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Victims of domestic violence have a route to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) in the UK. The Home Office will allow someone who has the right to reside in the UK under Appendix FM to remain in the UK indefinitely in circumstances where their relationship has ended due to domestic violence.


What is domestic violence and abuse?


Home Office guidance makes clear that domestic violence and abuse go beyond physical or sexual violence. The general definition is worth stating here:

  •  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.

  • There are a couple of things to take from this definition. Physical violence is not required to meet the definition – controlling behaviour or threats of violence also count. Another point is that the behaviour need not come from the victim’s partner.

Who can apply?


Migrants who are in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British citizen, a member of the armed forces, someone who is settled, someone with leave as a refugee, or an EEA national with pre-settled status (where that leave was not granted as a joining family member) can apply for permission to stay as a victim of domestic violence (even if their visa has expired).


Those in the UK to marry who have not yet swapped to having left as a partner will not qualify.


Those in the UK on other types of leave are also unable to apply, although they may, in certain circumstances, qualify for asylum or humanitarian protection.


The domestic violence concession:


A victim of domestic violence who is working may be able to escape the situation by moving elsewhere and supporting themselves while making an application to stay in the UK.


Those without the means to do this are likely to flee to a refuge to escape the family home. After a short while, it will become necessary to apply for benefits (“public funds”) to provide support and accommodation. The Home Office has recognised that those in this situation do not have access to public funds and may become destitute.


As a result, it is possible to apply for short-term leave under the destitute domestic violence concession. Many migrants who are victims of domestic violence will apply for this concession as a first step.



To be successful, an applicant must show that:

  • they have been granted leave to remain as a partner

  • the relationship has broken down as a result of domestic violence

  • they need to access public funds in order to leave the relationship

  • they intend to apply for leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence.

  • If successful, the applicant will be granted three months' leave to remain in the UK with access to public funds.

  • A grant of leave under the concession does not mean that a full grant of leave will ultimately be successful, but it does allow a vulnerable migrant to escape to a safe space with the help of public funds.

Relationships have broken down as a result of domestic violence:


The rules do not state that specific documents should be submitted with an application. All evidence submitted must be considered by a case worker when considering if, on the balance of probabilities, the breakdown of the relationship was because of domestic violence.


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