Commonwealth visa fees

The UK relies on the bravery and sacrifice of members of the UK Armed Forces drawn from across the Commonwealth yet charges them thousands to continue to live here when they leave. This has to end.

Currently when Commonwealth personnel leave the UK Armed Forces and wish to apply to continue to live in the country they have served for years, they face thousands of pounds of fees to do so. A Service leaver with a partner and two children will be presented with a bill of almost £10,000 to continue to live in the UK, despite their years of sacrifice and service on behalf of our nation.

Exorbitant immigration fees are no way to say thank you for their Service, and risk pushing commonwealth personnel into poverty just for wanting stability as they leave Service. Without leave to remain, UK Armed Forces veterans are cut off from being able to access employment or state support, leaving them and their families reliant on charitable funds or facing repatriation to their country of origin.

We want to stop the service charge.

Take action today

Veterans who have served for years in the Armed Forces have earnt their right to call the UK their home. Write to your MP today to ask them to stop the service charge.

The Commonwealth backbone to the UK Armed Forces

The UK recruits soldiers from across the Commonwealth to serve in our Armed Forces. Many of these soldiers leave behind family and friends to move across the world to serve in the UK Armed Forces, becoming a backbone of our Armed Forces capability.

There are currently over 6,000 personnel serving in the UK Armed Forces from foreign and Commonwealth countries, with more being recruited each year to fill technical and specialist roles. From late 2018, HM Armed Forces has announced its intention to increase its reliance on Commonwealth personnel, with an aim to recruit 1,350 personnel a year.

Unlike their UK national colleagues, these personnel and their families can only continue to live in the country they’ve served at a significant financial cost. This is unfair and should end.

Further information

Right now, the most important action that can be taken is to raise this issue with your MP. It only takes a minute:

Write to your MP

You can also spread the word about the campaign using the hashtag #StopTheServiceCharge.

For further information or to discuss this campaign further, please contact publicaffairs@britishlegion.org.uk.

Related Stories