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What is Leave Outside the Rules?

If you have an exceptional or compelling immigration case, you may be eligible to be granted leave outside the rules.

For more information about leave outside the rules, and for assistance with your immigration case, IAS are here to help. Get in touch with one of our trusted legal advisers today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

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    Overview of Leave Outside the Rules

    The UK immigration system is designed to accommodate the majority of applicants who wish or need to enter or remain in the UK if they qualify.

    However, there may be exceptional circumstances where Home Office caseworkers use their discretion to grant leave to applicants even if they don’t meet immigration rules or requirements.

    This is known as Leave Outside The Rules (LOTR). LOTR is usually only granted in cases where there are exceptional, compelling, compassionate grounds present that justify granting leave outside of normal immigration restrictions.

    For example, LOTR can be granted on human rights grounds, or in cases where to render refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant or their family.

    Some of the reasons or circumstances why LOTR might be granted include:

    • Family or private life reasons
    • Discretionary leave, such as:
      • Medical reasons
      • Modern slavery
    • Other compelling compassionate grounds

    What Can I Do If I’m Granted Leave Outside the Rules?

    The specific allowances and limitations each applicant receives will vary based on individual circumstances and the demands of the case.

    For example, some cases of LOTR may allow applicants to work or study in the UK, while other cases may expressly prohibit working or studying. Similarly, public funds may be inaccessible for some applicants, while others may be entitled to claim public funds.

    The length of time granted under LOTR will also vary from case to case. However, the duration of time granted is normally only long enough to accommodate or overcome the compassionate compelling grounds raised by the case. This usually results in only a short, one-off period of leave being granted to applicants.

    For example, if LOTR is granted to allow an applicant to attend to an emergency situation in the UK, the leave would normally only be valid for the period of time where the emergency situation is in effect.

    Contact us today if you require assistance with your leave outside the rules application. Get in touch

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      When Can Leave Outside the Rules be Granted for Family and Private Life Reasons?

      Overview of Family and Private Life Reasons

      If an applicant can’t meet the usual requirements for a UK family visa, they may be granted LOTR if they invoke Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

      Article 8 refers to the right of respect for a person’s family and private life, and covers topics such as a person’s:

      • Right to live their live privately without government interference
        • This covers things such as sexual orientation, appearance, personal identity and lifestyle
      • Right to enjoy family relationships (or regular contact with family) without government interference
      • Right to enjoy their existing home peacefully

      How Are Leave Outside the Rules Cases Approved?

      When considering granting LOTR for family and private life reasons, a caseworker will first determine if the applicant is eligible for a family visa under the standard immigration rules and requirements. For example, they will examine the relationship, financial, accommodation, and English language requirements and see if they can be fulfilled.

      If the normal requirements can’t be fulfilled, the caseworker will see if there are any exceptions that can be made that may otherwise prevent a breach of the ECHR Article 8, refugee convention, or obligations.

      For example, it may be that refusing entry clearance into the UK may result in a breach of their human rights as outlined in the Article, or it may cause unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant or their family.

      If this is applicable to the case, then the caseworker will use their own discretion to decide if the case warrants LOTR in order to prevent these potential breaches or consequences from occurring.

      The caseworker will also consider the effects that a refusal to grant leave may have on the best interests of a relevant child associated with the case as a main priority.

      Don’t hesitate to seek professional help and assistance if you need a leave outside the rules application approved. Call one of IAS’ immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      What is Discretionary Leave?

      Discretionary leave, or discretionary leave to remain, refers to when there is strong evidence of exceptional, compassionate circumstances for leave to be granted on a discretionary basis.

      This type of leave doesn’t apply for when a person qualifies for humanitarian or asylum protection, for family or private life reasons, or for reasons under Article 8 of the ECHR.

      Only people who are already within the UK can apply for discretionary leave. It is intended for when it would be unjustifiably harsh to enforce the removal of an individual from the UK in accordance with normal immigration rules.

      The period of time granted with discretionary leave will vary based on individual cases, but it will normally be no more than 30 months at a time.

      There are a few different reasons for why discretionary leave may be granted.

      Why Might Discretionary Leave Be Granted?

      Discretionary Leave on Medical Grounds

      One circumstance where discretionary leave may be granted is if there may be a potential break of Article 3 of the ECHR, which refers to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment

      Discretionary leave may be granted on this basis if there is a real risk that the applicant may be subject to inhuman treatment if they were to leave the UK, or if their removal would seriously risk their physical or mental health.

      This may be applicable if there is a severe disparity between the medical treatment the applicant is being provided in the UK and the treatment available in the country of return.

      If so, then the applicant would need to provide evidence that they would likely suffer a serious decline in health or a significant reduction in life expectancy as a direct result of lack of access to appropriate medical treatment.

      Discretionary leave may also be granted if the applicant is at a critical stage of their illness and it would be considered inhuman treatment to deprive them of their current medical care.

      Discretionary Leave on Modern Slavery Grounds

      Discretionary leave may be granted in circumstances that may prevent the risk of an applicant being a victim to modern slavery.

      In order for an applicant to qualify for leave on this basis, there must be significant, objective evidence of a risk of the applicant being re-trafficked, or significant evidence that they would come into harm from those who might want to exploit the applicant.

      Leave may also be granted if the applicant needs to stay in the country to pursue compensation for any reason through the courts, or if they need to help the police with human trafficking or modern slavery-related criminal cases.

