned overseas or is considering submitting a preference for an assignment overseas, you are advised to read the information below to consider if there any steps you need to take prior to leaving the UK.

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You don’t have a valid UK visa

You will need to have a UK visa in order to accompany your partner overseas. If you are in the UK without a visa (or with the service person in another country without a UK visa) you should contact the F&C team to find out what you need to apply for.

You have limited leave issued for 5 years* which is due to expire during the assignment overseas

You should be eligible to apply for indefinite leave (ILE) up to 28 days before your visa is due to expire, but you will need to have taken the Life in UK test before you travel overseas. The Life in UK test is only available in Cyprus and the UK and is a requirement for an application for indefinite leave. See https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test

You may also need an English language certificate; the tests are available in most overseas locations but not all. It is advisable to check as it may be easier to take the test before you leave the UK. See https://www.gov.uk/english-language

You will also need to travel to the nearest visa application centre to have your biometrics taken as part of the application process. Not all countries have VACs, so you may be required to travel some distance. To check the location of the nearest one, see gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre.

*if your visa was not issued for 5 years please get in touch with us.

You have a visa which is due to expire before you travel overseas

You should get in touch with the F&C team with a copy of your current visa and dates of assignment. As you cannot apply for ILR earlier than 28 days before your visa expires, it may be necessary to ask for your application to be fast-tracked. The unit will need to be informed of the situation and will need to provide a letter to confirm the assignment.

Information about citizenship applications overseas under Crown Service rules can be found below ‘Citizenship applications during an overseas assignment’.

The Life in UK test is only available in Cyprus and the UK and is a requirement for all applications for Citizenship (both serving personnel and spouses). You will therefore need to take the test before you travel overseas if you are not posted to Cyprus. See https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test

You may also need an English language certificate; the tests are available in most overseas locations but not all. It is advisable to check as it may be easier to take the test before you leave the UK. See https://www.gov.uk/english-language

British passports for spouses naturalised overseas

Spouses who naturalise during an overseas assignment are not eligible for a full 10 year passport until they have returned to the UK on assignment and can attend an appointment. You may be able to get a passport for the length of your assignment.

If the soldier is not a British Citizen and/or you do not have ILR then the child will not be born British. However, the child has an entitlement to citizenship. You will need to make the application for Citizenship as soon as possible after birth as this can take a number of months to be processed. The application fee will be reimbursed by your unit (see section 5).

For all information, see our Citizenship page.

If your home country passport is due to expire whilst you are overseas you should check that it can be renewed from the overseas location by checking if your country has an Embassy or High Commission in the country you are posted to. If not you would have to travel back to the UK to apply to renew it, so it would be easier to apply for a new one before you travel.

YOU SHOULD NEVER LET YOUR PASSPORT EXPIRE WHILST OVERSEAS.

1. Visa Costs

A significant rewrite of the policy for the provision of visas for immediate family during an overseas assignment was published in January 2023. The new policy provides much greater clarity on exactly what can be reimbursed. For the full JSP see GOV.UK JSP 752 Tri-Service Regulations for Expenses and Allowances – Para 9.1304 can be found at page 436 of the document but the main points are as follows:

Reimbursement of visas and associated costs prior to overseas assignment

  • Return travel within the UK in pursuit of visas required to enable an overseas assignment. This includes necessary travel for one parent to accompany a child.
  • Visas required to travel or live in a country for an overseas assignment.

Reimbursement of visas and associated costs whilst on an overseas assignment

  • Costs of visa renewal whilst on an overseas assignment. If you are eligible for indefinite leave/settlement and wish to apply for this instead, the cost of the limited leave visa may be put towards the cost of the ILE/settlement visa.
  • Travel to nearest visa application centre to have biometrics taken (including cost of having biometrics taken).
  • Cost of replacement entry visa if not able to travel to UK within the initial 3 months given.
  • Return travel to UK to collect the BRP, this includes necessary travel for one parent to accompany a child*. Collection of BRP is to be via the closest available post office collection site to the UK port of entry, unless making local arrangements with family for travel and subsistence proves more economical.
  • A maximum of 1-night’s subsistence for immediate family. Travel and subsistence support in pursuit of visas is to be undertaken via the most economical and cost-effective route.

