UK Immigration Law Help Centre

Here are a few of the questions we receive the most. If you don’t see what’s on your mind, please reach out to us at any time via phone, chat, or email. You can call us on 0208 215 0053.  


Clients can make enquiries by telephone, on 0208 215 0053, or email through our website, as well as set up an appointment using our booking system called Appointy. We are then happy to have a telephone call, video call or in-person meetings. For telephone calls, we will arrange a time and will give the client a call. For video, we normally use Zoom or WhatsApp, but we are also happy to use another format that the client may be more comfortable with. In-person meetings are pre-arranged, and held at our offices in central London. Appointments take place during office hours, but emergency appointments can be accommodated outside office hours.

We offer free 15-minute consultations, during which we discuss visa options with clients who may be unsure as to the visa that would be right for them. If clients have a specific legal question, we charge a consultation fee, as there needs to be detailed consideration of their matter. We can deduct the consultation fee from the overall cost of dealing with the matter, if the client proceeds to have a longer-term relationship with us. If they are between stages – for example, a case has been refused and we are considering a challenge – we do not charge for merits of challenging a decision. For more information, please call 0208 215 0053.

Cranbrook Legal was established in 2015. The firm was founded by Amer Zaman, who qualified in 2012 but has been working in immigration since 2008. The team as a whole has more than 25 years’ experience in immigration law, and we have an excellent track record in advising and guiding clients to success in visa and immigration applications. We have handled cases ranging from applications to the Home Office for the likes of work, student and family visas, right up to challenges in the Court of Appeal. Whatever your own requirements may be as an individual or business attempting to navigate the complexity of current UK immigration law, we will almost certainly have considerable experience of helping past clients in a similar situation – which will leave us well-placed to serve you.

We understand that for any of a range of reasons, you may have an ongoing case with another solicitor, but wish to switch to an alternative solicitor. If this describes your situation, we will be happy to take on your case; however, we will need to review your case file and make an assessment of your current position. We will need to have access to all the paperwork in order to make an informed assessment. If we are able to advise in full and you are ready to proceed, we will request your file from your previous solicitor. If needed, we can also request your paperwork from the Home Office, so that we are in the best possible position to project manage your case to a positive outcome.

We take pride in maintaining open communication channels with all our clients, with whom we communicate precisely, honestly and transparently at every stage of their case. We aim to respond to all enquiries, for example, within 48 hours of receiving them. When clients provide documents, it typically takes our solicitors about five to seven working days to review them. It also takes about five to seven working days to prepare an application. After an application has been submitted, we aim to be in touch with the client every 28 days until a decision has been made by the Home Office. We will normally communicate with you by telephone and email, although we can also use an alternative platform – such as video conferencing software – if this would be more comfortable for you.

Immigration cases are led by solicitor Amer Zaman, who will decide on the best strategy for your case. He will then be aided by one of the firm’s paralegals, who will help progress the matter. Clients can expect to be put in touch with the paralegals as their case proceeds. However, Amer will lead meetings and be kept up to date with the case as it progresses. We recruit talented and knowledgeable immigration specialists with a dynamic and progressive mindset. So, whatever the nature of your case may be, you can be confident that it will be handled by the most capable and reliable professionals with a track record of success in UK immigration law.

Business Plans

The preparation of a business plan is a crucial element of the application process for several UK visa routes. If you wish to apply for a UK visa for which this is a requirement, you will be pleased to know that we have our own team of skilled business plan writers. They have extensive experience of writing business plans, and specialise in business plans for Global Mobility Visa Licences, Start Up visa and Innovator visa cases. The client benefits from our team of business plan writers being based in-house, as this enables a smoother process, including constant and clear communication that supports the wider application process.

When you are having a business plan prepared for a UK visa application, it is important that you allow enough time for the work to be completed in accordance with the Home Office’s requirements for the given visa category. As a guide, we will aim to have a first draft of your business plan ready within 14 to 21 days, with a further five working days likely to be required for amendments to be made. We don’t want to cut corners, simply so that we can get a business plan done quickly. While the business plan is being prepared, we will continue working on your application. The business plan will then only be finalised once you approve it.

If a business plan is required for the visa for which you are seeking to apply, it is crucial that the business plan prepared for this is as strong as possible. The stronger your business plan is, the better it will be at helping the Endorsing Body and the Home Office to understand your business. The same business plan could also be used in later applications to measure up how your business has performed against initial expectations. In order for you to apply for a Global Mobility Visa licence or an  Innovator visa or an start up visa, the feasibility of a business will need to be considered; this can’t be done in the absence of a business plan.

