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Refugee Travel Document

Travelling with UK Refugee Travel Document: Visa Requirements and Restrictions

The holders of the Refugee Travel Document issued by the United Kingdom under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees can travel visa free to many countries all over the world. However, many counties have their own restrictions and require the Refugee Travel Document holders to obtain visas even for short-term tourist visits.

As the entry rules change frequently, the travellers should always check visa requirements of the country of their destination prior to the trip.

Also, a valid UK residence permit confirming your refugee status in the UK must be taken for the overseas trips together with the Refugee Travel Document. Some countries also require confirmation of the reservation of the return tickets and proof of the purpose of the trip to allow a visa free entry.

The following countries require visas for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

The following countries DO NOT require visas for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Kosovo
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand (except for nationals of certain countries)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (only for nationals of countries entitled to visa free entry) *

List of Countries that DO NOT ALLOW ENTRANCE for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

  • UAE – Dubai
  • Qatar – Doha

This list is subject to changes so we recommend to double check information on the current visa requirements before your travel arrangements.


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Validity of the Refugee Travel Document

1951 UN Convention Refugee Travel Document (blue) is issued by the United Kingdom to:

  • A refugee who has been granted asylum in the UK. If you have been recognised as a refugee under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, you may apply for a 1951 UN Convention refugee travel document (blue).
  • A person who has come to the UK on a Family Reunion visa to join a refugee who is present in the UK.

The Refugee Travel Document Normally is normally issued for up to 10 years for adults and for up to 5 years for children, or in line with limited leave. It also may be issued with a shorter validity if considered
appropriate

All travellers should note that many countries require that the Refugee Travel Document is valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the country. If validity of the travel document is less than six months, a refugee should apply for renewal. It is also important to apply for apply for extension of the UK residence permit prior to its expiry date.

Some countries, e.g. Denmark, require that the travel document (passport) should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay only and you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

 

 

Requirements for Refugees to Become Settled in the UK (video)

 

Other updates:

Employment Rights of Refugees in the UK

Illegality of Employment Contracts

New Rules for Refugees: Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) Applications 

Changes to the Immigration Rules 2018

New Fees: British Passport Applications

Apostille and Document Certification in London

How to Apply for British Passport Online 

Legal Assistance in the UK

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and relevant immigration law requirements, please send your enquiry by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Debt and Money Claims

Debt and Money Claims: personal or on behalf of businesses, whether you are pursuing or defending

We are accustomed to recovering money or defending claims for monetary sums on behalf of our clients.

Unfortunately, the fact that it is not possible to recover hardly any legal costs in cases in ‘small claims’ cases  means that it may not be worth instructing us unless, practically, the dispute involves a sum of at least £6,000.

Having said that, sometimes our clients want to pursue their debtor as a matter of principle, even if the net sum recovered for them is a small proportion of the total sum that was due. That is entirely understandable.

Not all debt claims end in success. There is often a lot of frustration along the way. The lawyer’s job is very difficult. But often, we are very successful.

Just this week, Sterling Law concluded a settlement in a case where we had been acting for an architect who had been dealing with a company in the building trade. Several of our client company’s invoices totalling almost £9,000 over the early part of 2018 had remained unpaid for 5-6 months, despite repeated demands for payment. The debtor had just completely ‘blanked’ our client.

 

Judgement-in-Default

The defendant, despite being a highly qualified professional, ignored our two ‘letters before action.’ He then ignored our issue of the court proceedings. We then obtained ‘judgement-in-default’ against his company. He then sprung into action when was threatened to face enforcement of the judgement. Various excuses were made, including blaming his accountants for not receiving the letters and court papers on time, even though they were sent to the correct registered office of the company. Ultimately, the director threatened that he would dissolve his company unless we accepted half the sum due, in full and final settlement.

We were not going to be fobbed off by this nonsense and advised our client accordingly. We had no reason to believe that the defendant company was on the verge of insolvency, and if it was so, we questioned why the director had half the sum sitting in his bank account, available to be paid immediately.

Ultimately, we obtained agreement for half the debt under the judgement to be paid immediately (which it duly was, this week), and for the second half next month.

Our client was delighted with the result; a combination of litigation and tough negotiation achieved a great result. If we had merely launched into enforcing the judgment, it would have taken much longer to obtain the money and costs (payable by our client and not all recoverable from the other side) would have been higher.

If you have a dispute upon which you need advice, please contact us. We can either represent you in court or just provide advice at an initial consultation.

