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Destitution Domestic Violence Concession

In some circumstances, it may be possible for a person, who previously had leave to remain as a spouse or partner, to apply for indefinite leave to remain when their relationship has broken down due to domestic abuse. If separating from their partner would leave them without access to accommodation or funds to meet their basic living needs, they may also be able to apply for the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession in order to access benefits whilst they are applying for indefinite leave to remain. However, these options are not available to all migrant survivors of domestic abuse. It will always be important for a survivor to get legal advice about their immigration options as soon as possible following a relationship breakdown due to domestic abuse. 

Eligibility

A person can apply for the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession if they:

  • Intend to apply for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of being the victim of domestic abuse 
  • Previously had leave to remain as the spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or same-sex partner of a British citizen, person who is settled in the UK (such as indefinite leave to remain), or member of the Armed Forces who has served for at least four years
  • Are homeless or cannot afford to meet the costs of housing and/or their family’s basic living needs

A successful applicant will be granted three months leave to remain with access to public funds (benefits and housing assistance). The indefinite leave to remain application must be submitted during this period and the person will continue to have access to benefits and housing assistance until the Home Office makes a decision on the application. 

The Destitution Domestic Violence Concession is not available to survivors of domestic abuse who:

  • Are applying for indefinite leave to remain under the domestic violence rule due to being the spouse or partner of a refugee with limited leave or person with pre-settled status
  • Have leave to remain as a partner on a different immigration route, such as the dependant of a student or worker
  • Have another type of leave to remain

For further details, see the Home Office information about the concession and requirements for indefinite leave to remain.

Where to get help with an application or other type of immigration case

It will be important for a person to get legal advice about their immigration options as soon as possible following a relationship breakdown, whether this was due to domestic abuse or for other reasons, particularly if they currently have leave to remain as a spouse or partner. As the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession results in a variation of leave, it is important that this is only applied for when a survivor has been advised that this is an appropriate immigration route. Find an immigration adviser.

Legal aid is available for survivors of domestic abuse who are applying for indefinite leave to remain. It is also available for asylum cases. However, it is not available for most other types of immigration cases.