It’s another week, and another legal show on immigration and today I had quite a few emails from various viewers who wanted help and advice from our old companion Shalini Bhargava, who has many years of legal experience behind her.

Shalini is always a delight to have on the show and I asked her a multitude of questions.

One of our viewers emailed in and wanted to know the process of “sponsoring” a relative from India to attend her son’s wedding. Shalini said that sponsorship letters could be given out. However it was imperative for the relatives in India/Pakistan to make the application in their home country. She also emphasised the need for them to take healthcare insurance, in case anything was to happen during their stay in the UK as without it the sponsor may be sent a hefty bill for any treatment given to them.

Shalini also spoke about the importance of dealing with a rejected application. A lot of people apply for various visas-they get rejected and then make another application and this can have an impact on previous applications, which is not a good idea, as the likelihood that the second will get declined is high, especially since the Home Office has cracked down heavily on immigration ever since the General Elections this year.

Shalini stated that in order for an application to be valid, it must:

  • be made on the correct form with all mandatory sections completed
  • include the correct fee
  • include photos in the correct format
  • include a passport or travel document
  • include a BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) where one has been issued (cards are only currently issued when the visa application is made in the UK)
  • involve a biometrics appointment being booked and attended by the applicant (in the UK and other countries where biometrics are captured)

I was curious to know if every application made requires a legal representative (solicitor) to help with the form filling process and when Shalini said the average cost was around £1000, I nearly fainted. However she did also say that the Post Office had a service called “check and send”. Which meant if you took all of your documents to the Post Office the staff there would check and ensure all of your documentation was present and in the right order before you sent it to the Home Office.