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04 March 2024

Obstacles to visa applications for Palestinian family members of British citizens

2 mins

We welcome the article published in The Guardian on Saturday shedding light on the impossible requirements imposed by the Home Office which have directly led to Palestinian family members of British citizens remaining trapped in desperate conditions in Gaza. We send our heartfelt sympathy to Bassem Abudagga and his family.

The biometric enrolment requirement places an impassable obstacle in the way of the family members of British citizens making visa applications, to travel to the UK even for short periods to spend time with the family and seek respite from the war or even desperately needed medical care. Seemingly in direct response to the crisis in Gaza, the Home Office has recently amended its policy and made already stringent rules on the circumstances in which it will allow biometric enrolment to be deferred even stricter, to the extent that they are almost impossible to meet.

Even if Palestinian nationals manage to leave Gaza and find refuge in Egypt, their bureaucratic nightmare isn’t over: there are currently very limited appointments available for visa applicants to enroll their biometrics at the Cairo visa application center. Their visa applications remain in limbo while they wait for appointments to become available as do the applicants who have no permission to remain in Egypt and no means of travelling to the UK to be with their loved ones.

We remain hopeful that the Home Office will now take a pragmatic approach to applications such as those made by Bassem Abudagga’s family and begin to treat them with the compassion they deserve.

For more information on our Immigration, Asylum and Nationality services, please see our page here.

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