What is the Residency Requirement for RAF Recruits?

Introduction

In 2018, any person applying to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) should have resided continuously in the United Kingdom (UK) or the Republic of Ireland immediately before their application.

Level of Security Check

The specific length of this residency requirement, which is separate to a candidate’s nationality, is determined by the security clearance required for the Branch or Trade that the candidate has applied for as follows:

  • Security Check (SC) clearance: three years:
    • The Cabinet Office criterion is five years; the RAF accepts candidates, at risk, with just 3 years residency.
    • Supporting evidence for a residency waiver will be required for any absence from the UK in excess of 28 days per annum in the five years preceding application.
    • This does not apply to Commonwealth citizens who must meet the five year criterion in full.
    • With the exception of Cypriot and Maltese citizens who have the ‘right to roam’ under EU regulation, all Commonwealth citizens who do not hold dual British nationality, must meet the 5 year criterion.
  • Developed Vetting (DV) clearance: seven years:
    • The Cabinet Office criterion is 10 years; the RAF accepts candidates, at risk, with just 7 years residency.
    • Supporting evidence for a residency waiver will be required for any absence from the UK in excess of 28 days per annum in the 10 years preceding application.

Recruiting Staff Responsibility

It is the responsibility of recruiting staff to verify that candidates meet the minimum residency requirements. It is particularly important that UK entry stamps in non-EU passports are checked to confirm the date of arrival of non-EU citizens into the UK.

When an individual does not meet the minimum residency requirement it
undermines the UK Security Vetting (UKSV) agency’s ability to conduct security checks – Overseas enquiries cannot be undertaken by UKSV.

Key elements of the vetting regime cannot, therefore, be carried out if a candidate has not lived in the UK for a significant period of time.

Should a person be accepted into the RAF without undergoing the full vetting process they would/could present an increased security risk to the RAF.

However, is is fully recognised that in order to meet specific recruiting targets, it may, in exceptional circumstances, be viable to accept an increased level of risk, provided the risk is both realistic, balanced against specific need and can be appropriately managed.

Gap Year or a Short Period of Study Overseas

The criteria listed below is used for candidates who do not meet the minimum RAF residency requirements for security clearance because they took a gap year or a short period of study overseas.

In both cases, the total period of time outside the UK should not have exceeded 12 months.

In order to be considered for a residency waiver, the candidate must supply the following documentation:

  1. A detailed itinerary of where they have travelled/studied outside the UK during this period.
  2. Details of where they resided, including the names and addresses of any private residences used.
  3. Name, address and telephone numbers of any travelling/studying companions.
  4. For those candidates that have worked overseas, full details of the employer, the period of employment and the nature of job.
  5. For those candidates that studied overseas, a reference from the head of the establishment. If not produced in English, the candidate is to submit the original certificate accompanied by a translation, certified by a professional translator.
  6. Where a candidate has lived overseas in a country for 6 months or longer, a police certificate from the host nation police service outlining what, if any, convictions the candidate has obtained. If not produced in English, the candidate is to submit the original certificate accompanied by a translation, certified by a professional translator.
  7. A copy of the candidate’s passport page showing any entry and exit visas.
  8. A copy of the photo/data page of applicant’s passport.

Residency waivers are considered on case-by-case basis. Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee that the RAF Personnel Security staff at HQ Air will issue a residency waiver.

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