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Making a No Time Limit (NTL) application

Jul 06, 2022
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

If you are an oversees national in the UK with indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) you should consider making an NTL application so that your status can be confirmed on a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This route will provide you with a wealth of advantages relating to your living arrangements, work, study, benefits and travel. 

What is a BRP?

A BRP is a card, which provides proof of your right to reside, work or study in the UK. The card contains a chip with a host of information such as:

  • Name, date of birth and place of birth
  • Biometric information including fingerprints and photograph
  • Immigration status and any conditions / restrictions of stay 

Why make an NTL application?

There are a number of circumstances in which a BMP is either required or encouraged such as:

  • You have an old-style immigration document
  • You have had your documentation lost, stolen or it has expired
  • You have no proof of your status
  • You need to amend details on your evidence of UK status such as your name
  • You have legitimately changed your identity and want this documented

Making an application will provide you with a number of benefits.  These include:

  • Enhanced security features reducing the risk of the documentation being used fraudulently
  • Ease and speed of proving status along with right to permanently live and gain benefits in the UK
  • Allowing individuals to use the Home Office online checking services to prove your right to work or rent
  • Helping international travel to be smooth running 

Who can make the application?

Not everyone can apply for an NTL. In order to qualify you must fulfil the following:

  • Have indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK; this includes those that were deemed ‘settled’ in the UK on or before 1 January 1973 in accordance with section 1(2) of the Immigration Act 1971. This is provided you have continued to reside in the UK since that date.
  • Have not lost your ILE or ILR (for example by being absent from the UK for a continuous period of 2 years or more since ILE/ILR was granted)
  • Continue to be entitled to ILE or ILR (for example the ILE/ILR has not been or will not be revoked)

If, since being given permission to settle in the UK, you have been naturalised as a British citizen, you should not undertake an NTL application; a naturalised citizen has the right of abode in the UK without being subject to immigration control.

How is the application made?

Since the 6th April 2022, the application has been free of charge. Applications must be made from within the UK using an NTL application form on

The application can include your spouse, partner and any dependent children under the age of 18. Please note, each dependent will be assessed the same as the primary applicant and will therefore need to satisfy the Home Office’s requirements for indefinite leave status. Children over 18 need to apply separately.

The application will require biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) along with supporting documentation to prove:

  • Confirmation of your identity; here are passport can be used
  • That you have ILE or ILR; again, a passport can be used. There is not an exhaustive list of documents which you could provide
  • Change of name if applicable; documentation could include a marriage certificate

The supporting documentation required will be dependent on your reason for the NTL application. 

If you have no proof of indefinite leave, due to status documents having been stolen or lost for example, or your documentation does not prove this status, there is specific provision within the Home Office. Caseworkers will use all available systems and files to check for evidence of indefinite leave having been granted. 

If documentation such as a passport has been claimed as lost or stolen, you must also provide the Home Office with a crime reference number or police report. It will also be necessary for it to be established that your indefinite leave status has not been revoked.

How do absences from the UK effect indefinite leave status?

If you settled in the UK on or before 1 January 1973, you would need to prove to the Home Office that you have continued to reside in the UK since that date. Absences from the UK can result in indefinite leave being removed. For example, if you settled in the UK on or before 1 January 1973 and travelled outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) before 30 July 2000, leave would have automatically lapsed. As a result, you would have needed to acquire a further grant of leave upon re-entry to the UK to resume settlement. However, if you had been ordinarily UK resident within the previous two years, you would have normally met the returning residence requirements.

Under section 3(4) of the 1971 Act, and articles 13 to 13B of the Leave to Enter and Remain Order 2000, a person will now lose indefinite leave status if they have been outside the UK for more than two years; there are specific exceptions to this. 

How long do NTL applications take?

Once an NTL application has been submitted along with all supporting documents, you may have to wait up to 6 months for a decision from the Home Office – this is more likely if more information to support the application is requested. Most applications have a decision within 6 – 8 weeks. There is also a 24hr super priority service available at a cost of £800 should you require it. 

My application to transfer to a BRP was refused – do I have a right to appeal?

If your NTL application is refused, unfortunately you have no right of appeal against the decision; this is because under section 82(2) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, refusal of an NTL application is not an immigration decision.


Although an NTL application is not mandatory for those that have either an ILE or ILR, for most, the process is straightforward and with it now being free, it’s a route that A Y & J Solicitors would certainly recommend. Completing the application and having a BRP provides a wide range of advantages which will make it far easier and quicker to provide proof for key elements. 

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm, with extensive experience with NTL applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results focused. For assistance with your NTL application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at [email protected] today. We’re here to help! 

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A Y & J Solicitors

A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

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