Readers Ask

‘Readers Ask’ has been a recent addition to our email newsletter.

We’ve rounded up some of the best questions and answers and provide them here.

This month, we look at Visas, naturalisation and continuous residency.

Robyn Cory of 1st Contact Visas was on hand to give an expert opinion.


Question: If my mother was born in the UK am I eligible for UK citizenship.

Answer: After 13 January 2010 a person who has a British mother will have a right to register as a British citizen under section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 if he or she would have become a British citizen at birth had women been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men

Question: Hi, I have indefinite leave to remain since 2007. How do i go about applying for my british passport and how much would it cost? Thanks

Answer: Once you’ve held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for 12 continuous months, you will be eligible to apply for naturalisation; you are required to have passed the Life in the UK Test and should not have spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the final year prior to applying.

Question: I am a South African Passport holder with an Indefinite leave to Remain Stamp in my Passport and will be visiting SA soon Do I require a Visa to re-enter the UK ? The stamp is in my old passport as I have had to renew my passport recently

Answer: Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a Permanent Residency status in the UK. Transfer of Conditions (ToC) is an application whereby your current Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be transferred to your new passport by the UK Home Office. Alternatively, in the interim, you can carry both your expired and new passports to provide evidence of your holding of Permanent Residency (ILR) in the UK.

Question: Hi I came uk in june 2008 on 2 years HSMP visa. last year in May 2010 i got an extension in my visa for next three years.After completing 5 years in UK i will apply for the ILR.My question is that when i will apply for the ILR is there any points of the income.As previously when i applied for the extension of my visa I submit all my Bank statements and my employer letter,pay slips which was confirming that i am getting the required salary.

Answer: HSMP /Tier 1 visa issuance after December 2006 will require the HSMP/Tier 1 holder to meet the points criteria including the income criteria as per their last HSMP/Tier 1 extension application.

Question: I obtained a Ancestral Visa for the first time in 2004, and again when I was married in 2007. I left the UK two years ago. Is there a limit to the number of times a person can apply for an Ancestral Visa? Can I apply for another one?

Answer: The UK Immigration law and policy allows for the re-application of Ancestral Visas providing the foreign national can provide all the relevant documenation. To meet the settlement requirement of the Ancestral Visa it is imperative to provide sufficient evidence that the intent is to settle in the United Kingdom. Should your current Ancestral Visa still be valid, in that the expiration date has not yet been met, the Ancestral Visa is a multiple entry visa, and will allow for entry clearance into the UK, until such time as the visa has expired.

Question: I have been granted HSMP Visa until Oct 2012, but my passport is up for renewal in May 2011. Do I need to transfer the HSMP Visa from my old passport to the new passport or can I keep holding on to both expired passport which has the HSMP Visa stamp as well as the new passport?

Answer: You would be able to obtain a new passport and then request a Transfer of Conditions from the Home Office, which is in effect another visa in your new passport, without having to reapply for your current HSMP visa.   Alternatively, you are allowed to obtain a new passport and carry your expired passport with your valid visa. 1st Contact Visas can assist you with the Transfer of Conditions application.

Question: I’m a Kiwi who came to the UK in 2007 on a 2-year HSMP. In 2009 I switched to a 3 year tier 2 permit having been sponsored by my brand new employer (my old employer thinking it was “too hard”…). As the scheme was new there was a really long wait for my employer’s registration to go through – they were saying on the phone and the internet it would be 6-8 weeks but it ended up being  more like 12 weeks before it was sorted. Unfortunately this meant I had to leave the country as my HSMP ran out after about 9 weeks of waiting, and I had to do the application from NZ. So I was gone from the UK for 2 months and for around 6 weeks of that time, I did not have any legal right to live/work in the UK. My question is, how does this affect my continuous residency? I was hoping that next year at the end of this permit I would have 5 years residency and could apply for permanent residency, but does this enforced departure mean that my first 2 years have to be disregarded and I started from scratch again in 2009?

Answer: Continuous residency is determined by breaks in residency of no more than 90 days at one time out of country, and a total of 180 days within the 5 year period preceding your intention of application for Indefinite Leave to Remain. So you’re OK! Your 6-week period is not enough to hamper your application!

Question: Myself and my daughter have indefinite leave to remain visas. Can you please tell me when we can apply for British passports? We have being in the UK for 4 years now and came in on my wife’s British passport.

Answer: Naturalization is possible after 12 months on Indefinite Leave to Remain.  Some additional criteria of continuous residency must be met. And you should have no more than 90 days within the last year spent out of the country.

Question: My great grandfather was born in Wendron, Cornwall on 17 April 1862. Would I qualify for an ancestral visa based on these details?

Answer: Ancestral Visas are issued for foreign nationals whose grandparent was born in the UK. Unfortunately great grandparents are not considered to meet the criteria.

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  • Eleanor Foster

    Both my Grandfathers were British, I applied for ancestral Visa for myself and two children in 2004, we were turned down twice. My mother and father and only living sibling have all been residing in the UK for more than 7 years, my Brother is a Captain in the Royal Army. I hardly see my family as travel back and forth is quite expensive and they have no intention of returning to South Africa and this has left us all alone in South Africa. What are the chances that our family can be reunited and we could move across?

  • Akobi Akobi

    Good day sir,

    I will be so glad if you can advice me on this issue please.

    I came to UK on Tier 2 Minister of religion in November 2011. My sponsor licence was revoked in January 2014 because they were not following the sponsorship duties(sponsor Obligations) rightly after a compliance visit .My leave was curtailed and i was able to change my sponsor within the 60 days of curtailment.Sir,Am now planning to apply for my ilr soon using PEO .

    I called HMRC to day to get update about my taxes but i was surprised that my former sponsor didn’t pay my taxes and National insurance which has been deducted from my wages.The only tax records i have with HMRC is from my present sponsor.
    Also,i worked with them till march 2014 but their HMRC URL was updated till January 2014.I believe this must have been the reason their sponsorship licence was revoked after UKVI compliance visit.

    Sir,I believe that before an employer is given Tier 2 sponsorship licence they must have registered and produce evidence of registering with HMRC as an employer who pays PAYE & National Insurance(i stand to be corrected ) And i the tax that was missing on my HMRC records are PAYE taxes that were deducted from source that is my personal emoluments by my previous employer/sponsor and ought to have been remitted to HMRC in the relevant tax years.

    Sir,I also believe that the issue of payments of taxes as at when due does not apply to me(PAYE taxes) because i (taxpayer) has no part to play in the deduction and remittance of my PAYE as it is among the duties of my employer/sponsor.Where there is failure to remit PAYE taxes to HMRC,I believe it is the employer/Sponsor and not the tax payer that is LIABLE.

    Secondly,about the update of the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) it is the sole responsibility of my employer/sponsor.
    Sir, it would seem to be unfair if the the role of the sponsor is transferred to the employee by refusing the ILR application based on sponsor not fulfilling his sponsorship role. (mentioned above)
    1)What do you think i can do about my previous sponsor not remitting my taxes to HMRC?

    2) What can i do about my previous sponsor not updating their UTR to show that i worked till end of March 2014 (Although i have a letter written by the HR while i was looking for another sponsor stating the time i stated and ended my employment with them so also payslips)

    Please kindly advice and save a soul.

    Yours Faithfully,