Are you an EU or non-EU national in an abusive relationship whose immigration status depends on an EU/EEA/Swiss partner with settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)?
If you are thinking about leaving your partner (or have already left them) because of domestic violence or abuse, and you are worried about your immigration status in the UK, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor or an OISC adviser and collect as much evidence as possible.
It is possible under EU Settlement Scheme, that if a family member’s relationship with a settled EU citizen has terminated due to domestic violence, the family member could still be eligible to remain in the UK, due to Domestic Abuse.
To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain based on Domestic Abuse, you must:
- have leave to remain as the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK, a person with Refugee status or with limited leave under the EUSS.
- prove that the abuse happened before the relationship permanently broke down.
- Evidence of Domestic Abuse can include:
- a criminal conviction
- a Police caution
- A Non-Harassment Order
- Correspondence from social services confirming domestic violence
- letters of support from domestic abuse support organisations
- medical and police reports
- evidence from the chair of MARAC
- supporting letters from counsellors, schools, health visitors, midwives, etc.
If you do not have access to public funds at present, it may be possible to apply for emergency access to this by making a Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession application.
If you have leave to remain on another basis or lack such leave, it may also possible to apply for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a private and family life.
‘Family members’ under the EUSS are defined as:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Unmarried (durable) partner where the relationship commenced prior to 31/12/20 and they hold a residence document issued under The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016
- Children under 21
- Dependent children who are 21 or over
- Dependent parents
- Other dependent relatives where they hold a residence document obtained under The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016
*Unmarried partners & other dependent relatives are only considered ‘family members’ under the EU Settlement Scheme if they have/had a residence document issued under The Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016.
The EU Settlement deadline has past but you can still make a late application:
- If you have lived in the UK continuously** for 5 or more years you qualify for settled status (Indefinite Leave to Remain)
- If you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years you may qualify for pre-settled status. If you are granted a pre-settled status you can apply for settled status when you reach 5 years of residence in the UK. You need to apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires (5 years from the date it was issued) if you wish to continue living in the UK.
**continuously mean that you must live in the UK for minimum of 6 months in any 12-month period.
You should apply for status using:
- Your OWN contact details (phone number and email address),
- your passport or a national ID card
Late applications are discretionary. This means that applicants must explain and prove why they were unable to apply before the deadline.
The non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds for late application includes:
- Children (including children in care or care leavers)
- Physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs
- Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment
- Victim of modern slavery
- Abusive or controlling relationship or situation
- Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons
- Ceasing to be exempt from immigration control
- Existing limited or indefinite leave to enter or remain
- Document or status under the EEA Regulations
If you already have a status, but the contact details used to make an application are of your abusive partner, it is possible to change them by calling the Home Office Resolution Centre: 0300 123 7379, but remember that your partner will get an automatic email stating that the details were changed. You may wish to change the details once you are safe. You need to have access to your status, which only comes in a digital form, to prove your rights in the UK. To access your status visit: https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status
If you have children, they also need to have a status under the EUSS. If your children’s status is linked to your partner’s, it is possible to change that.
If you require help with applying for status under the EUSS, or accessing your digital profile contact us. We provide FREE and REGULATED immigration support related to the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you are in Scotland, emails us at email@example.com or phone us or send us a SMS or WhatsApp on 07518926137. If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0330 223 5336.
*Featured image – ‘A thousand words’ commissioned by Scottish Womens Aid and Zero Tolerance. Copyright Laura Dodsworth
** This information was updated on 7th September 2022.