Please contact Kuldeep S. Clair, Consultant Solicitor and Advocate, directly:

Email: Kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Mobile: 07484 614090

Tel. 020 7822 8599

Appeal allowed after a lengthy long-distance relationship reunited

Sterling Law have successfully represented a client in a complex appeal case, and helped to challenge the Home Office’s refusal of our client’s EEA Family Permit application.

In the present case, the Home Office sought to argue that the marriage between the appellant and her EEA national spouse was “a marriage of convenience”, contracted for the sole and predominant purpose of gaining an immigration advantage. The Home Office was not satisfied with the applicant’s evidence submitted, such as their marriage certificate.

Moreover, the fact that there is a substantial age gap between the couple, the Home Office further suspected the scum marriage.The application to join as a family member of the EEA was then refused by the Home Office, subsequently an appeal was prepared by Sterling Law based on the  evidence, which shows the frequency of travelling of the sponsor to the home country of the appellant, photographs, supporting letters from close friends and family.

The Appeal was allowed, and the Immigration Judge noted that the sponsor had given credible evidence, supported by the documents prepared.

Should you have any further questions, or think any of the above may apply to your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

 

Nollienne Alparaque 

Email: nollienne@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. +44 (0) 20 7822 8535

Mob. +44 (0) 0781276 9389

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, or via our online appointment booking form.

Appeal allowed after Home Office refuses EEA Residence Card for Brazilian National

A new successful case came out recently after the decision by the First-tier Tribunal.

The case concerned a family couple, where a Brazilian national married an EEA national. The appellant entered the UK, with the EEA national, on the basis of her Brazilian marriage certificate. Subsequently, the wife applied for a residence card as a family member of the EEA national and were refused by the Home Office.

Sterling Law appealed the decision of the Home Office, who considered their marriage to be one of convenience and, therefore, refused the residence card and ordered the appellant’s removal from the UK.

The refusal was based on the fact that the marriage certificate was not sufficient proof of the existence of a genuine marriage, or relationship.

The couple were expected to provide evidence of financial ties and cohabitation throughout their relationship. Further issues arose on the day when the Home Office team visited the couple’s property, which the appellant shared with her husband and parents-in-law.

Immigration lawyer, Nollienne Alparaque acted on behalf of the client and clarified that when the Home Office team visited the appellant’s property, there was miscommunication between the officers and the appellant’s friend, who spoke very little English, and could not properly confirm the name of the appellant’s spouse. Moreover, there was no any evidence reporting the visit by the Home Office team.

As to the alleged lack of financial ties, it has been argued that the appellant could not open a bank account, because the Home Office had her passport.  The couple had demonstrated active communication through Facebook, phone calls and messages before they got married in Brazil.

To conclude, the decision of the Home Office to refuse the residence card was found not to be in accordance with the EEA Regulations 2016, and the appellant was entitled to the residence card as an EEA family member.

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Brexit Update: EU Settlement Scheme presented to Parliament and will come into force on 28 August 2018

Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules introducing new EU Settlement Scheme has been presented to Parliament on 20 July 2018 and will come into force on 28 August 2018 for the purposes of initial trial.  

This Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules introduces a new Appendix EU to the Rules to provide for applications by resident EU citizens and their family members for leave to remain in the United Kingdom under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Following the Government’s Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme, released on 21 June 2018, the Procedure on Biometric Enrolment and the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 were also laid before the Parliament.

EU Settlement Scheme under new Appendix EU

Appendix EU will provide a basis on which resident EU citizens and their family members, and the family members of certain British citizens, can apply for leave to remain in the UK under UK immigration law.

Where resident EU citizens and their family members are concerned, this is in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union published on 19 March 2018 and will not affect their existing rights derived from EU law.

The EU Settlement Scheme will provide the mechanism for resident EU citizens and their family members, and the family members of certain British citizens, to apply on a voluntary basis for the UK immigration status which they will require to remain in the UK beyond the end of the planned post-exit implementation period on 31 December 2020.

More details on the settled status for the EU citizens and their family members

Effective Date & Trial

Appendix EU will come into force on 28 August 2018, for the purposes of an initial trial of the EU Settlement Scheme.

The trial  will involve the participation on a voluntary basis of:

  • persons on the payroll of the 12 NHS Trusts, and
  • enrolled students and persons on the payroll of the three Universities (Liverpool Hope University,
    Liverpool John Moores University, and The University of Liverpool).

The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will also come into force on 28 August 2018. The EU Settlement Scheme will be rolled out on a phased basis from late 2018.

The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019.

EU Settlement Scheme Provisions

  • EU citizens and their family members who, by 31 December 2020, have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible for ‘settled status’ (indefinite leave to remain in the UK).
  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31 December 2020, but will not by then have been continuously resident in the UK for five years, will generally be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’ (five years’ limited leave to remain in the UK), enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  • Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will be able to join an EU citizen resident here after 31 December 2020, where the relationship existed on that date and continues to exist when the person wishes to come to the UK. Provision for future children will be made, in line with the draft Agreement.

