Coronavirus-related Visa Fee Waivers
With the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting all areas of our lives, including our jobs and livelihoods, many of us will be facing considerable financial difficulties.
Many people will have been furloughed, with their income reduced to 80%. Equally, many people have faced redundancies, perhaps turning to Universal Credit for support.
The position is particularly acute for affected migrants in the UK looking to find the fees to pay for pending immigration applications, the Immigration Health Surcharge and numerous additional fees relating to priority services, biometrics appointments and language tests.
The majority of migrants are prohibited from accessing public funds, removing the safety net of provisions like Universal Credit.
Take the example of a single applicant applying to extend a Partner visa: in making their application they will expected to fork out almost £2,500. If any dependants are factored in, those fees apply to each individual applicant.
It’s at times like this that some applicants will have to consider applying for a fee waiver from the UKVI. This applies to those making applications with a human rights element and to extension applications only (i.e. not for indefinite leave to remain).
To qualify for a fee waiver, the UKVI must be satisfied that one of the following applies:
- You are able to demonstrate (with evidence) that you are destitute; or
- You are able to demonstrate that you would be left destitute by payment of the fees; or
- You are not able to demonstrate 1 & 2 above, but there are exceptional circumstances that justify a grant of a fee waiver
Fee waiver requests must be made online before an application for leave to remain is made.
The bottom line is that it is a breach of human rights law to charge for an application where the applicant is unable to afford the fees. However, applications should be well prepared in order to prove that this is the case; they involve the submission of extensive supporting evidence as the UKVI takes an in-depth look at an applicant’s ability to pay their application fees.
Call us on 0333 305 9375 to find out if you are eligible and arrange an urgent session with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.
IAS’ team of immigration lawyers are continuing to provide legal advice and assistance at this time and are offering Skype/video call appointments to protect both staff and clients.
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