How to Appeal an ILR Refusal As a Victim of Domestic Violence


Experiencing a refusal on your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application can feel like a heavy blow, more so when you’re already dealing with the consequence of being a victim of domestic violence. But it’s essential to remember that you are not alone in this journey.

In this detailed post, we explore the process of appealing an ILR refusal, specifically under these circumstances. We aim to provide you with clear, practical advice to navigate this tricky road, helping to lift some of the weight off your shoulders and guiding you towards ensuring your residency rights in the UK. 

Keep reading the article to find out more.

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Understanding the ILR Refusal for Victims of Domestic Violence

The UK Home Office considers various factors when considering an ILR application. For victims of domestic violence, certain elements may result in a refusal. These include:

  1. Insufficient Evidence: A significant reason behind many refusals is the lack of convincing evidence verifying domestic violence claims. This can include medical reports, police records, social services records, and testimonials, all of which help describe the degree and consequence of the abuse.
  2. Failings to Meet the Immigration Rules: Another reason can be non-compliance with specific immigration rules. For instance, the UK Home Office demands proof of your association with your partner, typically a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. If you fail to meet this requirement, your ILR application as a victim may encounter a refusal.
  3. Credibility Concerns: The Home Office examines every case under a lens of suspicion, trying to prove the genuineness of your claims. If they find inconsistencies in your story or if particular elements raise doubts, they may refuse your application.
  4. Unlawful Public Funds Dependency: In some cases, the Home Office may refuse an application if they believe the applicant is has been dependent on public funds when they should not have been. 

Understanding these refusal reasons is the first step in shaping a robust appeal. Victims of domestic violence often face unique challenges in meeting visa requirements, chiefly due to the covert nature of abuse and controlling behaviour, which can limit their access to necessary documentation or assistance.

The emotional toll of this process, coupled with the potential consequences of refusal, such as having to leave the UK, can be profound. Hence, having a skilled immigration solicitor by your side in the process can be instrumental in navigating these choppy waters.

Please note that the Home Office will inform you in its refusal letter of your original claim if your case can be appealed or if you may be able to pursue the path of administrative review.

Grounds for Making an Appeal for ILR Based on Domestic Violence Cases

When dealing with domestic violence cases, it’s important to be aware of the legal prerequisites that are necessary for an appeal. This will ensure that the reasons for appealing against a refusal of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) are clear and transparent. The privilege to respect private and family life under the Human Rights Act is often a cornerstone of such appeals. Victims of domestic violence are typically deeply embedded in the UK due to their family life here, and the extraction of such individuals from their lives in the UK can represent a severe breach of these rights. Moreover, If you are a victim of domestic violence and can prove this in your application, then you have a human right claim which could give you the grounds for an appeal. 

However, it is highly crucial to authenticate your ILR domestic violence claim by obtaining a detailed police report. Establishing the proof of the domestic violence you’ve faced, along with outlining its resonant impact on your life, is a matter of utmost importance in these cases and especially crucial if you need to appeal an application that has failed previously. 

Gathering Essential Evidence for an Appeal

Having compelling evidence is crucial for successfully appealing an ILR refusal under a domestic violence claim. The evidence you present should demonstrate the existence of domestic violence or abuse during your relationship with a British national or a person with settled status in the United Kingdom. This evidence can be varied, capturing the range of acts designed to control, coerce or threaten a partner.

  1. Police Reports: If there were any instances where the police were involved due to the abuse, copies of these reports could serve as potent evidence of domestic violence.
  2. Medical Records: Hospital and GP records indicating injuries or mental health issues resulting from domestic violence, such as depression or anxiety, can also be beneficial.
  3. Statements from Witnesses: These can be from friends, family members, or neighbours who have been aware of the abuse. Similarly, letters from professionals such as social workers, counsellors, or refuge workers who have worked with you can provide substantial evidence.
  4. Judicial Reports: Any non-molestation orders, occupation orders or other court orders against the perpetrator can also strengthen your case.
  5. Personal Testimony: Your personal letter describing the abuse can be an assertive piece of proof. This should include details on your connection with your abuser, including the types of abuse you encountered, its frequency, and its effect on you.

Collecting such evidence can be stressful, especially when dealing with the trauma of abuse. Fortunately, there many organisations exist to support victims of domestic violence in gathering evidence for their application for indefinite leave. These include refugees, local domestic abuse support services, and immigration solicitors.