Family Members of British Citizens

It has been also decided, as a matter of domestic policy, that a family member of a British citizen who is lawfully resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 by virtue of regulation 9 of the EEA Regulations, will be eligible to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme contained in Appendix EU.

Legal Assistance

EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME DETAILS
BREXIT UPDATES
New Fees: British Passport Applications
How to Apply for British Passport Online 
Apostille and Document Certification in London
Employment Rights in the UK

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular case and relevant immigration law requirements, please contact our immigration lawyers on tel. +44(0) 20 7822 8535, mobile: 07305848477 or by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

An Employment Law Victory – Substantial Compensation Achieved for Our Client

Sterling Law’s Employment Solicitor, Kuldeep Clair, dealt with a case over the past six months this year which resulted in a significant victory for our client.

Our British-born client had been working remotely in Latvia for a northern English company for almost 10 years. He resigned in December 2017 after serious allegations of negligence and incompetence were made, and his pay was cut by 25%.

We represented our client since after the resignation, and suspected that other motives were at play in the business’s very heavy-handed approach. The employer held out against any offer of compromise, and refused to take part in ACAS conciliation, both before and after tribunal proceedings were eventually issued.

The employer was represented by a large northern law firm; one of the most reputable and well-regarded commercial law firms in the country, and the tribunal hearing was set for today at Manchester Employment Tribunal. The employer resisted our claim with every argument possible, including the suggestion that English law did not apply to the employment contract, as our client was based abroad. This was legally nonsensical.

Eventually, we managed to obtain the five-figure sum satisfactory settlement that we were holding out for, at, would you believe, 5.55pm, two days before the hearing date. So the hearing did not prove to be necessary.

Our client was delighted with the outcome, although it was a pity that he had already made the journey all the way to Manchester from Latvia, and we had allocated our time for the hearing, and made our travel plans, bought our train tickets etc, by then.

It shows the value of tough negotiations where you have a good claim, which is presented and argued well by your lawyer, both in the documentation and the witness statements.

If you have any employment disputes and require a top quality legal advice on any employment matter, whether you are an employer or employee, please contact Kuldeep S. Clair, Consultant Solicitor and Advocate, directly:

Email: Kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Mobile: 07484 614090

Tel. 020 7822 8599

Court of Justice of the European Union rules that Surinder Singh applies to extended family members

In a recent judgement in the case of C‑89/17 Banger v UK, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that the rights of unmarried partners of British citizens who return to the UK having exercised Treaty rights in another EU country are also covered by Article 21(1) TFEU.

Rights of Extended Family Members

The Court ruled that Surinder Singh principles must be interpreted as requiring the Member State of which a Union citizen is a national to facilitate the provision of a residence authorisation to the unregistered partner, a third-country national with whom that Union citizen has a durable relationship that is duly attested, where the Union citizen, having exercised his right of freedom of movement to work in a second Member State, […] returns with his partner to the Member State of which he is a national in order to reside there.

In other words, the Court held that under EU law the rights of extended family member of British citizens who have returned to the UK after exercising Treaty rights in the EU member states, have to be interpreted so as to facilitate free movement and therefore falls within the scope of Article 21(1) TFEU.

Another important aspect of the judgement in Banger is that it implies that the UK’s decision to remove appeal rights from extended family members is unlawful.

The Court ruled:

Article 3(2) of Directive 2004/38 must be interpreted as meaning that the third-country nationals envisaged in that provision must have available to them a redress procedure in order to challenge a decision to refuse a residence authorisation taken against them, following which the national court must be able to ascertain whether the refusal decision is based on a sufficiently solid factual basis and whether the procedural safeguards were complied with. Those safeguards include the obligation for the competent national authorities to undertake an extensive examination of the applicant’s personal circumstances and to justify any denial of entry or residence.

Currently, extended family members do not have a right of appeal against Home Office decisions and therefore the only available remedy open to them is judicial review. The decision in Banger implies that this does not provide extended family member with a sufficient redress procedure. It therefore seems likely that appeal rights of extended family member will be reinstated following the judgement in Banger.

Reinstatement of Appeal Rights

In light of this, it may be the case that if you were previously denied a right of appeal as an extended family member of an EEA national, your appeal rights could be reinstated.

Should you have any further questions, or think any of the above may apply to your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Oksana Demyanchuk

Email: oksana@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. 020 7822 8535

 

Michael Carter

Email: michael@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. 020 7822 8535

 

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, or via our online appointment booking form.

