Tuberculosis testing is a mandatory requirement for migrants applying to come to the UK for more than 6 months from specified countries. This applies to those who are applying on the basis of their relationship with a partner who is a British citizen or holds indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The definition of partner includes proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner with two years cohabitation, same sex partner or a fiancé(e).
The specified countries are listed within Appendix T which can be found here. It seems pretty easy to follow. As an applicant, if you are applying from a listed country, then you must include a TB test with an application as a fiancé(e) or a partner. The requirement to obtain a TB test appears to apply as a blanket rule if your visa type and country of application falls within the ambit above.
In actual fact, there is a caveat to this rule. Pursuant to the statement of changes HC1025 which came effect on 6 April 2015, an applicant is not only required to be present in the country listed in Appendix T at the date of application but is also required to have been resident there for more than 6 months. Paragraph 3.4 of HC1025 mentions this but the change in wording can be noticed by comparing the versions of the immigration rules before 6 April 2015 and after . At paragraph A39 of the rules since 6 April 2015, there is inclusion of the words ‘having been present in a country listed in Appendix T for more than six months immediately prior to their application’.
In practice, this is interesting in a variety of situations. An example is where the applicant was resident in the UK for an extended period and then returned to their country of nationality to submit the application. This is not uncommon where some applicants choose to leave the UK to apply under the 5 year Appendix FM route or withdraw an appeal at the Tribunal to submit a fresh application from abroad. The fresh applications in those cases are usually prepared by their agents whilst they are in the UK and submitted within the 6 months of return to their country of nationality.
The requirement to provide a TB test would therefore not apply to such applicants since they have not been resident in their country of nationality for more than 6 months immediately prior to their application.
Sadly some entry clearance posts are unaware of the changes despite the change being over 19 months old. Recently a Chinese national applying from Hong Kong, with only 8 days of residence there, was prevented from submitting her application due to the absence of a TB test. Speaking to the manager made no difference as they were not aware of any changes to the old blanket rule. Given the practical difficulties in communication with posts abroad, the applicant chose to comply with their unwarranted requirement and rearrange her appointment to a later date after undergoing the TB test.
As a tactic, it may be worthwhile for agents and applicants alike in such situations to highlight the inapplicability of paragraph A39 within the ‘additional information’ part in Appendix 2 or on the legal representations letter. This may circumvent any problems arising, although sadly, we all know that will not be the last problem ever encountered by an applicant when submitting their application abroad!