SouthWestLaw has a large and diverse range of immigration cases and clients. We represent both companies and individuals at all stages of the application (and, if necessary, appeal) process. We are engaged in advocacy and lobbying work related to immigration issues and are fortunate to work closely with national groups which campaign for EU rights both in the UK and the EU.
Our immigration team has over 60 years of collective experience in the delivery of high-quality immigration advice. There are 3 members of the team. Marie Christine Allaire Rousse is the head of the immigration team. She has been a solicitor for over 10 years and is a Law Society accredited supervising senior caseworker. She has over 18 years’ experience in providing immigration advice. Luke Piper has been a solicitor for over 4 years and has over 8 years experience in providing immigration advice. Derek McConnell has been a solicitor for over 40 years and has been providing immigration advice for over 35 years. The team has extensive experience in the whole range of immigration, asylum and nationality law.
SouthWestLaw holds a legal aid contract in immigration and asylum with the Legal Aid Agency. Therefore, in some areas (Asylum / Humanitarian Protection/applications for leave to remain based on Domestic Violence / Judicial Review), you may be eligible for Legal Aid. We will advise you whether your matter is in scope for legal aid and if you are eligible to receive it when we initially discuss your matter with you. If you are not eligible, we will advise you as to the likely cost.
Our Legal Services and Costs
We charge on an hourly rate basis. This means that your costs will be based on an hourly rate multiplied by the time spent on your case. The hourly rate will depend on the seniority of the solicitor working on your case, typically £200 per hour.
It is in the interest of prospective and current clients that we strive to provide accurate and relevant information about our legal services and costs. The following will help you understand what we can offer, and the potential costs associated with applications to the Home Office and appeals in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
Listed below are the typical types of immigration cases we can help you with and a usual range of the costs you are likely to be charged. Please note that they are not fixed quotes for any particular case. Immigration law is complex, all immigration cases are unique, and we will always provide you with an accurate and personal costs estimate at the start of your case once we have sufficient information.
Preparation and Submission of Immigration Applications to the Home Office
To provide you with an indication as to our costs, we will set out here typical applications we undertake and the likely range of our charges:
• Applications to naturalise or register British Citizenship: £650 - £900 plus VAT
• Applications for family permits to enter the UK under current EU law - £900 –£ 1,200 excluding VAT
• Applications for Registration Certificates/Residence Cards under current EU law - £700 - £900 plus VAT
• Applications for Permanent Residence Cards under current EU law - £1,200 - £1,500 plus VAT
• Visa applications under the Immigration Rules by Spouses/Partners/Fiancé/es/Parents/Lone child- £1200 - £2,000 excluding VAT
• In country applications under the Immigration Rules by Spouses/Partners/Fiancé/es/Parents/Lone child- £1200 - £2,000 plus VAT
• Applications for entry into the UK under the Adult Dependent Relative Route of the Immigration Rules - £2,000 - £3,000 excluding VAT
• Applications for indefinite leave to remain under the 10 years Long Residence route: £1,500 - £2000 plus VAT
The services and key stages involved with preparing an immigration application for you will include:
• meeting with you and/or you sponsor for the first time, advising you verbally and in writing about your options, your chances of success and the most appropriate course of action, the requirements you must meet and the evidence you must provide;
• reading and considering the documents you supply to support your application and advising you on what improvements/changes are required to those documents;
• preparing application forms, related documents, a cover letter explaining why your application should be successful and submitting your application;
• advising you about time scales and the outcome of your application.
Some application types incur more costs than others. Higher ranges mean that the quantity of consultations and preparatory work is likely to be greater for those applications. For example, Adult Dependent Relative Applications often involve the need for complex, detailed and specific medical evidence. The price range includes an estimate of the likely time it will take to communicate with you, experts and review medical documentation.
The costs above do not include Home Office fees, barrister’s fees, interpreting or DNA test fees or any other expert report we might advise you to obtain.
