Under immigration law some foreign nationals who come to the UK with a visa have to register with the UK police once they arrive. If this is a requirement of an individual’s visa it will have been printed in their passport at the time the visa was issued.
Anyone who is required to register with the police must do so within 7 days of arriving in the UK.
Who Has to Register with the UK Police?
This requirement is covered by Rule 10 of the Immigration Rules. The rule states that “relevant foreign nationals” who are given leave to remain in the UK for longer than six months are required to register with the police. Relevant foreign nationals are defined as people over the age of 16 who either come from a country listed in Annex A of Chapter 10 of the Rules or is a stateless person or is a person with a non-national travel document.
Citizens of the European Economic Area and their families do not have to register with the police; some other categories of foreign nationals are also exempt including seasonal workers, ministers of religion and parents of a child who is at school in the UK.
How to Register with the Police
Immigrants who are required to register with the police will need their passport and, usually, two passport photographs in order to do so. There is also a registration fee of £34 that must be paid.
Foreign nationals living or staying in the Metropolitan police area should go to the Overseas Visitors Records Office to register. This is located at 180 Borough High Street, London SE1 1LH and is open Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. The Office is close to London Bridge Railway Station and Borough underground station, on the City branch of the Northern Line. Many bus routes pass along Borough High Street. The Metropolitan Police area includes all of Greater London apart from the City of London, which is a small area of Central London.
The Overseas Visitors Records Office is usually easily identifiable because of the very long queue of people waiting to get in. Foreign nationals who need to go to the Records Office to register would be well advised to get there early: if the Records Office gets too busy it will sometimes close before its scheduled closing time.
Foreign nationals staying outside the Metropolitan police area can contact their local police station to find out where they should go to register.
Information Taken by the Police
When a foreign national registers with the UK police their personal details are noted including: their date of birth; nationality; marital status; address in the UK; their place of work or study, if relevant; the length of their stay in the UK; and any conditions placed on their visa. If any of the information provided to the police on registration subsequently changes, the police must be notified.
Failure to Register with the Police
Failure to register with the police, if required to do so, within seven days of entering the UK is an offence under the Immigration Act 1971. The local police will have automatically been notified by the border authorities of any foreign national in their area who should register with them. Anyone who fails to register could be arrested and face prosecution. If convicted the law states that this offence could result in a substantial fine or even a prison sentence.