By: Simon B
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Getting permission to come into the UK
The Immigration Legal guidelines set out the foundations and laws about who can and can’t come into the UK, how long they can stay in the UK, and what they can do while they’re here i.e work, or business related holiday etc. The rules are complicated and strictly applied, there are many rules under this law and you should seek legal counsel in any event.
If people come to the UK without the automatic right to be here and then stay here, they will need permission to come into the country. People may come in as visitors, students, spouses, refugees, and asylum seekers or even work. Different rules apply to each type.
Visitors from some countries may be allowed to visit as and when they like, but they usually need to show that they intend to go home again when their visit is over. Other visitors need to get visas in their own countries before they come to the UK and will be refused entry unless they have those visas. The visa allows them to stay for a specified time, and at the end of that time, they must leave. The maximum time anyone is allowed to stay on any one visit is six months. Visitors who stay beyond the date of their visa may be prosecuted and deported. Visitors on a visa who want to stay longer – to study, for example – usually have to leave, go home, and reapply to return as students. Students need to show that they’re coming here to study full time. They are usually allowed to stay for a year and will have to apply for an extension if the course lasts longer. If they want to get married while they’re in the UK, they have to convince immigration officials that they did originally come to the country as a student.
A spouse coming to the UK, to join a husband or wife who is entitled to stay in the UK, is allowed to come into the country for two years. The spouse has to show that marriage is a genuine and permanent one and not just a way of being allowed to stay in the UK. If the couple is still together at the end of two years, the foreign spouse is granted the right to stay indefinitely. This right also applies to partners in a civil partnership.
Most people who come to the UK have to show that they can support themselves financially. The rules for refugees and asylum seekers are different. If you know anyone who isn’t a British citizen and wants to come to the UK for any reason, advise them to check with the British Embassy in their own country about the rules they will need to comply with. If you know anyone already in the country who wants to stay longer than they have permission to stay or who wants to work or to apply for citizenship, make sure that they take advice either from a Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centre – you can find details in the phone book – or an adviser who is registered with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner and displays the OISC logo.