Taiwan – UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme re-opening on 7 March 2013

Today, UKBA announced that the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme for Taiwanese nationals will re-open on 7 March 2013.

UKBA’s statement, which can also be read on their website here, reads as follows:

From 7 March 2013, the UK Border Agency at the visa application centre in Taiwan will accept Tier 5 (Youth mobility scheme) visa applications from Taiwan nationals.

The youth mobility scheme visa allows those eligible Taiwanese aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

If you wish to apply for a youth mobility scheme visa you must first meet the eligibility requirements and register for a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ through the Youth Development Administration iYouth website between 19 February and 25 February. An allocation of 500 ‘certificates of sponsorship’ will be made available at this time. A further 500 will be made available and allocated in May 2013.

Once you have confirmation of a ‘certificate of sponsorship’, you will then be able to apply for a youth mobility scheme visa. You must apply within 3 months of receiving confirmation of your certificate of sponsorship, before it expires.
You will receive further details on how to make your youth mobility scheme visa application in Taiwan when you receive confirmation of sponsorship.

Information and guidance on the Tier 5 (Youth mobility scheme) visa and what documents are required to support an application can also be found on this website.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea: UK Youth Mobility Scheme opens February 2013

UKBA has announced that the South Korean ministry of foreign affairs and trade will accept applications for the 2013 Youth Mobility Scheme Certificates of Sponsorship ballot between 12 February and 15 February 2013. 1,000 Certificates of Sponsorship will be made available. Those interested are advised to contact the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for further information. The Ministry’s website can be found here. UKBA’s announcement can be found here.

17 January 2013

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Africa and Zimbabwe: pre-entry TB screening for UK visas to start 31-12-2013

From 31 December 2012, if you are resident in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland or Zimbabwe, and are applying for a visa to come to the UK for more than 6 months you must be tested at an approved clinic and be free from tuberculosis before you apply for a visa.

If you complete an online visa application form and pay the visa application fee before 31 December 2012 you will not need to take a tuberculosis test. Online applications submitted and paid for after this date will be subject to tuberculosis testing requirements.

If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months you do not need to be tested for tuberculosis. This includes people applying for 2, 5 and 10 year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still 6 months.

UKBA’s announcement to introduce TB testing in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe follows the UK government’s announcement in May 2012, to introduce tuberculosis testing as a requirement of the visa application process for certain countries.

To read UKBA’s official announcement, and to get further details about the testing requirements, please click here for South Africa, and here for Zimbabwe.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Changes to the UKBA visa decision-making process in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

Today, UKBA announced changes to the visa decision-making process in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In the framework of UKBA’s on-shoring programme of the visa decision-making process, in January 2013, visa decision-making will move from the UKBA offices in these countries to UKBA’s Hub in Croydon. In other words, you follow the usual visa application procedures, but your application and documents will be forwarded to ECOs (visa officers) in Croydon, UK for decision. Please remember to submit English translations of all supporting documents. UKBA advises that certified translations are not required as translations are checked for accuracy by UK Border Agency staff in Croydon.

Denmark: From 7 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Denmark will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. If you are applying from Denmark, you may experience minor service disruption on 7 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading the online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Denmark will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Denmark, please click here.

Estonia: From 7 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Estonia will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. If you are applying from Estonia, you may experience minor service disruption on 7 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading the online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Estonia will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Estonia, please click here.

Finland: From 7 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Finland will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. If you are applying from Finland, you may experience minor service disruption on 7 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading the online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Finland will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Finland, please click here.

Iceland: From 14 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Iceland will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. You may experience minor service disruption between Tuesday 8 January and Monday 14 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading their online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Iceland will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Iceland, please click here.

Norway: From 7 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Norway will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. You may experience minor service disruption on 7 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading their online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Norway will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Norway, please click here.

