children and the law

Children And The Law: How UK Immigration Law Affects Families

In 2019 there were staggering 175,891 applications for British citizenship, which was 24% more than the previous year. Ultimately with legislations changing regularly, navigating UK immigration law can be a very troublesome, complicated and a time-consuming process.

As a result, many people take up the legal assistance of immigration law solicitors in order to give them the best possible chance of a successful outcome. Professional advice is available for people with all types of applications for entry clearance and leave within the UK.

Is your child living in the UK illegally? If so, we will provide all the necessary information for you to take the correct course of action and clear up how the current UK immigration law affects families. 

Does Your Child Have a Valid Visa?

Essentially, a non-British child born outside the UK and EU will require a visa to enter and stay in the UK.  Your child will not be living legally in the UK if they did not arrive with a visa and they have not since obtained one. If they have stayed longer than their visa detailed they would have “overstayed” and this is illegal. 

It is vital to apply for a valid visa for your child if they are currently staying illegally. A legal visa will mean they have the right to stay in the country lawfully. There are multiple reasons why it is essential to apply for a UK visa for your child if they are currently staying illegally, such as: 

  • The application is far easier for those under the age of 18. Obtaining a UK visa can be a far more difficult and arduous process when a child reaches adult age.
  • A valid UK visa will mean that your child is able to stay within full-time education, as paid for by the government, after the age of 16.
  • When they get older they will legally be able to work or claim benefits as a recognised citizen. They will not be able to do this without a legal UK visa. 
  • Another benefit of applying for a visa for your child is that, if their application is successful and you are currently staying illegally, then you may ultimately be able to stay as well. 

Ultimately, it is absolutely vital that, if your child is currently staying in the UK illegally, that you obtain specialist from an expert immigration law solicitors. It is essential to do this as they will be able to advise you on the best means of obtaining legal immigration status for your child. If you are also living within the UK illegally, then they will be able to advise your on the best course of action as well.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Living in the UK Illegally?

It is essential that, if your child is not currently living in the UK legally, you do something about it. If not, this could have a detrimental impact on their future life chances and ability to live and work in this country as an adult. 

In terms of obtaining a valid British passport, there are two major different routes you should take. Much of this will likely depend on whether your child was born inside or outside of the UK. Maidstone immigration law solicitors can advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.

Applying for Leave on the Grounds of Private Life in the UK

If your child was born outside of the UK, then your only real option is that they apply for ‘leave on the grounds of private life’. People who have a child who was born in the UK still frequently apply for this visa status.

As part of this immigration application, under 18-year-olds will have to prove that they have lived in the UK continuously for a minimum of 7 years. This is needed as evidence to show that it would be unreasonable to expect them to leave the UK after all this time. This would be strengthened further if you can prove they need to continue their education in this country.

Often applications are granted on the condition that the child will be unable to claim or receive benefits once they get to age 18. However, you can apply to remove this in certain cases. If your immigration application is successful you could possibly still have to renew it every two and a half years (which will cost £1033). You may also have to pay a £1,000 NHS fee every time you renew as well.

Applying on the basis of your private life like this must be done online. You will have to prepare various documents and information to provide as part of your application. However, it is important to bear in mind that family members cannot apply on the same application and will be considered separately if they are also living illegally in the UK. 

Registering Your Child as a British Citizen

If your child has lived in the country for 10 or more years then you can register them as a British citizen. It is vital that you enlist specialist help to do this, as it can be a complicated and difficult process and not everyone is successful. 

Registering your child as a British citizen is ultimately the best option you could take, as it brings with it the following benefits:

  • They will have the right to work legally within the UK and be subjected to the same working rights (e.g. minimum wage).
  • After the age of 16 they will be able to continue full-time education as provided by the UK government (e.g. staying on for post-16)
  • Free NHS healthcare will be legally available to them
  • They will be eligible to apply for and receive benefits in the future. 

Getting Expert Immigration Law Advice

Those who have not trained for decades in UK immigration law may feel lost when sifting through legal guidelines and technical jargon. Nationality and immigration law are complex areas governed by many complex legislative provisions, rules, and regulations.

Professional advice and help is available for people with all types of applications for entry clearance and leave, to remain in the UK. Whatever your individual situation, immigration law solicitors are on hand to help you with your situation. With clear and honest legal fees, we’re here to help.

RKB Law Solicitors have years of experience in working with a variety of cases associated with immigration. Get in contact today for further information.