The British Army is famous across the globe – so it’s no surprise that foreign nationals are eager to join our ranks. And we, in turn, are immensely proud to welcome nationals of Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland to serve in the British Army. Read on to find out about entry requirements, visas and more.
The gross annual income required to bring a family from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK is as follows:
- Partner with no children – £18,600
- One child in addition to the partner – £22,400
- Two children in addition to the partner – £24,800
- Three children in addition to the partner – £27,200
A partner must be either a spouse or civil partner, or a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. Service family members who are subject to immigration control, including where the service person is a UK national, must enter the UK under Immigration Rules Appendix Armed Forces on Form VAF AF if they wish to establish a family life. This will allow a spouse/civil partner the opportunity to work in the UK and to claim some state benefits, which depend on meeting the relevant rules.
Families entering on a Visitor Visa will not be entitled to Service Family Accommodation, and they will need to return to their country of origin on expiry of the visa.
Entering under Immigration Rules Appendix Armed Forces allows the family to progress towards settling in the UK through being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Enter (depending on whether you apply from within or outside the UK). Settlement is a step towards applying for British Citizenship, if the family wishes.
The cost of visas, applying for citizenship, or returning home at the end of the service person’s career can be considerable. That’s why we offer a range of savings plans that are specifically designed for the non-UK national community.
If you have any questions or concerns over immigration or visa issues, you can consult the Army Families Federation (AFF) website. AFF have trained immigration advisers who deal with issues affecting service families.
JOINING FROM THE COMMONWEALTH
The Army currently offers limited places for Commonwealth applicants. You don't require UK residency.
It is the responsibility of individual applicants to ensure that they have permission to be in the UK. This must be valid for the entirety of the recruitment and selection process up until the point they are enlisted. All applicants must have a passport that is valid for at least two years from your start date in the Army. You must be applying to join the Regular (full time) Army. You cannot join as a Reservist (part time) from the Commonwealth.
Personnel from overseas who are serving in the Regular Army are exempt from immigration control during the course of their service. Personnel from overseas serving in the Army Reserve are not exempt from immigration control.
Families who are not nationals of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) are subject to immigration control and need to ensure that they have the appropriate immigration status.