Sweden: From 14 January 2013 all UK visa applications submitted in Sweden will be decided on at the UK Border Agency regional hub in Croydon. You may experience minor service disruption between Tuesday 8 January and Monday 14 January 2013 whilst UKBA is upgrading their online application and appointment system. The visa application process for customers in Sweden will not change. To read UKBA’s official announcement of this change for Sweden, please click here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nepal: UKBA introduces TB screening in Nepal

Today, UKBA announced the introduction of tuberculosis testing in Nepal. From 31st December 2012, if you are resident in Nepal and would like to apply for a visa to come to the UK for more than 6 months you must be tested at an approved clinic and be free from tuberculosis before you apply for a visa. To read UKBA’s announcement, and to find out more about the testing procedures in Nepal, please click here.

UKBA’s announcement:

Quote:

If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months you do not need to be tested for tuberculosis. This includes people applying for 2, 5 and 10 year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still 6 months.

Tuberculosis testing requirements will form part of the visa application process for people planning to come to the UK for more than 6 months from 31 December 2012.

This follows the UK government’s announcement in May 2012, to introduce tuberculosis testing as a requirement of the visa application process for certain countries. Nepal is one of the 67 countries, who according to the World Health Organisation has a high incidence of tuberculosis.

The UK Border Agency will only accept TB screening and certificates from two clinics operated by the International Organisation for Migration in Kathmandu and Jhapa in Nepal.

For detailed information about the testing process and requirements, see the TB testing page.

You do not need a tuberculosis test if you plan on travelling to the UK for less than 6 months, for example on business or for tourism.

Unquote

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Malaysia: UKBA introduces Tuberculosis testing for UK visas from 31 December 2012

Today, 17 December 2012, UKBA announced that tuberculosis testing requirements will form part of the visa application process in Malaysia for people planning to come to the UK for more than 6 months from 31 December 2012. To read UKBA’s official announcement, please click here. For further information about the TB requirements in Malaysia, please click here.

In a nutshell, from 31st December, if you are resident in Malaysia and would like to apply for a visa to come to the UK for more than 6 months you must be tested at an approved clinic and be free from tuberculosis before you apply for a visa.

If you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months you do not need to be tested for tuberculosis. This includes people applying for 2, 5 and 10 year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still 6 months.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Croatia joining the EU – How will this affect you as a Croatian national in terms of entry to the UK

Croatia will become a full member of the EU from 1 July 2013. This means that from this date, Croatian nationals will enjoy rights of free movement under EU law. However, as with previous accessions, the Treaty of Accession (2011) allows the existing Member States to depart from normal EU provisions concerning free movement rights in that they may apply transitional restrictions on the access to their labour markets to nationals of new EU member states. Transitional, because these restrictions may be applied for up to five years (a two year period followed by a review and if required a three year period) and for a further two years in the event of a serious labour market disturbance. In other words, the maximum time an existing EU State can apply such restrictions is seven (7) years. The UK Government applies transitional restrictions on labour market access to nationals of any future Member States of the European Union as a matter of course and will therefore also apply any such restrictions to nationals of Croatia when Croatia joins the EU.

Important: Please note that the contents of this page reflect the UK Government’s current intentions only. The detail of the policy will only be confirmed when the regulations are made. Nonetheless, this information will give you a good idea of what the changes will look like.

How will Croatia joining the EU affect you, as a Croatian national?

The restrictions mentioned above will apply to access to the UK labour market only. In other words, if you wish to visit the UK, as now, as a Croatian national you will not need a visa. From 1 July 2013, you will also no longer require a visa if you wish to study (even if your studies are for more than 6 months) or wish to live in the UK. If, however, you wish to come to the UK to work, you can come to the UK without a visa but you will require permission to work. You will need to obtain this permission, from UKBA, before you start to work. Work authorisation will only be granted if you meet the requirements for skilled economic migrants, as obtained for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-Based System. In other words, the same restrictions on work as these exist today continue to apply. The only difference is that you will no longer need to apply for a visa (Tier 2 or Tier 5) before coming to the UK. Instead, you will need to apply for work authorisation after your arrival in the UK and before you start to work. You would, however, still need to meet the same criteria as under Tier 2 or Tier 5.

Are there any exemptions to the requirement to obtain permission to work?

