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21 Immigration and Nationality

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1. Introduction

2. Do I need permission to come to the UK?

3. How is entry to the UK controlled?

4. What sort of permission do I need to come to the UK?

5. What if I want to work in the UK?

6. What restrictions are there after I´ve arrived in the UK?

7. What if I want to settle in the UK?

8. What if my application is refused?

9. What if I stay longer than I am allowed to?

10. Who has a right to British nationality?

11. How can I become a British citizen?

12. Where can I get help with my immigration application?

13. Terms used in immigration and nationality matters

Au pair
A young person who is a citizen of a European country and who can come to the UK to live with an English-speaking family for up to two years.

Common travel area
The UK with the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland. Each of these has its own immigration controls, but you can travel between them without restrictions.

Entry clearance
A sticker in your passport that shows the conditions under which you can enter the UK. The most common type of clearance is a visa.

Illegal entry
Entering the UK without permission when the law says you need it. You can be arrested and removed from the UK without the right of appeal before you go. The same applies if you get permission only by lying or deceiving the authorities.

Indefinite leave to remain
When a person subject to control is allowed to settle permanently in the UK, and there is no longer any time limit on their ‘leave to remain’. This is also known as ‘permanent residence’ or 'settled status'.

Mandatory refusal
When your application to enter the UK can be refused and you cannot appeal against the decision. See 'Can I appeal if my application is refused?' .

A person who does not leave the UK after the time they have been allowed to stay has passed.

The types of work that do not need approval from Work Permits UK. They include working as foreign correspondents, sole representatives of overseas firms, domestic servants and religious ministers.

Registered civil partnership
A formal partnership of a same-sex (gay or lesbian) couple in the UK, which gives the same rights as responsibilities in law as a married couple.

When the immigration authorities send you out of the UK because you do not have permission to be here, or you break the conditions that are part of your permission. If you are 'removed', you cannot appeal against the decision before you leave.

Right of abode
The legal right that British citizens and some other people have to enter and live in the UK without needing permission.

Schengen visa
A visa, issued by one of several European Union countries, which gives you the right to enter any of those countries. The UK is not part of this group of countries, so you cannot use a Schengen visa to enter the UK.

Someone living in the UK who is supporting an application from a person overseas who wants to come here.

Subject to control
Anyone who needs to have permission to come in to the UK or to stay here can be ‘controlled’ (checked) under the immigration laws.

Changing your stay from one category of permission to another (for example, from visitor to student).

Temporary admission or temporary release
When you are waiting to find out if you will be allowed to stay in the UK, immigration officers may let you in to the UK for a short time while they look at your case. If they do this, they will hold on to your passport.

A coloured sticker placed in your passport. It will say how long you can stay in the UK, when you must leave, and what conditions you must keep to while you are here (for example, not being allowed to work).

Visa national
A citizen of one of the countries and territories listed in the immigration rules who must always apply for a visa before they travel to the UK (unless they already have another kind of permission). Most of the world's countries are included.

14. Further help

15. About this leaflet


This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and Mick Chatwin, a barrister and solicitor specialising in immigration law.

Leaflet Version: June 2006

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