Visas

For COVID-19 related information, please visit and read the information on the UKVI website as they are updating their site regularly. If you have been granted a visa for 2.5 years after making an application to remain during the pandemic, please get in touch with us on fcsupport@aff.org.uk

If you require further help, contact the F&C team on fcsupport@aff.org.uk

Contents

01   Visas to enter the UK

Five-year limited leave to enter (settlement) visa

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To be eligible for a visa to enter the UK under Armed Forces rules you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your sponsor is
    • A member of HM Forces or
    • Has ILR or limited leave following discharge
  • You are both over 18
  • You are
    • Married or in a civil partnership or
    • The fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the sponsor*or
    • You have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years at some point prior to the date of the application

*For information on whether it is best to get married in your home country or in the UK click here and select number 9.

  • Minimum income requirement

The MIR applies to all soldiers regardless of nationality who wish to bring their non-UK national spouses and children to the UK. There are no discretions in place for the Armed Forces.

Evidence of gross annual income* of at least £18,600 for 6 months.
An additional £3,800 for the first child** and an additional £2,400 for each additional child.

Partner with no children – £18,600
1 child in addition to the partner – £22,400
2 children in addition to the partner – £24,800
3 children in addition to the partner – £27,200

* income includes money from a pension, cash savings above £16,000 and non-work income such as property rental

** British Children /EEA nationals/ and those with ILR or applying for ILE on entry to the UK will not need to meet the financial requirement.

For further details about the minimum income requirement, including alternative methods for meeting it, visit the Visa FAQs page for further information

  • English language requirement

Further information can be found at this link. If you are taking a test you must ensure it is on the list of approved tests above.

  • Suitability requirement

If you have previously been refused a visa to the UK, have been an overstayer or have had a criminal conviction in the UK you should contact the F&C team for further guidance

  • Requirement to have a subsisting relationship

You are expected to provide evidence to show that your relationship is subsisting during your time apart. This is particularly important if you have been apart for a long time. If you do not provide enough evidence your application is likely to be refused. See section 4 below for suggested supporting evidence.

  • Accommodation requirement

You are expected to provide evidence of suitable accommodation for the whole family. DIO policy allows for a provisional address to be allocated in advance of a visa being granted. However, it is not necessary to have an address in order to make an application as long as the unit letter confirms that accommodation will be available on arrival. See the Visa FAQs page for further information.

  • TB test requirement

Applicants from some countries will also be required to take a TB test prior, as part of the application process. Further information can be found at this link.

Important: You cannot enter the UK on a visit visa if you are planning to settle as you will not be able to switch onto a dependant’s visa once in the UK. For further information click here and select number 2.

Important: You must travel to the UK within 30 days of the date you indicated on the application form as the intended date of travel. If you cannot travel within this time you will need to apply for a replacement biometric card. Refer to section 4 below for more information.

1. All first-time applicants need to apply for limited leave to enter using the online form.

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

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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 second option from the bottom.

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You will also have to complete an ‘Appendix 2 AF’ form which you will be given a link to after you have selected the options above. This form must be printed, completed and uploaded with the rest of the supporting documents or taken with you to the appointment if you have paid to have the documents uploaded.

Children and step-children

Make separate applications for children accompanying you who are not British. You will need to select the option for ‘Child of a current or former member of UK Armed Forces (HM forces)’.

If the child is not the biological child of the soldier, it will be necessary to provide some extra evidence to show that the parent bringing the child to the UK has sole responsibility for that child. Please refer to the information at this link for more information.

If the child is the biological child of the soldier and the other biological parent will remain in home country, please refer to section 8 below.

If the child has been adopted or is a relative you will need to contact the F&C Team for further information.

It is very important that you provide as much evidence as you can of your personal circumstances.

A.  Evidence that the financial requirement is met

If you are using your salary (and/or your partners salary) to evidence the financial requirement is met then you must provide the evidence below. If you are using alternative sources to evidence the requirement then you will need to click here for further guidance or email fcsupport@aff.org.uk

  1. 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
  1. b) A letter from the employer(s) who issued the payslips confirming. Your unit will have a template letter that they can use, this can be found here.
  • 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
  1. c) Six months of 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,
B.  Evidence that the English language requirement is met
C.  Evidence of your accommodation in the UK

If you have not been allocated a quarter then the unit letter above must state that an SFA has been applied for. If you are having problems evidencing your proposed or actual accommodation then get in touch with us.

