Immigration Solicitors for Individuals and Families
Clifford Johnston’s immigration solicitors know that with every immigration application, you want to maximise your chances of success from the outset. Our specialist immigration team provide bespoke advice making sure they take time to understand your situation and which immigration application applies to you.
With the UK government increasingly restricting the rights to appeal refused decisions and the ability to switch into different immigration categories, our solicitors understand the importance of clear immigration advice
How Can Our Specialist Immigration Team Help?
Clifford Johnston’s Immigration Solicitors can support you with your immigration queries in relation to first time applications, repeat applications and appeals. Our immigration specialists represent individuals entering the UK from abroad, remaining in the UK in the same or different immigration category, or challenging negative immigration decisions.
We offer one-off advice, an application checking service, or full support throughout the application and appeal process.
Our solicitors represent clients appealing to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and advise on applications seeking permission to bring Judicial Review proceedings. They are dedicated to offering legal advice, help and professional support.
Contact Clifford Johnston’s Immigration Solicitors today
If you are unsure about the next steps in the immigration process, contact our solicitors who will be able to explain the process to you, clearly and simply. Contact us to find out more about our services.
Immigration applications and appeals can often be subject to short time limits, our solicitors are accessible and responsive and will be happy to discuss your situation with you to see how they can help.
Why chose Clifford Johnston Immigration Solicitors?
Our Immigration, Nationality and Asylum solicitors discuss the options available to you and provide clear advice on the Immigration process and how it applies to you. Our solicitors work exclusively in immigration law and understand how stressful the immigration process can be. At Clifford Johnston you will receive a personal service and pragmatic, realistic advice on your options. Our lawyers know that taking advice on the process early on can save time, money and stress.
The fees for immigration applications are high and knowing which documents to submit with an application can be confusing. Our solicitors regularly submit complex applications to the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration to obtain grants of immigration status on behalf of clients.
We tailor advice to your individual needs and offer realistic pricing structures. Clifford Johnston Solicitors do not offer legal aid for immigration applications, however if you are eligible for legal aid, we will advise you of this.
Applications to join family
Clifford Johnston Immigration Solicitors understand there are many different ways to come to the UK to spend time or settle with family members.
However, choosing the right route for your circumstances can be hard work. Our solicitors will be happy to discuss the most appropriate route with you:
Joining British Citizens and settled family members
Are you the family member of a British Citizen or someone who has settled status (indefinite leave to remain), do you wish to come and join them in the UK, or remain here with them indefinitely? It is possible, but the application process can be complex.
Immigration law changes regularly and often at short notice. Our Immigration specialists keep always stay updated with changes in the law so that you can be confident that the advice you receive is reliable.
Individuals hoping to join partners (fiancé(e)s, married, unmarried and civil), parents, or children in the UK may be able to apply under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. Such applications require that individuals meet various General, Suitability and Eligibility requirements. Appendix FM also allows for bereaved partners and victims of domestic violence to settle in the UK.
Where applications for partners and children do not meet the General, Suitability and Eligibility requirements, they may be able to request consideration under the Appendix FM Exceptions.
Our Immigration Solicitors can advise on the application process to ensure that you understand the responsibilities placed on you, and to increase your chances of success.
Joining family members from the European Economic Area
Where your family member is not British or settled, but is a European Union citizen, you may be able to join, or remain with them under European Union law.
Your European Union national family member must be exercising treaty rights through employment, self-employment, financial self-sufficiency or study for you to be able to join them. Information on the rights of European Union Nationals in the UK can be found here.
Married partners, children and parents can join the EU national family member. Other family members may also be able to join the EU family member in the UK but the legal and evidential requirements can be complex.
Some family members of European Union nationals are able to retain rights out of their relationships, or their right to remain in the UK may derive out of their relationship with a European Union family member, e.g. carers of British Citizen children or dependent family members.
