Not from UK: your status – lawstuff.org.uk (2023)

What does ‘Immigration Status’ mean?

If you are not from the UK or from certain countries in Europe, you will need permission to stay in the UK. Your ‘Immigration status’ is the kind of permission you have to be here (this is often called ‘leave’ or ‘leave to remain’).

The type of permission you have changes how long you can stay in the UK and what you can do while you are here. Permission is given by the Home Office, which is part of the UK government.

What immigration status might you have?

There are lots of different types of immigration status. Here are some of them:

Asylum-seeker

You can claim asylum if you are at risk of being treated very badly (persecuted) in your home country because of your race, your religion, where you are from, your views on politics or the government, or because you are in a particular group of people who get treated badly (for example, if you are gay). While the Home Office decides on your case and if the case goes to the Tribunal (court), you are an asylum-seeker.

Refugee status

If your claim for asylum is accepted by the Home Office, you will hold Refugee Status, this means that you will be allowed to stay in the UK for 5 years.

Sometimes the Home Office might decide that it is safe for you to go to your country before the end of the 5 years if the situation in your country changes, or if you show that there is no risk to you (for example if you get a passport from your country or travel back there).

Normally this review will not happen and instead just before the end of the 5 years, you can apply for permission to stay permanently in the UK this is called Indefinite Leave to Remain or ‘ILR’. The Home Office will look at your case again and unless something has changed, for example if you have committed a crime, you will be allowed to remain indefinitely.

Humanitarian protection

You will get humanitarian protection if the UK government decides that you are not a refugee but it would still not be safe for you to return to your country. You will be allowed to stay in the UK for 5 years.

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Sometimes the Home Office might look at your case to decide if it is safe for you to go to your country before the end of the 5 years if the situation in your country changes a lot or if you show that there is no risk to you (for example if you travel back to your country).

Normally this review will not happen and instead just before the end of the 5 years, you can apply for permission to stay permanently in the UK this is called Indefinite Leave to Remain or ‘ILR’. The Home Office will look at your case again and unless something has changed, for example if you have committed a crime, you will be allowed to remain indefinitely.

UASC leave

Young people who have claimed asylum often get a type of leave called UASC leave, or ‘limited leave to remain as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child’.

It used to be called ‘discretionary leave’ but this changed in 2013 when the Home Office created UASC leave. You will get UASC leave if you are under 17½ years old and on your own without your family and you claim asylum, but the Home Office refuses to give you refugee status or humanitarian protection, but accepts that you have no one in your country to look after you. You will get UASC leave for 2½ years (30 months) or until you turn 17½, whichever is shorter.

If you get this type of status you must ask your solicitor about whether you can appeal to the Tribunal and argue that the Home Office’s decision is wrong because you should get refugee status or humanitarian protection, which are better than UASC leave.

When you are 17 years old and your UASC leave is going to expire, you should talk to your social worker about seeing a solicitor to make an application to the Home Office to ask to be allowed to stay.

It is VERY important that you apply before your UASC leave expires because then your immigration status stays the same while the Home Office makes a decision and while you appeal to the Tribunal.

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Discretionary leave

People get discretionary leave for different reasons.

Until 2013, you got discretionary leave until age 17½ or for 3 years (whichever was shorter) if you were an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child and the Home Office refused to give you asylum or humanitarian protection but accepted that you had no one in your country to look after you.

Since April 2013 you usually get UASC leave (see above), but if your case has been going on a long time you may still be in the old system and have discretionary leave.

You will also sometimes have discretionary leave if you have been granted permission to stay because of your connections or family life in the UK, especially if the Home Office made a decision in your case before 2012.

When your discretionary leave is going to expire, you should talk to your parent or social worker about seeing a solicitor to make an application to the Home Office to ask to be allowed to stay.

It is VERY important that you apply before your discretionary leave expires because then your immigration status stays the same while the Home Office makes a decision and while you appeal to the Tribunal.

Limited leave to remain

People get limited leave to remain for different reasons.

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You will often get limited leave to remain if you have been given permission to stay because of your connections or family life in the UK. This will usually be for 2½ years (30 months).

When your limited leave is going to expire, you should talk to your parent or social worker about seeing a solicitor to make an application to the Home Office to ask to be allowed to stay.