Our costs estimate will not include any work relating to further action following submission of the application with the Home Office. This may include:
• requests for further information and clarification from the Home Office;
• advice on any appeal rights or options to challenge the decision;
• or submitting any further, variations or fresh applications.
If further charges apply these will be set out to you as appropriate.
It is very difficult to estimate how long the Home Office will take to make a decision it is not unusual to have to wait 8 weeks to 6 months unless you pay an additional sum for their premium service. We will advise you further if you choose this option.
Appeals Against Home Office Visa and Immigration Decisions to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Sometimes applications are refused and the best option is to challenge the decision in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
If you instruct us in relation to an appeal of a Home Office decision refusing your immigration application our services will include:
• discussing your immigration history with you;
• considering the decision to refuse the application;
• giving you our initial assessment on the prospects of success; and
• giving you our best estimate as to the likely future costs up to and including a future appeal hearing.
Should you wish to proceed with an appeal, we will prepare and lodge the grounds of appeal before the expiry of the time limit. At this stage you will have to pay the Tribunal fees. We will then:
• advise you about the evidence which needs to be collated, review what you acquire and advise on their content;
• assist you with the preparation of witness statements and obtaining expert evidence;
• advise as to the most appropriate experts in our opinion and the cost;
• advise as to the necessity to instruct a barrister and the likely cost;
• collate all the documents for the appeal and prepare the court bundle;
• liaise with experts and barrister in relation to your case;
• arrange for an advocate to attend with you at the appeal; and
• advise you as to the outcome of your appeal and its consequences.
Our typical estimates for costs relating to an appeal in the tribunal are between £1,800 - £2,500 plus VAT (where applicable).
Should you wish to instruct us only to prepare and submit an appeal on your behalf, our typical estimates for costs relating to this work are between £360 and £500 + VAT (where applicable)
Costs which are not included are any costs due to adjournments and costs involved in subsequent applications and appeals to the Upper Tribunal. The estimate does not include advocacy at the hearing. The cost will depend on the advocate you choose to appoint based on our advice, their experience and length of time they devote to your case.
Please note, these estimates do not reflect the costs associated with judicial reviews and the action leading up to such court action. We urge clients to contact us directly in relation to estimates connected with these sorts of challenges.
It can typically take over 12 months from the date an appeal is lodged before a case is considered by a judge in a tribunal. We will advise you more accurately where possible of such timescales specific to your case as part of our specific estimates.
Costs of Likely Disbursements
There are other payments which you will have to budget for e.g. Home Office fees, DNA tests, experts reports or interpreters’ fees.
Up to date Home Office fees can be found at this link:
Immigration Health Surcharge: https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-applicat...
Sopra Steria/UKVCAS: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ukvis-new-front-end-se...
Estimates of other costs you might have to pay:
DNA tests for up to three people - £500 - £700 plus VAT
Barristers’ Fees for representation at an appeal hearing £900 - £1500 plus VAT
Interpreters Fees £100 - £300 (based on £28 to £30 per hour for common languages) plus VAT
Court fees: £80 or £140 (depending on paper or oral hearing) per application in the first-tier tribunal
Important to Remember
Sometimes there are factors which will make your case more complex and more time will have to be spent on your case. This will increase the costs of your case. Such factors include a complex or poor immigration history, multiple applications (for example for other members of your family), information coming to light which was not known to us at the start of your case, complicated or large amounts of documentary evidence, particularly relating to your finances or immigration history. If your case becomes unexpectedly more complex than had been anticipated we will advise you and provide an updated costs estimate.
Value Added Tax (‘VAT’)
If you are lawfully resident in the UK and in the EU, you will also have to pay VAT on your costs of 20%. Whether VAT is payable can be complicated in immigration cases and there are some situations where you will not have to pay, for example if you are living outside the UK or are in the UK on a visitor visa. We will advise you whether VAT will be payable in your case.
We encourage you to contact us if you require further information about the services we offer and the costs associated.
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