Victims of Domestic Violence – Route to Settlement Available

Domestic Abuse
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash


If you are the visa-dependant (spouse or partner) of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK, your visa status will only be valid while you are still in the relationship with this person.

Fortunately, UK immigration rules allow domestic violence or abuse victims (who are visa dependants) to settle in the UK. Thus, they do NOT need to stay in an abusive relationship to remain in the UK.

What is Domestic Abuse or Violence?

The Home Office classify domestic abuse or violence as behaviour that can be emotional, psychological, physical, sexual or financial. The behaviour can include threatening or controlling behaviour to try to harm, isolate or frighten someone.

How to qualify under this route

You can apply if you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse and your partner is:

  • A British citizen, or
  • A person settled in the UK, or
  • A refugee settled in the UK, or
  • A member of the UK Armed Forces who has served for at least four years.

You will have to prove that your relationship broke down because of domestic violence or abuse from your partner or the partner’s family.

When can I apply?

It is important that you have to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if you are the victim of domestic abuse as soon as possible after the relationship breaks down. Do not wait until your visa expires.

You must also remember that you must be in the UK to apply. Do not leave the UK and apply from abroad.

Children of Victims of Domestic Violence or Abuse

You can include the children in your application. They have to be eligible, and the ex-partner (violent/abusive partner) has to be the other parent.

If your ex-partner is not their parent, they can apply under the following circumstances:

  • Their parent is dead, or
  • You have sole responsibility, or
  • There are compelling reasons why they should be allowed to stay in the UK.

The Home Office classify parent in these circumstances as the natural biological parent, an adoptive parent or a step-parent in cases where the birth parent has died.

We highly recommend that you speak to a Breytenbachs consultant for more advice.

What happens after a successful application?

If you successfully apply, you will receive the immigration status of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This immigration status will give you the right to live, work and study in the UK. You will also be able to apply for some benefits. You can also use this status to apply for British citizenship. This will usually be after 12 months with the status of ILR.

How Breytenbachs can help you

Breytenbachs strongly recommend that persons who want to apply under this domestic violence route to ILR seek help from a qualified Breytenbachs consultant. We will be able to advise on the correct procedures to ensure a successful outcome. Contact us today for assistance.