Collecting children’s BRPs

It is possible to collect a BRP for a child under 18 but you must be nominated to collect it even if you are the child’s parent. You can nominate yourself at www.biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk. If you have not completed the form then you will not be able to collect the BRP.

What is not reimbursed

  • Visa costs whilst resident in the UK.
  • Cost of visa and associated costs where renewal is a personal choice.
  • First-time limited leave to enter visas and associated travel (except Gurkha SP who are covered by local policy). So if you married or entered into a civil partnership whilst on an overseas assignment, you will not be able to claim back the cost of the UK visa. This is in line with the policy on first-time applications from country of origin to join a serving person in the UK or on an overseas assignment.

2. Passport reimbursement

In order to meet Host Nation immigration regulations whilst on an overseas assignment, there is a requirement for all personnel (including Non-UK) and their immediate family to maintain a valid passport. Therefore, regardless of nationality and whilst on an overseas assignment, all personnel and their immediate family are eligible for a refund of passport renewal fees (not replacement due to loss or mutilation) and initial applications for newborns.

Reimbursement of costs for passport renewal does not include premium services, such as document checking or a surcharge for priority applications (unless a priority application is made for Service reasons, such as a short-notice assignment, when a routine application would not meet travel deadlines). Further information in 2023DIN01-084

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02   Applying for your first UK visa during an overseas assignment

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If you have married a soldier whilst on an overseas assignment you need to apply for the 5 year visa under Armed Forces rules as soon as possible. YOU DO NOT need to wait until the soldier has an assignment order. Three reasons why you need a UK settlement visa;

  • you may not be entitled to dependent status, some overseas postings require a UK visa in order to issue status stamps
  • you wont be able to travel to UK at short notice if the soldier is posted or for medical reasons
  • you wont be able to count the time spent overseas towards the 5 year residence requirement.

You need to follow the guidance under ‘visa to enter UK’  for submitting an online application and for submitting all supporting documents. You should not apply for indefinite leave if this is your first UK visa. You should not apply for a visit visa. If you do not meet the requirements for a visa as outlined in the ‘visa to enter UK’ section, you should contact the F&C team.

The form will presume that you are travelling to the UK, it will therefore ask questions that will not be relevant:

  • The person you are joining or accompanying? You need to write the soldier’s details here
  • What permission you have to be in the country? If you are not a national of the country you are in, you can select that you have a temporary visa and put the ‘valid until’ date as the date of assignment back to UK.
  • Date of travel to the UK? You will need to select a date that is within 3 months, UKVI can only defer the start date of the visa up to a maximum of 3 months from the date of application.
  • Where do you wish to collect the BRP from? You will be asked to submit a UK postcode. The form will not accept a BFPO number or corresponding BF1 postcode as BRPs cannot be sent to an overseas assignment. You also cannot ask someone to collect it instead. If you are not intending to travel to the UK within 3 months to collect your BRP, refer to section 4 below.

You will need to submit a letter from the soldier’s unit to confirm that you are currently on an overseas assignment.

Children’s applications = separate applications will need to be made for each child applying. If the child is not the biological child of the soldier you will need to contact the F&C team on fcsupport@aff.org.uk.

JSP 752 Chapter 9 Section 13 – Provision of Passports and Visas at Public Expense has been updated and has now clarified that first time visas required to enter UK if you married or became a civil partner of a soldier during their overseas assignment, will not be reimbursed. This is covered in paragraph 9.1307 and copied below:

09.1307 Application for first-time UK visas. Amended/Updated. When serving overseas, eligible dependants require a UK visa to enable entry into the UK (to support routine travel and enable emergency activity such as medical, welfare and compassionate travel). However, first-time UK Limited Leave to Enter visas for eligible dependants are not to be publicly funded (Less Gurkha SP who are covered by local policy). Applications for first-time UK LLE visas for eligible dependants, where the SP has married or entered into a civil partnership with a non-UK national while serving overseas, are to be funded at private expense. This is in line with first-time applications from country of origin to join the SP serving in the UK or transiting via the UK to where the SP is serving. All costs associated with obtaining a first-time UK visa are to be met at private expense.

Successful applicants will be issued with a vignette in their passport which is valid for 90 days from the date you indicated as your intended travel date in your visa application. The vignette is proof only of your permission to enter the UK and will allow you to travel to the UK.

