Statelessness applications often involve complex legal issues, and the advice of a qualified legal adviser is usually necessary to gather sufficient evidence and properly prepare a statelessness application under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules. The information on our website is intended as a guide only. Part 14 is due to be redrafted in 2023. We will update our website with any changes.
Asylum Aid and the University of Liverpool Law Clinic are the two organisations that have dedicated free legal advice projects for stateless applications under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules.
The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens provides free legal assistance for children with an entitlement to British citizenship, including on the basis that the child was born stateless in the UK, if they cannot afford to pay for legal advice.
It is also possible to pay for a legal adviser.
Immigration advice can only be provided by an adviser who is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or a solicitor or barrister. More information about how to find a qualified immigration adviser is available here.
Check that your legal adviser has read this guide: Statelessness and Applications for Leave to Remain: A Best Practice Guide.
The Home Office also publishes Stateless leave guidance for Home Office decision-makers that explains how they should apply Part 14 of the Immigration Rules.
It is important that an adviser knows as much as possible about their client’s situation to be able to advise which kind of application will be best. This may include for example, past mistreatment or exploitation, family life and length of residence in the UK.
Free legal advice and assistance - legal aid - is not available for stateless applications under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules or British citizenship applications in England and Wales. It is available for stateless applications in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Legal aid is available for asylum and humanitarian protection applications throughout the UK.
However, it is possible to apply for exceptional case funding for some statelessness cases. This is legal aid that is granted in exceptional circumstances.
Obtaining Exceptional Case Funding
It is best to consult an adviser who can help to apply for exceptional case funding. However, if that is not possible, anyone can apply for exceptional case funding (ECF) without legal assistance. If it is granted, they can then look for an adviser to represent them using that funding.
Instructions and the form for making applications for ECF for are available here.
More information about legal aid and ECF for stateless cases is available in Statelessness and Applications for Leave to Remain: A Best Practice Guide, A.5.d and C.1.
Legal aid for judicial review
If a stateless application is refused, and a request for Home Office administrative review does not change the decision, it may be possible to challenge the decision through judicial review. Legal aid is available throughout the UK for applications for judicial review if there are good reasons for challenging the decision and other requirements for legal aid are met. To succeed with judicial review, it must be shown that there are important legal errors in the way the Home Office decided the application.
Requests for permission for judicial review must be sent to the court as soon as possible after receiving a decision on a stateless application, and in any event, within three months of the Home Office decision. Anyone receiving a negative decision should seek urgent legal advice.
See also the section on What happens if an application is refused.