We are calling on the UK Home Office to abolish application fees for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) for all non-UK citizens who have served in the UK Armed Forces for four years and their dependent family members.

Non-UK citizens serving in the UK Armed Forces have a right to apply for ILR as veterans after four years of services. However, unless they have served for over six years (or are medically discharged) they are charged for this. Regardless of length of service non-UK citizens are charged for bringing dependent family members.  We believe this fee should be wavered so that all UK veterans should not be charged to live with their family in the country they served.

Why do the fees need to go?

The 2021 Census showed that 2.1 per cent of UK veterans were born in Commonwealth nations (excluding Nepal and the Republic of Ireland), and there are currently more than 9,000 non-UK citizens serving in the UK Armed Forces.

As veterans, they have the right to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK after four years of service. In 2022, to recognise their ‘incredible contribution to the UK Armed Forces,’ the UK Government abolished the visa fee to enact this right, but only for those with over six years of service or who were medically discharged. It did not abolish the fees for those with between four and six years of service nor for dependant family members.

This has created an unjust confusion in the rules, where those who leave after four years are entitled to ILR but are still charged for it, and all personnel are still charged a £2,404 fee for each family member. For example, to secure the residency rights of a spouse and two children, a veteran must find the prohibitive amount of almost £7,500 to live with their family in the country that they served.

We believe that a UK Armed Forces veteran should not be disadvantaged because of their nationality. If you served our country, our country should not charge you or your family to remain.

What we’re doing

  • In 2023, we included this ask as one of our top priorities for veterans at the next General Election.
  • We have also met with MPs and officials from numerous political parties in support of this policy.
  • We responded to the Government’s consultation in 2021 which led to visa fees being waived for those who have been discharged due to an illness or injury attributable to their service.

Get involved in this campaign

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