      Other Exceptional Circumstances Justifying Discretionary Leave

      There are a range of other potential exceptional circumstances that may call for discretionary leave to be granted to an applicant.

      For example, discretionary leave may be granted in the event of exceptional circumstances rendering the possible removal of an applicant inappropriate. The Home Office will take into consideration factors such as the applicant’s character, conduct, and previous history of compliance in this instance.

      They will also consider the length of time spent in the UK for reasons beyond the applicant’s control after the human rights or asylum claim has been submitted or refused.

      Other exceptional circumstances calling for discretionary leave include asylum seekers who cannot be categorised under any other existing policy, or unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

      We can help you with your discretionary leave application. For assistance with your immigration case, get in touch with us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      When Can Leave Outside the Rules be Granted for Other Compelling Compassionate Grounds?

      If there are no other exceptional circumstances that would warrant leave under Article 8, Article 3, protection grounds or discretionary leave grounds, applicants may still be able to seek to obtain LOTR on the basis of compelling compassionate grounds.

      Compelling, compassionate grounds may cover either:

      • An emergency or unexpected events
      • A crisis, disaster or accident that could not have been anticipated

      This is essentially a category to cover circumstances that are not covered by any other type of LOTR, and therefore may encompass a wide range of potential situations and circumstances.

      However, the main requirement is that it must entail a situation where refusal of entry or leave to remain would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences to the applicant or their family members.

      For example, LOTR may be granted in the event that an individual suffers a severe personal tragedy that requires them to stay longer in the UK than their current residence allowance permits.

      Alternatively, LOTR may be granted to an applicant if they need to provide urgent care to a settled or British relative under the concession for the carer.

      However, LOTR in these situations would only be granted if it was considered unreasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK under normal immigration rules, despite the factors at play.

      How Can I Apply for Leave Outside the Rules?

      In order to be eligible to be considered for LOTR, you should first submit an application form for the immigration or settlement route that most closely matches your current circumstances.

      For example, those who would like to be considered for an extension to their stay in the UK based on family or private life grounds must fill in the ‘Apply to extend your stay in the UK: form FLR(FP)’.

      After filling in your form, you must then pay the necessary fees and charges for that application. These will vary depending on what you are applying for.

      As part of your application, you must include documentary evidence of any compelling compassionate factors that may support your immigration case.

      If you’re applying from inside the UK and solely wish to be considered outside the existing immigration rules, you must submit either of the following:

      • Application to extend stay in the UK: form FLR (HRO)
      • Application to extend stay in the UK: form FLR (IR)

      The first of these is for human rights claims, LOTR considerations and other routes not covered by other forms.

      The second of these is to extend your existing visa to stay in the UK and to get a biometric residence permit.

      If you’re applying with the intention of being considered for leave outside the rules, it’s crucial that your application presents a convincing, compelling and comprehensive argument for leave to be granted.

      For help with your application and more information about how you could be granted leave outside the rules, get in touch with our legal experts today. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      What Documents Should I Provide With My Application?

      You must provide documents to support your application for LOTR. This must be relevant evidence that directly relates to reasons for justifying you entering, or remaining in, the UK, and illustrates how long you will need to stay for.

      For example, if you need to remain in the UK to attend a funeral, you should give details of the dates and locations, as well as compelling evidence as to why you must attend.

      Similarly, if you’re required to give evidence in a formal inquiry and the timings do not allow for you to leave and return in sufficient time, you will need details of the dates and times of this inquiry as well as the details of your intended travel plans.

      If you wish to apply based on compelling or compassionate medical grounds, you must submit medical evidence from a qualified medical practitioner who works in the appropriate field. The evidence must also involve details of the medical circumstance and why it specifically requires a period of leave on compelling compassionate grounds.

      For more information about what kind of documents and evidence you need to include in your application, and for further assistance when applying for leave outside the rules, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal professionals for help. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

      Can I Appeal a Leave Outside the Rules Refusal?

      Unfortunately, applicants who apply for a grant of leave outside of the normal Immigration Rules and are refused do not have access to a right of appeal, or an administrative review.

      This will apply for all applications except those that have a human rights claim included as part of the consideration.

      If you’ve been denied a grant of leave outside the rules and are unsure of what to do next, IAS are here to help. Get in touch with us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

      Can Leave Outside the Rules Lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain?

      It is possible for the Home Office to grant indefinite leave to remain with LOTR.

      However, this only occurs when grounds for it are so exceptional that they genuinely warrant it, such as in the event of a terminal illness.

      If you wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain under a LOTR consideration, you must fill in ‘Settle in the UK in various immigration categories: form SET(O)’ in order to be considered.

      For more information about indefinite leave to remain and how you may be able to find pathways to obtaining it, speak to one of our immigration experts on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

      How Can IAS Help?

      If you’re looking to be granted leave outside the immigration rules, it’s crucial that you seek legal advice as part of your application to ensure that you have the best chance of getting the result you want.

      IAS can help. We are a team of professional and capable immigration lawyers with years’ worth of experience helping people with their complex immigration issues. We can help you determine your eligibility to be granted leave outside the rules and assist you in putting together your application and collecting supporting documentation.

      We can also liaise with Home Office officials to ensure that your application receives all of the due consideration it deserves.

      We offer full, round-the-clock support for your case, and are committed to delivering outstanding service for all of our clients. Whether you require one-to-one help and advice in completing your application, expert advice on what your choices are, or just peace of mind for your specific immigration situation, we can help.

      For more information about the services we offer, and to talk to one of our legal experts, call us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

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