If you do not travel to the UK within this 90 day period, you will need to apply for a replacement biometric residence permit. You can do this by selecting ‘BRP Vignette Transfer’ from the list at visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/uk-visit-visa. You will then need to attend the visa application centre again.

You must collect your biometric residence permit within ten days of arrival in the UK from the post office branch detailed in your decision letter. If you do not collect your BRP within ten days of arrival in the UK you may be subject to a financial penalty or cancellation of your leave. Please note that spouses and children over 18 must collect their own BRPs, you cannot nominate anyone else to do this. Travel to the UK to collect BRPs and associated costs to do this are at personal expense for those applying for their first UK visas. It is therefore cheaper to wait until you are posted back to the UK to collect your BRP, by following the process of applying for a replacement vignette as outlined above.

Collecting children’s BRPs – please be aware that if you are only applying for a BRP for a child then you must be nominated to collect it even if you are the child’s parent. You can nominate yourself at www.biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk. If you have not completed the form then you will not be able to collect the BRP.
You do not need to be nominated if you are also collecting your own BRP and you are named on your child’s vignette sticker.

Please note: The Home Office Decision Letter should state a grant of leave for 5 years, (if the letter doesn’t state you have been granted leave for 5 years then please get in touch with us) The BRP you receive will not be granted for 5 years it will only be granted until 31 Dec 2024. See Biometric residence permits (BRPs): Report a problem with your new BRP

 

You should speak to the soldier’s unit to make them aware of the situation. If there are less than 12 weeks before the posting date and you have not yet applied for the visa, then its likely you will not receive your passport back in time to travel. Your unit should contact the HQ Regional Command Family Support Team at RC-Pers-FamSp-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk for further advice.

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03   Applying to renew a visa during an overseas assignment

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  • You are on an overseas assignment
  • The soldier
    • has an exempt stamp and has completed five years’ service or
    • Is a British Citizen
  • Your relationship is still subsisting
  • You have completed a continuous period of 60 months with leave as the partner of the same member of HM Forces (issued on or after 1st December 2013). Please note, you do not need to have spent the whole 5 years in the UK in order to qualify for ILE,  you just have to have had the visa for 5 years.
  • You meet the suitability requirements (this mainly relates to any criminal convictions you have had)
  • You meet the KoLL requirement (Knowledge of English Language and Life in UK) https://www.gov.uk/english-language and https://www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test.  Please note, you can usually take an English language test whilst on an overseas assignment, but you can only take the Life in UK test in Cyprus and the UK. If you return to the UK to take the test it will be at your own expense.
  • You meet the Minimum Income Requirement

Minimum income requirement

From 11 April 2024 the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) for partners and children entering the UK to join you will be a flat rate of £23,496 (gross annual income). There is no longer any additional income requirement in order to sponsor children.

Serving personnel will meet this requirement after 26 weeks Service or on completion of Initial Trade Training, whichever is sooner. However you must show 6 months worth of payslips and bank statements at this level before you can bring your family to the UK. See section 3 below – supporting documents.

The HM Armed Forces income requirement now differs significantly to the income requirement for non-military sponsors wishing to bring family to the UK. The alignment of the MIR to the salary threshold on completion of training takes into account the unique nature of the service of a member of HM Armed Forces.

Exemptions from the minimum income requirement

In both of these cases below you must meet the ‘adequate maintenance’ requirement instead. Please contact the F&C team if you believe you are exempt.

  • Veterans who have discharged within the past 2 years who are bringing family members to the UK under the Armed Forces rules do not need to meet the MIR if they are in receipt of the following benefits:
    • disability living allowance; or
    • severe disablement allowance; or
    • industrial injury disablement benefit; or
    • attendance allowance; or
    • carer’s allowance; or
    • personal independence payment; or
    • adult disability payment (Scotland); or
    • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme; or
    • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme;
    • Child Disability Payment; or
    • Adult Disability Payment
  • Members of HM forces who have sole responsibility for a child coming to the UK*

Transitional requirements

Transitional arrangements have been put in place to protect anyone who would be potentially disadvantaged by the new MIR introduced on 11 April 2024. This will be the case for anyone applying for a partner on their own where the MIR was £18,600, or a partner with one child where it was £22,400.