It is VERY important that you apply before your limited leave expires because then your immigration status stays the same while the Home Office makes a decision and while you appeal to the Tribunal.

Usually people who have limited leave to remain have to wait for ten years before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Indefinite leave to remain

If you have been given indefinite leave to remain (ILR), this means that you can stay in the UK forever and there is no time restriction. You can lose your ILR if you commit a crime or if you leave the UK for over two years.

Visa

You may have permission to stay in the UK on a tourist visa, a student visa or another type of visa.

Sometimes children come with their families on a visa and are called ‘dependants’. You will get this before you arrive in the UK. It will allow you to stay for a specific period of time. If your visa is running out, you need to apply for permission to stay longer in the UK if you do not want to return to your country.

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It is a criminal offence to overstay a visa. If you have overstayed in the past and you now have no permission to be in the UK, it might be possible for you to apply to sort out your immigration status and you should get legal advice.

European Union citizen

If you come from a country in the European Union, you are free to live in the UK. However, your permission to stay living in the UK often depends on whether your parent or carer is working in the UK. If your parent or carer has worked in the UK for five years, they will have acquired permanent status and you will have too as their dependant.

The 2016 referendum result does NOT affect your rights yet because the UK is still a member of the European Union for now.

If you are looked after by Children’s Services or are a care leaver, your right to live in the UK might still depend on your parent or carer working here. Alternatively, if you work yourself, you will have a right to live here as an EU worker.

Advice

If you are confused about your immigration status, or if you think you do not have permission to stay in the UK, you should get legal advice soon.

You can contact Migrant Children’s Project:

Phone: 0207 636 8505
Email: [encrypted_email text=””]mcp@coramclc.org.uk[/encrypted_email].

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FAQs

Is a 17 year old a child UK? ›

In England a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Child protection guidance points out that even if a child has reached 16 years of age and is: living independently. in further education.

What is the legal age UK? ›

Although most of us know that 18 is the age at which a young person reaches the age of majority in the UK and becomes an adult in the eyes of the law there are other significant age milestones before then, which are less well known and can cause confusion.

What can I do when im 16 UK? ›

At 16
  1. You can work full time if you have left school, have a National Insurance number and the job has accredited training.
  2. You can give consent and have sex.
  3. You can be married or live together with a parent's permission.
  4. You can be prosecuted for having sex with someone who is under 16.

What can you do when you turn 13 in the UK? ›

At 13 you can:

Be employed occasionally by parents doing light gardening or farming work – subject to the local authority bylaws where you live. Be employed by other people doing light work specified in, and subject to, the local authority bylaws where you live (e.g. your local newspaper shop to do a paper round).

Can a 40 year old date a 16 year old UK? ›

The age of consent in the UK is 16. This means that it's against the law for someone to have sex with someone under the age of 16. It wouldn't be illegal for someone who's 16 to have a relationship with someone who is 30 - unless that person is their teacher or in a position of authority.

What's the youngest age you can go to jail? ›

In the United States the age varies between states, being as low as 6 years in South Carolina and 7 years in 35 states; 11 years is the minimum age for federal crimes.

Can you marry 16 UK? ›

This means that 16 to 17-year-olds will no longer be able to marry or enter a civil partnership under any circumstances, including with parental or judicial consent from 26 February 2023. It will not be possible for anyone under 18 to marry or enter a civil partnership after this date.

At what age can you marry in England? ›

In 1929, in response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship, Parliament raised the age limit to 16 for both sexes in the Ages of Marriage Act. This is still the minimum age.

How old can you get married UK? ›

You can get married or form a civil partnership in England or Wales if you're: 16 or over (you'll need to be 18 or over from 27 February 2023) not already married or in a civil partnership. not closely related.

Can I get a job at 16 UK? ›

Children can only start full-time work once they've reached the minimum school leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once someone reaches 16, you may need to pay them through PAYE . Once someone reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

Can a 16 year old live alone in the UK? ›

Once a young person reaches 16 they can leave home or their parents can ask them to move out. However, parents are responsible for their children's wellbeing until they turn 18 - and they'll likely need support (anchor link). You can read about parental responsibility in more detail on GOV.UK.

Can an 18 year old date a 17 year old UK? ›

The age of consent is 16

The law says that 16 and 17 year olds can legally have sex but, as they are legally children, they are given more protection in law. It is illegal for an adult in a position of trust or responsibility to have sex with a 16 or 17 year old.

