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Citizenship guide
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Human Rights

The United Kingdom is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights under which it has an obligation to honour people’s private life. Article 8 of the Convention covers the matters of privacy and an individual’s entitlement to privacy.

Pursuant to that article, every one of us has the right to respect for their private affairs, family matters, their home and correspondence. It further stipulates that no state authority can hinder the exercise of this right unless it is prescribed by law or done in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic prosperity of the nation, for the prevention of disorder or crime, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

If you think that you have built or organised your private and/or family life in the UK then you can make an application to formalise your status in the UK within the Immigration Rules, as shown below, or outside of them pursuant to Article 8.

Please note: Human Rights applications, in particular under Article 8, are complex immigration matters and it is highly advisable to have legal advice in order to evaluate your individual circumstances.

Immigration Rules

Since 9th July 2012, the Home Office have been seeking to define ECHR private life within the Immigration Rules. Under the Rules you can send an Article 8 application for private life if any of the following can be applied:

  • You have lived in the UK for at least 20 years without long absences (any period of imprisonment shall be disregarded); or
  • You are under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years without long absences (no period in prison shall be regarded) and it would not be rational to expect you to leave the country; or
  • You are at least 18 years old, but under 25, and you have spent at least half of your life living continuously in the UK (any time in prison shall be disregarded); or
  • You are aged 18 or above and have lived permanently in the UK for not more than 20 years (deducting any period in prison) but you would find it very challenging to integrate into the country to which you would have to go if asked to depart the UK.

However, if you do not meet any of the above criteria within the Immigration Rules, the Home Office still have to process your Article 8 case outside of the Rules. Let’s have a look what it means and what is involved.

Outside of the Immigration Rules

If you think that you have organised and established your private and/or family life in the UK, and if you are not covered by the Home Office’s rather narrow interpretation of this as given in their Immigration Rules, then you can apply under Article 8 outside of the Rules.

The Home Office will need to consider Article 8, right to private and family life, relevant case law and your individual situation. As part of their decision-making process they should consider the five-stage test as set out in the case of R (Razgar) V SSHD in 2004. They need to consider whether:

  1. Someone’s removal from the UK be an interference with their private life;
  2. This interference triggers Article 8;
  3. The interference be pursuant to law;
  4. The interference corresponds to the statutory aim of a democratic society; and
  5. Such an interference be consistent with the public end pursued by the state department (the Home Office)?

There are many other aspects that the Home Office will take into consideration when analysing your case, such as your links to the UK, how long you have stayed in the UK, whether there are any serious obstacles as to why you are unable to return to your home country, or whether there are exceptional circumstances in your case. It is for these reasons that we recommend that you seek expert advice.

How we can help

We here at Imperial & Legal are able to provide support at any stage of your Article 8 application, including:

  • Reviewing your case and advising you in detail on Article 8 ECHR, including case law and public interest considerations;
  • Advising you on the documents and evidence required for your application;
  • Preparing your Article 8 application;
  • Drafting detailed legal representations in support of your Article 8 case;
  • Constant support of your case.

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