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Apply for ILR as a Victim of Domestic Abuse: Part 1

This two-part blog post will lead you step-by-step through the process of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a Victim of Domestic Abuse under Section D-DVILR.1.1 of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules

At the time of writing, the latest Home Office guidance on these applications is “Victims of domestic violence and abuse, Version 15.0” published on 24 November 2021. 

You may wish to read this article in conjunction with our previous blog posts:

What Are the Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) As a Victim of Domestic Abuse?

To be granted ILR as a victim of domestic abuse, you must fulfil four requirements:

1. You must be physically present in the UK when making the application

Therefore, it cannot be made on your behalf by someone in the UK. 

This means that victims stranded abroad by their abusers (victims of transnational marriage abandonment) cannot enter the UK by this route. Those in this situation should seek legal advice about making a separate human rights application.

2. You must make a valid application for ILR as a victim of domestic abuse

The validity requirements are contained in Paragraph 34 of the Immigration Rules and helpfully explained in this Home Office guidance document.

Put simply, they are as follows: 

  • Apply using the specified application form;
  • Complete all mandatory sections of the form;
  • Pay the specified application fee;
  • Provide proof of identity;
  • If under 18, provide written parental consent;
  • Comply with the application process, including the requirement to enrol for biometrics.

Specified application fee – What is it, and what if I can’t pay it?

The specified application fee is £2,389 per person. You also need to pay £19.20 per person to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

You do not need to pay the fee if you can provide evidence that you:

  • do not have a place to live and cannot afford one;
  • have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating; or
  • have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) – Do I have to pay it?

There is no IHS fee as this is an application for ILR.

Proof of Identity – What if my abuser has taken my passport?

Paragraph 34 states that “(b) Proof of identity for the purpose of this paragraph means:

(i) a valid passport or, if an applicant (except a PBS applicant) does not have a valid passport, a valid national identity card; or

(ii) if the applicant does not have a valid passport or national identity card, their most recent passport or (except a PBS applicant) their most recent national identity card; or

(iii) if the applicant does not have any of the above, a valid travel document.”

If you cannot provide any of these documents, Paragraph 34(c)(vii) allows you to raise “a good reason” why not. For more information on this point, see our previous blog post.

3. You must meet the suitability requirements

The suitability requirements have two parts: the mandatory requirements (which if not met, must result in refusal of your application) at S-ILR.1.2-1.10 and the discretionary requirements (which if not met, may result in refusal of your application) at S-ILR.2.2-2.4 and S-ILR.4.1-4.5.

You may fall foul of the mandatory requirements if, for example, you have previously been convicted of crimes or failed to comply with previous immigration requirements.

The discretionary requirements may apply to you if, for example, you have provided false information, failed to disclose material facts in relation to your application, or the Secretary of State believes your presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.

4. You must meet the eligibility requirements

The three eligibility requirements are that:

  • You had/have leave to remain as the partner of a: British citizen; person with settled status; person with leave to remain as a refugee; or person in the UK with leave to remain under Appendix EU;
  • Any subsequent grants of limited leave were granted (i) as a partner, or (ii) to enable access to public funds pending an application under DVILR, or (iii) under D-DVILR.1.2; and
  • You have proved on the balance of probabilities that during the last period of limited leave as a partner, your relationship broke down as a result of domestic abuse.

Am I eligible if I was granted leave to remain as a fiancé or proposed civil partner?

No, not unless you were subsequently granted leave to remain as a spouse, civil partner or “person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application.

If I am an overstayer but last had leave to remain as a qualifying partner, am I still eligible?

Yes. It is advisable to regularise your stay as soon as possible if you last had leave under Appendix FM.

Part Two

Part Two of this blog post will address some frequently asked questions about the domestic abuse route, including information about rights of appeal, processing times, and how the Home Office assesses whether a relationship has broken down as a result of domestic abuse.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance on indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic abuse, contact our personal immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


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