No recourse to public funds

In an emergency, dial 999

Call us for help on 020 8571 0800 or email [email protected] 

Are you in the UK on a spousal visa or another visa that says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’?

Southall Black Sisters is committed to supporting all women, including those with insecure immigration status and no recourse to public funds, to live free from violence and abuse.

Certain types of visas that allow you to live in the UK, including spousal visas, student visas and visitor visas, have the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule attached. The rule may be stamped in your passport or written on the back of your residence permit.

The ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule means that you cannot access most welfare benefits including income support, housing benefit & jobseeker’s allowance (Universal Credit), disability living allowance and local authority housing.

Even if you have no recourse to public funds, there are some things that you can do to try to reach safety if you have experienced domestic abuse – you should not feel trapped into staying with someone who abuses you because of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule.

First steps to take

  • Call the police. No matter your immigration status, you have the right to call the police to protect you from violence. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
  • Speak to a qualified immigration adviser. They will explain your legal rights and how you might be able to apply for the right to remain in the UK if you have experienced abuse and are afraid to return home.
  • Contact your local domestic abuse service. Your local domestic abuse service may be able to help you reach safety and access support in your local area. They can apply to our No Recourse Fund to assist you with safe accommodation and living costs.

Securing your immigration status

If you have limited rights to remain in the UK and have experienced domestic abuse, you may be able to apply for the right to remain in the UK – known as indefinite leave to remain.

There are different routes to securing your immigration status and a qualified immigration adviser can advise you on the most appropriate route for you.

Find out more about applying to remain in the UK as a victim of domestic abuse.



Women’s Aid Website

The Survivor’s Handbook: Print and Audio Versions
Making arrangements for children after separation: the role of the family courts.

Rights of Women

Rights of Women have fact sheets on residence, contact and parental responsibility that can be downloaded for free from their website.
Women lawyers provide advice on 020 7251 6577 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm and Fridays, 12 noon – 2:00 pm.


Reunite runs a 24-hour emergency service for international child abduction cases.

Their advice line on 0116 2556 234 is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm or for information see their website.

The Reunite Child Abduction Prevention Guide provides clear and concise information and practical steps to take if you fear your child is in danger of abduction.

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