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You can apply if you're a member or former member of HM Forces

You can apply to settle in the UK (known as ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’re leaving or have left HM Forces (including the Brigade of Gurkhas) in the past 2 years.

If you left the Brigade of Gurkhas before 1 July 1997 you may also be able to apply. You must meet separate requirements.

Eligibility

You must either:

  • be leaving or have left the armed forces after a minimum of 4 years’ service
  • have been medically discharged.

When your application can be refused

Your application might be refused if, for example, you’ve:

  • got a criminal record in the UK or another country
  • provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office
  • broken UK immigration law

Read the full guidance on why applications can be refused.

When to apply

You can send your application up to 10 weeks before you leave the armed forces (‘are discharged’) or 12 weeks if you’re being medically discharged.

You must send it within 2 years from the date you’re discharged.

Family members applying on or after 1 December 2013

Your ‘family members’ are your partner and children under 18.

They can apply if you’ve been discharged in the past 2 years and one of these applies to you:

  • you’re a British citizen
  • you’ve settled in the UK (or are applying to settle)

They can also apply if you’re currently in HM Forces and at least one of these applies to you:

  • you’re a British citizen
  • you’ve settled in the UK
  • you have at least 5 years’ service

Your partner must have been in the UK with permission as your partner for 5 years. Postings outside the UK can be included in the 5 years.

You must prove you and your partner intend to live together and have at least:

  • £18,600 per year if your partner is applying
  • £22,400 for your partner and 1 child
  • £2,400 for each additional child

You will not need to prove you have this money if you or your partner get certain disability benefits or Carer’s Allowance, but you’ll need to adequately accommodate and support yourselves and any dependants.

Read the guidance on the financial requirement.

When your partner’s application can be refused

Your partner’s application might be refused if, for example, they’ve:

  • got a criminal record in the UK or another country
  • provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office
  • broken UK immigration law

Read the full guidance on why applications can be refused.

Knowledge of life and language

Your partner must:

Children of HM Forces members under 18

Your child under 18 can apply if you’re still serving in the armed forces, a British citizen, settled or settling as ex-HM Forces and 1 of the following applies:

  • their other parent is either serving in the armed forces or settling as ex-HM Forces
  • their other parent is applying or has applied to settle as your partner
  • you have sole responsibility or their other parent has died
  • there are serious reasons why the child should be allowed to stay in the UK

They must also:

  • have previously been given permission to stay in the UK as your child
  • not be married, in a civil partnership or leading an independent life
  • be going to live with you and be supported by you without using public funds

Your child’s application may be refused for other reasons, for example their previous immigration history. Read more about why applications can be refused.

Children 18 and over

Your child 18 or over may be eligible to settle if they were given permission to be in the UK as your child when they were under 18.

They must meet the same eligibility as a dependent child under 18. They may also need to:

Your child must apply separately if they’re over 18.

They must either:

Family members who applied before 1 December 2013

Partners and children under 18 could apply with different requirements.

You can check what these were in the old immigration rules.

Partner of a member of HM Forces who has experienced domestic violence

You can apply to settle if you have permission to be in the UK as the partner of a member of HM Forces and you’ve experienced domestic violence.

Partner of a member of HM Forces who has died

If you’re the partner of a member or former member of HM Forces, you can apply if they have died while they were:

  • serving in the armed forces
  • applying to settle as a former member of the armed forces

When your application can be refused

Your application might be refused if, for example, you’ve:

  • got a criminal record in the UK or another country
  • provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office
  • broken UK immigration law

Read the guidance on why applications can be refused.

Gurkhas who left before 1 July 1997

You can apply if you were discharged before 1 July 1997 and served for at least 4 years.

Family members (dependants) of Gurkhas who left before 1 July 1997

Your partner (only one) and any children under 18 can apply.

If you’re the widow of a former Gurkha who was discharged before 1 July 1997, you can apply to settle if your husband met the criteria for a discharged Gurkha.

In Nepal, apply in person at the Visa Application Centre in Kathmandu.

UK Visa Application Centre
284 Nagpokhari Sadak
Opp. East Royal Palace Gate
Near Lazimpat
Kathmandu

You do not need to make an appointment.

Application Centre
Telephone: +977 1445 2311
Telephone: +977 1442 8123
Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm for application submissions
Monday to Friday, 2pm to 5pm for passport collection

How to apply

You must apply online if you’re in the UK. You’ll be told whether your application has been successful within 6 months.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances, for example if you have a criminal conviction

If you want to get a decision more quickly you can book an appointment at a premium service centre as part of your application. You’ll usually get a decision on the same day as your appointment.

If you’re outside the UK, download and fill in form VAF AF. Send your completed form to the address on the form or apply in person at a premium service centre.

Family members should apply either:

  • as part of your application if you’re leaving the armed forces and settling
  • separately if you’re still serving, settled already or a British citizen

After you submit your application you’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints and a digital photo (called ‘biometric information’).

Get help using a computer to apply online

You can get help with:

  • accessing a computer or the internet
  • finding the right information on GOV.UK

You cannot get advice on:

  • whether you’re eligible to apply
  • what information to put in your application
  • an application you’ve already made

Telephone: 03333 445 675
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
Text: ‘VISA’ to 07537 416 944
visa@we-are-digital.co.uk

Fees

Who’s applying Standard Premium service
HM Forces £2,389 £2,999
All dependants £2,389 per person £2,999 per person