Foreign and Commonwealth Citizens
Latest News: The following recent developments will be of interest to Serving Nepalese and Commonwealth Citizens and their families:
Service Personnel Command Improvements to Immigration and Nationality Matters for Foreign & Commonwealth Citizens and their Families. The recently published Service Personnel Command Paper makes a number of commitments to improve Immigration and Nationality matters for Foreign and Commonwealth Citizens and their families.
- Changes to the Home Office Immigration Rules have now been made as follows:
- British Citizenship for Children of Foreign and Commonwealth Citizens born while on Overseas Postings. On 13 January 2010, Home Office rules changed to allow the children of F&C citizens, including Gurkhas, born on an accompanied posting outside the UK to apply for British citizenship. Until now, children of F&C citizens, or Gurkha soldiers, born on an accompanied posting outside the UK were unable to apply for British citizenship while those born in the UK would become British citizens. This difference was discussed with the UK Border Agency who made a commitment in the Service Personnel Command Paper to remove the difference so all children of F&C citizens and Gurkha soldiers born on an accompanied posting outside the UK can apply for British citizenship. Children born on or after 13 January 2010, on an accompanied posting outside the UK, can now apply for British citizenship. The application must have the consent of both parents. Children of F&C citizens, or Gurkha soldiers, who are born in the UK, will continue to be British citizens. Full details about the application process, fee and eligibility criteria can be found at the UK www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
- Eligible Partners able to seek leave to enter the UK. F&C citizens who are partners of serving members of HM Forces personnel meeting the Home Office eligibility criteria who have been in a substantial relationship for at least two years, may seek limited leave to enter or remain in the UK in the same way as for civilians outside the UK Armed Forces who already have this ability.
An Army Briefing note including UK Border Agency Question and Answer material is available and the amended UK Border Agency rules can be found on the UK Border Agency website in the links section.
- Other Home Office work in hand includes:
- Modifying the contents of the Life in the UK Test for F&C citizens serving on operations or outside the UK to facilitate their naturalization as a British citizen.
- Foreign & Commonwealth Service personnel on operations or postings outside UK at the start of the residential qualifying period for naturalization a British citizen being allowed to count the first day as though they been in the UK at that time.
This is welcome news, once we know from the UK Border Agency when these other measures are likely to be in place, an Army Briefing Note and Chain of Command letter will be distributed and this website will be updated. All the information currently available can be found in the links section along with a link to the UK Border Agency.
- Marriage/Civil Partnership visa age to be raised to prevent forced marriages. The Home Office has raised the age at which someone can apply for a marriage visa from 18 to 21 as part of a crackdown on forced marriage. Statistics show that 30 per cent of the cases dealt with by the Government's Forced Marriage Unit involved victims aged between 18 and 21. The new steps significantly strengthen the safeguards against forced marriage. This impacts on both UK Citizens and those subject to immigration control. All those under 21 planning on entering the UK on a marriage visa are advised to check the detail at the UK Border Agency website.
- Changes to UK citizenship and nationality fees from April 2010. The Home Office has announced that fees are to rise from April 2010. Details in the related links section.
- Naturalising as a British citizen in the future. 'The Path to Citizenship: Next Steps in Reforming the Immigration System' outlines outlines UK Government proposals for changing the way that someone can become a British citizen or remain here as a permanent resident. These proposals are called 'Earned citizenship'. As indicated in the Service Personnel Command Paper these changes will also impact on Foreign and Commonwealth citizens serving in the British Army and their families. MOD and the Army are working closely with Home Office on the proposals to ensure the unique needs of Soldiers and their families are taken into account. Once the proposals become clearer, additional information will be made available through the Chain of Command. Full details for those who want to know more are available from UK Border Agency website.
- MOD Concessionary Rates for Korean Air Fares to Fiji. PS(A)/28/9 dated 4 Mar 09 promulgated Korean Air MOD Concessionary fares for flights to Fiji valid for period 1 Apr 09 - 31 Mar 10.
- Travel Advice. In addition to the advice for UK citizens available on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (see related link) the British Army issues its own travel advice for those traveling to certain Commonwealth countries. Advice is currently available for:
- Fiji. The most recent advice was published on 4 December 2009.
- South Africa. The most recent travel advice is contained in the South African update letter sent out by DM(A) dated 19 Jun 09
- Zimbabwe. The most recent advice, including cholera outbreak information, was published 16 Dec 08 (For more information seek advice from Army unit administrative staff)
- South African Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Regulation of Certain Activities in Countries of Armed Conflict Act 2006. No definite date for the introduction of the Act has been given, until it comes into force, it remains business as usual for South African citizens serving in the British Army. An update letter was sent to all SA citizens serving in the British Army 19 Jun 09. The Army point of contact for more information can be reached by telephoning +44 (0)1980 615351
- Publications. The Army publishes material in support of Commonwealth citizens and their families as follows:
- An Interim Guide for Commonwealth Citizens and their families (Edition 1 dated 8 Feb 08)
- A UK Orientation PowerPoint Presentation (Edition 1 Dated 8 Feb 08)
- A Guide to Supporting Foreign and Commonwealth citizens and their families (Edition 5 dated 31 Mar 08)