It is important to note that a definitive decision concerning these arrangements has not been made yet. Currently, the UK Government proposes to exempt the following category of workers:

If you are legally present in the UK on 1 July 2013 and are not subject to any restrictions on working. Example: you were granted settlement in the UK

–        If you are legally working in the UK on 1 July 2013 and have been legally working for an uninterrupted period of 12 months ending on that date;

–        If you work legally for an uninterrupted period of 12 months falling partly or wholly after 1 July 2013 (for example, you started your job six months prior to the date of accession but your contract is for an indefinite time);

–        If you are a dual national, for example, you are also a UK citizen or a citizen of another Member State whose nationals are not subject to similar restrictions (for example, you are a dual German/Croatian national);

–        If you are the spouse or civil partner of a national of the UK or the family member of an EEA national who has a right to reside in the UK, except where that EEA national is subject to work authorisation;

–        If you are posted to the UK by a business established on the territory of another Member State.

–        If you meet the criteria for a grant of leave to enter under the current Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category or the previous Tier 1 (Post Study) category of the Immigration Rules to be issued with a registration certificate confirming that the holder has free access to the labour market and is therefore exempt from the requirement to obtain work authorisation if they intend to take employment;

–        If you are studying here, as is the case under the current Immigration Rules, you will be able to do part-time work and vacation employment, and employment which forms part of a vocational course of study, without requiring work authorisation. However, you will need to obtain a registration certificate from the UK Border Agency confirming that you are exercising a Treaty right as a student;

–        If you are self-employed, you will not be subject to work authorisation because the terms of the Accession Treaty do not permit the UK to restrict the exercise of rights of free movement for the purposes of establishment. Those exercising a right to reside as a self-employed person (or as a self-sufficient person) will, however, be subject to work authorisation in the event that they go on to engage in work in an employed capacity.

In what circumstances will UKBA grant permission to work?

If you do not fall in the exempt categories outlined above (please note that this list is subject to change), you will need to obtain permission to work. The transitional restrictions after 1 July 2013 will provide Croatian nationals with the same degree of access to the labour market as they enjoyed under the Immigration Rules when the Treaty on Accession was signed. Therefore, currently (because, please remember, these are only plans at the moment), in the case of skilled and temporary workers (the equivalent of Tier 2 and Tier 5 workers), UK-based employers wishing to employ a Croatian national should continue to sponsor their employment through the existing arrangements under Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System. Employers wishing to employ a Croatian national will therefore need to be licensed with the UK Border Agency as a Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor in the same way as they are now if they wish to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to a non-EEA worker under these arrangements. Croatian nationals will not, however, be subject to immigration control and will not therefore be required to apply for leave to enter or remain on the basis of the issuance of a Certificate of Sponsorship. In other words, you will not (not) need to apply for a visa prior to coming to the UK. Croatian nationals issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship by a licensed sponsor will instead be required to apply to the UK Border Agency for an accession worker registration certificate in the same way that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are currently required to obtain a document where their employer has received authorisation of their employment under the pre-PBS work permit arrangements. Croatian nationals will also be able to apply for an accession worker registration certificate where they meet the criteria currently applied in respect of employment routes which currently sit outside the PBS (for example, under the existing provisions for employees of overseas businesses and domestic workers).

I do not fall in one of the exempt categories. But will I always require work permission, regardless of how long I live in the UK?

No. If you have completed an uninterrupted period of 12 months in authorised employment, you  will cease to be subject to the work authorisation requirement and will be entitled (but not required), at that point, to apply for a registration certificate confirming that you have free access to the labour market. In other words, once you have completed an interrupted period of 12 months in UKBA authorised employment, you will no longer need permission to work and will be able to work without an accession worker registration certificate.

Will the cooling off period of the Tier 2 skilled migrant worker category apply to Croatian nationals?

No, it will not. The “cooling off period” for Tier 2 migrants means that any migrant under Tier 2 whose leave expires whilst they are not in the UK, cannot apply for permission to come to the UK again under any Tier 2 category for 12 months after the date their leave expired. Whilst Croatian skilled workers will be treated in line with Tier 2 Migrants, this requirement will not (not) apply to Croatian nationals.

