1. Death Certificate
In terms of Section BPILR of Appendix FM if the UK sponsor i.e. spouse/partner dies during the probationary period then the migrant can apply for an ILR as a bereaved partner. In fact, in order to qualify for ILR as a bereaved partner, an applicant needs to demonstrate that the person who was the applicant’s partner at the time of last grant of limited leave has died. Therefore, an applicant needs to meet the requirement of paragraph E-BPILR.1.3. of Appendix FM. However, these rules are not applicable to a spouse or civil partner, whose partner:
- was not a British citizen or a person settled in the UK
- had limited leave as a migrant under the Points Based System
- was their fiancé or fiancée or proposed civil partner
- was a European Economic Area national exercising Treaty rights in the UK
Therefore, if an applicant fulfils the suitability and eligibility requirements then may get ILR as a bereaved partner on sight of the partner’s death certificate and without further enquiry.
UK Bereavement Visa ILR Requirements
In fact, the paragraphs E-BPILR.1.2.to 1.4. of the Appendix FM states the eligibility requirements for ILR as a bereaved partner. Therefore, it is critical that the relationship of the applicant with the deceased partner was subsisting. Moreover, the couple intended to live together permanently in the UK at the time of the death of the UK sponsor.
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3. Guidance Notes
Bereaved Partner ILR Requirements
When a person can submit Bereaved Partner ILR Application?
The immigration rules relating to ILR for bereaved partners are to benefit only those applicants whose partner has died at any point during the qualifying period of limited leave as a partner. Moreover, the bereaved spouse still has an entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner in the UK. Accordingly, the rules are also applicable in such cases where the applicant’s partner has died after the submission of the ILR application and the applicant is awaiting the decision.
Can a applicant applies for bereavement visa from outside the UK?
No. Indeed, as per Section BPILR.1.1. of Appendix FM, the requirement for applying ILR as a bereaved partner the applicant needs to make a valid application from inside the UK. Moreover, the bereaved partner also needs to fulfil the eligibility and suitability requirements under Section E-BPILR and S-ILR of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
The Burden of Proof
The Home Office may refuse bereaved partner ILR application if there are doubts. Perhaps, 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 in a position to prove the subsistence of the relationship.
Does Home Office make detailed enquiries?
As a matter of fact, the Home Office usually does not make detailed enquiries. Since the bereaved applicant is in some distress, therefore, the Home Office observes care and tact whilst making any necessary enquiries. However, if there are doubts about the subsistence of the marriage or relationship then may make detailed enquiries.
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.
Grant of Bereaved Partner ILR
If the applicant meets all of the requirements for indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner under paragraph BPILR.1.1. then the applicant is likely to get an ILR under paragraph D-BPILR.1.1 of Appendix FM.
Limited Leave to Remain due to Criminality
In order to get an ILR as a bereaved spouse or civil partner, an applicant needs to meet all the suitability requirements as per paragraphs S-ILR.1.2. to 3.1 of Appendix FM. However, if an applicant meets all the suitability requirements except for S-ILR 1.5 and 1.6 relating to criminality then the applicant may get a limited leave to remain in the UK instead of an ILR. Furthermore, the paragraph S-ILR.1.5. relates to imprisonment for less than 12 months. And paragraph S-ILR 1.6 relates to a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record within the 24 months prior to the application date.
If the applicant does not meet the requirements for ILR as a bereaved partner only because of paragraph S-ILR.1.5. or S-ILR.1.6. then the applicant usually gets a further limited leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months under paragraph D-BPILR.1.2. and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds.
ILR Application after the Limited Leave
If an applicant gets a limited leave to remain under paragraph D-BPILR.1.2. of Appendix FM then the applicant will be eligible to make a further charged application for ILR at any time within the 30-month period if he/she is able to meet the requirements of paragraph S-ILR.1.5. or S-ILR.1.6. Otherwise, the bereaved partner needs to make the next application no more than 28 days before their extant leave is due to expire. However, in some instances, a bereaved partner may not wish to settle in the UK but may prefer to return to his/her country of origin. Accordingly, in such situations, an applicant may get a further leave to remain for 6 months, which is mostly subjected to the same conditions as their last grant of limited leave so as to give the bereaved partner time to sort out his/her affairs.
Refusal of Bereaved Partner ILR Application
Under paragraph D-BPILR.1.3., if the applicant does not meet the requirements for indefinite leave to remain or further leave to remain as a bereaved partner under D-BPILR.1.2., their application will be refused. Certainly, a refusal letter provides for an administrative review. However, there is no right of appeal for bereaved partner ILR application.
UK Spouse Bereavement Visa Refusal Reasons
Perhaps, the bereaved partner ILR application refusal reasons are mainly due to:
- deportation order
- presence of the applicant is not conducive to the public good because of imprisonment for at least 4 years
- conduct, character and associations or other reasons
- 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
- the last grant of leave was not as a partner or a bereaved partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK
- last valid leave to remain in the United Kingdom was as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner
- the death of a partner
- not a genuine and subsisting relationship
- doubtful intentions to live together permanently in the UK
6. Statistics 2006-17
Bereaved Partner ILR Grants
During 2006-2017 a total of 902 applicants get ILR as a bereaved partner. Quite clearly, 188 Husbands and 714 Wives gets ILR as a bereaved partner due to the death of spouse, civil, unmarried or same-sex partner during the probationary period.
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