What is Leave Outside the Immigration Rules application

Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR) on compelling compassionate grounds may be granted where the decisionmaker (Home Office) decides that the specific circumstances of the case include exceptional circumstances. For the leave to be granted, those circumstances must mean that a refusal would result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant or their family, but which do not render refusal a breach of ECHR Article 8, Article 3, refugee convention or other obligations.

Application rules

The only circumstances in which someone having a criminal record or with other factors preventing him from lawfully obtaining visa to the UK could receive entry clearance or ILR would be for exceptional reasons. Successful Outside the Immigration Rules application is extremely rare and at the Home Office discretion. They exclude exceptional situations related to family and private life, medical, asylum or protection grounds which are covered in separate guidance.

The exceptional reasons considerations for granting visa applications are used in entry clearance, leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain applications.

Applicants who are granted LOTR are not considered to be on a route to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) unless leave is granted in a specific concessionary route to settlement.

Granting such privilege, i.e.. Outside of the Immigration Rules application is an exceptional event. Home Office guidance states that it should be used sparingly. Therefore, you should not expect your outside of the rules application to be granted. Submitting such application should be considered as a last resort. The chances of a success are slim.

Leave Outside the Immigration Rules is applied after all normal routes were exhausted. Therefore, it is important to check if the case we are planning to submit does not fall within other immigration rules. Those include family, private life, medical and other European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) grounds. Only after being satisfied that the case does not fall under any of those immigration categories, a case worker will assess the merits of a Leave Outside the Immigration Rules.

When LOTR should be granted

The general rule that Home Office follows in granting Leave Outside the Immigration Rules is that it would not be proportionate to stay outside of the UK or leave the UK. That means the reasons for granting the leave should be compelling and not covered by other existing immigration rules as mentioned above.

Leave Outside of the Immigration Rules trumps all other considerations. However, it has to be noted that being granted LOTR does not mean that the applicant can settle in the UK. LOTR is normally granted for a limited, often short period of time, to resolve a specific problem or difficulty that applicant has.

Applicants who are granted LOTR are not considered to be on a route to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) unless leave is granted in a specific concessionary route to settlement.

Compelling compassionate grounds

LOTR is granted when there are compelling compassionate grounds for the applicant to be consiodered.

  • emergency or unexpected events
  • a crisis, disaster or accident that could not have been anticipated

Those events need to be of such magnitude and nature that the applicant cannot be expected to return to his/her home country. Applicants must provide evidence in support of any claims they make to teh Home Office.

Children and children wellbeing are one of the aspects of application that receive much attention from the Home Office. In cases where children are involved their well being should be primary concern (but not necessarily the only one) when assessing the application.

How to apply for Leave Outside the Immigration Rules (LOTR)

Application for LOTR from outside the country

Those applying for LOTR from outside the country (entry clearance applications) must use correct application forms. They need to fill in a form that is closest to the type of visa they are seeking. The applicants also have to pay all the fees associated with the visa. All the information regarding Leave Outside the Immigration Rules must be presented in the application along with the supporting documents.

Dependants must apply along their main applicant and have to pay full fees as well.

Application for LOTR from within the UK

Applicants in the UK must apply by filling in an appropriate form and paying relevant fees and charges. All the supporting documents and reasons for granting LOTR should be included in the application.

Form to use with the Leave Outside the Immigration Rules when applying from inside of the UK, include FLR (HRO) form. FLR (HRO) form can be used when the applicant applies for:

  • leave outside the Immigration Rules based on your compassionate and compelling circumstances
  • leave outside the Immigration Rules
  • human rights claim (excluding claims covered by forms FLR (M) or FLR (FP))
  • medical grounds or ill health
  • discretionary leave (DL) where you have previously been granted a period of DL but have not previously been refused asylum
  • DL where you have been granted less than 4 years exceptional leave
  • has other claims not covered by another form

Another form on which an application can be made for Leave Outside the Immigratio0n Rules is FLR (IR) form.

This form is for those on the followig routes:

  • visitors (except transit, Approved Destination Status and Permitted Paid Engagements visitors)
  • UK ancestry
  • domestic worker in a private household
  • domestic worker who is a victim of slavery or human trafficking
  • parent of a Child Student
  • dependant joiners who are applying separately from the main applicant – dependants of a person who has limited leave to enter or remain in the UK, not including dependants of a person with leave under the points based system or dependants of a person in the UK with leave on the basis of family or private life
  • relevant civilian employee
  • member of an Armed Force who is subject to immigration control (course F)
  • dependant of a member of Armed Forces which are not HM Forces (dependants of a member of HM Forces should complete FLR(AF)
  • representative of an overseas business

Where the applicant is not subject to a fee exemption or concession, they must pay
the relevant fees and charges.

Leave Outside of the Immigration Rules significance

Leave Outside of the Immigration Rules is granted on extremely rare occasions. Furthermore, it usually does not include right to work or study and is not a route to an ILR. LOTR is also usually granted for a short period of time, up to three months, unless there is a compelling reason for a longer leave. Thus application for LOTR is not something that could, in normal circumstances, replace a regular visa.

Leave Outside of the Immigration Rules should be considered as separate from discretion in granting the visa. Caseworkers assessing visa applications are granted certain level of discretionary power in granting visas. They can grant visa despite the applicant not having met all the requirements of the visa he applies for. That discretion can be used by the caseworker on a individual basis and does not have to be consistent. It depends very much on individual circumstances. This is not a Leave Outside of the Immigration Rules but discretionary power of the Home Office caseworker.

Conditions for limited leave should be no recourse to public funds, no work and no study. Any deviation from this should be rare and only where there is sufficient
evidence to show why such conditions should not be applied.