Can you go to jail at 13 UK? ›

Children over 10

Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. They are treated differently from adults and are: dealt with by youth courts. given different sentences.

Can you go to jail for talking to a minor online UK? ›

Section 15a of the Sexual Offences Act (2003) makes it illegal for an adult to intentionally communicate with a child under 16 for a sexual purpose. This offence is sometimes referred to as 'online grooming'. The offence is still committed whether or not the child communicates with the adult.

Can you get a job at 13 in the UK? ›

School holiday rules

During school holidays 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week. This includes: a maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays. a maximum of 2 hours on Sunday.

What is the lowest age of consent in the world? ›

All Member States establish a minimum age for sexual consent. Most Member States set this between 14 and 16 years. The lowest minimum age is 14 years, set in seven Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal. The highest is set at 18 years – in Malta.

Is a 3 year age gap legal? ›

2 No Unlawful Sexual Intercourse: Any person who engages in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18 who is not three years younger or three years older than the perpetrator.

Can a 4 year old go to jail? ›

Under section 82 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC), a child under the age of 7 cannot be said to have committed an offence.

What happens if a prisoner kills another prisoner? ›

A person who, while confined in a Federal correctional institution under a sentence for a term of life imprisonment, commits the murder of another shall be punished by death or by life imprisonment.

Who was the oldest person to go to jail? ›

Viva Leroy Nash (September 10, 1915 – February 12, 2010) was an American career criminal and one of the oldest prisoners in history as well as one of those longest incarcerated (for a total of 70 years), spending almost 80 years behind bars.
...
Leroy Nash
Criminal chargeArmed robbery, murder
6 more rows

Can cousins marry in UK? ›

There is no legal restriction on the marriage of first cousins. You may not marry your: Grandmother or grandfather. Mother or father.

Can you marry your daughter UK? ›

A person cannot marry any of the following relatives: a child, including an adopted child. a parent, including an adoptive parent. a brother or sister, including a half-brother or half-sister.

Can you marry your uncle UK? ›

Throughout the United Kingdom (UK) the law prohibits certain blood relatives, step relatives and relatives-in-law from getting married or becoming civil partners. For example a woman cannot marry her grandfather or uncle and a man cannot marry his daughter or sister.

Is it legal to marry your second cousin UK? ›

Marriage between cousins is a contentious topic across the globe, but you may be surprised to hear it's completely legal in the UK. A new BBC Three documentary, available on iPlayer right now, has brought light to the subject.

Which country has the lowest age for marriage? ›

Some Girls Can Marry by 12 in Trinidad and Tobago

Muslims can marry at the age of 16 for men and 12 for girls, while Hindus can marry at the ages of 18 and 14.

Who can legally marry you in the UK? ›

Church of England, Catholic, Jewish, Anglican and Quaker leaders, such as priests, vicars and rabbis, can all officiate weddings. Other religious leaders are only able to officiate a marriage ceremony if they have applied for a licence.

How much is a marriage license UK? ›

The current fee for entering a Notice of Marriage is £35 for each person. The current fee for entering a Notice of Civil Partnership is £35 for each person. The current fee for Home Office referral is £12 (£47 in total) per person.

Can you get married online legally UK? ›

Under the law in England and Wales, it is not possible to get married or enter into a civil partnership without the physical presence of both parties in a place approved by law.

What age do men get married in UK? ›

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. This Act increases the minimum age of marriage in England and Wales from 16 years to 18 years. Under the existing law people can enter into a marriage at the age of 18, or at 16–17 years with parental or judicial consent.

How much do 16 year olds get paid UK? ›

From April 2022 the NMW is: Apprentice £4.81 an hour. Age 16-17 - £4.81 an hour.

How much do 16 year olds get paid per hour? ›

It's a minimum by law that all employers have to pay to employees over 23 years of age. The minimum for those under the age of 23 is called the minimum wage, and it is £9.18, as of September 2022. These rates cover the whole country with no allowance for the higher costs of living in the capital.

Can I call the police if my child refuses to go to school UK? ›

If your child is refusing to go to school, then the police do not have any powers to make them attend. You should speak to the school who will be able to offer support and assistance.

