Making an immigration application 

Local authority practitioners will need to signpost people with NRPF who the local authority is supporting for legal advice​ about their immigration caseOnly an immigration adviser regulated by the OISC, or a solicitor or barrister who is registered with the profession's regulatory body, can provide immigration or asylum advice to individuals. The information provided here is to help local authority practitioners know when to signpost a person for advice and what may be required of the person if they make an immigration application.

      Application requirements​

      The Immigration Rules​ set out the categories under which people can apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK, the requirements which need to be met to be granted leave, the length of leave and any conditions attached when leave is granted . 

Many families and adults with NRPF who are supported by social services will need to make immigration applications to regularise their status or extend their current leave to remain, and will often be doing so on human rights grounds under the following Immigration Rules:

  • Family life - Appendix FM
  • Private life - Part 7
  • Outside of the Immigration Rules.  
In order for an immigration application to be considered by the Home Office, it needs to be valid, and therefore compliant with requirements specified in the Immigration Rules. Invalid applications will be returned without the substantive claim being considered by the Home Office.

An immigration application will usually be valid when the following requirements are met:

  • The correct and current version of the application form is used
  • The correct fee is paid (when no exemption applies)
  • The Immigration Health Charge is paid (when no exemption applies)
  • The required identity documents are submitted

Application fees and exemptions 

Immigration fees are revised (and usually increased) in April each year. The fees and exemptions are set out under the Immig​ration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018​The majority of immigration applications incur a fee although those which are exempt include the following types of applications:

  • Asylum or Article 3 
  • Leave to remain under the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession 
  • Leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence under paragraph 289A, Appendix FM or Appendix Armed Forces, where the person is destitute
  • Most applications made by children who are looked after by a local authority (excluding children supported under section 17)
  • Initial period of limited leave to remain as a stateless person, or as the family member of a stateless person, under Part 14 
  • EC Association Agreement with Turkey
  • Discretionary leave when the person has a positive grounds decision as a victim of trafficking or modern day slavery
  • Leave as a domestic worker who is the victim of slavery or human trafficking
Applications made under the family and private life rules, or outside of the rules raising Article 8 family and private life grounds are not exempt and will cost £2033 (£1033 application fee + £1000 Immigration Heath Charge). A separate fee must be paid for each family member that is included in the application.

When a person is not exempt from paying an application fee, but they cannot afford the fee, then they will need to find out whether the fee waiver policy applies to them. 

For more information about the Immigration Health Charge see our factsheet:

Application fee waiver

Where a person cannot afford the application fee then they may be able to apply for a  fee waiver if they​ are applying for leave to remain on one of the following grounds:

  • 5-year partner route - only where a person is not required to meet the minimum income threshold because their sponsor is in receipt of a particular benefit and so instead must demonstrate that their sponsor can provide adequate maintenance 
  • 5-year parent route 
  • 10-year partner, parent or private life route - where a person claims that refusal of that application for leave to remain would breach their rights under Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
  • Where other rights under the ECHR are asserted and this forms the substantive basis of an application
  • Extension of discretionary leave that was granted following refusal of asylum or humanitarian protection claim - where a person claims that refusal to grant further leave to remain would breach their ECHR rights. 
  • Extension of discretionary leave for a victim of trafficking or slavery who has already accrued 30 months’ discretionary leave and is applying to extend it for reasons relating to trafficking or slavery​
For more information about how the policy applies to people in social services support see our news item:

      ​Evidence of identity

      A person applying for most types of limited leave or indefinite leave to remain before 24 November 2016 was required to submit a valid passport, travel document or national identity card with their application. 

      This requirement has changed, so a person applying for most types of limited or indefinite leave to remain on or after 24 November 2016 will now need to provide one of the following:

  • A valid passport, or, if they do not have this, a valid national identity card
  • Their most recent passport or national identity card, if they do not have a valid passport or national identity card
  • A valid travel document if they do not have any of the above
Full details of this requirement is set out at paragraph 34(5) of the Immigration Rules , including the circumstances when a person will not be required to submit one of the listed documents, for example, if their document is being held by the Home Office.

      Related news items:
  • Valid passport requirement creates additional obstacle to resolving cases for local authority supported migrants, 2 July 2015​ 

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      Refusal of leave to remain due to NHS debt

The Home Office 'will normally' refuse an application for leave to remain made by a person with an NHS debt of £500 or more which has been acquired because they have been subject to charges for hospital treatment (secondary healthcare).  This refusal is discretionary and Home Office guidance sets out instances when a debt may not lead to an application​ being refused. 

Note that only hospital treatment and some non-primary community services are chargeable. Some people with NRPF will be subject to charging depending on their immigration status and the type of treatment they require. For example, people without any current immigration permission will be required to pay for most types of hospital treatment and can only receive non-urgent treatment with full upfront payment. People who have accrued NHS debt must inform their legal representative so that this can be properly addressed in their immigration application. ​
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Page updated 15 January 2019