  • You can continue to be assessed under the MIR in place before 11 April 2024 if you had submitted an application or had already been granted leave under Appendix Armed Forces prior to 11 April 2024.
  • If you meet the above requirements and you have one child who you have yet to apply for a visa for, the MIR of £22,400 will still apply.
  • If you meet the above requirements but you have two or more children the new MIR of £23,496 will apply
  • In these cases if the MIR you had to meet was below £23,496, when you apply for settlement you will continue to be assessed under the rules in place pre-April 11 if this will benefit

Please note – you can only apply for ILE up to 28 days before your 5 year visa is due to expire. If this does not leave you with at least 12 weeks before your posting date please speak to your unit who should contact the HQ Regional Command Family Support Team at RC-Pers-FamSp-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

1. For the online form, see visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-visa-type/funnel.

2. Select Join or accompany a family member, then select A current or former member of UK Armed Forces

Screenshot - select a visa category and sub category
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3. Then follow the steps until you reach the Select a visa type page, you will then need to scroll down and select the fifth option down.

4. You will also have to complete an ‘Appendix 2 financial requirement’ form which you will be given a link to after you have selected the options above. This form must be printed, completed and taken with you to the appointment. You do not need to complete the paper-based HM Forces application form.

The online form will presume that you are travelling to the UK, it will therefore ask questions that will not be relevant:

  • The person you are joining or accompanying? You need to write the soldier’s details here
  • What permission you have to be in the country you are in? If you are not a national of the country you are in, you can select that you have a temporary visa and put the ‘valid until’ date as the date of assignment back to UK. Or select that you do not have a visa and are not a permanent resident and write in the box that you are ‘accompanying your spouse who is a solider on an overseas assignment’
  • Date of travel to the UK? You will need to select a date that is within 3 months , UKVI can only defer the start date of the visa up to a maximum of 3 months from the date of application.
  • Where do you wish to collect the BRP from? You will be asked to submit a UK postcode. The form will not accept a BFPO number or corresponding BF1 postcode as BRPs cannot be sent to an overseas assignment. You also cannot ask someone to collect it instead. If you are not intending to travel to the UK within 3 months to collect your BRP, refer to section 6 below.
  • Have you been to the UK in the past 10 years? You will be asked to select a reason, choose the ‘other reason’ box and write that you previously lived in the UK as the spouse of a serving soldier and are now on an overseas assignment with the serving soldier.’
  • Have you ever been given medical treatment in the UK? Were you told that you had to pay for the treatment?  Just select ‘no’ here.

For all information on what should be reimbursed during your assignment, please refer to AFF: Overseas Assignments -Things to consider prior to an overseas assignment and click on 5. Reimbursements of visa and passport costs in the list.

Please note: If you are applying for indefinite leave to enter (ILE) then you will only receive a reimbursement for the cost of the limited leave visa. This is covered in para 09.1305 of JSP 752.

Once you have paid for and submitted your application you will be given a checklist of the supporting documents. These will include:

  • Evidence that the financial requirement is met:

(a) Payslips covering:

  • A period of six months prior to the date of application if the person has been employed by their current employer for at least six months or
  • Any period of salaried employment in the period of 12 months prior to the date of application if the person has been employed by their current employer for less than six months and

(b) A letter from the employer(s)* who issued the payslips confirming:

  • The person’s employment and gross annual salary;
  • The length of their employment;
  • The period over which they have been or were paid the level of salary relied upon in the application; and
  • The type of employment (permanent, fixed-term contract or agency) and

*  a template letter for units can be found in the unit guide to supporting non-British nationals.

(c) Personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the payslips, showing that the salary has been paid into an account in the name of the person or in the name of the person and their partner jointly

  • Evidence that you have permission to be in the country you are applying from
  • Copy of the soldier’s passport and exempt stamp (do not use the ID card)
  • Evidence that you meet the KOLL requirement
  • Marriage certificate or a civil partnership certificate
  • Evidence of divorce if previously married
  • Unit letter to confirm that you are on an overseas assignment and that you live together
  • Appendix 2 Financial Requirements form

After you have completed the form and have paid, you will be requested to make an online appointment to attend your nearest visa application centre to have your biometrics taken and to provide certain documents. There is a charge of £55 for attending the appointment, which you should be able to claim back.

  • Your passport.
  • Printout of the email confirming the details of your appointment.
  • Printout of your checklist.
  • Evidence that you have permission to be in the country you are applying from, if you are not a national of that country.
  • The relevant appendix you were asked to download and complete.

