Stateless Person Application Rules in 2022
Last update: 2 September 2022
A stateless person is someone without nationality and has nowhere to live. A person can apply to stay in the UK as a stateless person if they are:
- Currently, in the UK
- Not recognised as a citizen of any country, and
- Do not have the right to live permanently in any other country.
Those applying for leave as a stateless person in the UK must demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to gain admission to the country where they used to live (or any other country) but have not been able to gain the right of admission. They must have also tried but not been successful in obtaining or re-establishing their nationality with the appropriate authorities of the country or countries in which they lived.
The UK provides the right to apply for leave as a stateless person in accordance with the 1954 United Nations Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons.
Some individuals may be refused leave as a stateless person, including those who:
- have protection or assistance from an agency of the United Nations.
- are recognised by the competent authorities of the country where they used to reside as having the rights and obligations of a person with the nationality of that country.
- have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.
- have committed a serious non-political crime outside the UK before coming to the UK.
- have been guilty of acts against the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- pose a danger to the security or public order of the UK.
- meet any of the general grounds for refusal (e.g., criminality, making false representations, and previous breaches of the immigration rules).
The application process to gain permission to stay in the UK as a stateless person is free of charge.
Required documents for a stateless person application
Where possible, you will need to provide several items of documentation to the Home Office to prove your identity and statelessness. The documents you may need to provide include (note you may need to provide these for yourself and your dependants):
- Official letter confirming your immigration status (this should include a reference number ASL.2150, ASL.2151, or ASL.2152)
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Any additional identity, immigration, and travel documents
- Evidence of where you lived before travelling to the UK (e.g., military services records, school certificates, tenancy agreements, medical records, or sworn statements from your neighbours)
- Evidence that you applied for citizenship or requests for proof of nationality in other countries
You will be given a full list of the documents you will need to provide when you submit your stateless application form.
Stateless child born in the UK
A child born in the UK may be considered a stateless child if they have attempted to register their birth with the relevant authorities in the country where they were living, but this was refused. It should be noted that for those considering a stateless application, new rules for registration as a British citizen apply. The stateless child born in UK new rules for 2022 explains that a stateless child born in the UK or a British overseas territory on or after 1st January 1983 can apply to register for British Citizenship if they:
- were stateless when they were born and have always been stateless
- have been in the UK or a British overseas territory for 5 full years before applying
- have not been absent from the UK or British overseas territory for more than 450 days in the 5-year period
- are under the age of 22 years old when they apply
- are not able to gain nationality if they are aged between 5 and 17 years
What happens after a stateless application?
If you are granted permission to stay in the UK as a stateless person, you can stay for up to 5 years. If you have dependant family members (i.e., your children and spouse) outside the UK, they can then apply for permission to come to the UK to join you. When you have lived in the UK for 5 years, you can apply to extend your leave or to settle permanently (indefinite leave to remain).
If your application as a stateless person in the UK is refused, you may be able to apply for an administrative review within 14 days (if you believe a mistake was made by the Home Office in refusing your application) or appeal the decision.
Your rights to appeal or request an administrative review will be explained in your decision letter. An administrative review costs £80. However, this process can take up to 6 months to complete. We recommend seeking the advice of an immigration solicitor if your stateless application has been refused.