Yes, the charges for our preparation of your business plan will be set out at the start of your case, so that you have certainty about your costs. It is important to bear in mind that our professional in-house writers prepare genuinely bespoke business plans, tailored to the specific requirements of the given visa, instead of simply providing templated plans. Our writers are highly informed and experienced, and apply impeccable attention to detail to the preparation of business plans for our clients’ visa applications. This, in turn, helps to ensure a stronger application, and a greater likelihood of a positive decision from the Home Office.

In theory, you could write your own business plan for your visa application. However, you will have to decide whether you understand what the Home Office caseworker or Endorsing Body is looking for. Preparing a business plan for a visa application is not the same as preparing a business plan for a loan or finance, so the most effective business plan for a visa application will not follow a typical format. Our professional writers prepare business plans specifically for visa applications, so you can have confidence in the best possible business plan being put together when you trust our in-house team. This, in turn, will maximise the likelihood of a successful application.

Our experienced in-house team prepares business plans for the Sole Representative, Innovator, Global Mobility Visa Licences and Start-up visa routes, ensuring they are well-matched to the very particular requirements of these popular visa categories. The Start-up visa and Innovator visa routes, for example, are both aimed at those who wish to set up an innovative business in the UK, markedly different from anything else on the market – and for both categories, the business or business idea will need to have been endorsed by a Home Office-approved Endorsing Body. The right business plan will therefore be key to maximising the chances of a successful visa application. For more advice and guidance on this and other aspects of your immigration application, please call 0208 215 0053.


For some visa categories – namely the Start-up, Innovator and Global Talent visa routes – it is necessary to be pre-assessed for Endorsement by a body approved by the Home Office, before you will be able to proceed with your application for the visa itself. In the case of the Innovator and Start-up categories, the Endorsing Bodies will be private businesses, although universities can also act as Endorsing Bodies for Start-up applications. Endorsing Bodies are authorised by the Home Office to give Endorsements, with each one having its own process and criteria. The GOV.UK website maintains lists of Endorsing Bodies for the Start-up, Innovator and Global Talent categories.

Yes, we can. The strong working relationships that we maintain with a number of Endorsing Bodies allow us to maximise our clients’ chances of securing the Endorsement they need for their visa application. Some Endorsing Bodies don’t take applications from the public, so we can help gain you access to these. We also know what Endorsing Bodies are looking for from applicants, which enables us to advise you on the preparation of an effective Endorsement application. We can also help choose the correct Endorsing Body for you to make an application to, which will further help ensure the success of your overall visa application.

A passport, business plan and CV are crucial documents to provide as part of an application for Endorsement. Some Endorsing Bodies may ask to see evidence that you fulfil the requirements for your desired visa. If you are seeking to apply for the Global Talent visa, Endorsing Bodies may expect to see further evidence. You will naturally also need to supply the documents required by the Home Office when you apply for the visa itself. In the case of the Global Talent visa, for instance, such required documents will include your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where it is necessary to take the test, and – if you have had an award or scholarship to study in the UK over the past year – written permission to apply from the agency or government that granted it.

No, Endorsing Bodies do not charge for the Endorsement Letter. However, some Endorsing Bodies may require you to join their business incubator programmes, for which they may charge. Endorsing Bodies vary in the programmes that they may enable you to join, and the support they offer could even help your business to grow. Regardless, here at Cranbrook Legal, we can guide you in the direction of the Endorsing Body that best suits your aspirations and needs. This will help ensure you do not end up paying fees for services from Endorsing Bodies that you not desire, or otherwise select a wholly inappropriate Endorsing Body for your visa application.

The exact time that it will take to secure an Endorsement will vary from one Endorsing Body to the next. The clock normally starts once a finalised business plan is submitted. On average, it takes around four to six weeks for an Endorsing Body to issue an Endorsement Letter. It is typically at this stage that you will then be able to include the Endorsement Letter in your application submission for the visa itself. Again, there will be processing times associated with applying for the actual visa, so it is important to allow ample time for this and the preparation of your application by our team.