If you are unsure as to which category of European Union law applies to you or your family member’s situation, or if you need advice on the application forms, or documents needed to support an application, Clifford Johnston Law will be happy to help.
Joining Points Based System Migrant Family Members
Partners and children of Points Based System Migrants can apply to come to the UK to live with their family member who is working, or studying here, or apply to join them following their entry to the UK. Your family member may be here under Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 5 of the Points based system.
You must be able to show your family relationship with your Points based migrant family member and that you and each dependant family member can be financially supported while you remain in the UK with them.
Certain categories of Students (Tier 4 of the Points Based System) are allowed to invite family members to join them in the UK.
If you require further information on the application process and supporting documents, please contact our solicitors.
For more information on Points Based categories, click here for work and here for study.
Joining Refugee Family Members and Family Members with Humanitarian Protection / Family Reunion
Where you have family members in the UK who have obtained international protection, e.g. refugee status following a successful asylum claim, or Humanitarian Protection, you may be able to come and join them in the UK. This process is called Family Reunion.
In order to succeed with an application for Family Reunion, you must be able to show that you are the family member of the person who has succeeded in obtaining international protection in the UK and that you were separated before your family member was forced to flee the country.
When you might have faced years of separation, proving your relationship might be difficult and you might be unsure of the documents you need. Clifford Johnston Solicitors can guide you through the process and advise on the documents the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration require as evidence to support of an immigration application.
Visit visas allow family members to come to the UK for up to 6 months, these are known as standard visit visas. If you wish to visit family or friends in the U.K. you must be able to meet the requirements of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules which holds a number of Eligibility requirements. You can come to visit friends or family whether they are British, settled or have time limited stay.
Visit visas are not restricted to tourist visas, click here to find out more about other categories of visit visas.
Our solicitors can advise you on the application requirements and procedure. If you require support with the application our immigration specialists can explain the documents needed in your individual application, complete the application forms and provide supporting written representations tailored to your individual situation.
There is no right of appeal against refusals of visit visas. If you have received a refusal of a visit visa, our solicitors can advise you on the potential challenges available to you, or explore alternative options with you.
Visiting the UK
General Visit Visas
You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:
• for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
• for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
• for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment
Visit the UK on business
Standard visit visas can also be used if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, e.g.:
• you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
• you want to take part in a specific sports-related event
• you’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform
• you’re an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
• you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
• you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
• you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK
Visitors, including business visitors, are subject to specific restrictions as to what they can and cannot do while in the UK – our solicitors can advise on these.
Long-term visit visas
If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.
We can provide you with further information as to whether your intended activity is permitted under this category as well as guidance on the application process and related costs.
Studying in the UK
If you are looking to study in the UK, we can guide you through the process. Our lawyers are experienced in all aspects of the requirements for students and can help you successfully apply to study in the UK.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
For students who are 16 or over, you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. To qualify, you require the following:
- An offer of a place in a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
- The ability to speak, read, write and understand English up to a certain level
- Enough money to pay for your studies and support yourself
- Meet the other eligibility requirements
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
This category applies to children aged between 4 and 17 years old. To qualify for this type of visa, your child must have a place at a school with a Tier 4 sponsor licence and you must have enough money to cover the cost of studying and living in the UK.
Short-term Study Visa
If you intend to undertake a short-term study, such as an English language course or a training course then you may be looking at applying under this category. The length of the visa depends on the course, e.g. you may be allowed to stay for 11 months if you’re 18 or over and taking an English language course.
Seeking International Protection
Applications for Asylum and Humanitarian Protection
Who can make an asylum application?
Anyone who fears persecution in their country of nationality can make a claim for asylum in the U.K. Claims for asylum and humanitarian protection are referred to under an umbrella term, ‘International Protection’.
In order to succeed with an asylum claim an asylum claimant must be able to show that there is a real risk that they would be persecuted in their home country, either by the government, or non-government agents, and that the government would not offer them protection against persecution. Asylum claims must demonstrate persecution for reasons for one of more of the following reasons: either their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership of a particular social group.
