More than 70% of fee waiver requests rejected

Legal Updates

Yesterday, the Guardian reported that, according to the response to their freedom of information request, the Home Office rejected 72% of applicants seeking a fee waiver for immigration applications in 2018.

They write that:

The rate of rejections ranged between 72% to 90% over the last five years.

The number of rejections among child applicants was also high. In 2018, 69% of fee waiver applications for someone aged 18 or younger were turned down.

What are fee waivers?

If you are destitute and cannot afford to pay the fee for your immigration application, you can apply for a fee waiver.

The Home Office should consider a fee waiver if you are making a human rights application, which would usually be on the basis of Article 8 family/private life. Read more about that in our Toolkit here.

The Home Office should also consider a fee waiver if you are making another kind of immigration application, such as under the family migration rules (read more about that here), and a refusal would breach your human rights. A fee waiver is also available for victims of trafficking in certain circumstances.

Read the Home Office guidance on fee waivers here.

You can also apply for a fee waiver of the Immigration Health Surcharge. If you are able to pay the fee for making the immigration/human rights application, you can apply for a fee waiver for just the surcharge; if you are unable to pay either, you can apply for a fee waiver for both. Read more about the surcharge in the Toolkit here.

To be eligible for a fee waiver, you need to show evidence that you are destitute, or that you would become destitute by paying the fee.

Despite the good news that most immigration fees were frozen this year, immigration fees are already exorbitantly expensive – especially for families with several members included in the application – and without a fee waiver, many will simply not be able to access justice.

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35 comments on “More than 70% of fee waiver requests rejected

  1. Adam on

    I applied mine since 13 March 2019 family of 6 with disability child, nothing since then, sent them another letter to inform time running out, work, housing, benefits all depend on their reply, no response no acknowledge that they have received.
    Shocking I don’t know what to do and my permit running out on June.
    Any advise?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • right-to-remain on

      Unfortunately the Home Office don’t specify how long a decision will take. Their guidance only says “caseworkers must make reasonable efforts to decide such requests promptly”. If you have a lawyer or caseworker, you could ask them to contact the Home Office to find out what is happening. If you don’t have a lawyer, you could try asking your MP to contact the Home Office on your behalf.

      Reply
    • right-to-remain on

      Unfortunately the Home Office don’t specify how long a decision will take. Their guidance only says “caseworkers must make reasonable efforts to decide such requests promptly”. If you have a lawyer or caseworker, you could ask them to contact the Home Office to find out what is happening. If you don’t have a lawyer, you could try asking your MP to contact the Home Office on your behalf.

      Reply
  2. adil on

    Hi

    If Visa fee waiver application rejected, is there way to challenge the home office decision? what if i dnt have fee to pay after fee waiver application refused what step i can take? please let me know in breifly if possible

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi there. The Free Movement blog post on fee waiver has information on this (article only possible to read if you’re a member because it’s more than a month old): https://www.freemovement.org.uk/fee-waiver-policy-who-qualifies-and-what-does-the-home-office-policy-say/#Application_is_refused

      Here is what it says if a fee waiver application is refused:

      Applicants who had valid leave at the time of the application will be advised that they do not qualify for a fee waiver and be given 10 working days to submit additional evidence that demonstrates they qualify for a fee waiver.

      If the applicant had no valid leave at the date of application, their application will simply be rejected as invalid. They will need to submit a new application with the fee or a new application for a fee waiver.

      Reply
    • RtR on

      Once a fee waiver application is accepted, your application for leave to remain should be submitted within ten working days of the date of the positive fee waiver decision (but it is worth checking with the Home Office that these deadlines still apply during the Covid crisis)

      Reply
  3. Aiden Port on

    Thanks, words are too small for the value you add through your content, This is the best guide I have seen so far on the internet.Article was easy to understand with comprehensive and easy explanation.

    Reply
  4. Edward Olaniyan on

    Dear sir Madam,
    How many days will I allowed to apply for fee waiver before the expiry date of my Limited
    Indefinite Leave to Remain 10 year route. Can you please give me some tips regarding this as soon as possible.

