A woman seeking to enter to the UK with a view to settlement as a spouse or civil partner of a person present and settled in the UK will be issued with spouse visa. During the probationary period the woman is denied access to public funds (housing or benefits).
If the marriage or relationship breaks down as a consequence of domestic abuse during the probationary period the woman can apply for a visa for indefinite leave to remain provided she can evidence domestic abuse.
Since 1999 the evidence required to be produced is in the form of (1) an injunction, non-molestation order or other protection order made against the sponsor (other than an ex-parte or interim order); (2) relevant court conviction against the sponsor; (3) full details of a relevant police caution issued against the sponsor. In 2002 the Government extended the concession. If evidence of some form of court order or police caution is not available more than one form of evidence from the following list will be accepted;
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).
An application for indefinite leave to remain on the grounds of domestic abuse must be made to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) during the probationary period and before the expiry of the visa. Three months temporary leave outside the rules may be awarded which will replace the woman’s existing leave. This endorsement will also allow the woman access to public funds. The UKVI will grant a limited period of leave and women are permitted access to public funds to allow time to find safe accommodation, and complete a substantive application for indefinite leave to remain under the domestic violence provision in the Immigration Rules.
During this three month period, the woman is required to send a separate application form for indefinite leave to remain SET(DV) - the process for this has not changed. If a woman does not make an application for settlement within the three month period, their leave will come to an end and they will be expected to either apply to regularise their leave in the UK in another category or leave the UK. More information on the new immigration policy can be found here www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/while-in-uk/domesticviolence
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