It’s crucial to organise your evidence effectively. Having a clear and structured case will help present your situation accurately to the Home Office or in court during your appeal. A timeline of events can be beneficial here, clearly demonstrating when each instance of abuse occurred and aligning this with supporting evidencto

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The Appeal Process: Step-by-Step

Understanding the immigration appeals process is highly important when applying for an appeal on ILR refusal. Here are the typical steps of the process:

  1. Receiving the Refusal Letter: If your ILR application is rejected, the Home Office will send you a letter detailing the reasons for the refusal. The letter will also provide instructions on whether you are eligible to appeal the decision.
  2. Preparing Your Appeal: Once you’ve determined to appeal, the next step is to organise your case correctly. This includes gathering all the relevant proof and crafting a strong appeal document that apparently outlines the grounds for your appeal. The assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer during this step can significantly improve your prospects of success.
  3. Filing the Appeal: Your appeal needs to be filed to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). It’s vital to note that there is a strict deadline for this. You must lodge the appeal within 28 days of getting the letter.
  4. The First-tier Tribunal Hearing: After submission of the appeal, a hearing will be scheduled at the First-tier Tribunal. You or your immigration solicitor can present the case and debate why the refusal should be overturned. It is possible for victims to be excused from appearing in person due to the sensitive nature of domestic violence cases.
  5. The Tribunal’s Decision: After the hearing, the judge will make a conclusion on your appeal. You will receive a report of the judgment outlining whether your request was successful or not.

If the First-tier Tribunal dismisses your appeal, you might have the right of appeal to the Upper Tribunal or petition for a Judicial Review if the First-tier Tribunal’s decision contains a legal error. You can also apply for administrative review as well as apply for ILR again. 

The process of appealing the ILR denial is complicated, and each stage is paramount. A  simple error may risk your eligibility to remain in the UK. Working with an immigration lawyer who has handled domestic abuse cases may assist you through the procedure and increase your chances of success.


Going through an ILR refusal as a victim of domestic violence can be unfortunate and challenging. It’s crucial to understand that you’re not alone in this journey, and there are various resources available to support you. Remember, you have the right to live free from abuse, as recognised by the UK Immigration law.

The appeal process can be complicated and demands a thorough preparation. Be sure to collect substantial evidence, understand the grounds for appeal, and stick to the timelines and processes of the appeal. With proper preparation and support, you can successfully appeal your ILR refusal and overturn it to continue your life in the UK.

Need Help with the Appeal Process?

It’s not simply about being able to understand legal language or fulfilling rigorous deadlines. It’s more about fighting for your rights and achieving the stability and safety you deserve. Professional assistance may make all the difference in this situation.

Our team at Gulbenkian Andonian consists of experienced immigration solicitors who have seen it all. Our expertise in UK immigration law, Home Office policies, and the appeal process is unmatched. We recognise the gravity of the circumstance and have the necessary resources to address it.

We’re not just about handling the legal aspects – although we do so exceptionally well. We take the time to understand your unique situation, ensuring your case is presented powerfully and persuasively in a tailored approach that’s right for you. From gathering the proper evidence and building a persuasive narrative of your case to representing you in the tribunal, we stand by your side every step of the way.

Are you ready to discuss your case? Contact us for a confidential consultation. Let’s begin your appeal journey together and pave the way towards a secure and stable life in the UK.


Individuals qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain under domestic violence if they are in the UK on a spouse or partner visa and are sufferers of domestic violence from their UK national or settled partner. The applicant needs to prove that their relationship was authentic until the occurrence of the domestic violence event.

The standard for relationship in an ILR Domestic Violence application specifies that the applicant was genuinely and actively in a relationship with a UK resident or citizen, which unfortunately ended because of domestic violence. During this period, the applicant must have been living in the UK on a spouse or partner visa.

The success rate for ILR varies based on many factors, including the quality of the application, the quality of the provided evidence, and the particular situation the applicant is facing. As of now, no success rate percentage is made available by Home Office or any other credible organisations. 

After an ILR application is submitted, it generally takes around 2 to 6 months for the UK Home Office to make a decision. The duration depends on the complexity of the application and the number of applications the Home Office is currently handling.

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