Yes, if you fail to secure an Endorsement Letter for either of these visa routes, your application for the visa itself is bound to fail. This is because a crucial part of the process of applying for these visas is a Home Office-approved Endorsing Body assessing your business or business idea. If you are successful at this stage, the Endorsement Letter that you ultimately receive must have certain information in order to comply with the Home Office’s requirements. You will need to get an Endorsement first, and should then submit the Endorsement Letter with your application for the visa. The Endorsement Letter should also not be more than 90 days old when the visa application is submitted.


We generally charge on a fixed-fee basis, with these costs being outlined in our Client Care Letter. This gives clients financial certainty and allows them to plan, with no need to worry about any additional or unexpected costs. For some cases, we may need to charge an hourly rate if we are unsure of how much work needs to go into the case because of its complexity. If we do charge an hourly rate, we may agree to cap the fees to prevent the costs from spiralling. Please consult our fees page for more specific information on what we charge for each of our services, not including VAT or disbursements.

While we usually charge fixed fees for our visa and immigration services, in some matters, we may agree to operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. This will depend on the client’s circumstances, as well as the facts of the case. In immigration matters, we may offer a 100% refund if the case is not successful. In personal injury matters, we may take on some cases on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. We seek to charge for our services in a way that gives financial certainty for the client. So, if you are in any doubt about the financial implications of taking advantage of a particular service of ours, please do not hesitate to contact us, so that we can try to accommodate your needs.

In most cases, we will offer a free consultation to enable us to understand your matter, and so that we can then advise you as to your options. In some instances, we may need to do further research on the matter, for which we may have to charge. If we do charge, we are happy to deduct this fee from the overall cost of dealing with your matter, if you agree to us proceeding to handle your case. It is easy to book a consultation with us using our Appointy system, and when we discuss your case with you, it should quickly become clear whether we can help. This in turn, should help minimise any avoidable consultation costs.

VAT stands for Value Added Tax; it is a form of tax that is charged on the purchase of goods and services. We are VAT registered, with VAT on our services being charged at 20%, which is the standard VAT rate applied to most goods and services in the UK. If, however, you are not a UK resident, you will not be required to pay VAT on the prices of our services. When you consult our fees page, the prices you see for each service will not include VAT or disbursements, so it is important to account for this if necessary when planning your spending.

No. We are a privately funded firm, which means the client is liable for the fees. We make it clear during consultations that we do not offer legal aid. However, if legal aid is required, we will be happy to signpost you to a firm local to you that will be able to offer legal aid. Legal aid can be invaluable in helping some individuals to meet the costs of legal advice and representation in a court or tribunal. However, in order to access it, you will normally need to show that your problem is serious, you cannot afford to pay for legal costs, and your case is actually eligible for legal aid.

If you would prefer this, we can agree an instalment package with you – for example, 50% at the start of the matter, and the remaining 50% when the case is ready to be submitted. We are flexible, and want to work with our clients in the ways that work best for them, including individuals and businesses who may have never been clients of ours previously. As mentioned elsewhere on this page, when it comes to some matters, we can also operate on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, and if the particular work we take on for you necessitates an hourly fee, we may cap this to prevent costs from spiralling. We are passionate about ensuring you benefit from the greatest possible financial certainty as our client.


Yes, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – SRA (Registration No: 639517), as The Cranbrook Group Limited. The SRA regulates law firms across England and Wales, and is there to assist the general public. It sets the rules that regulated firms and the solicitors working for them must follow, in order to protect clients. To this end, the SRA also takes action if these rules are broken. Choosing an SRA-regulated firm, then, will give you the peace of mind of knowing its solicitors will be expected to practise the highest standards, and can be held to account in the event that they do not. As we are a firm of solicitors, we do not need to be regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Yes, we are registered with Companies House (Company No: 09872965). Our registered name is The Cranbrook Group Limited, and our trading name is Cranbrook Legal. Our registered address is: Cursitor Building, 38 Chancery Lane, London, England, WC2A 1EN. Our company type is a private limited company, incorporated on 16 November 2015. It is easy to use the Companies House database to look up information about a company for free, including such details as its registered address, current and resigned officers, previous company names and insolvency information. This, in turn, should help ensure you only ever deal with a reputable firm.

As a law firm, we are able to take a case from its initial application stage, all the way to an appeal in the Supreme Court. Unlike advisors registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), we are not limited in how far we can take your case. This means you might approach us simply knowing you wish to take advantage of a particular visa or immigration service, and we can advise and guide you in relation to your eligibility, the required documents, and much more, to help deliver a positive outcome. We are dedicated to holding your hand through every stage of your case, while communicating with you precisely and transparently to ensure you are well-informed and satisfied by our work.

