Our Immigration Team
The four members of our Immigration Team work together to ensure we provide an expert, value for money service, which is tailored for each of our clients.
The team includes Clare Hedges and Janice Leggett who are both ranked as 'Leading Individuals' for immigration law.
The team is led by Clare Hedges, a qualified solicitor, with over a decade's experience of immigration law.
We are members of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.
What others say about our service
Our practice is ranked in the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers. Each year they speak to a range of our clients who have provided the following feedback:
Birketts LLP fields a 'top-class' immigration team that is rated for its 'strong know-how, excellent advice and good value for money'. (Legal 500 2018)
Birketts LLP provides ‘very good and very knowledgeable service and support‘. One client describes the practice as ‘outstanding – the firm had current, in-depth knowledge of Visa processes, relevant regulations, supporting document requirements and timelines‘. Another describes 'thorough knowledge of immigration legislation, especially the points based system'. (Legal 500 2018)
A source says: "They are extremely competent, friendly and do what they say they are going to do." (Chambers 2019)
Another interviewee states: "They are pro-active, meticulous and customer-friendly." (Chambers 2019)
Sometimes you will know what type of visa you wish to apply for, in other cases you will be seeking advice on your options. We always start by discussing your circumstances and ensuring you are making the most appropriate application for your personal circumstances. Please note we do not advise on asylum matters.
We tailor our service to suit each individual client. If you have already prepared your application and just require a checking service, or are preparing it yourself and just have some queries along the way then we will provide appropriate support. However, most of our clients opt for our full service and the budgets given below are provided on this basis.
Once we have agreed on the type of application you are making, we will set out the options regarding how and where to submit your application. We will provide a breakdown of the relevant Home Office fees and an estimate of the likely timescale to get a decision.
We will give you a list of the information and documents required for your application. We will complete the visa application form for you, check your supporting documents and draft a covering letter to support your application. We will submit the application on your behalf and book a biometric appointment for you. We will provide you with guidance on the application process and will inform you of the outcome of your case.
Although we normally will not submit an application until we are happy everything is in order, please note we can never guarantee the success of an application. The budgets below do not include dealing with queries from the Home Office, advising on your options if your application is delayed or refused, or advising on any administrative review, appeal or judicial review. They also do not include attending any Home Office appointment or interview with you.
We normally charge on a time spent basis, using hourly rates. These range from £120-£250 plus VAT per hour, depending on the level of experience of the lawyer involved. The costs you incur will depend on the complexity and urgency of your matter.
Set out below are some typical fee budgets for straight forward cases. These cover a range of circumstances and we will always provide you with a more specific budget which is tailored to your individual circumstances. The following factors will normally be relevant when determining what our fees will be:
|Lower end of budget
||Higher end of budget
|You are applying in the UK.
||You are applying outside the UK.
|We have dealt with a previous application for you and so already have some relevant documentation and knowledge of your personal circumstances.
||This is the first time we have worked with you.
|You provide information and documents promptly.
||There is a delay in you providing us with information or documents and/or substantial correspondence with you is required to obtain these.
|You instruct us in good time before your application deadline, so we can resource your matter cost effectively.
||Your application has to be submitted urgently (within a week of first instructions).
|If you are required to meet a financial requirement you do so through savings, pension or employment income.
||If you are required to meet a financial requirement, you do so through rental or self-employment income, which means more complex supporting documentation is required.
These budgets assume that your application meets the requirements of the Immigration Rules. They do not cover more unusual cases, where you are requesting that discretion is exercised, for example on human rights grounds or on the basis of your private life. They are estimates, rather than fixed fees.
- Initial advice on options: £500-£1,500 plus VAT
- Fiancé / spouse / civil partner / unmarried partner / dependant child of a British national: £1,500-£2,500 plus VAT.