    Thanks
    Edward O.

    Reply
  5. Natasa on

    I have an indefinite leave to remain status, i applied for a citizenship under 18 fee waiver on the 20 of June. What will happen to my status if it gets rejected because it takes 4 weeks for a decision and I will leave for holidays on the 24 of July and return on August. Will it affect my status, if so what do I need to do because will I be allowed in the uk again or do I need to apply for my status again.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Natasa, thanks for your message. Please see this Toolkit page on fee waivers here. It is likely that you will have to wait for a response from the Home Office to your application for a fee waiver for over 4 weeks.

      You will receive an email or letter to tell you the outcome of your fee waiver request. At that point, you will have 10 working days (this means excluding weekends and public holidays) from the date you were sent the email or letter granting your fee waiver to submit your application for permission to extend your leave. It is a good idea to start your application for leave to remain as soon as you have submitted your fee waiver.

      Best of luck to you.

      Reply
  6. Sharif on

    Hello, I applied for a fee waiver for my kids passport because I couldn’t afford it. I have all the evidence and they replied to me saying I need to provide more evidence for my financial circumstances. However I didn’t give the evidence as I was going through some personal and the application got rejected. Do you think I can apply for the application again?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Sharif. See our Toolkit page on applying for a fee waiver here. It has information about what to do when your fee waiver application is rejected – and it explains that it is possible to apply again with better evidence.

      Reply
  7. Amina on

    I applied for my son free waiver and my son has DLA . l send all documents and all my evidence get email from them my application is rejected
    They didn’t explain to me why is rejected any advice about my case.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Amina, sorry to hear your fee waiver was rejected. It is a good idea to try and get information from the Home Office about why your application was rejected, so you can provide more evidence. You can read our Toolkit page for information about what to do if your application is rejected here. In solidarity, Right to Remain

      Reply
      • Michou on

        Hello everyone zi have apllied for a fee waover 9n 29 January 2024 and my current limited leave to remain will expired in 16days. I still did not have any response from the home office. I calked them amd they said I should wait they said there is not expecific time. I was thinking to reapply but not sire it is a good idea. Thanks

        Reply
  8. Danielle on

    Hi I applied on the 9th of June for a fee waiver my leave to remain expires on the 8 of September I am not sure if they sent the email and my kid deleted it from my phone or I haven’t received it how long does it take for a decision and is that working days or are weekends included I’m really really worried as I seen people says it takes 4 weeks for a decision

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Sam. Sorry to hear about the delay you are experiencing. We hear that people are waiting for over 4 weeks for a response from the Home Office, and for others it can be months. This is very frustrating. Make sure your address and contact email is up to date, so that you receive any communication from the Home Office promptly. You could also ask a lawyer to help you with a Pre Action Protocol (PAP) letter to challenge the delay. However, once you have submitted your application for a fee waiver, your rights will continue under something called Section 3C leave. Read more about this here.

      Reply
      • Sam on

        Thank you so much for responding I will continue to wait and see if I have received anything Iv researched and see that there is no way for me to check the status of the application for the fee waiver unfortunately I cannot afford to get a lawyer thank you again for responding I really appreciate it.

        Reply
    • Sheka on

      Hi Sam,

      Did you get any respond from the Home Office. I’m in the same situation I submit an application on the 7th of July my visa expire on the 16th of August and still no respond from the HO

      Reply
  9. Ada on

    Hi I am a single ill mom, applied for fee waiver for me and my 2 kids on 31 August 2023 but still haven’t received any call from horrible Home Office yet. How long more must wait?! I am on PIP also. According to the website people with disabilities and have kids are in priority but look at me!!! Horrible service.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ada, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about the delay in your fee waiver application decision. We have heard that decisions are taking as long as 5 months in some cases at the moment – it is really terrible.

      One thing you could try would be uploading a covering letter to your online portal (where the documents are uploaded) saying how long you have been waiting. Sometimes that action can make Home Office make a decision quicker.

      Reply

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Please note Right to Remain cannot provide immigration legal advice that is specific to your individual asylum and immigration application.

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