How To Regularise Your Immigration Status As A Victim Of Domestic Abuse

The Home Office guidance defines domestic violence and abuse in the following way:

“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. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional”

Domestic violence can affect anyone of any gender, any ethnicity, and any section of society, and it is a serious violation of human rights. In general, migrants are more susceptible to domestic abuse due to their vulnerable status in the UK; and often they are unaware of the remedies available to them.

Who qualifies for this type of application?

An application to remain in the UK as the victim of domestic abuse can be made by persons who are in the UK with leave to remain as the spouse or partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK. The applicant will have to prove the domestic abuse, and that the relationship has deteriorated as a result.

This application cannot be made by persons with a different immigration status, such as on a fiancé visa. However, in these cases applicants may be able to make a different Human Rights application.

Application costs

The application fee is the same as a regular Indefinite Leave to Remain application: £2,389.00. Nevertheless, will be waived if the applicant is considered “destitute”. The Home Office guidance offers the following definition of the term destitute:

“A person is considered destitute if they either:

  • Do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not their other essential living needs are met)
  • Have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet their other essential living needs”

An application can be made online using Form SET(DV).

The requirements of the form have been elaborated below:

  1. The Applicant must be in the UK
  2. The Applicant must have made a valid application; in order to make a valid application, a valid identity document must be submitted. In many cases of domestic abuse, it is possible that the partner has retained the victim’s documents. In said cases, where it is beyond the applicant’s control to acquire the documents, an exception can be made. However, it is advisable to acquire these in any way possible, such as contacting their embassy.
  3. The Applicant must not fall for refusal under the suitability requirements for indefinite leave to remain meet the eligibility requirements; The refusal grounds in this application, are the same for any application made based on Appendix FM. These primarily relate to criminal activity and actions of bad character.

Evidence to be provided

Every case is adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and there is no specific prescribed evidence; however, all potential evidence will help. The Home Office guidance provides a detailed list of the possible evidence and its weight.