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Personal Immigration

Settlement [Domestic Violence]

Settlement due to Domestic Violence
Spouses, civil partners, unmarried and same-sex partners of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK, whose basis of stay is dependent on their partners may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK in the event the relationship breaks down as the result of domestic violence.
Requirements for Settlement due to Domestic Violence

The Home Office guidance identifies 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 definition includes (but is not limited to) abuse that is psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional.

In order to be granted Indefinite Leave as a victim of domestic violence, applicants should meet the following requirements.

  • Applicant must be in the UK
  • Make a valid application under SET(DV) form
  • Not fall for refusal under the suitability requirements for ILR
  • Meet the other substantive eligibility requirements.

The applicants may also apply for Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession for a period of 3 months limited leave to remain to enable them to claim benefits whilst they make a claim for indefinite leave to remain under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rules. This is only for those applicants who have no means of financial support on leaving their partner where the relationship has broken down as a result of domestic violence.  The applicant must intend to make an application for Indefinite leave to Remain under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rule. If the applicant has been given leave under the destitute domestic violence (DDV) concession, and the subsequent ILR application is refused, the applicant will become an overstayer, unless applied under another immigration route. 

Partners whose basis of stay in the UK is based on the immigration status of their abusive partners need not remain with the abusive partner in order to continue to enjoy legal status in the UK. However, these are not straightforward applications in terms of the required evidence and professional advice should be sought before making an application of this kind, otherwise one may risk losing the right to stay in the UK.  Please note there are also social services, help groups and charities who can assist victims of domestic violence.The rules are not intended to benefit people whose relationship broke down because they were the alleged abuser in cases of domestic violence and is for victims only.

How can we assist?
Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal can advise on the legal requirements, procedure and as to the required supporting documents for making an application, assess the merits of your application and advise as to how to improve your application, fully prepare and submit an application on your behalf for ILR or DDV concession and advise on the merits of an appeal should the application be refused and assist and represent in an appeal. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
If an applicant submits evidence to show that their relationship has broken down because they have been subjected to domestic violence from someone other than their partner, they can still qualify for settlement under the rule. Evidence must clearly show that the violence has been the reason for the breakdown of the relationship between the applicant and their partner, for example where the person who abuses the applicant is a member of the partner’s family and against whom the partner offers no protection.
The domestic violence rules do not apply to spouses or partners whose sponsor has only limited leave, is a fiance or proposed partner or an asylum seeker to name a few. EEA nationals exercising treaty rights and their family are also not eligible, but they can apply under EEA regulations if they qualify.
The applicant does not need to demonstrate knowledge of language and life in the UK under the victims of domestic violence rules.
The evidence is purely based on individual circumstances. The applicants may however provide evidence of criminal conviction relation a domestic violence incident, police caution, evidence of any civil court order like non-molestation, charging decision by CPS, forced marriage protection order, letter from social services, letter from independent witnesses, medical reports, evidence of abuse like emails,texts etc.
If the application is not successful, the applicant will normally have a right to challenge the decision by Administrative Review, if there are any case working errors. If the application for administrative review is refused, it may be possible to challenge the refusal by judicial review if it has not been made in the correct way.