It is important to bear in mind that a solicitor is not the same as a barrister; the former is responsible for the preparation of legal documentation in the run-up to and during a court case, while the latter tends to practise as an advocate representing the client in court. Fortunately, we have excellent working relationships with barristers across the UK, and have immediate access to them if needed. Indeed, much of our reputation as a legal firm is founded on the strong working relationships we maintain with other relevant professionals such as barristers, working as part of a team. Barristers work according to our instructions, so we will strategise with you and the barrister will then advocate on your behalf in court.

We are committed to making it as easy as possible for clients of a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances to work with us, and to this end, we accept a broad range of payment methods. We are happy to take payment by card; we accept all major credit cards. We can also take payment by BACS (Bank Transfer). You will find our account details listed in our Client Care Letter. In limited circumstances, we can also accept cash payments. If you are unsure whether we would accept the payment method you may have in mind, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yes, we are always happy for existing clients to refer or introduce new clients to us. It shows that we are doing well! We are not, however, allowed to pay referral fees. Nonetheless, we take pride in building strong relationships with our clients, just as we enjoy strong relationships with the many partners we work with in the delivery of our visa and immigration services. We have developed a leading reputation for handling our clients’ cases with the very greatest care, dignity and transparency since our establishment in 2015, and referrals by existing clients to relatives, friends and colleagues have been a key factor in our growth.

Other Services

Yes. If you need to provide copies of important documents in an immigration application, it can be invaluable to have photocopies of these documents ‘certified’ to confirm they are true likenesses of the originals. We charge £10 for the certification of one document, or if there are several documents you need us to certify, we will charge £5 thereafter. For this service, we will need to see original ID and proof of address. We will retain copies of documents for six years, after which, the copies will be destroyed. You will also need to attend our offices in central London, as this service cannot be executed remotely. For more information, please call 0208 215 0053.

Yes. With official documents like your passport being crucial for visa and immigration applications, you might need a ‘deed poll’ in order to change your name on such documents. We charge £50 for this service, and in return, you will get an official, legally binding document that you will be able to use at a passport office, the DVLA, or a bank to confirm that your name has changed. You will need to provide original ID and original proof of address. You will also need to attend our offices in central London to execute the Change of Name Deed. It is worth noting that you do not require a deed poll in order to take your spouse’s or civil partner’s surname; if you simply send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders like benefits offices, you won’t be charged anything to have your documents updated.

No, we do not offer Notary services. However, we are happy to direct you to a Notary service provider local to you. If you have legal documents that you plan to use abroad, it is crucial to ensure these will be accepted. To this end, we would advise you to have the documents Notarised by a Notary Public, as documents that have had their authenticity verified in this way will be likelier to be accepted by foreign embassies. In England and Wales, a Notary Public is an internationally recognised legal professional with the jurisdiction to authenticate and certify the execution of documents intended or required for use abroad.

You might feel comfortable with taking the responsibility yourself of filling in the application form for a particular UK visa or immigration status and gathering the required documents. However, even in this situation, you may still like the idea of arranging for a ‘second pair of eyes’ to look over everything to ensure you have not made any mistakes and have a strong likelihood of being approved by the Home Office. You may therefore be thankful for the Documents Checking Service we offer for immigration matters. We will conduct a Q&A with you, and then review your application, before providing you with feedback on what you can potentially change to improve your chances of success. For this service, we charge £350 plus VAT. If you then have further questions, we will be happy to offer a further consultation, for £150 plus VAT. This will not, however, include a further review of documents.

Being interviewed by a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) caseworker can be a key part of the immigration process for many people. If you are asked to attend such an interview, you may be pleased to learn that we can attend the interview with you if you are our client. This is chargeable, and depends on the location of the interview. Please note that we are not able to speak on your behalf at the interview. We can only observe and interject to assist the interviewing officer. If we see or hear anything of concern, we will raise those concerns at the end of the interview.

Moving to the UK or attempting to secure your immigration status while already in the UK can be challenging in many ways, including for your finances. You may therefore be thankful for the services of a financial advisor in helping you determine what to do with your money. Unfortunately, we are not regulated to provide financial advice ourselves. However, we can signpost to an appropriate advisor who can offer advice. If you are concerned about the costs of taking advantage of our visa and immigration expertise, we can take a flexible approach to help make this more manageable for you – for instance, by offering instalment packages for the payment of fees.

Still Got Questions?

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