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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8 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

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