Stateless Application Current Rules For 2021
It may seem odd to imagine that a person can be a citizen of nowhere. After all, we are all born somewhere. In reality, there are far more stateless people than you may imagine in the world. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are about 12 million stateless people globally. If you are stateless, you can make an application to the UK Home Office as a stateless person to gain leave to remain for five years and then later apply for permanent settlement here. In this article, we will explain the current Home Office rules for applications from stateless persons in 2021.
What is a ‘Stateless application’?
A stateless person is someone without nationality. The Home Office states that you can apply to stay in the UK as a stateless person if:
- You are not recognised as a citizen of any country, and;
- You are not able to live permanently in any other country
The rules also state that stateless applications must be made to the UK Home Office from within the UK.
A stateless application is different from applying for asylum or on the basis of your human rights. If you are a national of another country, but you cannot return there due to persecution, the correct route is to apply for asylum in the UK. If you have already applied for asylum here, you will need to wait for a decision before you can make a stateless application. Likewise, if you apply for asylum and your application is refused, you can still apply as a stateless person to live in the UK.
New rules were introduced in April 2019, which extended the length of stay granted to successful stateless applicants (as outlined below). In addition, applicants are now required to show they “cannot acquire a nationality or a right to permanent residence in another country to which they could reasonably expect to be entitled”.
Stateless application processing time
Unfortunately, there is no set target for the processing of stateless applications in the UK. Urgent cases such as those involving children may be prioritised for faster processing. As the Home Office guidance explains, “Article 7 of the UNCRC provides that children have the right to a nationality. Children, especially unaccompanied children, may face acute challenges in communicating basic facts about their nationality. Close attention must always be given to the welfare and best interests of the child when considering their nationality and potential that they may be stateless. This involves the same procedural and evidentiary safeguards for child claimants as apply in asylum claims, including priority processing of their claims and provision of appropriately trained caseworkers”.
The overall processing time for a stateless application can be reduced by ensuring that all information and documents are provided upfront, along with a detailed covering letter that explains any circumstances which may be questioned by the Home Office when deciding your case. An immigration Solicitor can assist you with this process.
How long can I stay?
If your stateless application is approved, you will initially be granted permission to stay in the UK for five years. After five years, you will be able to apply for permanent settlement in the UK also known as indefinite leave to remain. The five-year rule was introduced in April 2019; before this change, the length of stay was limited to 30 months.
Can my family members join me?
Yes, the Home Office guidance requires that stateless applicants include their dependant partner and children under 18 in the same application if everyone is already in the UK. If the stateless person is in the UK, but their family members are not, they will be able to apply for clearance to enter and stay in the UK once the stateless person is granted permission.
Which documents do I need to provide?
You will be advised by the Home Office which documents you need to provide. These may include some or all of the following documents:
- current passports and other travel documents, including visas for you and your dependant family members
- official letters confirming your immigration status (with the reference number ASL.2150, ASL.2151 or ASL.2152)
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- Documents to prove that you’re stateless such as:
- identity, immigration and travel documents
- documents that prove where you lived before coming to the UK, for example, school certificates, medical records or sworn statements from neighbours
- documents from your applications for citizenship or requests for proof of nationality in other countries
- If you think you have the right to live in a country that is not the UK, you’ll also need to show you’ve tried to get nationality of that country.
We cannot emphasise enough that the key to success in these applications is providing enough documents to prove your eligibility. This is because paragraph 403 (d) of the immigration rules for stateless applications states that applicants must have “obtained and submitted all reasonably available evidence to enable the Secretary of State to determine whether they are stateless”. As such, the burden of proof to show you are truly stateless rests with you as the applicant rather than the Home Office.
Can I appeal if my application is refused?
You will be advised in your decision letter if you are able to appeal. In most cases, you will only be able to request an administrative review (AR). By requesting an AR, you are asking the Home Office to review the decision because you believe an error was made by the case officer. We recommend speaking to a
How we can help
Reiss Edwards is a top-tier immigration law firm based in central London. We have assisted many people in acquiring the right to live and then permanent residency in the UK. We have also been extremely successful in having many refusals overturned. Our team of specialist immigration lawyers can handle all aspects of your matter from the outset to completion, including collating the documents needed and drafting a detailed covering letter to back up your case.