D.  Evidence of marriage
  • If married or in a civil partnership, a recognised certificate is all that is required.
  • If you are coming to the UK on a fiancée visa to get married and then settle here, you will need to provide evidence that you intend to get married, evidence that you have met and that you intend to live together.
  • if you are not married but are coming to the UK as an unmarried/same sex partner, then you will need to provide evidence that you have lived together for 2 years and have had a genuine relationship akin to marriage. (The 2-year period does not have to have been completed immediately preceding the date of application if, for example, the couple are currently living apart for work reasons in order to meet the financial requirements of the rules, provided that the relationship continues to be genuine and subsisting at the date of application)
  • If you are divorced you will also need to provide the decree absolute or a certificate of an overseas divorce which is recognised in the UK. For further guidance click here
E.  Evidence of a subsisting relationship

This is particularly important if you have been separated for a while.

  • Evidence of contact during the period of separation e.g. emails, letters, phone statements, any evidence that the sponsor has returned home to visit the applicant
  • Evidence of financial support from the sponsor, e.g. money transfer slips or bank statements showing money being transferred to cover the period of separation
  • Evidence to explain any gaps in communication/reason for delay in joining spouse in UK: if the soldier has been on operations/exercise or other training, it would be advisable to get a unit letter to confirm this
  • Statements from applicant and sponsor: if there has been a long separation, it would be advisable to include a covering letter or statement detailing your relationship in chronological order; back up any statement you make with supporting evidence. For a template covering letter click here.

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:

  • 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 may also need a copy of the bio data page from the passport or travel document of the person you are dependent upon and evidence of the current UK immigration status for the person you are dependent upon (if they are already in the UK).

You should check the process for submitting the rest of the supporting documents using your visa application centre website. There are usually 3 options for submitting the documents. If you cannot find the relevant information please contact us. It is very important that you follow the guidance for submitting documents carefully. After submission you will receive a receipt and checklist that will act as acknowledgement for the documents you have submitted.

  1. upload your documents yourself at home if you have access to a scanner or
  2. take the original supporting documents when you have your biometric appointment and use the Document Scanning Assistance facility for an extra fee or

supporting documents can also be submitted by the sponsor in the UK either in person or by post for an additional charge

The majority of settlement applications are decided within 12 weeks. However you are strongly advised not to make travel arrangements until you have received the visa.

Please read the letter you receive granting your leave carefully. Successful applicants will be issued with a vignette in their passport which is valid for 30 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 30 day period, your visa will expire and you will need to apply for a replacement biometric residence permit. You can do this by selecting ‘BRP Vignette Transfer’ from the list at this link. You will then need to attend the visa application centre again. You will have to pay a fee for this.

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.

For full information click here.

What length of permit will I get?

Whichever is the shortest period of

  • Five years or
  • The remaining duration of the sponsors enlistment or
  • The remaining duration of limited leave if the soldier was not eligible for ILR on discharge or
  • In the case of a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, 6 months.

The visas will not enable you to apply for public funds but you will be able to work (unless you are a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner).
28 days before your visa is due to expire, and as long as you are still the partner of the same member of HM Forces, you will be eligible to apply for ILR

If you are a fiancé(e) /proposed civil partner you will need to apply for limited leave after you are married or have had your civil partnership. Refer to the leave to remain section.

If you are not issued a visa for five years you should refer to the ‘Visa error corrections‘ section.

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02   Visas to remain in UK - limited leave under Appendix Armed Forces

Five-year limited leave to remain (settlement) visa

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To be eligible for a visa to remain in the UK under Armed Forces rules you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your sponsor is
    • A member of HM Forces or
    • Has ILR or limited leave following discharge (and you had leave under the Armed Forces rules prior to the soldiers discharge. If you have never had leave under Appendix Armed Forces you will need to apply for leave under the civilian rules link here https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa )
  • You are both over 18
  • You are
    • Married or in a civil partnership or
    • The fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the sponsor and you are in the UK on a fiancé(e) visa or
    • You have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years at some point prior to the date of the application
  • Minimum income requirement (MIR)

The MIR applies to all spouses and children applying to remain under the Armed Forces rules. There are no discretions in place for the Armed Forces.