You should check the process for submitting the rest of the supporting documents using your visa application centre website. You can either choose to upload the documents yourself or pay for the Visa Application Centre to do this. There will be an additional charge (approx. £60) for this service though so you should check with the unit that they will also pay for this.

Additional cost options when booking the appointment 

Priority service (settlement) approx. £600

UKVI aims to make a decision on your application within 30 working days if you select this option. We have not found this service to be particularly useful as UKVI usually just say that the application is not straightforward and it won’t be possible to meet the timescale.

 ‘Keep my passport’ approx. £85 (only available through TLSContact)

This is useful if you think you will need your passport for other purposes, but in most cases you cannot travel to UK without your visa anyway. However, we have had some cases of passports going missing in transit so it might be worth it for peace of mind.

See www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk#join-family-in-the-uk

You should get a decision within 12 weeks after you have attended your appointment. The F&C team have limited ability to ask for these applications to be fast-tracked.

You will be contacted by UKVI after a decision has been made and will be asked to collect your documents from the visa application centre or they will be delivered to you if you chose this option. (Different options are available depending on the country you are applying from).

Successful applicants will be issued with a vignette in their passport which is valid for 90 days from the date you indicated as your intended travel date in your visa application. The vignette is proof only of your permission to enter the UK and will allow you to travel to the UK.

If you do not travel to the UK within this 90 day period, you will need to apply for a replacement biometric residence permit. You can do this by selecting ‘BRP Vignette Transfer’ from the list at visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/uk-visit-visa. You will then need to attend the visa application centre again. This replacement vignette costs £154 but will be reimbursed under para 9.1304(a)(4) of JSP 752.

You must collect your biometric residence permit within ten days of arrival in the UK from the post office branch detailed in your decision letter. If you do not collect your BRP within ten days of arrival in the UK you may be subject to a financial penalty or cancellation of your leave. Please note that spouses and children over 18 must collect their own BRPs, you cannot nominate anyone else to do this.  Travel to the UK to collect BRPs and associated costs to do this will be reimbursed under para 9.1304(a)(6)and(7).

Collecting children’s BRPs – please be aware that if you are only applying for a BRP for a child then you must be nominated to collect it even if you are the child’s parent. ou can nominate yourself at www.biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk. If you have not completed the form then you will not be able to collect the BRP. You do not need to be nominated if you’re also collecting your own BRP and you are named on your child’s vignette sticker.

Please note – The Home Office Decision Letter should state a grant of leave for 5 years, (if the letter doesn’t state you have been granted leave for 5 years then please get in touch with us). The BRP you receive will not be granted for 5 years it will only be granted until 31 Dec 2024. See Biometric residence permits (BRPs): Report a problem with your new BRP

You will need to contact the F&C team on fcsupport@aff.org.uk. Please send us a copy of your current and any previous visas and a summary of your immigration history.

If you had a 5 year visa then you can still apply for either ILE, or another 5 year visa. Your visa does not need to be valid if you are not in the UK.

a) I haven’t taken the Life in UK test: You will need to apply for an extension of your current leave. You will be given another 5 year visa under Appendix Armed Forces. You will need to apply as though it is your first visa following the guidance at section 4 ‘Applying for your first UK visa during an overseas assignment’. The cost of the visa and all associated costs will be reimbursed as detailed in section 3 above.

Once you are back in the UK you will be be able to take the test and can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) at any time within the 5 year period following the guidance in section 3. You don’t need to wait until the expiry of your new visa. However, you will need to pay for the cost of the application yourself.

b) We don’t meet the MIR: You will need to get in touch with the F&C team.

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04   Citizenship applications during an overseas assignment

VERY IMPORTANT – do not send any original passports or biometric residence permits (BRPs) to the Home Office whilst on an overseas assignment. Please follow the guidance on how to provide documents in the relevant sections below

KEY POINT: Make sure you are not due posting within the next 9-12 months. Whilst applications are usually approved within 6 months, it can then take up to 12 weeks to receive an invitation to attend your citizenship ceremony.  If you move within this time, it will delay the whole process and usually leads to a lot of extra work for the F&C team.

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  • Read the ‘Main requirements’ section
  • Apply following the guidance at on our Citizenship page
  • You should get a certified copy of your passport to send in with the application. DO NOT send in the original passport.