What happens if you run away from home at 16 UK? ›

When you are 16 years old you usually have the right to leave home and your parents, carers or anyone else you live with cannot stop you. If you are reported missing, you can tell the police that you are safe and well, and we will not tell anyone where you are if you do not want us to.

How can I move out at 16 with no money UK? ›

If you're under 18, it's unlikely you'll be able to sign a tenancy contract or mortgage agreement. If you're 16 or 17 and homeless, you'll usually be provided with accommodation by Children's Services at your local council. This is because you'll be considered a 'child in need'.

Can a 9 year old go to jail UK? ›

The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old. This means that children under 10 can't be arrested or charged with a crime. There are other punishments that can be given to children under 10 who break the law.

How long does a criminal record last? ›

If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).

What crimes carry a 5 year sentence UK? ›

Custodial sentences
  • seven years' imprisonment for a third Class A drug trafficking offence.
  • three years for a third domestic burglary.
  • five years for certain firearms offences.
  • six months for a second offence of possessing a weapon.
  • six months for threatening with a weapon.

Is sexting a crime in the UK? ›

Sexting that occurs consensually between two adults is not considered to be a sexual offence and neither of the parties concerned are breaking any laws. However, if a person is sent sexually explicit material and they are not wanted, the sender could potentially be subject to harassment charges.

Can you go to jail for text messages UK? ›

Sending anonymous messages or emails is not a criminal offence in and of itself, but if you sent the messages intending to cause harm or distress, you could be committing an offence.

Can you go to jail for kissing a minor UK? ›

The short answer is yes. If the kissing amounts to sexual activity per the SOA 2003, you could be sentenced to up to 14 years' imprisonment for kissing a child.

How much does a 14 year old get paid UK? ›

How much will I get paid as a 14-year-old? There is no minimum wage for 14-year-olds, meaning you're not yet entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This means what you're able to earn needs to be agreed upon with your employer, and is based upon the type of work you're doing.

What age can a child get a job? ›

Children of compulsory school age, working before or after school, at weekends or during school holidays, must have an employment permit issued by the council. Under the Children and Young Person Act 1933, a child: must be 13 years or over before they get a part-time job. cannot work during school hours.

Can 14-year-olds work at Mcdonald's UK? ›

14 answers

The minimum age for part-time job at McDonalds is 16. 16, this is also the full time age.

Are 17 year olds still considered children? ›

Legally, the term child may refer to anyone below the age of majority or some other age limit. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines child as, "A human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”

Is 17 years considered a child? ›

Who is a child? The answer to this question in international and domestic law is clear: a child is anyone under the age of 18.

Are you a child if your 17? ›

A child means someone aged under 14 and young person means someone aged 14 or over but under 18.

Is being 17 a child? ›

At age 17, your daughter is in the last stage of their adolescence (the period between childhood and adulthood). But they are still changing, growing emotionally, and learning about themselves and the world. Here's what you can expect during this important year.

At what age do people mature? ›

Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don't reach full maturity until the age 25.

What is a 7 year old called? ›

Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age)

Is 20 still a teenager? ›

By 20 years old, a young person is usually considered an adult: their body size is fully grown, they can vote, get married, and many have already entered the workplace. But the evidence suggests that, by many important measures, adolescence continues until around the age of 24 to 25.

Is 21 still a kid? ›

That's right: According to these researchers, if you're under 24 years old, you're basically still a teenager, not a full-blown adult — not yet, at least. And if you're in your late 20s, you've basically only been an adult for a few years, and you really can't be held fully accountable for your actions.

What age is called a minor? ›

All states define an "age of majority", usually 18. Persons younger than this age are considered minors, and must be under the care of a parent or guardian unless they are emancipated.

What age is considered a baby? ›

Infants (0-1 year of age)

Can a 13 year old go to jail UK? ›

Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime. They are treated differently from adults and are: dealt with by youth courts. given different sentences.

Why is my teenage son so angry? ›

Teen boys are much more likely to be irritable or angry when they have an underlying mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or another condition.

What happens to a boy at 17? ›

Your son is still changing physically, but chances are their voice is as deep as it's going to get and they've already sprouted hair on their face. Mentally, 17 is a crossover age for boys. Your son may be thinking about their future and goals. They may be a little more realistic about where they are going in life.

What are 15 year olds called? ›

Teenagers (15-17 years of age)

How old is a toddler age? ›

Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

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