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Renewing Discretionary Leave to Remain applications and Fees

The UK immigration system provides many routes to allow individuals and their families to come to the UK to live, work, study, care for family members, and visit. Sometimes the circumstances of immigrants to the UK cannot be accommodated under the existing immigration routes, but there may be compelling reasons which mean the Government will use its discretion to allow them to stay; this is referred to as ‘discretionary leave’. In this article, we will discuss the circumstances which may lead to discretionary leave being granted, whether it is possible to extend/renew discretionary leave, why an application may be refused, and how to renew and how much it costs.

What is a discretionary leave in the UK and why is it granted?

Discretionary leave (DL) is granted in a small number of asylum and non-asylum cases where it is not possible to apply under the immigration rules or under the ‘Leave outside the Rules’ (LOTR) for Article 8 reasons (the right to respect for private and family life). This means that if an immigrant is eligible under asylum, humanitarian protection, family or private life immigration routes, they do not need to apply for Discretionary Leave.

Discretionary Leave is only offered in exceptional or highly compelling circumstances and can only be granted by the Secretary of State. It is typically granted in the following cases:

Medical cases

Applications on the basis of medical need can be made by using Article 3 and/or Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 3 refers to the right to ‘freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment’ and requires that the applicant’s illness is at a critical stage (i.e. they are close to death), and that it “would amount to inhuman treatment to deprive them of the care which they are currently receiving and send them home unless there is care available there to enable them to live their final days with dignity”. Article 8 of the ECHR can also be linked to medical grounds (i.e. if removing the person risks the physical and mental health of the individual), but the Home Office will require that in order to pass the test of proportionality, other factors under this article will also need to apply.

Cases where return would breach the ECHR

DL may be granted by the Home Office if a potential ECHR breach associated with the return of the applicant “would not warrant a grant of humanitarian protection but where return would result in a flagrant denial of the right in question in the person’s country of origin”.

Other circumstances which may lead to Discretionary Leave

Other circumstances which may lead to DL being granted include:

  • Exceptional circumstances – under section 353b of the immigration rules, DL may be granted where there are exceptional circumstances which means that removal from the United Kingdom is no longer appropriate. Factors such as character, conduct, compliance, and the length of time spent in the UK for reasons beyond the migrant’s control after the human rights or asylum claim has been submitted or refused will be taken into account.
  • Modern slavery/trafficking – there must be other compelling factors to be granted DL.
  • Exclusion and criminality – If cancellation, cessation, or revocation of refugee status or humanitarian protection is being considered by the Home Office, in some cases DL may be granted (if restricted leave does not apply). Granting DL where the individual has a criminal record is rare but may be granted in limited circumstances if they pose a low risk.
  • Asylum seekers whose circumstances do not fit existing policy
  • Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Related Article: Read also ‘Discretionary Leave application following the refusal of an asylum claim

Can I renew my discretionary leave in the UK?

Discretionary leave is typically granted for no more than 2.5 years, but the exact duration is based on the facts of the case. An individual given DL by the Home Office may be eligible to apply for permanent settlement after ten years of continuous residence in the UK.

While it may be possible to secure further DL, this should not be taken absolutely for granted, especially given the fact that this leave is by its nature, discretionary’, and because immigration policy regularly changes.

An application for DL must be made no more than 28 days before the current DL expires – failure to do so will mean the application is out of time. The case officer will take into account a range of factors when deciding whether to grant further DL based on the information provided in the extension and original applications, and the country report. The guidance on granting further leave states that extending DL may be considered and decided without the need for an interview, unless the case officer requires more information on which to make the final decision.

The key point for any person considering applying for further DL is they must satisfy the requirements for DL as of the date they apply. If your current circumstances are broadly the same as they were when you first applied, you should be eligible for further leave.

How do I apply to renew my discretionary leave in the UK?

The application form for extending DL is completed online:

  • Form FLR(DL) – to extend your stay if you were refused asylum but given DL
  • Form FLR(HRO) - to extend your stay in the UK for human rights claims, leave outside the rules and other routes not covered by other forms.

It is important to make sure you are completing the correct form for your circumstances.

The standard fee to extend discretionary leave to remain is currently set at £1,033.

Final words

If the circumstances which led to you being granted DL in the first place still apply at the time you wish to extend your stay in the UK, then you should have a strong chance of securing further discretionary leave. If the factors which led to you being granted DL no longer apply, or if you are concerned that you may be refused for another reason, then it is highly recommended that you seek the expertise of immigration Solicitors. They can prepare your application and recommend ways to resolve any potential problems which may put your case at risk if not managed carefully.

Some of our Happy Clients

Reiss Edwards Awards

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Department For International Development
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ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

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"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

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"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

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Fong Li

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

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Salisu Ibrahim

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"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

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O.L

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