What if I am issued with an accession worker registration certificate and change jobs?

Your UKBA work permission will specify the employment for which work authorisation has been granted and will remain valid for as long as the holder remains in that employment. If you wish to change your job, you will need to apply for a new certificate.

How long will it take before I will get this work permission?

This will be similar to the issuance of documents under the restrictions applied to workers from Bulgaria and Romania: to deal with 95% of applications within six months. The UK Border Agency is, however, currently undertaking a review of all service standards across its temporary migration operations and, as part of this work, service standards for processing applications under transitional restrictions will be reviewed.

What if I am still overseas and have been offered a job? Can I start up the process to obtain work permission before I come to the UK?

Yes, you will be able to. If you require an accession worker registration card and you have been offered a job before you come to the UK, you can apply for the document from outside the UK.

Will the UK’s quota based schemes, i.e. the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and the Sectors Based Scheme be open to Croatian nationals after the Accession?

The Government does not currently intend to provide Croatian nationals with access to the quota-based schemes under which Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are currently permitted to engage in work at lower skill levels.

Will my family members be able to join me in the UK?

Yes, they will. If they are also Croatian nationals, they will also enjoy a right to free movement and can join you in the UK. If you are working in the UK and have obtained permission to work, your family members will not themselves be subject to the work authorisation requirement should they also wish to work. This mirrors the position under the Immigration Rules where the dependants of those admitted for the purpose of work are generally granted leave to remain on conditions which do not restrict employment. Your family members will not therefore require an accession worker registration card to work. If your family members are not EEA nationals, they will also be able to join you in the UK. They will need to apply for EEA Family Permits prior to coming to the UK. The EEA Family Permit will also allow them to work freely, without permission to work being required should they wish to work in the UK.

Source: UKBA website “Accession of Croatia to the European Union”, which can be found here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Changes to the requirements for UK biometric residence permits

On 30 November 2012, UKBA announced a change to the requirements to provide the UKBA with biometric information. To read UKBA’s announcement, which has also been copied below for your convenience, please click here.

This change won’t affect the majority of our readers, since the majority is applying for visas from overseas. It will, however, affect you if you come to the UK on the strength of a visa in a long-term stay category (e.g. student, spouse) and subsequently need to extend or change your leave to remain whilst you are in the UK.

UKBA’s announcement about the changes to the biometric requirements

Quote:

From 1 December 2012, the requirement to provide the UK Border Agency with biometric information is changing.

If you are from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland and you are granted permission to stay in the UK for more than 6 months on or after 1 December 2012, you must apply for a biometric residence permit (if you have not already done so). If you are affected by the change we will write to you about how to apply for your biometric residence permit.

This is to ensure that from 1 December we only issue this new format of immigration status document. This is to meet our obligations under European legislation.
Biometric residence permits are replacing older forms of documentation and the new format is helping employers and other bodies to check the immigration status and entitlements of foreign nationals. They are both simpler to understand and are more convenient for foreign nationals living in the UK to use. The application process also enables the agency to check a person against both our records and police fingerprint records.

We have been rolling out biometric residence permits to different visa categories over the last 4 years. This means that applicants have been enrolling their biometric information (fingerprints and facial images) to apply for a biometric residence permit at the same time as making their application to stay in the UK. Some people will have applied to stay in the UK before there was a requirement to provide biometric information in their category, and will not have provided their biometric information. If these people are granted permission to stay on or after 1 December 2012, either at first consideration or after a successful appeal, they will need to apply for a biometric residence permit.

These measures are helping to combat illegal immigration, abuse of the immigration system and the misuse of public funds.

Unquote

Background

As stated above, UKBA has been rolling out biometric residence permits to different visa categories over the last 4 years. The requirement was restricted to certain visa categories only (e.g. Tier 2, spouses etc.) but is now being extended – see details below.