You must show the income* has been met for at least 6 months.  You can combine the joint income of the soldier and spouse.  British children and children eligible for indefinite leave do not need to be included.

  • Partner with no children – £18,600
  • 1 child in addition to the partner – £22,400
  • 2 children in addition to the partner – £24,800
  • 3 children in addition to the partner – £27,200

* income includes money from a pension, cash savings above £16,000 and non-work income such as property rental

For further details about the minimum income requirement, including alternative methods for meeting it, visit the Visa FAQs page for further information

  • English language requirement

Further information can be found at this link. If you are taking a test you must ensure it is on the list of approved tests above.

  • Suitability requirement

If you are an overstayer or have had or have a criminal conviction in the UK you should contact the F&C team for further guidance.

You need to complete the online form FLR(AF) at this link: visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/flr-af 

Under ‘Category of Leave’ select the relevant box under the ‘Appendix Armed Forces’ category.  Do not select the ‘transitional arrangements’ category unless we have specifically advised you to.

Apply as a partner or a child under Appendix Armed Forces

  • I am applying as the partner or child of a foreign or Commonwealth serving or discharged member of HM Forces
  • I am applying as the partner or child of a serving British citizen or discharged member of HM Forces

Complete the rest of the form as instructed.

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 here.

(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 of accommodation – you should have a copy of your license to occupy SFA
  • English language certificate if required to have one www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/knowledge-of-english
  • Marriage certificate or a civil partnership certificate
  • Evidence of divorce if previously married
  • Evidence of the soldiers immigration status in the UK
  • Evidence that the relationship is genuine and subsisting such as evidence of cohabitation in the form of official letters addressed to you both
  • Birth certificates of any children applying

After paying for the application you will be directed to UKVCAS to make an appointment to have your biometrics taken. You will have the choice to scan and upload your documents prior to the appointment or you can take them with you and have them scanned on the day of the appointment, but this will cost more. Further information about the biometric appointment process can be found here.

Whichever is the shortest period of:

  • 5 years or
  • The remaining duration of the sponsors enlistment (unless the soldier is British in which case you should be granted the full 5 years) or
  • The remaining duration of limited leave of the soldier, if the soldier was not eligible for ILR on discharge.

The permit will not enable you to apply for public funds but you will be able to work.

In most cases 28 days before your permit is due to expire, and as long as you are still the partner of the same member of HM Forces and meet all the requirements, you will be eligible to apply for ILR.

If you are not granted a permit for five years you should contact the F&C team for further information.

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03   Visas to remain in UK – indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

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  • You are in the UK
  • The soldier
    • has an exempt stamp and has completed five years’ service or
    • Is a British Citizen or
    • Has ILR following discharge
  • 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 ILR,  you just have to have had the visa for 5 years. If your visa was not issued for 5 years please get in touch with us.
  • You have a current valid visa (please get in touch with us if you are an overstayer)
  • 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) www.gov.uk/english-language and www.gov.uk/life-in-the-uk-test
  • You meet the Minimum Income Requirement

The MIR applies to all spouses and children applying to remain under the Armed Forces rules. There are no discretions in place for the Armed Forces.

However, if the soldier has discharged and is receiving benefits such as an income payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, a Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance then the MIR does not need to be met.

If the soldier has discharged and the MIR is not met, please contact the F&C team.

You must show the income* has been met for at least 6 months. You can combine the joint income of the soldier and spouse. British children and children eligible for indefinite leave do not need to be included.

  • Partner with no children – £18,600
  • 1 child in addition to the partner – £22,400
  • 2 children in addition to the partner – £24,800
  • 3 children in addition to the partner – £27,200

* income includes money from a pension, cash savings above £16,000 and non-work income such as property rental

You need to complete the online SET(AF) form click here.  Under ‘Category of Leave’ select the following.  Do not select ‘apply under transitional arrangements’ unless we have advised you to.

Apply as a partner or child under Appendix Armed Forces

And then select the option that applies

  • Of a British citizen member of HM Forces
  • Of a foreign or Commonwealth member of HM Forces
  • As a bereaved partner or child of a member of HM Forces
  • The partner or child of a member of HM Forces who has been discharged.

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 here.