- Tier 1 Investor: £3,500-£5,000 plus VAT
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur : £3,000-£5,000 plus VAT
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent: £1,500-£3,000 plus VAT
- Tier 2 General / Intra-Company Transfer / Minister of Religion / Sportsperson: £1,250-£2,000 plus VAT
- Tier 4 Child Student / General Student: £1,250-£2,000 plus VAT
- Tier 5 Youth Mobility / Government Authorised Exchange / Intern / International Agreement: £1,000-£1,250 plus VAT
- Tier 5 Religious Worker / Charity Worker / Creative and Sporting Worker: £1,250-£2,000 plus VAT
- UK Ancestry: £1,750- £2,500 plus VAT
- Sole representative of an overseas company: £2,500-£3,500 plus VAT
- Dependant applying at same time as any of the above: around £500 plus VAT
- Indefinite Leave to Remain following work visas (SET O): £1,500-£2,500 plus VAT
- Indefinite Leave to Remain following visas as family of a British national (SET M): £1,500-£2,500 plus VAT
- Indefinite Leave to Remain based on long residence (SET LR): £2,000-£2,500 plus VAT
- EEA family permit (outside the UK only): £750-£1,500 plus VAT
- EEA registration certificate (EEA QP) or pre-settled status (inside the UK only): £750-£1,250 plus VAT
- Permanent residence (EEA PR) or settled status: £750-£2,000 plus VAT
- Registration as British citizen: £1,000-£1,500 plus VAT
- Naturalisation as British citizen: £1,000-£1,500 plus VAT
- Visitor: £1,000-£2,000 plus VAT
If we are providing advice to you within the UK then we are required to add UK VAT to our fees. The current rate of VAT is 20%.
If you are outside the UK when we provide our advice, then VAT will normally not be added.
Home Office fees
In addition to our fees you will also need to budget for the Home Office application fee for your particular type of application. The latest fee rates can be found here.
The table list fees in UK£. You need to bear in mind that if you are applying outside the UK you will be paying in a different currency and so you need to allow for exchange rate fluctuations and bank charges. The Home Office policy on exchange rates is here.
This table also includes details of the optional priority fees which apply if you wish to obtain a faster decision on your application. The availability of priority processing will depend on what type of visa you are applying for and where you are submitting your application. As part of our service we will let you know what the options are in your individual circumstances.
If you are applying for a visa to come to the UK for over six months, you will also normally be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. For more information see here.
Depending on the type of application you are making and your personal circumstances, you may have to incur further costs in order to meet Home Office requirements.
Those requirements may include completion of a TB test, an English test, or the Life in the UK test. We will let you know what is needed in your individual circumstances.
You may also find that particular fees applying for submitting your application at a particular visa application centre, or that a courier service is required. Again we will let you know what is needed in your individual circumstances.
The documents used to support your application must normally be submitted in English. If your documents are written in another language, then you may also need to factor in the cost of obtaining an official translation. We do not offer a translation service, but can put you in touch with translators if needed.
Whilst our team do speak a range of different languages, we normally provide our advice in English. If you are not able to communicate with us in English you may wish to seek help from a friend or family member, or you may need to engage an interpreter/translator as appropriate.
Becoming a client
If you wish to instruct us, we will need some personal contact details in order to set you up as a client. We will send you a client care letter, which will include a tailored budget for your matter and a copy of our terms of business. This will also contain details of our identity checking process.
When taking on a new client, we normally require a payment on account, in anticipation of our fees. We will confirm the details in our client care letter, but typically it is £500. If we are to incur any costs on your behalf, for example, Home Office fees, we will also require a payment on account for those.
If you are based outside the UK, but have a family member who is in the UK, we may ask them to act as a guarantor for our fees.
We will always discuss with you at the outset what the timescale is to submit any relevant application. This may be driven by your personal plans and preferences, or by the expiry date of an existing visa.
Generally speaking the more notice you can give us the better, as we can then ensure your work is done at the most appropriate time and at the most cost effective level. We may be able to deal with urgent cases in as little as a week, but this is likely to result in higher fees.
The time taken by the Home Office to process your application is outside our control. We will advise you on typical processing times for your individual circumstances, but these will be a guide and are not guaranteed. See Visa Processing Times.