FAQs on protecting yourself from domestic violence when your immigration status is uncertain

I want to leave my partner who is abusing me but I don't know if I will be able to stay in the UK because of my immigration status. What help can I get?

If you are worried whether you will be able to stay in the UK, because you entered as a spouse, civil partner, un-married or same-sex partner of a British citizen or someone present and settled in the UK, you must contact a specialist immigration adviser. Under the current immigration rules, if you have been here for more than 2 years, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, even if you are no longer with your partner. If you are still under a 2 year probationary period, you may be able to apply to stay in the UK under the Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession, if you can show that you are a victim of domestic violence.

You may also qualify for some benefits for a temporary period of time such as jobseeker's allowance, income support and housing benefit which would also help you to access safe housing through a specialist domestic violence charity. The rules are quite complicated and don't apply to everyone therefore it is essential to speak to a specialist immigration legal advisor as soon as possible to know what your legal position is in this situation and how you go about making an application under the domestic violence rules.

It's also important to know what your legal rights are if you feel like you have not been heard or treated appropriately. For more information see where to get further help.


My partner has told me he will report me to the immigration authorities if I tell anyone about the domestic violence

Threats of this kind are common in domestic violence situations. It's very important to contact either the police or Children's Services immediately, whenever you feel you or your child is at risk. You should receive some support to keep you and your child safe. If you are worried about your immigration status then contact a domestic violence helpline and/or a specialist immigration advice service. You can find details in the "where to get further help" section.


I am scared to speak to a social worker because I don't have the right to be in this country

If you are worried about your immigration status then, contact a domestic violence helpline who should be able to help you get the right advice for your situation. You can find details in the "where to get further help" section.

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