How To Apply For An Exempt Vignette

Law FirmRichmond Chambers Immigration Barristers
Subject MatterImmigration, General Immigration, Work Visas
AuthorMadeline Haas
Published date05 June 2023

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) offers the exempt vignette to people who are exempt from immigration control. The Home Office recommends that in order to avoid delays on arrival in the UK, those who are exempt from immigration control should obtain an exempt vignette before they travel.

This comprehensive guide looks at the eligibility requirements for an exempt vignette in detail alongside the process of applying for an exempt vignette.

Eligibility for an Exempt Vignette

In order to qualify for an exempt vignette, you will need to satisfy UKVI that you fall under one of the following categories:

  • Diplomats and people working for a diplomatic mission in the UK;
  • Employees of International Organisations;
  • Overseas Government Ministers on official business and their employees;
  • Heads of State and their employees; and
  • Members of Armed Forces and Arms Control Personnel.

In some cases, the exempt vignette is also available by extension to family members who form part of an applicant's household, for example spouses, civil partners and children under 18. Some routes allow eligibility for other family members too.

Diplomats, People Working for a Diplomatic Mission in the UK, and their Dependents

Members of the diplomatic, administrative, technical and service staff and career consular officers of recognised States are eligible for an exempt vignette. Under this category, an exempt vignette will be valid for five years or for the length of the posting if it is shorter.

Exempt vignettes can be extended from within the UK through the Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations Unit (DMIOU).

Dependents of Diplomats

This eligibility extends to family members who form part of their household. If a dependent child with an exempt vignette is going to turn 18 during their time residing in the UK, the exempt vignette will be valid until their 18th birthday.

Children who are over the age of 18 and under 25 in full time education are eligible if a child will complete their studies before their 25th birthday. This option is also available to those who would turn 18 during their residence in the UK. This exempt vignette will be issued for the duration of their course, until their 25th birthday or in line with their diplomat parent's visa (whichever is shorter will apply).

If a dependent child is not in full time education or over the age of 25, their application is referred to the Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations Unit and Protocol Directorate of the...

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