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In order to meet its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the United Kingdom makes provisions for the acquisition of citizenship for persons who are stateless. However, these provisions only apply to a small category of individuals. Stateless persons who do not fall under these provisions benefit from the Home Office asylum policy instructions on statelessness. These ensure the UK’s compliance with the international obligations under the UN Stateless Convention, and provide a means for consideration of those who are stateless, have no other rights to remain in the UK, and cannot be removed.

Stateless people have difficulty accessing basic rights and we are committed to assisting clients who wish to make applications on the basis of their statelessness. Statelessness can occur for several reasons including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups or the emergence of a new state. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences and we hope to be able to help you.


How can we help you

Stateless people have difficulty accessing basic rights and we are committed to assisting clients who wish to make applications on the basis of their statelessness. Statelessness can occur for several reasons including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups or the emergence of a new state. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences and we hope to be able to help you.

What is the procedure for a stateless person to make an application to remain in the UK?

One can make an application as a stateless person if both of the following apply:

  1. You are not recognised as a citizen of any country
  2. You are unable to live permanently in any other country

You must be in the UK in order to apply.  If you cannot return to another country because of fear of persecution you should claim asylum first.  If your application is successful as a stateless person you will be granted leave to remain for five years and you can apply for settlement once this leave expires.  You must apply online and we have experience dealing with many stateless people.

Most frequently we are asked to advise Bidoons, an Arabic term for those without nationality or citizenship.  Kuwait practices a system of institutionalised discrimination against its residents knowns as Bidoons, who are long term inhabitants who have been denied Kuwaiti citizenship and are now rendered stateless.

Can a stateless person register as a British citizen?

There is a specific form to be used by people in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and British Overseas Territories who want to apply for registration as a British citizen or British overseas Territories citizens or British overseas citizens or a British subject on behalf of those who are stateless persons born outside the UK and Overseas Territories on or after 1st January 1983. The form is called S2.

You can also apply for registration as a British citizen or as a British overseas citizen if you are a stateless person born in the UK or an overseas territory after 1st January 1983. The form to be completed is Form S3.

However, all others have to become British citizens by the process of naturalisation.

How do I submit an application to stay in the UK as a stateless person?

You need to complete application form FLR(S) which is an online application form free of charge.  You will be relying on the 1954 Convention relating to the status of stateless persons which regulates the status of non-refugee stateless persons.  It sets out the common framework for stateless persons and provides them with internationally recognised legal status. The Immigration Rules, paragraph 401-416 in Part 14, provide the procedural and policy framework for considering stateless leave applications.  After you have submitted your application an interview may be required if the application form lacks information or evidence to enable the Home Office to make a decision. Our experience is that an interview will not be required where there is already sufficient evidence that an individual is stateless and is not admissible to any country and eligible for leave to remain on that basis.  As in all cases, the burden of proof rests with the applicant who is expected to co-operate and provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they have no country to return to.

How long is the processing time for stateless applications in the UK?

There is no particular time line by which the Secretary of State has to determine a stateless application, but you will be asked to make an appointment at the Service Support Centre to provide your biometric information and have your supporting documents checked.  To make sure that the application will be determined as quickly as possible, it is important to submit the necessary evidence at the first opportunity. The Home Office guidance provides a non-exhaustive list of evidence which can be provided:

  • Testimony of the applicants written or oral (depends if there is an interview)
  • Response from foreign authorities to inquiry regarding nationality status for individuals
  • Identity documents, for example birth certificate, national identity card, voters registration document, passport or travel documents including expired ones
  • Documents regarding applications to acquire or obtain proof of nationality
  • Certificate of naturalisation or certified Renunciation of Nationality
  • Previous response by states to inquire on the nationality of applicants
  • Marriage certificate
  • Military service record, discharge certificates
  • School certificates
  • Medical certificates
  • Identity and travel documents of parents spouse or children
  • Immigration documents such as residence permit of the country of origin or of habitual residence
  • Other documents relating to countries of residence, for example employment documents, property deeds, tenancy agreements

Please note that applicants applying after 6th April 2019 will need to show not only that they are stateless not admissible to any other country, but also that they have made every effort to acquire a nationality or right of admissibility to another country.  We will help you to be able to demonstrate that you sought and failed to obtain to re-establish a nationality with the appropriate authorities of the relevant country and in the case of a child born in the UK, we will help you to provide evidence that you have attempted to register the birth with the relevant authorities and that has been refused.  Stateless applications are complex and should be well prepared and evidenced.

We know that applications will not attract a right of appeal but instead a right to administrative review and that is why it is very important to raise a human rights claim with your stateless application which will attract a right of appeal.

Stateless Applications

The UK Immigration Rules were amended in April 2013 to include provisions for stateless persons to apply for leave to remain in the UK. For the purposes of the Stateless Convention, the term “stateless person” means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. In order to make a successful application, the Applicant must prove a reasonable degree of likelihood that he or she is not a national of any state whose nationality he/she might be thought to have acquired.

The requirements for leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person are that the applicant:

  1. Has made a valid application to the Secretary of State for limited leave to remain as a stateless person;
  2. Is recognised as a stateless person by the Secretary of State in accordance with paragraph 401;
  3. Is not admissible to their country of former habitual residence or any other country; and
  4. Has obtained and submitted all reasonably available evidence to enable the Secretary of State to determine whether they are stateless.

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Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to make an application as a stateless, please contact Danielle on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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