An asylum claim can only be considered after someone has entered the UK. An asylum seeker is expected to claim at the earliest opportunity. Some people are able to claim asylum on entry to the UK, others claim later, because of their individual situation, or because of a change in the circumstances in their home country. Family members can either be included as dependents on an asylum claim, or can make their own individual claims.
Humanitarian protection and Human Rights
A claim for Humanitarian Protection is considered alongside an asylum claim. Where an asylum claim cannot succeed, an asylum seeker may be granted Humanitarian Protection. This must be granted where there are still substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk of serious harm but an individual cannot be recognised as a refugee.
Consideration will also be given to potential breaches of human rights usually, whether there will be a breach of Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), though other articles of the ECHR may apply. Article 3 requires consideration as to whether removal from the UK would result in torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Article 8 requires consideration as to whether removal would breach the asylum applicant’s right to their family and private life.
Decisions on asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claims made in the UK are made by the UKVI which is an agency of the Home Office.
Asylum applicants should seek legal representation as soon as possible before or after making a claim for international protection. Legal Aid funding is generally available for asylum claims.
There will be an initial screening interview in which the Home Office takes the personal details of the applicant and their journey to the UK, checks if they have claimed asylum in the UK or Europe before, and gives them a reference number for their application.
The asylum interview is the next stage of the asylum process and is when the applicant gets an opportunity to describe to the case owner what has happened to them and what it is they fear in their own country.
If an asylum claim is successful the person claiming asylum will be recognised as a refugee, or they may be granted humanitarian protection. In both cases, an individual is given permission to live in the UK for 5 years before they can settle. In some cases, where there are potential human rights breaches, permission to remain may be granted on the 10-year route to settlement. A right of appeal should be given if not recognised as a refugee, or granted any other form of permission to stay in the UK.
Most asylum-seekers have a right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal if their claim is refused. Strict time limits apply to immigration appeals. Asylum seekers are allowed to remain in the UK while they wait for their appeal. However, some applicants do not automatically have a right to an appeal inside the UK, for example if they come from the countries that are presumed by the Home Office to produce clearly unfounded asylum claims, or if they have already claimed asylum in a safe third country. These applicants may only be allowed to make an appeal after they have been removed from the UK. It is possible to challenge decision to remove to a third country, or a clearly unfounded certificate.
Our Immigration solicitors, accredited by the Law Society, have the experience you need to support you with your asylum claim or appeal. We are always happy to discuss your individual needs when it comes to representation.
Applying to settle or to live in the UK permanently
Settling in the UK with Family
Applying for settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK can be a complicated process and Clifford Johnston Law can guide you through this.
Settling means you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions and there are various applications that can be made, such as:
- Family member of a British citizen
- Family member of a settled person
- Tier 1 and Tier 2 applicants
- UK Ancestry
- Following a period of Discretionary Leave
- Long residence
- 10-Year Private Life route
- Settled in the UK before
Applications to become British
Becoming British - Naturalisation and Registration
The final stage in the UK Immigration process is to become a British Citizen.
This can be done through the processes of naturalisation or registration. Clifford Johnston Immigration solicitors can advise you on the requirements you need to meet in order to make an application to the home office and become a British Citizen.
The Home Office will carefully consider the time you have spent in the UK, your character and conduct, your knowledge of English and life in the UK and whether you are free from immigration restrictions.
Children who are born in the UK are not automatically British. In some circumstances, the law allows children to register as British before they turn 18. Other children can make an application to register as British outside of the legal requirements, if the Home Office considers that their future is in the UK.
We are also able to advise on challenges to refusals of naturalisation and registration applications. A refusal of a naturalisation or registration application does not bring a right of appeal. The Home Office must provide reasons for their decision if they chose to refuse. If you do not agree with the reasons or if you believe that the home office have not properly assessed your application, our immigration solicitors can advise you on your rights to bring a judicial review.
