very applicant who faces financial hardship in order to pay for the Home Office application fee can apply for ‘fee waiver’.
Certain conditions need to be met in order to receive a Fee Waiver from the Home Office. Fee waiver is granted to individuals who are making applications based on Human Rights. If granted, the applicant will not need to pay for the application fee and/or the Immigration Health Surcharge.
The Home Office has published two separate guidance for fee waiver applications from inside and outside the UK. The requirements are mostly the similar.
The fundamental requirement is the ‘affordability test’ that is assessment whether the applicant and the sponsor have credibly shown that they cannot afford to pay for the fee.
The Home Office will also consider whether paying the fee will deprive their child of his/her needs. The Supreme Court in MM (Lebanon v SSHD  UKSC 10, re-confirms that the best interests of any child whose family life was involved had to be taken into account in Article 8 cases (Neulinger v Switzerland (2012) 54 EHRR 1087). Therefore, the principle does not only covers children from within the UK but also from outside.
Another important factor which will be considered are savings and finances of the family and any other third party that helps them financially. The Home Office will assess whether there are sufficient funds at their disposal after expenses, any non-essential purchases and why they cannot use their saving to pay for the application fee.
“Fee waivers should be granted if the applicant has credibly demonstrated that they meet the affordability test or are destitute or at imminent risk of destitution.”
The Home Office also examines who genuinely cannot afford to pay for the fee or have not had the ability to save for the foreseeable fee. In order to do so, the Home Office will consider the assets owned by the family outside or inside the UK and whether they could sell those assets in order to raise the money to pay for the application fee.
There are three main differences between an in-country and out of country fee waiver applications:
Applicant should keep in mind that the fee waiver will only be granted for the purpose of extension or applications from outside the UK, if the application is exclusively based on their family life or private life (Article 8). Fee Waivers are not granted for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.
“A fee waiver application can be rejected if the applicant or sponsor has not provided reliable information about availability of accommodation, provision of essential living needs, income level and outgoings, and overall financial circumstances.”
Therefore, it is imperative that the applicant provides clear evidence of their financial circumstances.
It is also important that the applicant have all their evidence in order to support the application in place. Because once the Home Office reach a decision, the applicant has limited time to submitted a valid application. If not done within the time frame granted their leave would expire or the fee waiver may become invalid and applicant may need to reapply.
The above information is provided from the guidance published by the Home Office and also the case laws referred in this blog.
Should you wish to apply for a Fee Waiver you can contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261 or email us on email@example.com a fee charging firm based in the UK....