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UK Dependent Visa Holders: Domestic Violence and Your Rights

UK Dependent Visa Holders: Domestic Violence and Your Rights

UK Dependent Visa Holders Domestic Violence and Your Rights

Let’s say your spouse has a work or business visa and you are in the UK on a dependent visa. In that scenario, you may be worried that breaking up with your partner may mean that your visa to remain in the UK is revoked.

But under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC), people who meet the requirements can now apply for temporary leave of absence from the UK. This is due to a recent reform to the immigration laws. This three-month vacation gives you the time you need to evaluate your family’s situation and look into other visa options in case you choose to stay in the UK.

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Short-Term Permission to Enter the UK with a Dependent Visa

Changes to the guidelines for applications for temporary permission to stay in the UK under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC), formerly known as the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC), were announced by the Home Office on February 16, 2024.

Before February 16, 2024, only those in the UK on a family visa—such as a spouse visa, unmarried partner visa, or civil partner visa—were eligible for the concession. Now, the Home Office has broadened the eligibility to include people in the UK with dependent visas, provided that the primary visa holder has one of the following:

  • A Work Permit
  • A visa for the economic path
  • A Visa for Students

You must present strong proof that domestic abuse was the reason behind the breakup of your relationship in order to be eligible for the concession.

In the UK, there is still a difference in how people who have been victims of domestic abuse are treated when applying for immigration depending on whether they are dependents or partners on a family visa under Appendix FM:

  • If a family visa holder’s relationship with their sponsored partner breaks because of domestic abuse, they can apply for the 3-month concession and then apply to reside in the UK. Through this route, individuals can petition for indefinite leave of absence without having to fulfil the customary five-year residency requirement under the domestic violence exemption.
  • On the other hand, if their connection with the primary visa holder ends because of domestic abuse, the dependent visa holder, provided the primary visa holder is eligible, is only allowed to file for a 3-month temporary clearance.

Recognizing the 3-Month Concession for Holders of Dependent Visas

If domestic abuse causes a relationship to dissolve, holders of dependent visas have a safety net in the form of the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC). With the ability to petition for a three-month visa, they are granted independent immigration status apart from the primary visa holder who acted as their sponsor.

This concession gives holders of dependent visas a brief window of time to plan their own departure from the UK while maintaining their legal status, or to apply for a separate visa (like a skilled worker visa).

This three-month concession, which is granted as an exception to regular immigration regulations, offers victims of domestic abuse vital support. Along with giving them autonomous immigration status, it also gives them access to public money for financial aid and professional support programmes to aid in their personal reconstruction.

It is important to remember that this exception does not apply to people who are leaving abusive relationships while in the UK who are in the country on a visa with autonomous immigration status, such as those on a skilled worker or health and care worker visa. Furthermore, those in the UK with a Fiancé(e) Visa are not eligible for the concession.

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Eligibility for MVDAC Leave for Holders of Dependent Visas

If their connection with the primary visa holder ended because of domestic abuse, dependent visa holders may petition for leave under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC).

The Domestic Abuse Act of 2021 defines domestic abuse as any one instance or recurring pattern of behaviour in which one person acts abusively towards another.Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, this term applies to anyone 16 years of age or older who is or has been personally bonded.

The following abuse types are included in this definition:

  • Physical aggression
  • Psychological mistreatment
  • Sexual mistreatment
  • Financial mistreatment
  • Abuse of emotions
  • Abuse threats
  • Abuse linked to dowries and violence motivated by honour
  • Coercive and controlling actions 

 Our Immigration Solicitors can provide advice if you’re not sure if you qualify for the concession. Our Family Law Solicitors can also assist you in applying for an injunction order or a child arrangement order to protect your children in the event that you require protection from persistent abuse.

Making the Most of Your Three-Month MVDAC Leave

Under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC), if you are given a three-month leave of absence, you are free to work and utilise public funding as usual. Your temporary status will be verified by the Home Office, guaranteeing that you get the assistance you need.

It is imperative that you obtain expert immigration legal counsel during this three-month window in order to investigate your visa alternatives and file a new visa application before to the expiration of your current leave. If you apply before your three-month leave expires, you can stay in the UK until your fresh visa application is decided upon by the Home Office.

Adding Time to Your MVDAC Leave

You are not allowed to stay longer than the first three months of your leave under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC). Therefore, in order to apply for a new visa and obtain a visa as the principal visa holder, it is imperative that you swiftly obtain professional immigration legal guidance.

Requesting MVDAC Leave Again

For MVDAC leave, you may only apply once. The three months are meant to allow you enough time to reapply for a new visa in case you decide you want to stay in the UK. You are permitted to stay in the UK under section 3C leave while your fresh visa application is being reviewed.

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Implications of Not Filing an MVDAC Leave Application for a Dependent Visa

If you are a partner of a main visa holder in the UK on a dependent visa and your relationship ends, you are not eligible for the 3-month legal status under the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC), so you will need to either leave the country or apply for a visa on your own.

The Home Office will classify an individual as an overstayer if they continue to be in the UK without applying for MVDAC leave or another type of visa. You must maintain a relationship with the primary visa holder in order to maintain your dependent visa.

If you are eligible, our immigration solicitors stress how important it is to use the MVDAC. With this concession, you can delay filing an independent immigration application without having to worry about damaging your immigration history. The Home Office may refuse to renew your visa if your immigration record has been corrupted.

Speak with Way to World’s Solicitors right now for professional advice. 

How Way to World Lawyers Can Help You

Our skilled Immigration Solicitors at Way to World are committed to guiding you through your visa choices if you are on a dependent visa and intend to leave an abusive relationship. We can advise and assist you with the application procedure for any kind of visa.

All of your family legal needs can be expertly handled by our family law solicitors. In addition to managing divorce proceedings, handling child law cases, negotiating financial settlements for divorcing spouses or unmarried partners, applying for child arrangement orders, managing injunction orders, and providing relocation orders advice if you want to take your kids back to your native country, we also offer expert advice on these topics.

Our Locations and Offerings

With offices conveniently placed in Lahore-Pakistan and London-UK, Way to World’s Solicitors guarantees quick access to knowledgeable legal services anywhere in the United Kingdom. Since confidentiality and convenience are important to us, we also provide remote legal consultations, which let you get expert legal advice in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Free First Consultation

We provide a free introductory consultation to assist you in taking the first step towards addressing your immigration concerns. Our knowledgeable attorneys will go over your case, lay out your alternatives, and provide you the guidance you need to proceed with assurance during this meeting.

Make an appointment for your free consultation with Way to World’s consultants right now to take advantage of our extensive knowledge.


This page contains information that is solely for informational purposes. There’s a chance that some of the content is generic and won’t apply to you. For any legal problem, you should always get direct legal counsel from one of our experienced solicitors. To ascertain what is applicable to their circumstances, we thus provide a free initial consultation to all of our new clients.

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