On this page:
- Getting married in the UK
- What benefits can I claim?
- How do I get a National Insurance Number?
- Access to Further Education, Higher Education, NHS Bursaries and student loans
- I currently live in the UK but I want to visit Europe/USA on holiday
- Access to healthcare
1. Can I work in the UK? - All spouses with ‘spouse visas’ are eligible to work in the UK, regardless of their nationality.
The UKBA website states: If you have a residence permit that allows you to live here, it will say what restrictions (if any) there are on your employment.
Essentially if your visa does not say that you can’t work, then you can.
2. I have been told I can’t work anymore because my visa is due to expire or has expired
I am also receiving an increasing number of enquiries from spouses who are already employed but have been suspended because their visa is due to expire or has already expired. These spouses have made an application to extend their stay and are waiting for it to be processed.UKBA guidance states:
What is my immigration status while my application is being decided? - If you make an application before your authorised stay ends, your existing immigration status will continue until your application is decided, even if the decision is not made until after the end of your permitted stay. If your existing visa or other permission to stay here allows you to work, you can continue to do so until your case is decided.
If you are already working and have made an application to extend your visa before your visa expired, you should take in the application acknowledgement letter you received from UKBA as well as the evidence from the UKBA website (above) to confirm that you can still work.
Unfortunately the employer does not have to allow you to continue working even with this evidence.UKBA also offer an ‘employer checking service’ which employers can use to check your right to work if you have an outstanding application.They have no obligation to do this though and many employers seem reluctant to contact UKBA.
3. Can I work if I don’t have a BRP?
Yes – despite many employers insisting that you have a BRP, this is not a legal requirement. There are many people in the UK who don’t have a BRP because they entered the UK prior to 2015 and have not applied to renew a visa in the UK since 2013. If you have Indefinite Leave to Enter or Indefinite Leave to Remain on a visa in your passport then you should show your employer the information at the this link. The information showing that you have a right to work is hidden on pages 19 and 24/25 of the document. The relevant information is copied below:
P19 F. Non EEA migrants with a right to work
Prior to the introduction of the Biometric Residence Permit, for those granted permission to come to or remain in the UK, we issued a UK government endorsement in their national passport. This might have placed restrictions on the type of work they were permitted to do, and/or the hours they could work, depending on the conditions attached to their immigration permission. For those coming to the UK, this would be in the form of an entry clearance (often called “a visa”) granted in their country of application. Vignettes granting permission to come to or remain in the UK will still demonstrate a right to work while they remain valid.
Lists of acceptable documents for right to work checks
List A: Acceptable documents to establish a continuous statutory excuse
6. A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
List B Group 1 – Documents where a time-limited statutory excuse lasts until the expiry date of leave
1. A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK and is currently allowed to do the type of work in question.Back to top
You do not need to:
- have a visa valid for more than six months in order to get married in the UK
- get a Certificate of Approval.
- give notice to marry or register a civil partnership in a designated register office. Migrants who wish to give notice at a non-designated register office will need to provide evidence that they are not subject to immigration control.
- meet other existing requirements for giving notice e.g. evidence of nationality, name and surname and date of birth and that you are free to marry.
marry a British Citizen soldier:
If you are planning to come to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership with a soldier who is already a British Citizen, and you want to stay in the country afterwards, you will need entry clearance (permission to enter) as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. Both you and your partner must be aged 18 or over. For all information click here.For information on how to extend your visa once you are married click here.
marry an F&C soldier:
Please note that it is not possible for a fiancé(e) to come to the UK to get married if the soldier is not a British Citizen. Fiancé(e) visas are only issued to those marrying someone already settled in the UK, a soldier is not considered to be settled whilst still serving unless they have British Citizenship. You will need to marry in your home country or be in the UK already on a different visa.
For information on how to extend your visa once you are married click here.
For all information on what you can and cannot claim, click here and scroll down to ‘public funds’.Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit: If you are claiming Child Benefit, the soldier will need to be the main claimant but your details will also need to be on the form. To claim Child Tax Credit you will need to make a joint application. To do this you will both need a National Insurance Number.
guidance at the link above states the following:
A person subject to immigration control is not
considered as accessing public funds if it is their partner who is receiving
the funds they are entitled to.