Who needs to apply for a UK biometric residence permit

If you are applying for a visa for 6 months or longer you must apply for a biometric residence permit (unless you already have one) if you are currently in the UK and you want to:

  • extend your temporary permission to stay to a total of 6 months or more;
  • apply for permission to settle in the UK (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’);
  • transfer your permission to stay from an old passport or similar document using form TOC or NTL; or
  • apply for a Convention travel document (1951 refugee or 1954 stateless person) or a certificate of travel.

If you applied in a category that did not require you to enrol your biometric information and your application is granted on or after 1 December 2012 you must apply for a biometric residence permit. UKBA will write to you and explain how to apply for a permit.

How do I know if I need a Biometric Residence Permit

You cannot simply apply for a Biometric Residence Permit. You can only apply for a biometric residence permit in the circumstances outlined above, i.e. when you are applying to extend/vary your stay in the UK or need to transfer your current leave to a new passport. If you are currently in the UK in a category that previously did not require a biometric residence permit, the UKBA will write to you. If you are unsure of whether you need a biometric residence permit or not when you’re applying to extend your stay, the relevant UKBA application form will clearly say whether or not you must apply for a biometric residence permit at the same time.

How does this change affect visa applicants overseas

It does not affect visa applicants overseas. It will only affect you if you apply to come to the UK in a long term stay visa category (e.g. student, spouse etc.), entered the UK, and you need to:

Extend your leave to remain;

Vary your leave to remain (Example: you entered the UK on a fiance/e visa, got married and apply for further leave to remain as a spouse/partner); or

Transfer your permission to stay from an old passport or similar document using form TOC or NTL. Form TOC must be used if you already have permission to be in the UK for a limited period as confirmed by a stamp or sticker in a passport or other document issued to you, and you now want that permission confirmed in another document (usually because you have obtained a new passport). This is known as a transfer of conditions (TOC). You will need form NTL if your resident permit gives you permission to settle permanently in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’), and you want to transfer it to a new passport. NTL stands for ‘no time limit’.

Source: Biometric residence permit pages on the UKBA website, which can be found here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Japan: UK Youth Mobility Scheme opens January 2013

Today, UKBA announced that the Youth Mobility Scheme for Japanese nationals will be opened in January 2013. As in 2012, only 1,000 places are available to Japanese nationals in 2013. To apply, you will have to send an e-mail to a dedicated e-mail address between Monday 7 January 2013, 12:00 pm (Japan time) to Wednesday 9 January 2014, 12:oo p.m. (Japan time). The dedicated e-mail address will only be open during this time, following which 1,000 applicants will be chosen at random. To read UKBA’s announcement, which has also been copied below for your convenience, please click here.

UKBA’s announcement:

Quote:

The Youth Mobility Scheme 2013 for Japanese nationals will be opened in January 2013. There will be 1000 places available to Japanese nationals, and if your application is successful you will be able to live, work and study in the UK for up to 2 years.

How to apply

If you would like to apply for the scheme you should send 1 email (only) to: YMS2013-APPOINTMENT@vfshelpline.com, between Monday 7 January 2013, 12:00 pm (Japan time) to Wednesday 9 January 2013, 12:00 pm (Japan time). The email header or subject line must contain your name, date of birth and passport number as shown in your passport. For example: YAMADA Taro -31/01/1990 – TH123456789.

In the main text of your email you should include the following:

  • Name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Passport Number;
  • Country to submit the application; and
  • Home and mobile phone number.

The email account will be open for 48 hours only and all emails received within this timeframe will be sent an automated reply confirming receipt.

When the email account has closed, 1000 applicants will be chosen at random. A second email will be sent to you on Wednesday 16 January if you have been chosen to apply. This email will confirm acceptance and further instructions on how to make an appointment, along with documentary evidence required to apply for your entry clearance. You will only receive a second email if you have been successfully chosen for application.

If you are a Japanese national living overseas you can apply following the instructions above, and if you are chosen to apply you will be able to do so in your country of residence. Applications cannot be submitted for the Youth Mobility Scheme 2013 in the UK. If you are chosen, the UK Border Agency in Manila will notify the application centre in your country of residence (excluding the UK) that you have been successfully chosen and that you can apply.

