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Leaving the Army?

If you are a Foreign and Commonwealth Citizen leaving the Army please read this page for advice on Discharge, Redundancy, Settlement and UK Nationality applications.

Redundancy: Increased settlement application time

Serving F&C and Gurkha Personnel in the UK selected for redundancy who have completed at least four years service with HM Forces and meet all other UK Border Agency (UKBA) criteria may now apply, for themselves and their families, for settlement (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)) up to six months prior to discharge on a UKBA Form Set(O).

This has been increased from the ten weeks originally briefed in the T2 DIN and does not apply to normal service leavers. All Set(O) forms must be endorsed in red at the top with 'ARMED FORCES REDUNDANCY APPLICATION'.

Serving personnel on overseas assignments should apply to their units to return to the UK for their last six months before starting this process. Family members accompanying soldiers on overseas assignments will need to apply to enter the UK on VAF4A seeking settlement (Indefinite Leave to Enter) or Leave to Enter depending on their eligibility.

Redundancy: Providing Biometric Data to reduce delays in UKBA processing applications

Serving F&C and Gurkha Personnel in the UK selected for redundancy applying for settlement are advised to provide their biometric data in the appropriate time. Biometrics entails the recording of applicant’s details such as fingerprints.

This information is needed in order to produce the settlement permit that is placed in a passport. Every individual applying for settlement, including serving personnel must complete the biometric residence permit registration process and without this being done settlement cannot be granted.

If individuals have any questions about the process UKBA have an information booklet answering commonly asked questions on their website a this link

UK Nationality applications

Serving F&C citizens submitting UK Nationality applications should be aware that, unlike settlement applications, after discharge those waiting for a UK Citizenship application decision do not automatically have any right to remain in UK once their 28 days leave runs out.

This can leave some individuals with no permission to remain in the UK and could prejudice their UK Nationality application. To avoid this situation, those planning on submitting UK Nationality applications prior to discharge should make them at least six months prior to their discharge date wherever possible. (Home Office normally decide on 95% of applications within six months).

Those about to discharge or who have already discharged who have not been notified about their UK Nationality application should seek qualified immigration advice about what it is possible to do whilst they wait for a decision.

Sources of information and advice from the UKBA Nationality Directorate can be found in the right-hand panels.

UK Border Agency applications from overstayers

From 1 October 2012 applications for further leave will be refused by the UKBA if the applicant has overstayed their leave by more than 28 days at the point they make their application.

The new rules, which already apply to applications made under the family migration route, will now apply to applications under the points-based system, all working and student routes, visiting routes, long residency routes, discharged HM Forces and UK ancestry routes which were made on or after 9 July 2012.

Further details can be found in the guidance for the routes that are affected by the new rules changes on the UKBA website.

Impact of Discharge on immigration status

F&C citizens including citizens serving in the Brigade of Gurkhas, are normally ‘Exempt UK Immigration control’ while serving. This exemption automatically ceases on discharge/retirement from the UK Armed Forces. This may impact on any family’s visas linked to a serving soldier's immigration status unless family members already have permission to remain in the UK or British citizenship in their own right.

Anyone affected by discharge or redundancy must regularise their immigration status if they wish to remain in the UK. Those who have served for at least four years may apply to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK (also known as settlement) . If they do not apply to the UKBA for permission to stay they must normally leave the UK within 28 days of discharge. Those who submit applications for leave to remain or settlement prior to discharge or the expiry of their 28 days post discharge are able to remain in the UK whilst their application is considered by the UKBA.

Discharge outside the UK

Overseas Commands/Formations/ Garrisons and unit HR staff are reminded those serving personnel (including Foreign and Commonwealth citizens) being discharged from overseas must follow the correct discharge procedures in accordance with Queen's Regulations Chapter 9, Part 6 – Termination of Service. All personnel must be discharged in the UK unless authority has been received from DM(A) for discharge overseas.

Last Six Months in the UK

Service Personnel (SP) assigned overseas may, if eligible, apply to be assigned to spend their last six months of service in UK in order to make re-settlement easier. Last Six Months in the UK is a privilege, not a right, cannot be guaranteed, and can be for periods of less than six months.

Final Tour of Duty

Final Tour of Duty (FTOD) assists in moving a Service Person (SP) and their family to the right geographic area for resettlement, it is not the authority to assign the SP to that geographic area. The aim of FTOD is to assist eligible SP in their final tour of duty who are not in the geographic area in which they have formally expressed a preference to serve, with meeting the costs of settling themselves and their immediate family at a Selected Place of Residence (SPR). Eligible SP can claim Disturbance Allowance (DA) and Movement and Storage of Personal Effects (MSPE).

SP must have formally expressed a preference for FTOD location on JPA form F024 during the previous assignment. Preferred location must be within UK, and must be a unit or establishment in which an assignment exists that the claimant could fill if it were vacant.