(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 of accommodation – you should have a copy of your license to occupy SFA
  • Evidence that you meet the KOLL requirement
  • Marriage certificate or a civil partnership certificate
  • Evidence of divorce if previously married
  • Evidence of the soldiers immigration status in the UK
  • Evidence that the relationship is genuine and subsisting such as evidence of cohabitation in the form of official letters addressed to you both
  • Birth certificates of any children applying

After paying for the application you will be directed to another site to make an appointment to have biometrics taken. You will have the choice to scan and upload your documents prior to the appointment or you can take them with you and have them scanned on the day of the appointment, but this will cost more. Further information about the biometric appointment process can be found here.

If you have lived legally in the UK for 10 years, you may be eligible to apply under the long residence category for ILR instead of having to wait to apply as the spouse under the Armed Forces rules. Further information on these applications can be found here. This category would apply regardless of the nationality of the soldier.

You should read the guidance carefully as any time spent in the UK without a valid visa may result in your application being refused.

Unfortunately, under current rules, it is not possible to apply in this category if you have spent time on an accompanied overseas assignment as this is not recognised as residence in the UK.

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04   Visa error corrections and IHS refunds

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Many spouses have incorrect visa/Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) endorsements (dates given) because they were assessed under civilian rules, not the Armed Forces rules, when they entered the UK.

If you have a visa that was issued outside the UK after 1 December 2013 for less than five years, then please email us at  fcsupport@aff.org.uk with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Picture of current BRP
  • Picture of visa payment confirmation letter
  • Picture of visa decision letter
  • Confirmation of soldier’s nationality and EED (expected end date of career) at time of application

We will then review the information and advise on your next steps.

If you think your visa issued inside the UK is incorrect, please contact the F&C team for assistance at fcsupport@aff.org.uk, providing the above information as well as a picture of the previous BRP. We will then review the information and advise on your next steps.

Armed Forces dependants are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).  If you have paid the IHS as part of a visa to enter or further leave application whilst you are the dependant of a serving member of the Armed Forces, please email us at fcsupport@aff.org.uk, with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport Number
  • IHS Reference Number
  • Picture of current BRP
  • The ‘Post Ref’/’Our Ref” number as stated on your letter from UKVI

We will then collate this information and submit your request to our contact at UKVI to consider and process. Please be aware that this process can be lengthy, however, we will update you when we receive a response.

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05   Spouses/children in the UK without valid visas (Overstayers)

Overstayers – in all cases we ask that you contact us in advance. We will need to see copies of all previous visas and an immigration history (including any time spent on an overseas assignment).

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If you have a visa for 5 years (issued after Dec 2013) and it has now expired you will no longer be eligible to apply for ILR. This is because one of the requirements for ILR is that you have a valid visa. You will have to apply for leave on a different immigration route first before you can then apply for ILR.

a. If you have British children and/or are still married to the serving soldier you will need to apply for further leave on form FLR(FP)

Under Basis of your application you should select Parent.

Please get in touch before you submit the application so we can confirm that this is the best route for you. The application will cost £1,033 per applicant.

Once you have been granted leave on the 10  year route, you will then be able to apply for ILR following the guidance here

b. If you are no longer in a relationship with the serving soldier please get in touch with us fcsupport@aff.org.uk

If you had a visa which was applied for before Dec 2013 and your serving soldier was a non-UK national, you could be on ‘transition rules’ and could still apply for leave under the old immigration rules. You will need to get in touch with us to confirm this. If we confirm you can still apply for ILR, follow the steps below:

Click here for the SET(AF) form.

  • On the page which says ‘Category of leave’ select either Part 7 under Apply as a partner or child under transitional arrangements, depending on what we have advised

Of a foreign or Commonwealth member of HM Forces (Part 7 transitional arrangements)

  • The soldier must have served for five years, and must have been married for two years
  • You can include any children aged under 18 on this form if they are applying as your dependants. Children over 18 are also eligible if they are still living at home and also had leave on this route
  • You DO NOT need to take the Life in UK test or meet the English language requirement
  • You do not need to meet the financial requirement, but will need to provide evidence of
  • You will also need to provide evidence that you have lived together for the previous two years

You will need to apply for leave using form FLR(FP) .