If you do not receive a second email confirming you have been chosen you will not be able to apply.

Unquote

Background

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme

The youth mobility scheme is for young people from participating countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. Every year, the UK government allocates a number of places on the scheme for each country and territory.

Length of permission to stay and conditions

You will be permitted to remain in the UK for two years. You will have no recourse to public funds. Employment is permitted except:

– as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach);

– as a Doctor or Dentist in Training, unless the applicant has obtained a degree in medicine or dentistry at bachelor’s level or above from a UK institution that is a UK recognised or listed body, or which holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the Points Based System, and provides evidence of this degree;

– as a self employment worker, except where the following conditions are met: (i) the migrant has no premises which he owns, other than his home, from which he carries out his business, (ii) the total value of any equipment used in the business does not exceed £5,000, and (iii) the migrant has no employees.

Which countries are eligible?

The countries and territories participating in the scheme, and the number of places allocated to them for 2012, are:

  • Australia – 32,500 places
  • Canada – 5,000 places
  • Japan – 1,000 places
  • New Zealand – 10,000 places
  • Monaco – 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places
  • Republic of Korea – 1,000 places
Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TB Testing

Pre-entry TB Testing for UK Visa applications

Q1. Why is pre-entry TB screening required for UK visa applications?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious airborne infection. According to UKBA, TB constitutes a global public health issue and they are therefore rolling out pre-entry testing to countries that have a high incidence of TB according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to UKBA, pre-entry testing is more thorough, and therefore more effective in allowing earlier detection and treatment of TB. The agency further states that pre-testing also allows migrants to take the test at their convenience, and that removing on-entry screening reduces congestion at UK airports (previously, passengers seeking to stay in the UK for six months or more were tested by the “Port Medical Inspector on entry”. i.e. they were tested at the airport).

Q2: Who needs to be tested for TB?

Currently, UKBA has introduced pre-testing in the countries listed below. If you are resident in any of these countries and are travelling to the UK for a period of longer than 6 months, you need to undergo TB screening before submitting your visa application. Please note that business, tourism and family visitors do not require pre-entry TB screening. This includes people applying for 2, 5 and 10 year visitor visas, because the maximum stay in the UK at any one time is still 6 months.

Countries where pre-testing is required (1 Jan 2013):

  • Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Eritrea
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Thailand
  • Zimbabwe

Countries where UKBA proposes to introduce pre-testing at some stage in the future:

  • Afghanistan;
  • Angola;
  • Bhutan;
  • Bolivia;
  • Botswana;
  • Burma;
  • Burundi;
  • Cameroon;
  • Cape Verde;
  • Central African Rep;
  • Chad;
  • China;
  • China, Hong Kong SAR;
  • China, Macau;
  • Congo;
  • Congo Dem Rep Zaire;
  • Djibouti;
  • Ecuador;
  • Equatorial Guinea;
  • Ethiopia;
  • Gabon;
  • Gambia;
  • Guinea;
  • Guinea-Bissau;
  • Guyana;
  • Haiti;
  • Indonesia;
  • Kazakhstan;
  • Kiribati;
  • Korea Dem People;
  • Korea Rep of;
  • Kyrgyzstan;
  • Lesotho;
  • Liberia;
  • Madagascar;
  • Malawi;
  • Mali;
  • Mauritania;
  • Micronesia;
  • Moldova;
  • Mongolia;
  • Morocco;
  • Mozambique;
  • Namibia;
  • Nigeria;
  • Papua New Guinea;
  • Peru;
  • Philippines;
  • Russian Federation;
  • Rwanda;
  • Sao Tome and Prince;
  • Senegal;
  • Sierra Leone;
  • Solomon Islands;
  • Suriname;
  • Swaziland;
  • Tajikistan;
  • Timorleste;
  • Tuvalu;
  • Uganda;
  • Ukraine;
  • Uzbekistan;
  • Vietnam; and
  • Zambia.

