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7 tips for completing a Yellow Card BR1 application to work and study in the UK | Immigration Matters

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With Yellow Card student applications for Bulgarians and Romanians taking 3 to 6 months to process, getting it right first time is vital. 

Bulgarians and Romanians exercising treaty rights as students under Yellow Card registration certificates are reporting that their applications are taking between three and six months to be processed and approved by the UK Border Agency. 

The Bulgarian and Romanian case working team in Sheffield, which appears to be swamped with Yellow and Blue Card BR1 applications, have up to six months to make a decision under their service standards. 

Bulgarian and Romanian student applicants, who are not allowed to work until they have received their Yellow Card permission, are understandably anxious and many give up and return home, or look for jobs overseas in other countries, because they can no longer afford to support themselves. 

Unlike other EU members, Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will not have unrestricted ‘free movement’ rights to work in the UK until at least the end of 2013

Joanna, a Student Administrator with NVQ provider Majestic College, reports that postal applications are taking much longer than earlier last year which is why many are now trying to obtain a personal appointment with the ‘same day service’ at Croydon: 

‘Most new applicants are trying for an appointment at Croydon, although this is not easy as the service is extremely busy. 

‘Yellow Cards do eventually come through after the UKBA have made all their checks and confirmed the work placements, but if documents, such as the comprehensive sickness insurance policy, are missing this can cause further delays or lead to a refusal.’ 

Even those who manage to obtain a same day service appointment in Croydon are not always successful on the day and find their cases are still referred to Sheffield. However, cases referred in this way are looked at much earlier than those sent via the postal service. 

Joanna offers the following tips for BR1 Yellow Card applicants: 

  1. Follow the instructions and guidance carefully – the BR1 form looks simple but is not as easy to complete as you think. Some questions and requirements are repeated in different sections of the form, many of which do not apply to students. If in doubt, take advice from a qualified OISC registered Immigration Adviser. It is illegal to give immigration advice in the UK unless authorised. 
  2. Make sure the BR1 Yellow Card application, which you can download from the UK Border Agency website, is fully completed and all relevant questions are answered and boxes ticked. 
  3. Print your answers in BLOCK CAPITALS and follow British formats for postal addresses and dates. 
  4. Ensure all documents are attached in the correct format – for instance if original bank statements are required do not send copies or un-endorsed internet print outs. 
  5. Photographs must be in the correct format – see UK Border Agency website. 
  6. For students on courses lasting six months or more Comprehensive Sickness Insurance is required under EU Law – an EHIC is not sufficient – so make sure you take out a fully comprehensive policy with a reputable insurance company. Send all the insurance documents not just the summary of cover. 
  7. Keep copies of the form and all documents submitted and send by Recorded or Special Delivery post.

Finally, although the process may take time it will be worthwhile in the long run. There are jobs in the UK for those prepared to work especially in the care sector and catering and hospitality industry which already employs thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian workers. 

See also:

Yellow or Blue Card Refused – Appeal or Reapply?

Romanian Gangmaster Sara Recruitment loses licence for self-employment sham

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals


Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Health care workers needed in UK now

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email 

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

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58 Responses to “7 tips for completing a Yellow Card BR1 application to work and study in the UK”
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