Victims of Domestic Violence - Updated guidance from Home office

The Home Office introduced the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (DDV) to assist women on a spousal visa or the five year family migration route as the spouse, civil partner, or partner of someone who is British or present and settled in the UK fleeing domestic abuse who have no recourse to public funds (who are destitute and need financial help).
This newly updated guidance addresses makes some amendments to the template used, calrifies the specified evidence to be produced and some administrative amendments to the destitution concession ie : fee waiver guidance

The domestic violence (DV) provisions of Appendix FM section DVILR only apply to applicants who have previously been granted leave to enter or remain as the:
• spouse
• civil partner
• unmarried or same-sex partner of any of the following:
o British citizen
o settled person
o member of HM forces who has served for at least 4 years
To be eligible under section DVILR the applicants first grant of leave under Appendix FM must have been granted under one of the following paragraphs:
• D-ECP.1.1
• D-LTRP.1.1
• D-LTRP.1.2, (other than as a partner of a person in the UK with limited leave, a fiancé or fiancée or proposed civil partner)
• D-DVILR.1.2

This guidance does not include those whose leave was given as the partner of a refugee or recipient of humanitarian protection who was not settled at the time of the grant of leave. But note  decision of the Inner House of the Court of Session on 27th May  A V Secretary of State [2016] CSIH 38 and previous blog post here. 

The domestic violence rules do not apply to:

  • • the spouse, unmarried partner or registered civil partner of a sponsor who has only limited leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • • fiancé or fiancées or proposed civil partners
  • • people seeking asylum in the UK
  • • the spouse or civil partner of a foreign or Commonwealth citizen who is serving, or has served, in Her Majesty’s (HM) forces and who has not completed a minimum of 4 years’ reckonable service

Individuals in these groups are not eligible to apply under the domestic violence rules because they were not admitted to the UK, or originally given leave in the UK, as the partner of someone who already has the right of permanent residence in the UK. They have come to the UK as the dependant of someone who does not have settled status in the UK, and who may never have settled status, and should have no expectation of remaining in the UK outside that relationship. [14] Individuals who have never had leave on one of the specified routes may be able to make an application on form FLR(FP) on the basis of their family and private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights or for leave outside the rules on form FLR (HRO) or FLR(IR).   European Economic Area (EEA) nationals exercising treaty rights and their family members are also ineligible to apply under the domestic violence rules.

Applicants must establish that the relationship:

  • • with their partner was subsisting at the start of the last grant of leave as a partner
  • • broke down during that last period of leave
  • • broke down because of domestic violence

The Immigration Rules do not specify any mandatory evidence or documents to be submitted with an application. All evidence submitted must be considered and a conclusion drawn as to whether there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that, on the balance of probabilities, the breakdown of the relationship was as a result of domestic violence.  Factors to be taken into account when assessing the evidence include:
• timing of the application
• length of relationship before the application is made:
the fact that the relationship broke down due to domestic violence during the very early stages of the probationary period, may not be an adverse factor in reaching a decision to grant indefinite leave to remain (ILR) but in the context of the immigration history as a whole may give rise to suspicion
• previous immigration history, particularly where there is evidence that the applicant has made a number of attempts to secure leave in the UK on different grounds
• length of time since the alleged incident and reasons given for any delay in submitting an application
The fact the couple are still living at the same address when the application is made may not necessarily be taken as an indicator the relationship has not broken down, as this could be due to a number of reasons. See pages 22 - 29 of the guidance which produces a table of evidence which could be drawn upon.