Settlement [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.