Where can I submit my visa application? Does this have to be in my home country?

Can I submit my UK visa application outside my home country?

The ‘How to apply’ pages on the UKBA website will tell you at which application centre you can submit your application and will explain the application procedures. But can you also submit your application elsewhere? Several visitors have asked us if they can apply outside of their own country. For example, if they can submit a student (PBS Tier 4) application outside their normal country of residence. This section of our blog sets out where you can apply.

If you are applying in the country of which you are a citizen, you can submit applications in any UK visa category. If you are not; the following rules apply:

Applications for transit visas, visit visas, and EEA Family Permits may be submitted in any country offering a UK Entry Clearance (=visa) service.

Applications for entry clearance as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant in the creative and sportive sub-category of Tier 5 may also be made in the country where the applicant is situated at the time but only if the Tier 5 applicant is in that country for a similar activity that she or he proposes to undertake in the UK and only if she or he is legally present in that country.

In addition, Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Temporary Migrant applications may also be made elsewhere provided that the applicant is legally present in the country of application and has been granted leave to remain in that country for a period of more than 6 months.

In all other cases, applications should be made in your normal country of residence or, where there is no UK Entry Clearance (=visa) service in your country, in the country that has been designated to process visa applications from your country.

Definition of ‘normal country of residence’

Your country of normal residence is the country where you are lawfully resident. Lawfully resident means that you have permission to be in that country other than in a temporary capacity, which means that you are either a national of that country, or that you have been granted leave to remain in that country (for example, in the form of a residence permit) for a period of more than six months.

Examples:

A citizen of India is visiting Spain and decides that he or she would also like to visit the UK. Whilst s/he does not reside in Spain, s/he may submit his/her visit visa application in Spain.

A citizen of Pakistan is visiting the US. S/he wants to submit an EEA Family Permit application. Whilst he or she is not resident in the United States, he or she may submit the application in the US.

A citizen of India is visiting Germany and would like to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa. S/he cannot submit his/her application in Germany but needs to submit this on his/her return in India.

A citizen of Australia is studying in Poland and would like to submit a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme application. S/he was issued with a 1-year student residence permit in Poland. S/he can submit the application in Poland. Had s/he been a visitor (i.e. had s/he been granted leave to remain in Poland for less than 6 months), s/he would not have been able to submit the application in Poland but would have needed to submit the application on his/her return to Australia.

A citizen of the US is visiting Europe and wants to submit an application to join his/her UK spouse. S/he may not do this in Europe but has to submit the application on his/her return to the United States.

A citizen of India is studying in France. S/he holds a valid residence permit for France, which is valid for the duration of her course of four years. S/he is lawfully resident in France and can therefore submit the application in France.

What is the legal basis for this policy?

Paragraphs 28 and 29 of the immigration rules regulate where visa applications must be submitted. These paragraphs have been copied below for ease of reference.

Quote:

28. An applicant for an entry clearance must be outside the United Kingdom and Islands at the time of the application. An applicant for an entry clearance who is seeking entry as a visitor must apply to a post designated by the Secretary of State to accept applications for entry clearance for that purpose and from that category of applicant. Subject to paragraph 28A, any other application must be made to the post in the country or territory where the applicant is living which has been designated by the Secretary of State to accept applications for entry clearance for that purpose and from that category of applicant. Where there is no such post the applicant must apply to the appropriate designated post outside the country or territory where he is living.

28A. (a) An application for entry clearance as a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant in the creative and sporting sub-category of Tier 5 may also be made at the post in the country or territory where the applicant is situated at the time of the application, provided that:

(i) the post has been designated by the Secretary of State to accept applications for entry clearance for that purpose and from that category of applicant,

(ii) the applicant is in that country or territory for a similar purpose to the activity he proposes to undertake in the UK, and

(iii) the applicant is able to demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer that he has authority to be living in that country or territory in accordance with its immigration laws. Those applicants who are known to the authorities of that country or territory but who have not been given permission to live in that country or territory will not be eligible to make an application.

(b) An application for entry clearance as a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Temporary Migrant may also be made at the post in the country or territory where the applicant is situated at the time of the application, provided that:

(i) the post has been designated by the Secretary of State to accept applications for entry clearance for that purpose and from that category of applicant, and

(ii) the applicant is able to demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer that he has authority to be living in that country or territory in accordance with its immigration laws and that when he was given authority to live in that country or territory he was given authority to live in that country or territory for a period of more than 6 months. Those applicants who are known to the authorities of that country or territory but who have not been given permission to live in that country or territory will not be eligible to make an application.

29. For the purposes of paragraph 28 “post” means a British Diplomatic Mission, British Consular post or the office of any person outside the United Kingdom and Islands who has been authorised by the Secretary of State to accept applications for entry clearance. A list of designated posts is published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Unquote.

Transit and EEA Family Permits are not mentioned in paragraphs 28 and 29. But you still say that applications in these categories may be submitted outside my country of normal residence?

Paragraphs 28 and 29 do not specifically mention Transit and EEA Family Permit applications. However, these may still be submitted outside your country of normal residence.

For EEA Family Permits the reason why you may still submit your application outside your normal country of residence is based on European Law. The ECJ judgement on Metock in July 2008 prohibited Member States from having a general requirement for non EEA spouses of EEA nationals to be lawfully resident in another EEA member state before they can benefit from a right to reside under the EU Free Movement of Persons Directive. Therefore, UKBA cannot and does no longer apply the lawful residence requirement (which was based on the case of Akrich) on UK domestic legislation (the Immigration Rules) to family members seeking first admission to the EEA from outside the EEA. As a result, you are entitled to submit the application elsewhere and will find that this will be accepted without problems.

For transit visa applications, the reason why you may still submit your application outside our normal country of residence is simply because paragraph 28 allows visit visa applications to be submitted elsewhere. As a result, visitors in transit (the visitor in transit visa application) and direct airside transitees (the Direct Airside Transit visa application, holders of which do not even enter the country), may therefore also be submitted elsewhere.

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