It is a great day when you receive Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) in the UK. Holding ILR means you can live and work in the country without restrictions and, after 12 months, apply for British Citizenship. Applying For Indefinite Leave To Remain can be complex, as there are many different eligibility paths and refusal is common and compassion from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) often lacking.
Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for ILR. It is important to note that investing in legal advice will provide a greater chance of your application being dealt with quickly and approved.
Different types of visas provide varying timelines for when you can apply for ILR. For example, if you have a Tier 2 General Visa (the most common type of work visa), you can apply for ILR after five years. However, a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa does not provide a route to settlement.
In addition, the particular visa you entered the UK may have different eligibility requirements for ILR. For example, if you have a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (note, this entry route has now been replaced by the Start-up Visa and the Innovator Visa), you may qualify for fast-track ILR. To be eligible, you must have created at least 10 full-time jobs for people settled in the UK or your turnover has reached at least £5 million per year over the three-year period you resided in the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
If you have switched visas over a long-term period, you may qualify under the 10-year long residency route. Your immigration lawyer will be able to tell you if you qualify to apply for ILR.
You will also need to prove you have sufficient knowledge of English and have passed the Life in the UK Test.
There are two main forms for applying for ILR:
It is imperative that you fill these forms incorrectly.
Collating the relevant documentation is one of the hardest parts of applying for ILR. Investing in legal advice pays off; your immigration lawyer not only knows what documents you need to present but also the order and format in which to submit them.
You will also need to pay the fee for ILR when submitting your application.
Biometric information includes your photograph, fingerprints, and signature. This needs to be submitted before you receive your biometric residence permit. You can submit your biometric information at the same time as your ILR application.
You may be asked by UKVI to attend an interview if your application is particularly complicated or officials are concerned about some aspect of it. If you are asked to attend a UKVI interview, you need to take the matter seriously and prepare. An immigration lawyer will assist you in this.
An application for ILR must be made prior to the expiry of your current leave to remain in the UK. Therefore, it is crucial not to delay making the application, or you may find you are living in the UK unlawfully.
Taking the time to fill in an ILR application carefully and investing in legal advice will greatly improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.