Last Updated: 12th April 2018

Use the glossary of terms for simple explanations of UK Immigration phrases and governing bodies you don’t understand.

Administrative Review

This a review of your immigration case in the event that your UK immigration application was refused. Administrative review will consider your case based on a decision being wrong or because of a case working error. If administrative review is successful the decision to refuse your application will be withdrawn.

Article 8 (of ECHR)

A piece of legislation from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) that states “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”


Refers to your family line and if you have a UK born grandparent, you could be eligible for a UK Ancestry Visa. To qualify you must be a UK Commonwealth citizen and aged 17+. An Ancestry Visa permits entry to the UK for employment purposes. The visa is valid for five years and you can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Biometric Residence Permits

Provide information that assist UK public agencies, employers and educational institutions to determine the entitlements of a migrant. These permits are created by the Home Office using fingerprints and a facial image, referred to as biometrics.

Certificate of Sponsorship

The Certificate of Sponsorship is a reference number issued by a business detailing the employment and personal information of an individual being sponsored. It’s not actually a certificate or paper document, it’s a unique reference number that’s electronically recorded.


Made up of 54 countries, this is a voluntary association with historical origins in the British Empire. As a citizen of a Commonwealth nation you could be entitled to certain privileges across other Commonwealth countries, including the United Kingdom.

Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)

A virtual document with a unique reference number containing all the details regarding a course of study at a UK educational institution.

Credibility Interview

A meeting between you and an immigration officer as part of a visa application. Questions may be asked about your immigration history and your financial circumstances.


Refers to a person who depends on you for their financial well-being or care including: husbands, wives, partners or children under 18 years of age.

Discretionary Leave to Remain

A UK immigration status granted to individuals that the Home Office does not deem eligible for refugee status or humanitarian protection, but there are other strong factors for a person to remain in the UK.

Dual Citizenship

A passport holder for more than one country. Dual citizenship is obtained when you’re granted citizenship in a country you weren’t born in, while holding citizenship status for your country of birth.

Entry Clearance

This is a sticker inserted on a passport by a UK diplomatic post overseas (they’re not issued in the UK). The sticker is placed next to the word ‘type’ and indicates the visa category under which an individual falls, for example ‘student.’

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The ECHR is an international legal legislation adopted with the backing of the Council of Europe. Its provisions can be enforced in UK law courts.

European Economic Area (EEA)

Formed on January 1st, 1994 the EEA is a formation of the European Union and the European Trade area, which is inclusive of Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway.

European Union

A formation of 28 countries which was founded to improve social, economic and social co-operation.

Foreign National

A person who does not hold a UK passport. Also referred to as overseas national.

Home Office

A department of the UK Government responsible for dealing with asylum, immigration and nationality applications. The Home Office also manages enforcement and legislation across these areas of immigration law.

Humanitarian Protection

A form of immigration status granted by the Home Office if they decide that a person has a need for protection, but is not eligible for refugee status.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND)

A branch of the Home Office charged with dealing with asylum, immigration and nationality applications along with enforcement and legislation of these areas of immigration law.

Immigration Judge

A person appointed by the Lord Chancellor to give decisions related to appeals made to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

In-country applicant

A person applying for a UK visa, usually an extension, from within the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

A form of immigration status that permits an individual to enter the UK free of time restrictions.

Judicial Review

A process by which an individual can appeal an immigration decision provided that the original decision was based on the wrong application of the law.

Leave to Enter

Granted by UK immigration officials at the point of entry, permitting an individual to come into the UK in accordance with certain immigration categories.

Leave to Remain

Home Office permission for an individual to stay in the UK. The duration may be time restricted or indefinite.

Legal Representation

A barrister, lawyer, solicitor or a solicitor’s employee who represents an immigration applicant. For example,One Immigration Solutions would constitute Legal Representation.

National Health Service (NHS)

The publicly funded health care system of the UK.


An alternative term used for citizenship, the process by which a person becomes a British national.

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)

Established under the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, the OISC is an independent public organisation responsible for regulating immigration advisers and monitoring their practices.

Points Based System

The UK’s management system for immigration outside of the EEA, introduced in 2008.

Public Funds

In the context of immigration, public funds refer to monetary benefits such as: attendance allowance, child benefit, council tax benefit, disability living allowance, disability working allowance, family credit, housing benefit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, invalid care allowance and severe disablement allowance.

Right of Abode

An immigration status whereby an individual is not subject to UK immigration controls. No permission is required from immigration officials to enter the UK. Individuals are permitted to live and work in the UK without restriction.

Sole Responsibility

A sponsoring parent must be able to show that he/she has been solely responsible for exercising parental care over the child for a substantial period.


An additional payment on top of fees for a UK visa application. There is now an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) surcharge, introduced on April 6, 2015, which applies to certain visa categories.

UK Visa and Immigration Services (UKVI)

The Government agency responsible for border control management in the UK. They also enforce immigration and customs regulations and consider applications for permission to enter or remain in the UK, claim asylum or citizenship.

Visa National

An individual who will always need entry clearance to come to the UK, regardless of how long they’re visiting for.

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