Child and working tax credits are claimed jointly by couples. If only one member of a couple is subject to immigration control, then for tax credits purposes, neither are treated as being subject to immigration control.
Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit claims should be made as soon as possible after arrival of the family in the UK. Claims will only be backdated for up to a period of three months, so any delay may result in benefit being lost. All Unit Welfare Offices and Regimental Admin Officers have details of how to claim. Alternatively, for more information, click here.
Sure Start Maternity Grant: This is a one-off payment of £500 to families who have no other children and who are eligible for Child Tax Credit at a higher rate than the family element. For all information click here or speak to your midwife.
Disability benefit: Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance can only be applied for once the family member who qualifies has got ILR. Entitlement to these benefits are also subject to meeting the correct criteria as laid down by the Department for Work and Pensions. For more information about these specific benefits, click here.
For further information about benefits and money related matters, also visit the AFF Money Matters page.Back to top
If you are looking for or starting work, you will need to make an appointment at your local Job Centre. For all information on obtaining National Insurance Numbers, click here.Back to top
Access to Further Education, Higher Education, NHSBursaries and student loans
A lot of the following information is taken from the excellent UK Council for International Student Affairs website www.ukcisa.org.uk - Click on ‘Fees and Finance’ and then ‘Home or Overseas Fees’Further education
Further education courses include GCSEs, AS and ‘A’ levels (and their equivalents), NVQs, GNVQs, BTECs and Access courses.
All information can be found here.If you are 16-18 you will qualify for home fees if you the child of someone who has a valid visa to remain in the UK.
If you are over 19 and a non-EEA citizen, you will qualify if you:
- have ILR or you are the spouse/child or civil partner of someone with ILR.A F&C soldier with an exempt stamp is not considered to have ILR.
- Are the spouse or child of a British soldier who has lived in the UK for 3 years or
- you have a valid visa and have lived in the UK for 3 years
Higher education courses include HNC and HND courses, undergraduate
degrees (for example, BA, BSc, BEd) and postgraduate degrees (for example, MA,
MSc or PhD).
You should qualify for home fees at university if you fall into one of the following 3 categories.There are more categories on the website above but these are the main ones for spouses of soldiers.
- People who have ‘settled’ status (ILR or British Citizenship) and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course.
- People who are married to, or the dependant of a British Citizen and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course.
- People who are EU nationals and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course.
If you are not sure whether you qualify as a home student, it is always advisable to contact the Universities you are interested in and ask to complete a ‘fees status questionnaire.’ This will allow them to assess your individual circumstances. If you are unhappy with the decision, contact the University for an explanation. You can also contact the UKCISA Student Advice Line.
** If you have been on an accompanied posting overseas for part of the three years, it may be worthwhile contacting the University to explain your situation and to see if they will make an exception.
NHS BursariesTo be eligible for an NHS Bursary you need to have settled status/ILR (or be an EU national) and have lived in the UK for the three years before the start of the course. However, if you were away from the UK for all or part of the three-year period because you were on a posting overseas, you will not normally be prevented from being eligible for a bursary.
For more information about NHS bursaries, click here.Student support
For information on student support, click here.Back to top
If you do not have a British passport then depending upon your nationality, you will usually need a Schengen visa to visit Europe (even if you have ILR).This currently covers 22 countries within Europe and will allow you to stay for up to 90 days (although this varies depending on which country issues the visa).
A Schengen visa is applied for at the Embassy of the country in which
you will be spending the most nights on your trip or, if you are spending the
same amount of nights in more than one country, then you apply for the visa
from the Embassy of the country which you will enter first.
You will need to ensure that you have three months left on your UK
immigration visa at the time that you return from your holiday. For more
details and information on how to apply for a visa from France, click here. For links to the embassies of other Schengen countries, click here.
To travel to the USA it may also be necessary to apply for a visa, this can be done via the American Embassy in London, click here for all information
Click here for information.
Under the current Regulations, anyone who is taking up or resuming permanent residence in the UK is entitled to free National Health Service (NHS) hospital treatment in England. If your intention is to live permanently in the UK you will be exempt from hospital charges from the date of your arrival in the country but you should expect to be asked to prove your intention and that you are legally entitled to live here. This exemption applies to your spouse, civil partner and children (under the age of 16, or 19 if in further education) if they are living here with you on a permanent basis.