Domestic Violence visa applications are often very sensitive matters. Our clients will often be worry about their physical wellbeing and the situation can be very heated and emotional, which we recognise is often as sensitive as their immigration concerns.
The UK Home Office recognises that foreign nationals who are in the UK on a spouse visa and whose relationship subsequently breaks down as a result of domestic violence may be eligible to remain in the UK, so long as they meet all the requirements of the law.
We will be exploring the options for spouses who obtained their visa before the 9th of July 2012, and those who obtained their statuses after this date.
For those before the 9th of July 2012 to, spouses would have been given leave to enter or remain in the UK for two years and upon completion of those two years, they may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
If in the unfortunate event that the marriage was to deteriorate before the initial two year period, then the immigration rules do not provide a remedy for the foreign national to remain in the UK.
The only exception to this general rule is where the relationship has deteriorated as a result of domestic violence on the part of the UK citizen. In such situations, the foreign spouse can remain for the rest of her two years in the UK, after which, the foreign spouse may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. As per the Immigration Rules, they are designed to prevent fraudulent claims of domestic violence so the threshold for a successful application is often very high.
The full text of the immigration rules can be obtained by contacting Westkin, but in summary the rules require that the domestic violence must have occurred during the two year period and must have been the cause of the breakdown of the marriage.
The domestic violence rules for immigration matters that take place after 9th July 2012 are largely similar. The major difference being that the probationary period is 5 years, split into 2 periods of 2.5 years each.
There is no requirement as to the severity of violence (within reason), further there is no need for there to have been a divorce and a man can claim domestic violence as much as women, although clearly the credibility of such a claim may well be in doubt and tested by the Immigration authorities.
Once aspect of the law that does cause immigration solicitors and immigration lawyers some particular concern is the requirement as to evidence. These can be both complex and strict. As immigration lawyers should be quick to point out, the allegation of domestic violence is not enough to make out the case, specific forms of evidence are required to prove domestic violence.
Westkin are on hand to assist. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, our immigration lawyers will be able to help in a safe and discreet environment.
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0207 1184 546
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