Under Basis of your application you should select Parent

Please get in touch before you submit the application so we can confirm that this is the best route for you. The application will cost £1,033 per applicant.

You should be given a visa for two and a half years.

Switching onto Armed Forces rules

However, once you have been granted leave on this 10-year route, you may be able to switch onto the Armed Forces route. You will need to meet the main requirements – including the English Language and Minimum Income requirements and will need to make an application on form FLR(AF). Please refer to guidance here.

You should contact the F&C team fcsupport@aff.org.uk. You may be able to make an application to remain based upon your human rights, but it would depend upon how long you have been in the UK for and your family situation. We may need to signpost you to an immigration lawyer.

Please get in touch with us if you have a child without a valid visa.

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06   Visas to enter for the children of soldiers (sole responsibility cases)

Please be aware that there is a high refusal rate for these applications. In order to prevent unnecessary refusals, please follow the steps below.

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Please read the guidance at this link to see if you meet the requirements to bring your child over. You will need to prove that you have sole responsibility for the child by providing evidence as detailed in the guidance and the information below.

Complete the sponsor statement at this link – you will need to download it onto your computer, save it in your name and then complete it. Then send it to fcsupport@aff.org.uk.  We will respond to let you know whether we think an application is likely to be successful or not. We advise that you DO NOT submit an application unless you have followed these steps.

Start gathering the following evidence. PLEASE DO NOT SEND US THIS EVIDENCE UNLESS WE ASK FOR IT.

Confirmation of current and future living arrangements:
  • Your sponsor letter (as above)
  • Letter from the person the child is currently living with to confirm living arrangements
  • Letter from the other biological parent of the child to confirm they are happy with the arrangement or official letter/documents to show that you have custody. (This is not mandatory as many legal custody documents are not recognised in the UK).
Evidence of contact:
  • Evidence of contact with your child. We suggest screenshots of your WhatsApp or Messenger conversations covering the period from when you left your child to the present day.  We suggest one or two screenshots per month depending on the length of time you have been separated. If you mostly speak to your child on the phone, then a screenshot of the calls along with a screenshot of the contact page to confirm the calls are to your child.
  • Evidence that you discuss the welfare of your child with the person you have entrusted to care for them, again this can be provided through screenshots of your communications.
  • Evidence that you have visited your child if you have been separated for a long time, UKVI will expect to see that you have visited your child, or they have visited you. Evidence of a visit will usually be in the form of photos, but they will only be accepted if they have dates.
Evidence of financial support
  • Evidence of maintenance through remittances or bank payments – as many as possible, not just a few months. The payments should be being made to the person who is looking after your child, if they are not, you will need to explain who the person is who is receiving the money.
Evidence of maintenance and accommodation once in the UK
  • Bank statements and payslips to confirm current salary – we suggest 6 months of each
  • Letter from the unit to confirm your employment and current salary
  • Evidence of accommodation – DIO letter or the unit letter above can confirm you live in SFA.

We do not recommend that you make the application until you have completed steps 1-3 above and we have confirmed that an application is likely to be successful. AFF will be unable to assist with any refusals for applications which we have not advised on.

Visit: visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/product/uk-visit-visa

Confirm your visa type – scroll down and select the child option below then click on NEXT

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Biometrics – You will be asked to type in the country where the biometrics will be taken and to confirm you have checked that you can have biometrics taken there. Select NEXT.

Select a visa type

a. If you have served for 5 years or more you can select the option:
Indefinite leave to enter as the child of a serving member of UK Armed Forces (HM Forces) under Appendix Armed Forces’  the cost is £2,389. Select Apply Now.

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b. If you have served for less than 5 years select Limited Leave to enter as the child of a serving member of UK Armed Forces under Appendix Armed forces

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Complete the rest of the form – once you have paid and submitted the application you will be provided with a checklist of supporting documents and will be directed to information about how to submit documents and how to book an appointment.

We advise that you upload the supporting documents yourself as this is the safest way of ensuring that all they have all been submitted.  If you are unable to do this, please refer to the guidance here for alternative options.

During the application process you will be asked to download and complete Appendix 2 at this link.  You only have to complete the Appendix, not the other form. To complete it, you will need to print out the form and complete it by hand.

