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Points-Based System

In 2008 the UK changed the way in which it allowed people to come to the UK for work and business, creating a system with a smaller number of categories, arranged in tiers. In each tier, applicants need to score a minimum number of points to qualify.

Police Registration Certificate

Certificate provided by the police to those non-Commonwealth, non-EEA citizens who are required to register with them while residing in the UK.

Public Funds

A term used in the Immigration Rules. In many immigration categories it is a requirement that a person can support themselves without relying on a wide range, and in many cases any, state welfare benefits.

Refugee Status

The status given to those who are recognised as meeting the criteria set out in the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees.


The ways to obtain British nationality are by birth, naturalisation or registration. Registration is a simpler process than naturalisation and is used for children, and for applications from certain adults, including some people who hold other kinds of British nationality (such as British overseas citizens).

Registration Certificate

Certificate issued to EEA nationals evidencing their right of residence under European law. It is not essential to have such a certificate, but if one is requested the Home Office must issue it immediately.


Removal or administrative removal is one means of removing people from the UK when they have no leave to be in the country. The alternative process is deportation. Unlike deportation, removal does not prevent a person applying to return to the UK, but immigration history, including previous removal, will be taken into account when deciding whether to allow a person to return. The Home Office will arrange for and meet the cost of a person's enforced removal from the United Kingdom.

Residence Card

A document issued to family members of EEA nationals, evidencing their right of residence under European law. It is not essential to have such a card but if one is requested the Home Office must issue it immediately. Family members who are EEA nationals will get their own registration certificates; they do not need a residence card.

Returning Residents

People who are settled in the United Kingdom and are returning to the United Kingdom within two years of departure. They should be admitted for an indefinite period, provided that the immigration officers are satisfied that they are coming back to live permanently in the UK.

Right of Abode

The right to enter and stay in the UK, free from immigration controls. All British citizens have the right of abode. So do some Commonwealth citizens. The right of abode is evidenced either by having a British citizen passport or by obtaining a Certificate of Entitlement to the right of abode.

Right of Readmission

The right of certain British nationals who are not British citizens, but who have been given indefinite Leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, to return for settlement after any length of absence.

Schengen Group

Comprised of all European Union (EU) countries except the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark. The group established common immigration policy and common border controls.

Schengen Visa

One visa which allows people to apply to travel in all the Schengen Group countries.


A person is settled in the United Kingdom if they are ordinarily resident here without any restriction on the period for which they may remain. Most British citizens will be regarded as settled. Other people will have indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Nationals of countries of the European Economic Area (AIT).



A family member, friend or other person, who supports a person’s application to come to the UK. For example, if a man is applying to join his British wife, he would be the applicant and she would be the sponsor.


This term is used when people in the UK with one type of leave wish to change to a different type. For example, a person here with a work permit may get married and wish to switch to be in the UK as a spouse. The Immigration Rules set out who is allowed to switch and into which categories. When switching is prohibited then, except in very exceptional circumstances, it will be necessary to leave the country and obtain a new entry clearance.

Temporary Admission (TA)

Method of admission given as an alternative to detention while the immigration officers are considering whether to allow someone in at a port of entry, or after refusal of entry and before removal. Temporary admission is not leave to be in the UK; it is a temporary status.

Treaty Rights

This term is most commonly used in immigration law for the rights of citizens of EEA member states to move freely to work, establish themselves in business or to give and receive services throughout the European Union.


The name given to the joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office department dealing with entry clearance and issuing visas.

Unmarried Partners

Spouses (husbands and wives) and civil partners may apply to join or to stay with their partner in the UK. Where the couple are not married or are not in a civil partnership and are not intending to marry or become civil partners, they must apply under the Immigration Rules for unmarried partners.

Variation of Leave

This is the term used when a person in the UK with one type of leave wishes to change (switch) to another category, or to extend their leave.

Visa Nationals

People who always require entry clearance to enter the United Kingdom in advance of travelling to the United Kingdom, for whatever purpose.

Work Permit

A work permit is the permission given to an employer to employ a worker from outside the EEA who needs permission to work in the UK. The work permit is issued to the employer and gives them permission to employ a specific worker in a specific job. The worker then takes details of the work permit when they apply for entry clearance.

Work Permits UK

The part of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate that issues work permits.

Worker Registration Scheme

Nationals of the A8 and A2 states must register to work in the UK. There are two different worker registration schemes, one for the A8 and one for the A2 (Bulgaria and Romania).


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For advice on immigration, nationality, extradition or human rights, please contact us now.

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