Irrespective of what type of visa application you intend to make, your first step will be to confirm your identity and nationality. The easiest way to do this is to produce your passport or an ID card. If you are a non-EEA national, then you’ll need to produce your valid biometric residence card.
However, there may be reasons why you cannot provide the required proof of identity and nationality in this form. In this article I’ll explain what alternative evidence of identity and nationality you can produce for your application to be accepted.
First Things First
First of all you need to make sure that you fully explain your circumstances in a cover letter. You have to be aware that alternative evidence of your identity and nationality will only be accepted if you can show that you are unable to provide the acceptable form of identity and nationality due to circumstances beyond your control or due to some other compelling practical or compassionate reasons.
Lost or Stolen
For example, if you cannot provide your original passport because it was lost or stolen, but you have a copy of this document, you may apply using a photocopy of the document together with the police report and your letter, explaining your circumstances. However, even if you do make an application without the original document, I strongly advise that you apply for your national passport as soon as possible, so that you can support your application with this original document as soon as it is issued.
Passport from a Country not Recognised by the UK
There are certain countries, which are not recognised by the UK. For example, one of the countries, which is not recognised by the UK government is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. If a person from such a country makes an application, the Home Office caseworkers are instructed to accept your passport as evidence of their identity and nationality providing there are no indications to the contrary.
Unobtainable from National Authority
There may be situations where your passport has expired or has been permanently lost or stolen and there is no
functioning national government to issue a replacement.
There are also circumstances where there is a national authority to apply to for a document, but they have run out of documents.
In these circumstances, you need to provide as much information as possible. If you have made any applications for documentation you may have made to your national authority – you must include these details in the supporting letter too.
Document Exists but Cannot be Produced
This may apply to you if your passport is at another government department. For example, it was already submitted to the Home Office. In this case you just need to mention details of when it was submitted and to which department. You also need to provide details of any other evidence (for example a letter from that department confirming that they currently have your passport).
Quite often victim of trafficking and domestic violence are unable to produce their passports because they are held by the 3rd parties under circumstances beyond their control.
If you are a victim of trafficking, your application is likely to be accepted if you become the subject of a positive conclusive grounds decision made by a competent authority under the National Referral Mechanism. You can read more about the National Referral Mechanism HERE.
This article lists a number of organisations where you can get immediate free help if you became a victim of trafficking.
As far as the victims of domestic violence are concerned, you will normally be expected to support your claim by producing evidence from a third party, such as the police or social services.
Children under the Age of 18 in Local Authority Care
There may be circumstances where it will not be in the best interests of the child for the local authority to obtain the required document on their behalf. For example where doing so may risk the child. Also there may be significant practical barriers to obtaining the required document. For example where the national authority requires the consent of both parents, but the parents are absent or unwilling to help.
In these circumstances, a competent local representative should write a detailed letter explaining the child’s circumstances.
What Document Can You Submit Instead
Any official document, which will help you shed the light on your identity and nationality.
Here is the list, which is non-exhaustive:
documents previously issued by the Home Office (such as a document issued for emergency travel purposes) provided there is no evidence that this identity or nationality was confirmed in error, fraudulently, or has significantly changed
an expired passport or other required document, bearing your name and photograph
an official document issued by the authorities of your country of origin which confirms your identity and nationality, including birth certificate, marriage certificate, driving licence, tax / social security statement, national service document, or emergency travel document or similar.
an official document issued by the UK authorities which confirms your identity and, if possible, nationality. This can include a UK driving licence, National Insurance number card, or tax or pension statement.
an official document issued by the authorities of an EU Member State which confirms your identity and nationality, including a document confirming permanent residence in that state or registration as the family member of an EU citizen exercising Treaty rights in that state
your biometrics (facial photograph and, in the case of a non-EEA citizen, fingerprints) which match an existing government record confirming your identity and nationality.
You need to be aware that you may be invited to attend an interview to assess your ties to your claimed country of origin, including knowledge of its geography, culture and language. Such an interview can be held in person, by telephone, by videolink or over the internet.
Irrespective of the circumstances under which you are unable to submit your original passport or identity card or a valid biometric residence card, you need to make sure that you provide as much information as you possibly can with your application.