UK Armed Forces/Gurkhas

There are specific immigration rules relating to the immigration status of those foreign nationals who joined HM Forces and their dependents. Whilst you are enlisted in the British Army, you are exempt from immigration control which means that you do not need the Home Office’s permission to enter or leave the UK. Once you have been in service with HM Forces for a continuous period of 5 years, you may apply for British citizenship.

Once you leave HM Forces you will need to notify the Home Office that you have been discharged and you will be granted 28 days to make arrangements for regularising your immigration status in the UK or to arrange departure. If you are a British citizen serving in HM Forces, your family will not be able to apply for leave to remain or settlement under the armed forces rules so they will need to apply as our family member.


In May 2009, special arrangements were introduced for former Gurkhas who intend on settling in the UK and making it their permanent home. If your application is successful, you will be granted Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). If you have a partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner) and/or dependent children under the age of 18, they can apply for settlement at the same time.

Who are the Gurkhas?

Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years. The Gurkhas have a fearsome reputation built over the last two centuries and exemplified by their motto “it is better to die than be a coward”.



Qualifying criteria for Gurkhas Applying for Settlement

You will normally be eligible for settlement if:

  • You have completed at least 4 years’ service as a Gurkha with the British Army; or
  • You are the legal spouse of the former Gurkhas applying for settlement and have been married; or
  • You are a dependent of the former Gurkha applying for settlement and under 18 years and both of your parents are present and settled in the UK or are being admitted at the same time; or
  • You are the widow of a former Gurkha who was discharged before 1997 and can show that your late husband would have met the criteria to qualify for settlement.

Why we provide the best legal advice in relation to your Visa Application:

We are a UK Solicitors law firm and are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(link is external) (SRA) and as a professional law firm are completely exempt from requiring authorisation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner(link is external) (OISC). Many businesses offering immigration services are only OISC regulated and as such are not professional legal organisations such as Solicitors firms or Barristers’ chambers. OISC businesses are not allowed to do legal work before the Courts such as Judicial Review or statutory challenges of Home Office decisions. Also, as a professional organisation, our policy is not to employ sales staff to give you “advice”. Instead, every telephone consultation is conducted by a lawyer; offering you accurate and informed legal guidance. Under your instruction, our qualified team of immigration solicitors and barristers will guide you through your case from the outset; ensuring that no time nor money is wasted and that no mistakes are made when it matters the most.

As a law firm with a track record of success, you can be assured your immigration matter is in safe hands and that the best strategy for your case will be adopted. It is crucial that you seek specialist legal advice at the outset and prior to making any type of immigration application. We can assist you with your applications for any type of Visa or permit and any form of leave to remain (or for entry clearance) under the points-based system. We ensure our clients comply with the Immigration Rules and the strict requirements of the UKBA prior to making an application, thereby eliminating much of the stress of the application process.

Contact us for a successful outcome to your Visa Application

Our experienced team of professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will guide you through the process step by step, complying with the strict letter of the law and limiting the possibility of failure. Consider HS Legal as your Visa Application adviser, call us for a telephone consultation today.

Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our online Enquiry form and we will get in touch or call us now on 01206500181.