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Immigration and asylum advice

Who can provide immigration advice?

The following people can provide immigration advice in the UK: 

  • An immigration adviser who is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or is exempt from registration
  • A solicitor who is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (England and Wales), Law Society of Scotland or Law Society of Northern Ireland
  • A barrister who is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (England and Wales), Faculty of Advocates (Scotland), or the Bar Council of Northern Ireland 

When an adviser is registered with the OISC, they will only be permitted to provide advice at the level they are registered at. For example, only a level three adviser can represent a person in their immigration appeal at an Immigration Tribunal. For full details about what work is permitted at each level, see the OISC information about immigration advice regulation

It is unlawful for any other person to provide immigration advice or services directly to an individual in the UK. 

Where can a person get free immigration advice? 

Legal aid is generally only available for asylum cases and for children who are looked after by a council. The Legal Aid Agency and the Legal Aid Boards in Scotland and Northern Ireland provide information to help a person find a legal aid adviser in their local area:

Some Law Centres can assist with immigration cases:

Some Voluntary and Community Sector organisations may be able to provide free advice to particular groups of people or about certain types of immigration cases. Advisers should be listed on the OISC website: 

The Home Office fund several organisations across the UK to provide advice and assistance to people who are making EU Settlement Scheme applications

The following organisations provide free email and/or telephone advice:

What help can a person give if they are not an OISC adviser?

Anyone working with a person who has no recourse to public funds will need to be able to identify when the person would need to be signposted to get legal advice from an immigration adviser. For example, a person will need to get legal advice if it appears that one of the immigration options summarised on this website may apply to them.  

Providing general information or signposting a person to a legal representative is not classed as providing immigration advice. 

When a person has a legal representative and is preparing an application, it may be necessary to help them to gather any documents that they are advised to submit with the application. If the person is being receiving support from a council, their social worker or caseworker may need to provide a letter to confirm details of the Council's involvement.