Bereaved Partner ILR 2023: UK Visa ILR After Losing Spouse

Bereaved Partner ILR
Bereaved Partner ILR Requirements 2023 after Lossing Spouse during the Probationary Period

1. Introduction

The loss of a spouse or civil partner can be a devastating experience, and navigating the complex immigration process in such a difficult time can be overwhelming. In the United Kingdom, the government recognizes the unique challenges faced by bereaved partners and has established a specific Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) route for them. In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the bereaved partner ILR process in the UK, shedding light on the eligibility criteria, requirements, and application process.

Understanding the process and requirements for bereaved partner ILR is crucial to ensure a successful application and secure your future in the UK. Whether you are a foreign national who has lost your British spouse or civil partner, or you are a UK sponsor supporting a bereaved partner, this guide aims to provide you with the information and resources needed to navigate the ILR process with confidence.

2. Understanding Bereaved Partner ILR

Definition of a Bereaved Partner

A bereaved partner refers to a foreign national who has lost their British spouse or civil partner due to death. In the context of UK immigration, a bereaved partner may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to continue living in the UK without any restrictions.

Between 2006 and 2017, a total of 902 applicants were granted ILR as bereaved partners, with 188 husbands and 714 wives receiving ILR due to the death of their spouse, civil, unmarried, or same-sex partner during the probationary period.

Immigration Rules and Regulations for Bereaved Partners

The UK government has laid down specific immigration rules for bereaved partners to ensure they are treated fairly and compassionately during such difficult times. These rules allow the bereaved partner to apply for ILR, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria.

The Role of Appendix FM in the Immigration Rules

Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules outlines the requirements for family members, including bereaved partners, to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a British citizen, a settled person, or a person with refugee leave or humanitarian protection. Appendix FM provides specific provisions for bereaved partners, outlining the eligibility criteria and documentary evidence required for a successful ILR application. By adhering to the guidelines set forth in Appendix FM, bereaved partners can navigate the ILR process more effectively and ensure a smoother transition to their new life in the UK.

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    3. Eligibility Criteria for Bereaved Partner ILR

    To qualify for ILR as a bereaved partner, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria. These requirements help ensure that the applicant is genuine in their intentions to settle in the UK and maintain their commitment to the country.

    Relationship Requirements

    A bereaved partner must provide evidence of their relationship with the deceased British citizen or settled person. This may include a marriage or civil partnership certificate, evidence of cohabitation, and any relevant supporting documents. The applicant must also demonstrate that the relationship was genuine and subsisting up until the time of the partner’s death.

    Immigration Status

    Applicant must have had entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner in the UK when their partner passed away. Therefore, at the time of application, the bereaved partner must hold a valid visa in one of the following categories: spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or same-sex partner. This ensures that the applicant has the appropriate immigration status to be considered for ILR as a bereaved partner.

    Residency Requirements

    To qualify for ILR, the bereaved partner must meet the residency requirements outlined in the Immigration Rules. This typically means they have been continuously living in the UK for a certain period, depending on their visa category. For most bereaved partners, this period is five years. However, it is essential to check the specific residency requirements for the applicant’s visa category.

    In addition to meeting the relationship, immigration status, and residency requirements, the bereaved partner must also not fall under the general grounds for refusal, such as having a criminal record or posing a threat to national security. By meeting these eligibility criteria, a bereaved partner has a higher chance of being granted ILR and moving forward in their life in the UK.

    4. ILR Requirements and Compliance

    To qualify for ILR as a bereaved partner, applicants must meet several requirements and comply with the rules set out in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. This section outlines the key factors that must be satisfied for a successful ILR application.

    Suitability Requirements under Appendix FM

    Bereaved partners must meet the suitability requirements as outlined in Appendix FM. These requirements ensure that applicants do not pose a risk to the public or the UK’s welfare system. Suitability requirements include good character, adherence to immigration laws, and no deception in previous applications.

    Financial and Accommodation Requirements

    While financial and accommodation requirements are not as strict for bereaved partners as they are for other visa categories, applicants must still demonstrate that they can maintain themselves without recourse to public funds. This may include providing evidence of employment, savings, or other financial support from family or friends.

    Additionally, the applicant must show that they have suitable accommodation available in the UK. This accommodation must meet the necessary health and safety standards and not be overcrowded.

    English Language Requirements

    Although bereaved partners are exempt from the standard English language requirement for ILR, it is still important for applicants to demonstrate a basic understanding of the language. This not only helps them integrate into British society but also supports their ability to navigate the ILR application process.

    By meeting these requirements and complying with Appendix FM, bereaved partners can successfully apply for ILR and begin the next chapter of their lives in the UK.