Q3: Where do I get tested?

You must be screened at a clinic approved by the UK Border Agency. In most countries, this will be an IOM (International Organisation for Migration) testing centre, in others, such as India, this will be at a centre that has been approved by the UKBA. The UK Border Agency will not accept a certificate resulting from screening conducted by a clinician who is not on the approved list for your country. You may not use your own doctor, unless he or she is listed.

You can find the lists of approved clinicians for your location on the UKBA page for your country (in your search engine type, for example, UKBA India, to find the UKBA page for your country).

Q4: How do I make an appointment to be tested?

You should contact one of the clinicians on the approved list. You can expect to obtain an appointment within a few days, but should allow up to 10 days in busy periods.

The UK Border Agency cannot intervene to bring forward an appointment for you.

It is therefore important that you allow sufficient time for the screening process before you apply for your visa and before you make firm travel plans.

If you would like an appointment with a female clinician, please ask the clinic when you schedule your appointment.

Q5: What do I need to take to my appointment?

You should take your passport as proof of identity, with your TB testing fee and any relevant medical records.

If you have had TB in the past, but are now clear, you should provide details of your previous screening and, if possible, your x-ray results.

Q6: Does the test cost money?

Yes, there is a fee for TB screening. The UKBA page for your country will say how much the fee is. You will have to pay this fee yourself. The fee covers all diagnostic requirements. It does not cover treatment if TB is detected.

The fee is not refundable in the event that the applicant is tested positive for TB or decides not travel to the UK, or their visa is subsequently refused.

Q7 What does the test involve?

The clinic will explain the process to you and you will be asked to sign a consent form before screening. You will then be given a chest x-ray.

You should allow 30-60 minutes for the whole process, which includes administration, taking the x-ray and analysis of the test results.

You may need to remove your clothes from your top half for the x-ray. You will be given a gown.

If the x-ray is inconclusive, you may be asked to give a sputum sample. Sputum is the substance you bring up from your lungs when you cough.

Q8: How long does it take to get the results?

If you only require an examination and x-ray the process can be completed in one day.

If you require further examination, this may take longer. The results of a sputum test can take up to two months to process.

If you require treatment for TB, this will take six months or longer to complete.

Q9: What if I disagree with the test result?

The consent form states that the clinician’s decision is final.

Q10: If I am referred for further tests, can I decide to get screened by another clinician?

The UK Border Agency is monitoring all screening. If you are referred for further tests by one clinic then you are required to undertake the further tests. UKBA will have a record of this. All clinics follow the same procedures, so the results will be the same at another clinic.

It will not be possible to circumvent the requirement to be certified as being clear of TB before applying for a UK visa.

Q11. What is the validity of the TB certificate?

The TB certificate is usually valid for six months.

The exception is when an individual is free from TB, but has had a family member with TB or other contact with a person with whom they have shared a closed environment/household for a prolonged period. In this case, the certificate will have a validity of three months.

Q12: Are there any conditions that would stop me being tested?

No. According to UKBA there are no medical conditions that prevent you from taking the test.

Q13: I am pregnant, do I still need to be tested?

Yes, you need to be tested. You will be given the option of the following tests:

–        an x-ray with an extra protective shield that will protect you and your unborn child or

–         a sputum test.

Please note: if you choose to have a sputum test in these circumstances, there will be an additional cost. The results can take up to two months to be processed. Alternatively you may wish to defer screening until you have delivered your baby. Please speak to a healthcare professional at the clinic if you have any questions.

Q14: Do children have to be tested?

All children aged 11 years upwards must be tested.

Parents or guardians of children below 11 years need to bring their children to the clinic and complete a health questionnaire for them. The clinician will then decide whether a child needs to be screened. If the clinician decides not to screen a child, a certificate will be provided to state that the child was not tested. This certificate must be submitted with the child’s UK visa application. All children under the age of eighteen years who are attending a clinic, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children must bring their passport as proof of identification, medical records and any x-ray results.

Q15: If I have a valid TB certificate for another country such as Australia, can I use it for the UK?