  • Must be married to a British Citizen
  • Must have been married for 3 years or more
  • DO NOT need to hold ILR or settled status
  • DO NOT need to have spent any time in the UK
  • Soldier must have been recruited in the UK (Crown Service not available to spouses of Gurkhas who have transferred to the wider Army*)
  • Must meet the good character requirement, see AFF: Citizenship – Main requirements for spouses and soldiers
  • Must meet the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement see sections 5 and 6 below
  • Will need a letter from the Unit to confirm you are accompanying the soldier on an overseas assignment. This is not a letter of support, merely a letter confirming facts.

*Spouses of ex-Gurkhas – Only spouses of soldiers who were enlisted in the UK are eligible to apply using the Crown Service rules. This means that spouses of Gurkhas who have transferred to the wider Army are not able to apply. AFF has previously raised this issue with the Home Office. Unfortunately, although the Home Office agrees this is an unfair rule, to change it will mean a change in primary legislation which realistically is not going to happen when this affects a relatively small number of people. You may be able to make a standard application instead, see below.

  • Spouse has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or settled status under the EUSS
  • Spouse has had ILR or settled status for 12 months or the soldier is British
  • Must meet requirement to have been in the UK at the start of the 5-year (or 3-year if soldier is British) residential period. Read the ‘Main requirements’ section. Your time out of the UK on overseas assignments if you are a Commonwealth spouse will count as residence but only if you were in the UK on the first day of the 3 or 5 year period.
  • Must meet the Good Character requirement – see our Citizenship page
  • Must meet the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement see sections 5 and 6 below
  • It is recommended that you contact the F&C team to discuss your eligibility

You should apply online at GOV.UK: Apply for British citizenship by naturalisation

Please note – when completing the form DO NOT put a UK postcode, put the BFPO address in the postcode box

Full guidance can be found at GOV.UK: Form AN: guidance.

Select No when asked if you have been granted indefinite leave (unless you have already got ILR). Then select No when asked if you meet the residence requirements. Write in the box ‘I do not meet the residential requirements but am applying under Crown Service rules as my husband is a British soldier serving overseas. I have provided a letter to confirm this’.

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Complete the next page as shown below and then complete the details about the soldier’s overseas assignment. Finally, if you wish, you can also complete the final page as follows:

Screenshot - Residence Requirements Details
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All information about taking an approved English language test can be found here: Prove your English language abilities with a secure English language test (SELT)

To book a test you will need to find out who the providers are in the country you are currently located in. Click on the list of approved test centres outside the UK on the link above and scroll down to find the country you are in (it is organised in alphabetical order of the country). Some countries have more than one provider, others only one. Then go to the website of your chosen provider to book the test.

You should ensure that you book the correct test at the correct level. You need to have passed at level B1 in order to meet the requirements for Citizenship. Please refer to the table below to see what tests you should choose depending on the provider and what level you need to pass at. If you are unsure which test to book, please get in touch with us as it is easy to book the wrong one which then won’t be accepted by UK Visas and Immigration.

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The Life in the UK test is only available in Cyprus and the UK.

To book to take the test in Cyprus go to Life in the UK Test – GOV.UK. As part of the registration process, you will be asked if you are a member of HM Forces on an overseas assignment and you will be asked to input the BFPO number which is 53. When you then book an appointment, it will only show you the appointments available in Cyprus. There is usually only one test date a month. For further information you will need to contact the AEC in Episkopi on 0357 2596 2589.

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To return to the UK to take the test go to  Life in the UK Test – GOV.UK to book a test at a location to suit you.

After the test

When you have completed the test, you will be given your result verbally along with your unique reference number (URN). Your URN is your unique reference for your test result and must be quoted in all correspondence with the Home Office in regard to the test result. Your URN is unique for every test taken and can be found in your LitUK account.

If your child has been born during your current overseas assignment you should follow the following steps as soon as possible.

One parent is British the child has been born British and can apply for a British passport through the normal procedures. Please speak to your unit for all information. DO NOT make a passport application online. Your unit should refer to 2022DIN01-060 for all information. Your child will be born with full British Citizenship – i.e. with citizenship otherwise than by descent and will therefore be able to pass on citizenship to any child they have who is born abroad.

