Route to settlement in the UK

Route to settlement in the UK available for victims of domestic violence

Did you know that if you are a victim of domestic violence, you need not stay in the abusive relationship in order to remain in the UK.

Route to settlement in the UK

Domestic violence is a sad reality in some households in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, the UK immigration law is sympathetic towards those who are victim of this very unfortunate stance of circumstances. A person thus does not have to stay in an abusive relationship in order to remain in the UK.

You do not need to wait until your current leave in the UK expires before you apply under this rule, and it is actually recommended that the victim of the domestic violence, apply under the Domestic Violence rule as early as possible in order for the UK Home Office to deal with recent or up to date evidence. It is also important to keep in mind that you have to apply from within the UK.

In order to qualify, you have to be the partner of a British citizen or someone with the right of permanent residence, your relationship must have broken down, due to domestic violence, during your probationary period of leave to be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR). It is also available for partners of members of HM Forces under certain conditions. Please contact our offices for more information in this regard.

As the partner route is only available to applicants 18 years or older, this route is also only available to applicants under this rule of 18 years and older.

The victim of the domestic violence must already be in the UK, and the rules do not grant a person entry to the UK as a victim of domestic violence.

The applicant is not required to fulfil the usual requirements for knowledge of language and life (applicable with ILR applications), and in cases where the victim of the domestic violence is destitute, the applicant will be exempted from paying the application fee for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

There is no differentiation between psychological and physical abuse when it comes to assessing if a person has been the victim of domestic violence. The UK Home Office provides the following definition of domestic violence:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents 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.  

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by:

Isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape, regulating their everyday behaviour 

Coercive behaviour is:

An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation, other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.” 

For more information or to apply under this rule, please contact Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Ltd to discuss your unique circumstances. or


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