    5. Common Reasons for ILR Refusal

    Obtaining ILR as a bereaved partner is not guaranteed, and applicants may face refusal for various reasons. Understanding these common reasons for refusal can help bereaved partners prepare a strong application and avoid potential pitfalls.

    Incomplete or Incorrect Documentation

    One of the main reasons for ILR refusal is submitting incomplete or incorrect documentation. Applicants must provide all necessary supporting documents, ensuring that they are accurate, up-to-date, and in the correct format. This includes proof of identity, relationship to the deceased partner, financial documents, and evidence of accommodation.

    Failure to Meet Financial Requirements

    Although financial requirements for bereaved partners are less stringent, applicants must still demonstrate that they can support themselves without relying on public funds. Failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial stability can lead to ILR refusal.

    Criminal History or Immigration Breaches

    Applicants with a criminal history or previous breaches of immigration laws may face ILR refusal based on suitability grounds. It is crucial for bereaved partners to disclose any past criminal convictions or immigration issues and provide evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances where possible.

    Misrepresentation or Deception

    Providing false information or intentionally misleading the Home Office during the ILR application process can result in refusal and severe consequences, such as a ban on future UK visa applications. Bereaved partners should be honest and transparent throughout the application process to avoid any potential issues related to misrepresentation or deception.

    By being aware of these common reasons for ILR refusal, bereaved partners can take proactive steps to strengthen their application and increase their chances of success.

    Other Reasons for Refusal:

    • The presence of the applicant is not conducive to the public good because of imprisonment for at least 4 years
    • Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the National Health Service (NHS) with a total value of at least £500
    • Lack of maintenance and accommodation undertaking from a sponsor under paragraph 35 of the Immigration Rules or otherwise

    6. How to Apply for Bereaved Partner ILR

    Applying for ILR as a bereaved partner involves a specific process, including submitting the required documents, forms, and fees. In this section, we will provide an overview of the application process, ensuring a smoother and more successful experience.

    Application Process Overview

    1. Verify eligibility: Before beginning the application process, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for bereaved partner ILR, as discussed in Section 3.
    2. Gather required documents: Collect all necessary supporting documents, as outlined in previous sections, to demonstrate your eligibility for ILR.
    3. Complete the application form: Fill out the relevant ILR application form (SET(M) or SET(O), depending on your circumstances) accurately and honestly.
    4. Pay the application fee: Submit the required application fee for ILR. Fees are subject to change, so check the current fee structure on the UK Government website.
    5. Submit biometric information: After submitting your application, you will be required to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center.
    6. Attend an appointment: You may be required to attend an in-person appointment at a UKVCAS center to provide further information or documents.
    7. Receive a decision: The Home Office will review your application and make a decision. This may take several months, depending on the complexity of your case.

    Required Documents and Forms

    When applying for bereaved partner ILR, you will need to submit various supporting documents, including:

    • Proof of identity (e.g., passport)
    • Evidence of your relationship with the deceased partner (e.g., marriage or civil partnership certificate)
    • Proof of your partner’s death (e.g., death certificate)
    • Financial and accommodation evidence (e.g., bank statements, tenancy agreement)
    • Any other documents relevant to your specific circumstances

    Processing Times and Fees

    The processing time for ILR applications can vary, but most applications are processed within 6 months. However, complex cases may take longer, so it’s essential to submit a complete and accurate application to avoid unnecessary delays.

    As of May 2023, the ILR application fee for bereaved partners is £2,404. This fee is subject to change, so it’s crucial to check the current fee structure on the UK Government website before submitting your application.

    By following the steps outlined in this section, bereaved partners can successfully navigate the ILR application process and increase their chances of a favorable outcome

    7. Alternatives to Bereaved Partner ILR

    If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for bereaved partner ILR or face other challenges, there are alternative routes to consider. In this section, we will discuss the bereavement visa, compassionate leave to remain in the UK, and other family routes and options.

    Bereavement Visa

    A bereavement visa allows non-EEA nationals who have lost their partner, who was a British citizen or had settled status in the UK, to stay in the country for a limited time. This visa is meant to provide the applicant with time to grieve and make necessary arrangements before returning to their home country. Unlike ILR, the bereavement visa is temporary and does not grant permanent residency.

    Compassionate Leave to Remain in the UK

    Compassionate leave to remain is a discretionary form of leave granted by the Home Office in exceptional circumstances. This leave may be granted to individuals who face compelling and compassionate circumstances that make it difficult for them to return to their home country. While compassionate leave to remain is not specific to bereaved partners, it may be an option to explore if you are unable to qualify for ILR.

