Application fees for immigration are rather high. Most requests for permission to stay in the UK now cost £1,052.20 (except for those made under the points-based immigration system). Additionally, applicants might be required to pay the £624 per year for adults and £470 annual child immigration health surcharge. The average cost for immigrants to obtain permission to reside in the UK for 2.5 years is close to £2,600.
These amounts are the absolute bare minimum. Additionally, individuals might have to pay £150 to pass an English language test. Others who cannot afford to wait months for the Home Office to decide on their application will pay £800 to use the Super Priority Service to receive a decision in 24 hours. Then there is legal representation, all too frequently a need rather than a luxury. Legal aid is almost entirely restricted to refugee claims, domestic abuse, or exceptionally complex human rights matters, and the Immigration Rules are difficult to understand.
Not everyone has the money to pay the fees required to update their immigration status or renew their right to remain in the UK. Fortunately, case law ensures that the Home Office is barred from charging a fee for a human rights-based application where the applicant cannot pay it.
Case Law: Background To The Policy On Fee Waivers:
In other words, charging a fee for an immigration application based on human rights is against the law when the applicant cannot pay the cost.
R (Carter) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2603 (Admin) is the second case. In other words, if an applicant has a human rights claim and cannot pay the cost, the Secretary of State must agree to waive the price.
R (Dzineku-Liggison & Ors) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (Fee Waiver Guidance v3 illegal)  UKUT 222(IAC) is the third important case. This issue would not have happened if the Home Office policy had accurately reflected the prior incidents. The Home Office should have determined whether a candidate could afford the charge, but instead, it decided whether the candidate was needy or would become one upon payment of the fee. The correct standard is affordability, as the Upper Tribunal had to reiterate in the Dzineku-Liggison case.
Who can qualify for a fee waiver?
According to the case mentioned above the law, only those who make a human rights claim—and only if this human rights claim “constitutes a substantive basis of their application”—will be qualified for a fee waiver. Applications that can excuse from in-country fees include:
- Applications for permission to remain under the five-year partner route from candidates who, because their sponsorship is getting one or more specified benefits, are not required to reach the minimum income criteria and who must instead show that their sponsor can pay necessary maintenance.
- Requests for authorization to remain under the five-year parent route.
- Requests for approval to stay under the five-year private life route.
- Requests for permission to stay under the ten-year partner, parent, or private life route if the applicant claims that approval would compromise their rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (or the rights of others).
- Applications for permission to stay based on other ECHR rights are okay if they have a human rights constituent.
- Requests for additional permission to stay from people who have been granted Discretionary Leave after being denied a visa or humanitarian protection when the applicant claims denial would violate their ECHR rights.
- After receiving a favourable decisive grounds judgement, applications for further discretionary leave from trafficking or slavery victims have already accrued 30 months. For reasons relating to trafficking or slavery, they want to extend it.
While paying their application cost, applicants can request a fee waiver for one or more dependents. If the applicant can only afford one of the two fees, they can request a release of the Immigration Health Surcharge only rather than the entire application cost.
Applicants can extend their temporary leave indefinitely until they can pay the price for an indefinite leave. It is currently £2,404 and is most likely going to increase further. Notably, requests for indefinite leave to remain are not covered, even if they are based on a human rights basis. For more information, hire the team of My Legal Services and get guidance from our experienced solicitors.