If you are in the UK and your immigration status depends on your partner, and you became a victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to apply for permission to stay in the UK even if you or your partner decide to end your relationship.
What is classified as domestic violence?
Home Office guidance defines domestic violence as:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
The guidance also makes very clear that domestic violence/abuse is not limited to physical and sexual violence and includes psychological, financial or emotional abuse.
The domestic violence concession.
As the first step, victims of domestic abuse may apply for short-term leave under the destitute domestic violence concession. It allows a vulnerable individual to stay in the UK for 3 months and get access to public funds. This will help them to escape to a safer place and prepare the main application to stay in the UK.
An applicant must show:
they have been granted leave to remain
the relationship has broken down as a result of domestic violence
they need access to public funds to quit the relationship
they intend to apply for leave to remain as a victim of domestic abuse.
Applying for Domestic Violence Visa.
For a successful domestic violence visa application, the applicant must prove the following:
they have been granted leave to remain as the partner of a British citizen or a settled person.
the relationship has broken down as a result of domestic violence
be in the UK
have made a valid application. This includes providing evidence of identity and paying the fees.
not fall for refusal under the suitability requirements for indefinite leave to remain. They relate to criminality and bad character, providing false information and owing money to the Home Office or National Health Service (NHS).
Conditions of Stay.
Successful applicants will be granted indefinite leave to remain. They will be able to study, work and get access to public funds without any immigration restrictions.
How to Apply/ Fees
The application is submitted online, using the SET (DV) form. Currently, the fee is £2,389. The fee will increase by £2,408.20 per dependent. The applicant does not have to pay the Healthcare Surcharge fee, but must pay the biometric information fee, which is £19.20,
The applicant may qualify for a fee waiver if:
they do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it
they have adequate accommodation or the means to obtain it but cannot meet their other essential living needs.
Decisions usually take 8 weeks.
Domestic violence visa: refusals
An application under the domestic violence rules is not a ‘human rights application’, meaning there is not an automatic appeal if the application is refused.
The applicants may be advised to include a human rights application. Otherwise, the only remedy will be administrative review and judicial review.CONSULTATION
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