More than 70% of fee waiver requests rejected

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.


On reaching the UK, people face a hostile environment. Without help, many will be forcibly sent back to the wars, persecution and misery they have fled.

Your donation will help us to help people in their struggle for the right to remain in the UK, and to campaign for migration justice



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