Neither parents are British – the child has not been born British (even if they were born in Cyprus*) but has an entitlement to be registered as a British Citizen otherwise than by descent. You need to complete the form at visas-immigration.service.gov.uk. DO NOT USE THE PAPER FORM as this will significantly delay the process. You must complete this form in order to register your child as a British Citizen before you can then apply for a passport. Please note that this whole process will take at least 6 months, if this is going to impact on an assignment back to UK or to another location, you should speak to your Unit. An early move back to UK may be the best solution if the child has not yet been born. Please contact us if you have questions about the application process.

*Whilst the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are considered to be British Overseas Territories under the British Nationality Act, they are not qualifying overseas territories. The British Nationality Act 1981 defines a qualifying overseas territory as a ‘British Overseas Territory other than the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Select the following option

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The cost of the application will be reimbursed by the unit as outlined in 2015DIN01-130 ‘Family Migration Rules for UK Armed Forces family members who are Non-British’

You should firstly read the information about children’s eligibility for Citizenship at AFF: Citizenship – Children. DO NOT presume that just because one parent has become a British Citizen, the children will be eligible. If in doubt, please contact the F&C team on fcsupport@aff.org.uk

Please note – when completing the form DO NOT put a UK postcode or any reference to the UK, put the BFPO address only.

Once you have paid for your application you will be provided with information about the next steps. You will be given a checklist of required documents which will include an address of where to send them.

Unfortunately, it is still necessary to post documents to the UK when making an application for Citizenship overseas. However, you are not required to post original documents.

Submitting passports and BRPs

You SHOULD NOT post your original passport and/or BRP to the UK. The checklist states that the passport should be original, but the Home Office has agreed to accept certified copies of passports from both soldiers and spouses on an overseas assignment. Please speak to your unit to obtain a certified copy.

Document returns

Documents submitted with the paper application will not be returned until the application has been processed. If you have submitted original documents and require them back prior to assignment you can contact the F&C team, but it may take up to 3 months for these to be returned.

Submitting biometrics

Once your documents have been received you should be sent a letter asking you to arrange an appointment to have your biometrics taken at the nearest Visa Application Centre. If the letter asks you to have your biometrics taken in the UK, you will need to contact the address given on the letter or get in touch with the F&C team. Children under the age of 6 do not need to provide fingerprints but must have a digital photograph taken of their face.

Presuming your application is successful, you will receive a letter informing you of this. The letter will explain that you will be contacted by the nearest Consulate/High Commission with an invitation to attend a ceremony. You will receive your certificate at the ceremony. You are not a British Citizen until you have attended the ceremony.

It can take up to 12 weeks after you have received your letter informing you that your application has been successful before receiving a letter inviting you to your ceremony. This is because of the length of time it takes for the certificate to be sent to the Consulate/High Commission. If you have not received a letter inviting you to a ceremony within 12 weeks, then follow the guidance on the letter which will explain what you must do.

Once you have your certificate you can apply for a British passport though your unit. Please see information below about passport applications.

Children are not required to attend a Citizenship ceremony. Their certificate will be sent directly to your address.

Visit gov.uk/contact-ukvi/british-citizenship-and-nationality for information on how to contact UKVI regarding Citizenship applications.

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05   British passports

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All Service personnel and members of the civilian component and their immediate family, regardless of their nationality, who are required to travel on official duty to, or are assigned to, a country that requires a valid passport, are to be provided with one at public expense. The process for applying for a British passport during an overseas assignment is outlined in detail in the above DIN. Please speak to your unit in order to ensure you follow the correct process.

Since April 2013 it has been a requirement for all applicants for a first 10-year passport to attend an interview in the UK. Soldiers are now exempt from this requirement but spouses are not. Therefore, you cannot be granted a full passport until you are posted back to the UK and can attend an interview.

However, it is possible to be granted a passport for the duration of your overseas assignment. The soldier’s unit will need to provide the Passport Office with a letter to confirm the dates of the overseas assignment when your application for a passport is submitted. It is important that  you request that this is done at the time of application otherwise it is likely your passport will only be granted for 6 months and you may have to pay again to renew it. This process is not outlined in the DIN above, if your unit require further confirmation of this they should contact the Regional Command Family Support Team at RC-Pers-FamSp-0Mailbox@mod.gov.uk.

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