Writing a covering letter to the Home Office

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When you send an application to the Home Office, it is good to write a covering letter to send with it. In this letter, you can write down what kind of application you are making, which documents you are sending with it and why you think you meet the requirements set out in the rules. We recommend that any letters sent to the Home Office should be sent by recorded delivery. If you are sending important original documents, these should be sent by special delivery.

What you will need to include in this letter will depend on your individual case. However, below is a template with some ideas. You can also download this template as a word document here.


Home Office address (in full)                                                                  Your address (in full)

Date: insert

Home Office Reference: insert

Recorded delivery reference: insert


Dear Sir/Madam,
Your name, date of birth and nationality

Name, date of birth and nationality of each dependant

Repeat the Home Office Reference

I wish to make an application for [insert type of leave you wish to apply for and which rule/policy you are applying under].


[List the documents you are sending with the application. This helps to show the type of evidence you have to support your case.]

I enclose the following:

  1. Application form;
  2. Original, valid passport (number [insert])
  3. Witness statement dated [insert date];

[List everything else you have enclosed]

Fees / Fee waiver / Fee exempt

[If you are applying for a fee waiver (see here for our fact sheet for further information) you need to completed and enclose the fee waiver application form along with your application for leave to remain. You should also explain how you meet the requirements for a fee waiver or why you are fee exempt here.]


[Include information about your/your family’s immigration history. You should explain why you are seeking to apply for/extend your leave to remain. If there are any compassionate aspects of your case (e.g. mental health problems/abuse or neglect/bereavement) it is important to explain them here.]

The rules

[Set out the rule/policy you are applying under and write underneath how you meet the rule. FOR EXAMPLE (please note that this is an example only, DO NOT just copy this because you will need to identify which rule applies to your case and include information specific to you):

Paragraph 276ADE. The requirements to be met by an applicant for leave to remain on the
grounds of private life in the UK are that at the date of application, the applicant:

(i) does not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-LTR 1.2 to S-LTR 2.3. and S-LTR.3.1. in Appendix FM; and

I have no previous convictions and I am of good character. I do not fall within any of the exclusions.

 (iv) is under the age of 18 years and has lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) and it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK; or

I am 17 years old and I have lived in the UK since I was 9 years old. It would not be reasonable for me to leave the UK because I have lived here for a very long time. I have been to primary and secondary school here in the UK. As I have explained in my witness statement, I do not know anyone in [the country of your nationality] and all of my friends and family are here…]

[Please see here for our fact sheets which provide further information about some of the rules and policies.]

The best interests of child[ren]

[Explain here why it would be in the best interests of your child for you/them to remain in the UK. If you have any evidence to support this (e.g. letters from teachers, doctors or nurses), then refer to the evidence here. Refer to the Home Office’s obligation to ‘have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ and to their duty to consider children’s best interests as a primary consideration.]

[Please see here for our fact sheet about children’s best interests.]

Rights under Article 8 ECHR

[Explain why it would breach your rights/your family’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private and family life) if you/your family were removed from the UK.]

[Please see here for our fact sheets about rights under Article 8.]


[If you make an application on the basis of your human rights protected by Article 8 ECHR and it is refused, you may not get an in-country right of appeal if the Home Office decides that your case is ‘clearly unfounded’. This means that your case clearly does not meet the rules/ policy and is bound to fail. If you are not given an in-country right of appeal, you have to leave the UK and appeal the refusal from somewhere else. The Home Office has stated that this should not apply if your application relies on a British child, a child who has lived in the UK for at least seven years, or if there are exceptional circumstances which mean that family life cannot continue outside of the UK or that it is in a child’s best interest to remain in the UK. An application based on Article 8 ECHR should not be certified if you are extending your leave to remain. If you are concerned that your case may be certified as clearly unfounded, you should set out why you should be granted an in-country right of appeal if your application is refused here.]

Access to public funds

[Even if you are granted leave to remain, you will normally not be allowed to access public funds. For some types of leave (for example, if you are applying on the basis of your family or private life on the ’10 year route to settlement’), you can ask to be given access to public funds. If you already have leave to remain and you are applying to extend it, and you currently have access to public funds, you will need to explain that you still need public funds for your next grant of leave. If you are granted leave without access to public funds, and you need to apply for access, please see here for further information. You will need to provide evidence of why you need access to public funds and you should explain how you meet the requirements here.]


[Explain why you believe you/your family should be granted leave to remain in the UK. Emphasise any compassionate circumstances and request that the application is considered as soon as possible.]

Yours faithfully,

Your signature

Your name

For more help with making your own application, click here.

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