No, you may not use a certificate you have already obtained for travel to another country. You need to be screened specifically by a UK Border Agency approved clinician to comply with the UK visa requirements.

Q 16: Will UKBA share my TB test result with any other organisation?

If TB is a notifiable disease in your country, the clinician will report cases of active TB to the local, regional or national authorities as required. The clinician must also report these cases to the UK Border Agency. Information will also be shared with other clinicians who take forward follow up treatment.

The UK Border Agency may share data with other UK government departments such as the Health Prevention Agency.

Q17: What happens if I require a TB test but I do not want to take one or have time for one?

If you intend to apply for a UK visa in a category for which TB screening is required and you do not submit a TB certificate which states that you are free of TB, your visa application will be refused.

You may not apply for your visa and then submit a TB certificate later. Your application will be refused.

Q18: If I am getting treatment for TB, may I travel to the UK?

No. You must be treated and then be screened successfully to show you are free of TB before you may apply for a UK visa.

Q19: What happens if I am tested positive for TB?

You will not be issued with a certificate if you have been diagnosed with active TB. The clinician will give you advice about the need to seek treatment immediately and provide a TB treatment referral letter. Treatment may be carried out by the same clinician who has conducted the screening. Such treatment will accord with WHO treatment standards.

Q20: Do I need to be tested again following treatment for TB?

Yes. If you have had treatment following a positive result, you will need to take the TB test again. The UK Border Agency must see a valid test certificate from an approved clinic confirming that you are free from infectious TB. You should also provide details to the clinician of your previous screening, your x-ray if possible, and information on your treatment and recovery.

Q21: Who is exempt from testing?

The following are exempt from the requirement:

  • diplomats accredited to the UK;
  • returning residents (unless they have been absent from the UK for more than two years);
  • Certificates of Entitlement holders (Right of Abode in the UK);
  • children under the age of 11 years old (unless deemed necessary by a clinician)N.B. Children are not automatically exempt from the requirement to present a TB certificate showing that they are free from active pulmonary TB. Children under 11 years old need to attend a clinic, where their parent(s)/guardians will need to complete a medical questionnaire. The clinician will decide whether screening is required and whether an individual certificate will need to be presented.

An applicant applying for an EEA family permit is not required to produce a certificate showing them free from active pulmonary TB as EEA family permits are valid for six months.

Q22: I have a valid TB certificate, but it will no longer be valid at the time that I enter the UK. Can I travel to the UK with an expired TB certificate?

Because of the visa processing times, it may well happen that your TB certificate expires before you travel to the UK. The UKBA website does not offer clear guidance on whether or not your certificate still needs to be valid on entry. It merely recommends that you take the Certificate (plus X-ray) with you. It does not specifically state that the Certificate still has to be valid at the time of entry.

What do the Immigration Rules say?

There is no specific requirement in the Immigration Rules for your pre-testing TB certificate to be valid at the time of entry to the UK. There is only a requirement to present a valid certificate at the time you submit your visa application:

Immigration Rule A39. “Any person making an application for entry clearance to come to the UK for more than six months from a country listed in Appendix T Part 1 must present at the time of application a valid medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner listed in Appendix T Part 2 confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that this tuberculosis is not present in the applicant.” (“at the time of application” means at the time you submit your visa application or, in legal terms, at the time you pay your visa processing fees).

Appendix T (the Appendix to the Immigration Rules on TB screening). “Migrants applying to enter the UK for more than 6 months from the countries listed below must present at the time of application a valid medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner listed in Part 2 of this Appendix confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that such tuberculosis is not present in the applicant.” (again, “at the time of application” means at the time you submit your visa application or, in legal terms, at the time you pay your visa processing fees).

If your TB certificate expires before entering the UK, we recommend that you take the Certificate, and the X-ray with you to the UK. If you feel uneasy about this, you could of course always have another test, and take the old and new certificate with you.

Please remember that you should always refer to the UKBA website for up-to-date information before applying for any UK visas.

Posted in TB Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment