The Fee Waiver Policy and Human Rights Applications
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor LinkedinDanielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
Post COVID – 19, many individuals will be losing their livelihood but fees for immigration applications will continue to increase. Most applications for leave to remain submitted in the UK cost a minimum of £1,033, and in addition applicants need to pay the immigration health surcharge, usually £1,000 for an application for two and a half years’ leave to remain.
In addition, some have to pay £150 to pass an English language test and on occasion, legal fees. Legal fees often are a necessity given the complexity of the Immigration Rules and Legal Aid is limited. Case law has established that the charge fee for a human rights-based application, where the applicant cannot afford the fee, is unlawful. Therefore, one can apply for a fee waiver for the Home Office fees. Two cases form the basis of the Home Office policy on fee waiver.
The first R (Omar) v SSHD  where the Higher Court found that charging a fee for human rights applications can be a breach of human rights law, where the person cannot afford to pay the fee. The second case was R (Carter) v SSHD  where it was found that the Secretary of State must agree to waive a fee when an applicant is unable to afford it and has a human rights claim. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss who can qualify for fee waiver, but it is important to note that the applications for indefinite leave to remain, even if based on human rights claims are not covered by the fee waiver. The most recent Home Office Fee Waiver Guidance is dated 18th June 2020.