Requirements for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of long residence in the UK

Those migrants who have accrued 10 years’ lawful residence in the UK may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

However, simply residing in the UK lawfully for 10 years continuously is in itself not sufficient to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain on this basis.

Indefinite Leave Requirements

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain based on long residence, the following requirements must be met by Applicants.

Firstly, an applicant must have valid leave to remain in the UK at the time of application. In other words, an Applicant must be lawfully resident in the UK when they make an application for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of their long residence. This leave can be in any immigration category.

Applicant must also have been in the UK for 10 years lawfully and kept to the terms and conditions of their visas. It is possible to combine periods of leave in any immigration category when applying on the basis of long residence. However, it is important that, firstly, there are no gaps between visas that may break an Applicant’s continuous residence, and, secondly, the Applicant complied with the terms of all their visas while in the UK.

Secondly, if and Applicant is aged 18 to 65 years old, they must meet the knowledge of language and life (KoLL) in the UK requirements. All those applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under a route which requires KoLL, must meet both parts of the requirement, unless they are exempt because of their age or because of a physical or mental condition.

There are two aspects to KoLL, namely knowledge of language and knowledge of life in the UK, that must be met by an Applicant applying to settle in the UK.

Finally, and most importantly, Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the UK. In the case of R (Nesiama & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1369, the Court of Appeal recently gave guidance on what constitutes “residence” in the UK.

Physical Presence

In this case the Court of Appeal found that “residence” in the UK means “physical presence” in the UK.

It was argued in the above case that “residence” should be assessed taking into account factors such as property, payment of taxes and other connections to the UK, rather than simply “physical presence”.

However, the Court of Appeal was not convinced by this argument and held that in order to be considered resident in the UK, an Applicant needs to be physically present in the UK. Therefore, excessive absences, other than are for the purpose of assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas, or due to “serious or compelling reasons”, can effect an application for indefinite leave to remain regardless of whether an Applicant’s home is in the UK.  

Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional legal help before making any applications for indefinite leave to remain based on your long resided to ensure you do in-fact qualify.  

Should you have any further questions please contact our legal advisers directly: 

Oksana Demyanchuk

Email: oksana@sterling-law.co.uk 

Tel. 020 7822 8535

 

Michael Carter

Email: michael@sterling-law.co.uk

Tel. 020 7822 8535

 

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, or via our online appointment booking form.

EEA Retained Right of Residence Appeal Allowed

Oksana Demyanchuk and her team at Sterling Law were successful in yet another appeal in relation to Regulation 10 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulation 2016.

Regulation 10 deals with non EEA nationals who have retained their rights of residence in the UK following the breakdown of their marriage to an EEA national. In the present case, the Home Office sought to argue that the relationship between the Appellant and his former EEA national spouse was a sham based on a visit conducted by Immigration Enforcement to his home.

Following the visit, Home Office was not satisfied that the relationship was genuine because of a limited contact, and that the Appellant had failed to provide adequate documentation to evidence the same.

The Appellant’s application for a Residence Card was then refused by the Home Office and so an appeal was lodged by Sterling Law.

The Immigration Judge allowed the appeal noting that

The Appellant’s documentation submitted in support of the appeal fully addressed and countered the Respondent’s objections.

The Judge further clarified that he found the reasons for the refusal were not legal, not valid and not factually correct.

Because of this the Judge proceeded to allow the appeal at the hearing, finding that the Appellant was entitled to a Residence Card.

Immigration Assistance

For expert advice and assistance in relation to your particular immigration case, please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile / Viber: +447463382838, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.

Sponsorship Certificates Update: Tier 2 Minimum Salary Threshold Reached £60,000

On 29 June 2018, the Home Office published an update on allocations of restricted certificates of sponsorship.

According to the official statement, the June allocation meeting took place on 11 June.

All valid applications received by 5 June were successful if they scored at least 60 points which means the Tier 2 cap salary threshold reached the record figure of £60,000.

The figures on the number of allocated sponsorship certificates is available on the Home Office’s web-page as at 28 June 2018. The next monthly allocation meeting date is 11 July 2018.

Recent changes to the Immigration Rules: Tier 2 General 

Changes have being made to exempt doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 (General) limit. This is in response to the particular shortages and pressures facing the NHS at the current time, and the fact that the limit has been oversubscribed in each month since December 2017.

These changes to the Immigration Rules will come into effect on 6 July 2018.

For more details, please feel free contact our please contact our immigration lawyers on Tel. +44(0)20 7822 8535, Mobile +44 (0) 73 0598 9936, by e-mail: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or via our online appointment booking form.