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Application for a fee waiver on visa and immigration applications

The Home Office allows you to apply for a fee exemption on both the visa and immigration applications. Relevant visa fees or leave to remain fees, including the immigration health surcharge would not be required if the Home Office looks at your financial position and believes those costs could not be afforded. 

  • In deciding on the application whether someone is eligible to apply for the Home Office fees to be waived, the affordability test is being applied.

  • This requires both the applicant and their sponsor if that is applicable to show through credible information and evidences to demonstrate the fees could not be afforded.  

The policies related to the information and documents required, including what is considered as part of the fee waiver applications are explained here. 

 How to meet the eligibility requirements of the fee waiver

There are a number of criteria’s to be met when applying for the fee waiver application. Those on various immigration visa programs can also apply to have their visa fees waived. Here are some types of leave which may benefit from the fee exemption:

  1. If you or your family member’s hold leave to remain on either family or private life routes. 

  2. Have been granted discretionary leave to remain, including leave outside of the immigration rules or human rights grounds. The Home Office does grant leave to remain on other grounds, not covered by the immigration policies. There are special powers granted under the Immigration Act 1971. 

  3. Hold leave to remain on the grounds of modern slavery or human trafficking. 

Types of applications relevant to the fee waiver which may apply

There are applications which are eligible to apply under once the fee waiver is accepted and whilst the following is applications they will consider, other applications may apply as immigration policies are updated on a regular interval based on case laws and updated immigration changes:

  1. Applications made for your partner, family members and children. 

  2. Human rights claims including medical and outside of the immigration rules.

  3. Private life application including long residency. 

  4. Members of the HM Forces including their dependants. 

Evidences and information required for the fee waiver application

The Home Office does not have a standard policy of who to meet the requirements. However, they consider the following:

  1. You have told the Home Office that you are not able to afford basic living costs, which includes living costs and accommodation. 

  2. Are financially dependent on someone else other than the applicants. 

  3. Have a low income, which would harm your child’s wellbeing.

Whilst the above are some factors of consideration, the Home Office does consider other factors and makes a balanced decision.

How to apply for the fee waiver application

Applying for the application is done online, the Home Office use to have the paper based form but has moved the application digital. 

  1. You should file a detailed letter explaining the grounds you believe the Home Office fees is to be waived. 

  2. Considerations are then made based on evidences, so ensure you provide correct details. 

  3. In the application, you can include dependants and there details must be enclosed in full. 

You would need to make a filing on the evidences required and ensure those are done as soon as possible following the application. Usually, the Home Office may contact you to provide further information or documents. 

Fee waiver application granted & what to do next

Once the application is granted, you would usually have 10 working days to file your visa or immigration application. There will be a code given to be used when filing to have the Home Office fees waived. 

Rejection of your fee waiver application

There are instances whereby the fee waiver application could be rejected and not be refused. Here are some examples of reasons why the application could be rejected:

  1. Failing to provide full details as required on the fee waiver application. 

  2. Moving funds away intentionally.

  3. Evidences demonstrates that you are buying or paying for services or goods, that does not fall within the basic living costs criteria. 

Whilst the above provides an example, an application being rejected may permit you to re-apply if there was a discrepancy in the failing of providing the right information and documents.

Usually, you may be given 14 days to re-apply or file for the immigration application. 

Refusal of your fee waiver application

There is no right to appeal or file for an administrative review. The Home Office will write to confirm their decisions and their findings. 

You will need to file your application with the fees within 10 working days to ensure you have valid status, unless you have already overstayed in the UK. 

Need help on applying for the fee waiver application

ICS Legal have extensive experience to help and apply for the fee waiver application. You can email us at info@icslegal.com or speak to our professionals on 0207 237 3388. 

Frequently asked questions on the fee waiver? 

Here we have put together a list of the most common questions asked on the fee waiver application, and we hope the information is useful. 

When to apply for the fee waiver application?

This must be done before your visa expires. If you don’t hold leave to remain, then you need to ensure this is done at the time to permit you to apply for your stay.

For example, if you are meeting the 20 years residency, you need to ensure that the fee waiver application is not filed too early as you would only have 10 working days to use the code. Date of application will matter in all immigration application. 

Does the Home Office publish case worker guidance on fee waiver applications?

Yes, they do. It allows you to prepare for the matter prior submitting the application. 

How long does a fee waiver application decision time?

The Home Office does not specify how soon a decision is made, however on average, it is between 3 to 6 months, albeit we have seen through our experience that decisions are made much sooner or later. 

Fee waiver for spouse or partner visa from outside of the UK?

Yes, that might be possible to apply, and each application are treated in their own merits. 

Is the fee waiver an immigration application?

No, It does however protects a legal status if applied prior to your visa expiring. Paragraph 39E of the immigration rules would apply. 

If the fee waiver application is granted, does the Home Office accept that I have merits or will be approved on the visa or immigration application?

No, the Home Office does not provide any indication that the visa application is going to be approved. Any applications are treated on meeting the prescribed immigration policies. 

Can I appeal or file a legal representation if the fee waiver was wrongly refused?

Whilst there is no legal remedy on this, you can still file a legal representation with evidences to explain why the decision was wrong.

There are instances whereby Home Office does make the wrong decision, so you will need to ensure you provide details on the grounds of representation with evidences. Putting forward case laws and other legal instruments are not always considered. 

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