What to do if I cannot pay for UK visa fees?

You must pay two costs to the Home Office when applying for permission to stay (LTR): the Home Office fee1 and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

The IHS costs £624 per year and most LTR applications cost £1033. That means any person who applies for 30 months of leave will have to pay £2593. Every 30 months, you’ll have to save that much money.

You can, however, request a “fee waiver” from the Home Office. You will not be required to pay the Home Office costs and/or the Immigration Health Surcharge if this is granted.

If you can’t afford the charge, the Home Office can’t make you pay to file a human rights complaint. The fee waiver’s goal is to ensure that those who are unable to pay the Home Office fee can still apply for leave to remain based on their human rights.

Who is eligible to apply for a fee waiver?

Human rights applications are eligible for fee waivers. If you can’t afford the IHS or the application price for leave to remain, you can apply for a fee waiver:

  • under the 10-year route, as a parent or partner 
  • under the five-year route, as a parent
  • if your partner does not have to achieve the minimum income requirement (for example, since they are exempt) under the five-year method
  • on the basis of your Article 8 (family and private life) rights, or any other ECHR right, as long as the application’s principal rationale is based on your human rights.
  • on a case-by-case basis, such as if you’ve been denied asylum or humanitarian protection, or if you’ve been a victim of human trafficking.

Even if you have no recourse to public funds, you can apply because a fee waiver is not a public fund.

Fees are normally updated on the 6th of April each year, however they may be updated more frequently.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table

Fee waivers are not available for all applications, such as those for indefinite leave to remain or registration as a British citizen. It is also not guaranteed that you will get it.

You do not need to apply for a fee waiver if you are applying for medical reasons. This is due to the fact that applications based on Article 3 of the ECHR are free of charge (to do with medical needs).

Will it have an impact on my status?

No. It’s crucial to remember that applying for a fee waiver will have no effect on your leave to remain application or the terms of your leave.

When should I submit my application?

If you already have permission to stay, you must apply for a fee waiver at least 28 days before your present permission to stay expires. If you apply for a fee waiver, you will retain all of your existing rights and entitlements as if you had applied for leave to remain. 

Section 3C leave is referred to as such because it is granted under Section 3C of the Immigration Act of 1971. This implies that if you applied for a fee waiver 28 days or less before your leave expires, you won’t have to worry if the Home Office hasn’t responded by the time your current leave expires.

If you do not have leave to remain, you must first ask for a fee waiver before submitting an application for leave to remain. You must apply for leave to remain within 10 working days after receiving a decision on your fee waiver application (whether it is granted or denied). 

Any existing leave will expire if you do not apply within 10 working days after receiving the decision on your fee waiver application. If you were given a fee waiver, the code you used to redeem it will no longer work.

How do I submit my application?

This form can be used to apply online. It is completely free to apply. If you are applying with dependents, you must submit their information on the same form.

You have ten working days after submitting your online application to provide supporting papers (see below). The Home Office wants to make a decision “as soon as possible.” In most cases, you should anticipate to wait roughly four weeks for a decision. You will be issued a code if you are granted a fee waiver. This code must be entered when submitting an application for leave to remain.

What exactly do I need to prove?

Are you able to cover the cost? If you can’t, that’s all you need to demonstrate.

The Home Office guidance contains a lot of language about destitution and exceptional circumstances, yet none of these things must be shown. You merely need to demonstrate that you are unable to pay the fee.

You don’t have to establish that you wouldn’t be able to borrow the money from anyone else; the Home Office would be breaking the law if it required this.

What proof do I need to provide?

A successful fee waiver application requires evidence.

A “checklist” will be generated when you submit your fee waiver application online, indicating which documents you must give. These must be provided within ten working days. In general, this entails:

  • 6 months of bank statements for all accounts you have 
  • An explanation of the income and outgoings from your account, to cover any regular or large transactions 
  • 6 months of payslips and any other income you have • A letter from your employer confirming your employment 
  • A letter from the DWP/your Universal Credit journal, if you are receiving benefits
  • Proof of any health difficulties you or your dependents have 
  • Your rental agreement/mortgage bills • 6 months of bills, including electricity bills and council tax 
  • Letters from individuals who have loaned you money
  • Evidence of your childcare responsibilities, such as if you must work part-time as a result.

It is not necessary to include a cover letter or statement explaining why you are unable to pay the charge, although it is helpful. You can explain your income, expenses, and any other issues that make it difficult for you to pay the fees in a cover letter.

You can also provide additional information on anything that the online application form does not allow you to explain. You can send your cover letter and accompanying documents together.

The Home Office’s Decision-Making Process

According to Home Office instructions, fee waiver applicants must demonstrate that they “do not have sufficient finances at their disposal, after providing their essential needs, to pay the fee.”

If you have made any “non-essential or exorbitant expenditures […] holidays, gambling, or other non-essential purchases,” the Home Office will investigate.

Remember that what is considered important is subjective, so if you have any such expenses, be sure to explain why they were required. Your savings will be taken into account by the Home Office. However, just because you have money saved does not mean you won’t be eligible for a fee waiver. You should explain why having some money is vital to you (for example, for the welfare of a child, in the event you lose your work, in the event of an emergency, etc.).

The Home Office must examine the best interests and welfare of children in the UK who will be affected by the decision.

In a covering letter, include a chart that clearly shows your income and costs to inform the Home Office that you cannot pay the fee. On your bank statements, make sure to clarify any substantial or frequent income or expenses.

You can provide an average based on the last six months for irregular income or expenses. It’s possible that the table will look like this:

£/monthly income

£/month Wages xx Benefits xx Total xx Expenses

Rent xx Gas, Water, and Other Expenses xx Food xx Clothing xx Other Expenses xx Total xx

What happens if my fee waiver request is denied?

A fee waiver decision cannot be appealed, so make sure you submit a strong application with plenty of supporting information. If you’re turned down, you have a few options:

  • You can seek judicial review of the refusal, although this is usually not possible for those renewing their leave to remain. This is because judicial reviews can take a long time, but if you don’t request for additional leave within 10 days following the fee waiver ruling, your leave will expire.
  • You can find a means to pay the cost and submit your leave to stay application within 10 working days 

The Home Office may seek extra documentation before reaching a decision in some situations – be sure to supply it within ten working days of receiving the request.

Do you want to instruct me? If it is a request for free legal advice I may not respond, I’m sorry. If you are looking for personal legal advice or help with your case, we have three different services available for differing budgets:

  1. Ask us anything on video link or telephone legal advice in 30 min sessions for £75.
  2. Application checking service for £450 if you have prepared your application yourself but want it checking for your peace of mind
  3. Full legal representation from £1,250 where we run your case for you.

We are Queen’s Park Solicitors. I am a  solicitor (lawyer) based in London, UK. My name is Atty.  Lindoven Magsino, BSc, MBA, GDL, LLM, Ph.D. (candidate). We are based at Suite 4, Stewart House, 56 Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex IG11 8RT, United Kingdom | Telephone: 02036437508 | Fax: 02033931725  | Email: donm@queensparksolicitors.co.uk | Regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) 566513. Visit us at http://www.queensparksolicitors.co.uk. 

DISCLAIMER: All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for a professional advise. Should you decide to act upon on the information on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Categories: Home, UK Immigration

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