Government policy states that having HIV can never be used as a reason to refuse any applications for a visa, leave to remain or asylum.
You will need permission to enter the UK from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland unless you are a British or Commonwealth citizen with right of abode. Dependants of people from the EEA can also enter the UK whatever their nationality.
If you are from another country you will need to enter the UK with permission, this could be with a student visa, a work visa as an asylum seeker or a range of other means.
Immigration law is a complex and confusing area and the rules of ten change. The best way to find out whether you can apply to stay in the UK is to talk to an immigration lawyer. They will be able to advise you whether you have a case to apply for asylum, or another category of leave to remain in the UK. It may be that the solicitor thinks you won’t have a case to apply to stay in the UK or you may be able to apply on a type of visa which isn’t related to your health.
To apply for asylum and be recognised as a refugee, your application must be based upon a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion. However, there are other types of visas and grounds that could allow you to stay in the UK if you are not a refugee.
If you are applying for leave to remain on human rights or compassionate grounds, the Home Office will consider several factors together, often including your HIV diagnosis. The relevance of this will depend upon the extent and severity of your health problems and symptoms. The availability of anti-HIV medicine and HIV care in your home country will also be taken into account.
Disclosing your HIV status to officials may help you get accommodation and support. In cases where someone is very ill or vulnerable this may be from the local authority of the area where you live. Knowing about your HIV status will also help your solicitor make your case to stay in the UK to the Home Office. Most people, however, are supported by the UK Border Agency which disperses people to areas of the country where there is available housing stock. You cannot choose where you live and you are very unlikely to be housed in London.
The current policy of the UK Border Agency is to consult your HIV doctor to make sure there will be appropriate healthcare in the place you will be sent to. Therefore it is useful if any immigration officials dealing with your case or deciding where you will live are aware of your HIV status, to ensure you get the correct medical care.
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This article was last reviewed on
by T. Kelaart
Date due for the next review: 31/10/2014
Content Author: K. Wells
Current Owner: K. Wells
Who can claim asylum, UK Border Agency Asylum, UK Border Agency
Leave to Remain, UK Border Agency
The asylum process made simple, Asylum Aid
Immigration legislation, NAM, aidsmap (2012)Limited and indefinite leave to remain, NAM, aidsmap (2012)
Accommodation, UK Border Agency.
Various people talk about the effect HIV has had on their relationships
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
HIV Travel Insurance & Financial Services
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