Page 1 – select the option for child below

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Part 1

Put a cross in the box below

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1.2 – yes
1.3 – when did you first meet your sponsor in person – put the child’s date of birth here
1.4 – ignore
1.5 – ignore
1.6 – ignore as this is in your statement
1.7 – put in the relevant date
1.8 – answer this one
1.9-1.17 – ignore
1.18 – yes
1.19-1.21 – ignore
1.22–1.25 – answer
1.27 – include any other children you have
1.28 – include the children above and anyone else

Part 2

2.1 – if you have an SFA Address then put this in here. If you don’t have one yet then write ‘I will be provided with service families accommodation once my child has been granted a visa, the unit letter accompanying this application gives evidence of this’
2.2 – No, then write in box ‘MOD property’
2.3 – No
2.4 – No
2.5 – 2.7 – answer
2.8 – no

Part 3

Complete as below

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Part 4

Complete all sections

Part 5

Can ignore unless there is something you wish to explain, get in touch with us if you think you need to write something here.

Children under 18 cannot collect their BRPs so you must nominate yourself to do this. Click here and complete the form, it is currently taking over 30 days to approve requests so the earlier you can submit this the better.

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07   Bereaved Partners and children

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Indefinite leave to enter will be granted in the following circumstances:

You are outside UK on an accompanied assignment
You have or had leave as a dependant of a member of HM Forces
The soldier was:

  • A foreign or commonwealth citizen who was a serving member of HM Forces or
  • A discharged member of HM Forces granted or seeking leave to enter or remain or
  • A British citizen in HM Forces

You meet the suitability requirements – see the ‘Main requirements section’
At the time of your partners death the relationship was genuine and subsisting.

How do I apply?

Please contact the F&C team on fcsupport@aff.org.uk for guidance on how to apply.

Indefinite leave to remain will be granted in the following circumstances

You are in the UK
Your partner was at the time of your last grant of leave as a dependant

  • A foreign or commonwealth citizen who was a serving member of HM Forces or
  • A discharged member of HM Forces granted or seeking leave to enter or remain or
  • A British citizen in HM Forces

You meet the suitability requirements – see the ‘Main requirements section’*
At the time of your partners death the relationship was genuine and subsisting.

You DO NOT need to meet any English language requirements
You DO NOT need to take the Life in UK test.
You DO NOT need to meet any financial requirements

*limited leave to remain for 30 months will be granted if the applicant does not meet the suitability requirement. This will be subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds. This discretion does not apply for applications from overseas.

How do I apply?

Complete form SET(AF) click here.

Children (including over 18s with valid dependants visas) can be included on these applications if the other parent meets the criteria above. Limited leave will again be granted if the suitability requirements are not met for an application for ILR.

Children whose deceased parent had sole responsibility for them will also be eligible for ILE or ILR.  Applications should be made using form SET (AF), follow guidance above.

Contact the F&C team for any questions about these applications.

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08   Visitors to the UK

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Since the immigration rules for visitors were changed in April 2015, we have seen a huge increase in refusals for people trying to bring family members to the UK. You are now required to show much more evidence to prove that the person visiting you has an intention to return home. See below for more information.

All information on coming to the UK for a visit can be found here.

Each individual travelling will be required to make an online application (including children) and will also need to attend your nearest visa application centre for an appointment to present the application form.

Supporting documents 

The supporting documents are very important; the visitor will need to show that they meet the main requirements of the rules listed below:

  1. They are able to support themselves financially whilst in the UK
    e.g Bank statements and proof of earnings – a letter from their employer
    **There is no set level of funds required for an applicant to show this.
    If you are the sponsor and you are providing financial support, then you will need to supply a letter confirming your relationship with the visitor and you will need to provide bank statements and payslips to prove that you have enough money to support them.
  2. They have somewhere to stay
    The sponsor (soldier or spouse) will need to provide proof that the visitor can stay in the quarter. See below for further information.  If you live in your own house, you should provide the address and a letter confirming that they are able to stay with you.
  3. They intend to return home at the end of their visit 
    This is a tricky one and is the reason most visit applications are refused. They will need to provide as much evidence as possible of their personal circumstances in their home country e.g. family/employment/studies/financial circumstances. If they have stated on the online form that they have an income in their home country, they will need to provide evidence to prove this. If they don’t, the application will be refused. We strongly recommend that you read the guidance about ‘genuineness and credibility’ on pages 15-18 at this link.