    Other Family Routes and Options

    If you do not qualify for bereaved partner ILR or other alternatives mentioned above, you may explore other family routes available under UK immigration rules. These routes include applying as a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a British citizen or a person with settled status. Each route has its eligibility criteria and requirements, so it’s essential to understand the specific rules and conditions before applying.

    In conclusion, while bereaved partner ILR is the primary route to settlement for those who have lost their British citizen or settled status partner, there are alternative options for those who do not qualify. By exploring these alternatives, you can find the best path to remaining in the UK legally and maintaining your life and connections in the country.

    8. Frequently Asked Questions

    Bereaved Partner ILR Requirements: Key Points

    In this section, we address some common questions related to bereaved partner ILR to help you gain a better understanding of the process and requirements.


    If your ILR application as a bereaved partner is refused, you have the right to request an administrative review. The administrative review process allows you to challenge the decision if you believe a mistake has been made in assessing your application. You can also explore alternative immigration routes, such as applying for a bereavement visa or compassionate leave to remain in the UK.


    The processing time for a bereaved partner ILR application varies depending on the complexity of the case and the Home Office’s workload. Typically, applications are processed within six months, but it can take longer in some cases. It’s essential to submit a complete and accurate application with all the required documentation to avoid unnecessary delays.


    Yes, you can apply for bereaved partner ILR if you are on a different visa, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria. You must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the deceased partner, who was a British citizen or had settled status in the UK. Additionally, you must meet the other requirements for ILR, such as the suitability, residency, and English language requirements.


    To prove your relationship with the deceased partner, you will need to provide evidence such as your marriage or civil partnership certificate, joint bank statements, joint bills, and photographs that demonstrate your relationship. Additionally, you may be asked to provide statements from friends or family members who can attest to the genuine and subsisting nature of your relationship.


    Yes, you can apply for bereaved partner ILR if you have dependent children. Your children can also apply for ILR as your dependents if they meet the eligibility criteria. They must be under the age of 18 at the time of application and must not be leading an independent life. Additionally, they must meet the suitability and other requirements outlined in the Immigration Rules.


    The immigration rules relating to ILR for bereaved partners are designed to benefit applicants whose partner has died at any point during the qualifying period of limited leave as a partner. Moreover, the bereaved spouse must still have entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner in the UK. The rules are also applicable in cases where the applicant’s partner has died after the submission of the ILR application, and the applicant is awaiting the decision.


    No. As per Section BPILR.1.1. of Appendix FM, the requirement for applying ILR as a bereaved partner states that the applicant must make a valid application from inside the UK. Moreover, the bereaved partner must also fulfill the eligibility and suitability requirements under Section E-BPILR and S-ILR of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.


    The Home Office may refuse a bereaved partner ILR application if there are doubts about the genuine and subsisting nature of the relationship. However, the burden of proof is on the Home Office, as the bereaved partner is not able to prove the subsistence of the relationship.


    The Home Office usually does not make detailed inquiries. Since the bereaved applicant may be in distress, the Home Office observes care and tact while making any necessary inquiries. However, if there are doubts about the subsistence of the marriage or relationship, they may make detailed inquiries.


    A bereaved partner ILR applicant does not need to comply with the requirements relating to “overstay” in the UK. However, the circumstances of any period of overstaying should relate to a period of bereavement. Therefore, compassionate considerations are applicable due to bereavement.

    9. Conclusion

    In this blog post, we have discussed the key aspects of bereaved partner ILR in the UK, including the eligibility criteria, application process, common reasons for refusal, and alternative immigration routes. We have also addressed some frequently asked questions to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

    To recap, it is crucial to be aware of the following key points:

    • Bereaved partner ILR is available for those who have lost a British citizen or settled partner and meet the eligibility criteria.
    • Applicants must fulfill the relationship, immigration status, residency, suitability, financial, accommodation, and English language requirements.
    • A complete and accurate application, along with all the required documentation, is essential for a successful outcome.
    • It’s important to be aware of the common reasons for ILR refusal and take necessary precautions to avoid them.
    • In case of refusal or ineligibility for bereaved partner ILR, alternative routes such as bereavement visa or compassionate leave to remain in the UK are available.

    Losing a partner is an incredibly challenging and emotional time. Navigating the complex UK immigration system can add additional stress during this difficult period. While this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the bereaved partner ILR process, it is always advisable to seek professional advice if needed. Immigration specialists or solicitors can provide tailored guidance and support, ensuring that you have the best possible chance of successfully securing your future in the UK.

    For further details relating to Bereaved Partner ILR requirements please refer Gov.UK Appendix FM Immigration Rules.