On Monday 5 November 2018 – bonfire day - the Home Office will finally with a hint of irony, accept copied documents in support of immigration applications instead of originals.
The previous rigid Home Office position of requiring original documentation has caused issues. Immigration solicitors have had, when advising clients had to insist that only originals will suffice – indeed, the guidance notes accompanying application forms have literally screamed the importance and consequences of a failure to do so.
Some clients understandably, have not appreciated why this should be the case given we are in the electronic age and where for example, documents such as bank statements are only received through the internet.
Where clients have not been unable to comply, this has led to negative decisions and disastrous consequences – in some cases, for simply not being able to supply one original document. Therefore, the shift in position by the Home Office ought to be commended – it is also show’s practical thinking under Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary.
We have recently noted with entry clearance applications, that some Home Office missions abroad have only been accepting copy documents, which has led to delays, but may be understandable in view of what the Home Office is trying to achieve.
The new procedure does come with a warning. Foremost, it is new, so one should treat this with caution.
Secondly, the Home Office can question whether a copy document is valid. In most cases this should not be an issue, as caseworkers will have the option of contacting third parties to verify the document.
It is also possible that issues will advise in interpreting what a copy document is. For example, is an uncertified copy issued by an originating body of an original a copy document? We do expect case law to build on this.
RLegal can assist individuals with visa applications. We are a firm of accredited specialist solicitors based in central London. We can be contacted on +44 207 038 3980, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our website at www.rlegal.com