Immigration appeals and challenges
If you receive a refusal decision on an immigration application, our solicitors can advise you on your rights of challenge. Immigration appeals are heard by Judges in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber and Clifford Johnston solicitors can advise at any stage of the appeals process. This means no matter whether you have just received a decision, have already lodged an appeal, are awaiting or have already had a hearing, we can offer you legal advice. We can assist with appeals in the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal.
Increasingly, immigration appeal rights are being restricted, if you are not sure on your rights of appeal or have any other legal immigration questions then contact Clifford Johnston Solicitors.
Immigration appeals are subject to strict time limits and our solicitors can advise you on the time limits relevant to your case.
You may wish to ask the Tribunal to consider specific documents for your appeal hearing, the rules around documentary evidence in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber are complex and you might not be sure if your new evidence to be considered.
Our immigration solicitors can advise you on which documents you can rely on and the chances of your appeal succeeding.
You might also be able to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) if the Home Office has:
- refused your protection claim (also known as ‘asylum claim’ or ‘humanitarian protection’)
- refused your human rights claim
- made a decision under the European Economic Area (EEA) Regulations, for example the Home Office has decided to deport you or refused to issue you a residence document
- decided to revoke your protection status
- decided to take away your British citizenship
- Where you do not have a right of appeal, our solicitors are experienced in advising on Administrative Review and Judicial Review challenges against refusal decisions.
Appeal from within the UK
You can only appeal to the Tribunal if you have the legal right to appeal and you’ll usually be told if you do in your decision letter.
Your decision letter will tell you if you can apply for an administrative review if you don’t have the right to appeal.
You have 14 days to appeal after the date of your decision. If you apply after the deadline, you must explain why and the Tribunal will decide if it can still hear your appeal.
If you’ve been refused a Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 visa you may be able to ask for the decision to be reviewed at an administrative review.
Appeal from outside the UK
You have 28 days to appeal after you get your decision. If you have to leave the country before you’re allowed to appeal, you have 28 days to appeal once you’ve left the country.
If you apply after the deadline, you must explain why and the Tribunal will decide if it can still hear your appeal.
Where you do not have a right of appeal, our solicitors are experienced in advising on Administrative Review and Judicial Review challenges against refusal decisions.
Challenging Removal from the UK
Immigration officers can use their powers to detain individuals who enter the UK or who are subject to removal from the UK. Detention should be the exception and the Home Office must be able to provide reasons to justify detention at all times.
Clifford Johnston Immigration solicitors are able to provide advice and representation on challenging the reasons for detention if they can establish that this is not lawful, or to seek release from detention (known as immigration bail) on your behalf.
Bail can be requested from a Chief Immigration Officer or an Immigration Judge In the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. In order to succeed with an application for bail, you will need to show that you will comply with conditions attached to your bail and that you have a friend or relative who can pay money out on your behalf if you fail to comply with your conditions.
Our solicitors can advise on your rights to challenge decisions made by UK Visas and Immigration to detain you or to remove you from the UK.
Funding your Case
Government funding, known as Legal Aid is available for some immigration representation. Clifford Johnston Solicitors do not undertake legal aid work for immigration. To check if you can get legal aid, please visit the Legal Aid Agency website here: www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid
We can offer legal advice and support for all of our clients but this is not supported by legal aid.
Funding options – Tailored Fees
At Clifford Johnston, our solicitors will clearly explain the costs of your case at the outset so you know the costs that you will need to pay to fund the work that we can carry out to help you achieve your goal.
Where we are able to work on a fixed fee, or agreed fee basis we will do so. Some, more complex cases may not be suitable for fixed fee funding and we will provide fee estimates for each stage of your case.
We may also be able to provide payment plans. If you wish to discuss these and all of our legal services then contact Clifford Johnston Immigration Solicitors.