Whilst not a requirement, we would recommend that the visitor provides a supporting statement/covering letter with the application to explain the purpose of travel and to give detail of their circumstances in their home country. However, it is essential that anything you write in this statement can be backed up with evidence in the form of supporting documents. For a template supporting letter click here.

There is a limited right of appeal for visit visas, you may re-apply at any time (unless the application was refused under general grounds, which restricted your return to the UK). You must ensure that the reasons why your previous application was refused are fully addressed, either through written explanation and/or submitting additional documents.

We are happy to provide advice when making initial applications, but we do not have the resources to assist with complex refusal cases. In such circumstances, we can refer you to an immigration advisor we trust who will not charge an unreasonable fee.

Changes to rules on visitors staying in your quarter mean that you are able to apply for them to stay longer than 28 days in any 93-day period with permission from DIO Service Delivery Accommodation.

You must apply in writing, through your Unit Welfare Office, to the Housing Allocations Service Centre (HASC) (or local housing allocation office if serving abroad). You need to include the following information in your letter:

  • Serving soldier’s name, Unit
  • Address of SFA
  • Full name and date of birth of your visitors
  • Reason for visit and length of stay.

For more details, refer to JSP 464, Part 1, Annex D to Chapter 1.

There have been a number of cases where DIO Service Delivery Accommodation has refused to allow a visitor to stay for longer than 28 days. If your request has been refused, you should raise it through your chain of command in the first instance.

You should ensure that all visitors are covered through medical or travel insurance prior to travel. A few recent cases have highlighted the huge costs involved for treatment if something goes wrong.

Further information can be found here.

GP/primary care treatment
GPs have discretion to accept any person, including overseas visitors, to be either fully registered as a measure of an NHS patient, or as a temporary resident if they are to be in an area for between 24 hours and three months.

No registration application can be refused on the grounds of race, gender, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, diversity or medical condition.

In reality, this means that the practice’s discretion to refuse a patient is limited. There is no minimum period that a person needs to have been in the UK before a GP can register them. Furthermore, GPs have a duty to provide free of charge treatment, which they consider to be immediately necessary or an emergency, regardless of whether that person is an overseas visitor or registered with that practice.

Hospital treatment
If you are visiting England from a non-EEA country, even if you are a former UK resident, you need to ensure you are covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of your visit. If you need NHS treatment and you have not arranged insurance, you will be charged at 150% of the standard NHS rate, unless an exemption category applies to either you or the treatment.

If you are a non-EEA national, failure to pay this charge may have an effect on any future immigration application you make, and you risk being turned down.

The visit guidance states:

“Where a family member is coming to look after a child in the UK, this is permitted provided it is for a short visit and does not amount to the relative being employed as a child-minder. You must be satisfied that the visit is of a short duration and the relative is a genuine visitor.”

So it is possible to come to help look after a child during a soldier’s deployment, for example to provide emotional and practical support to a spouse, but it is unlikely that the Home Office will allow family members to come over on a regular basis to look after the children of single soldiers.  It would be expected, in such circumstances, that the soldier would have made other UK-based arrangements for the care of their children.

A standard visitor and a visitor for marriage or civil partnership, who was granted a visit visa or leave to enter for less than six months may be granted an extension of stay as a visitor so that the total period they can remain the UK (including both the original grant and the extension of stay) does not exceed six months. An application will need to be made using form FLR(IR) and the full cost paid.

UKBA guidance makes it clear that visas issued for six months can only be extended in compassionate circumstances, for example the illness of a close relative. Guidance at the following link gives more information about extending on this basis,  Click here and read sections 17.3 and 17.4. An application would be made on form FLR(HRO).

For all other cases, it would not be advisable to make an application to extend, you should leave the UK and return at a later date.

Information taken from the Visit Guidance page 17 ‘Frequent or successive visits’ states:
“There is no specified maximum period which an individual can spend in the UK in any period such as ‘6 months in 12 months’. However, if it is clear from an individual’s travel history that they are making the UK their home you should refuse their application”.

The caseworker will check

  • The purpose of the visit and intended length of stay stated
  • The number of visits made over the past 12 months, including the length of stay on each occasion
  • The time elapsed since the last visit, and if this amounts to the individual spending more time in the UK than in their home country
  • The purpose of return trips to the visitor’s home country and if this is used only to seek re-entry to the UK
  • The links they have with their home country
  • Evidence the UK is their main place of residence, for example
    • if they have registered with a GP
    • send their children to UK schools
  • The history of previous applications, for example if the visitor has previously been refused under the family rules and subsequently wants to enter as a visitor, you must assess if they are using the visitor route to avoid the rules in place for family migrants joining British or settled persons in the UK.
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09   Appealing a refusal

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Your notice of refusal will tell you if you have a right of appeal. Any refusal to bring a partner or child to the UK automatically grants the right to appeal on the grounds that the decision is unlawful under Section 6 of the Human rights Act 1998.

However, it is really only worth appealing if you can prove that the immigration rules under which your family member applied for entry were satisfied at the time of application.

The review or immigration judge is entitled to look at circumstances/evidence after the date of decision only if they relate to circumstances before or at the time of decision.

  • Additional evidence
    If the main reason for refusal was due to a lack of evidence to show a subsisting relationship, or to show that the financial requirements were met at the time of application, then you should appeal and should send in the additional evidence. This will be considered during the appeal review because it relates to the initial application.
  • New evidence
    However, if the application was refused because the applicant did not take an English language test prior to applying or if the financial requirements were not met at the time of application, then an appeal is not likely to be successful. New evidence, which postdates the decision, cannot be considered as part of the appeal review. This evidence should be used to support a new application instead.

You have 28 days after the refusal date (given on the Notice of Refusal) to appeal. You can appeal online here.

Current cost of appealing is £140 for an oral hearing and £80 for a paper based hearing.

  • Click on ‘submit an appeal’
  • On the first screen tick the first option ‘I have received a decision to refuse my asylum, protection or human rights claim’
  • On the next screen, tick ‘No’ (the appeal is taking place outside the UK)
  • On the next screen, tick ‘Yes’ (it is against the decision of the ECO)
  • On the next screen, tick the first option ‘against a refusal of your human rights claim’
  • You will be asked if you would like an oral hearing or a paper one. Paper hearings are cheaper, but oral hearings have more chance of success as there will be someone there to speak on your partners behalf – that is if you are able to attend as the sponsor
  • You then have to follow the screens to complete all your personal information
  • Section 3B – list all new evidence you are sending in
  • Section 3D – grounds of appeal. AFF can help with this.

You should send in your refusal letter and any supporting documents, which you have noted on the online form, as soon as possible after the application has been submitted. The documents can be emailed or posted in.

All information will be given once the appeal has been submitted online. Read this carefully.

Once you have paid you should receive a Notice of Pending Appeal (IA10). This is an acknowledgement that the appeal has been registered by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT). The date given on the IA10 is the date by which they expect to receive the evidence (known as the bundle) from the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) to support their decision to refuse – see below.  This is not a hearing date.

The ECM will reconsider the original decision. If they decide to overturn the refusal based on the new evidence, they will contact the applicant. If they decide that the original decision should stand, they will send the evidence, on which they based their decision to refuse, to FTT.

Once the FTT has received the bundle from the ECM, the appeal will be listed for a hearing at the next available date. You can also submit other documents during this time.

Although the IA10 has a date on it, it is meaningless. There is a massive backlog of appeal cases and the basic message is that it will take as long as it takes. There are now 65,000 outstanding appeals waiting to be determined, an increase in the backlog of 22%.

The ECM review can take anywhere from three to six months. You only know if it has been successful if you receive notification.

If the ECM decides not to overturn the original decision, then you won’t be told about this. You won’t receive any more information from the FTT until you get a hearing date.

The latest tribunal statistics, published in March 2017, show that the average waiting time for appeals to be heard in the immigration tribunal for visas to enter the UK is 83 weeks – that’s a year and a half.

The success rate for entry clearance appeals was 51% in the most recent tribunal statistics for 2016.

  • The F&C Specialist can provide advice and guidance relating to appeals
  • We can suggest additional evidence to be provided
  • We can assist with a detailed chronological statement to explain circumstances
  • We can refer your case to a Level 3 advisor if we are unable to assist due to the nature of the refusal

We cannot represent clients at the tribunal or undertake substantive appeals work.  

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