Indefinite Leave to Remain UK Guidance
Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settlement considered as the ultimate end-goal for many migrants who come to the UK. Britain offers a wealth of opportunities, in terms of career, culture, and family life. And it is only natural that having invested five or more years in the UK, you and your family will want to make it your permanent home.
Unfortunately, the British government has sought to make it increasingly difficult for migrants to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. From arbitrarily refusing applicants due to a historical mistake on their tax form, to insisting Skilled Worker visa holders, at the date of the ILR application, obtain written confirmation from their employer that they are needed to work for the “foreseeable future” it has become increasingly challenging for those who dream of settlement in the UK to achieve it.
At A Y & J Solicitors, our team have an in-depth understanding of ILR requirements and achieve an incredibly high success rate for our clients. By instructing us, you can be confident that your application will be managed with high professionalism and care.
What are the Indefinite Leave to Remain eligibility?
Eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain depends on the category or route under which the person is applying. For example, one may qualify for ILR on the basis of 10 years’ lawful residence in the UK. Other applications for ILR may be based on time spent working or residing with family in the UK. Most routes require a minimum residency requirement; for example, to apply for ILR on the basis of a spousal visa, the applicant must have resided for 5 years on their spousal visa, as well as meeting the other requirements.
Who Can Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The following migrants may be eligible to apply for ILR:
- Current holders of a working visa under the former PBS system
- Current holders of a working visa under the new PBS system
- Current holders of a Dependent Visa or family visas
- Long-term residents of the UK, i.e. those who have been in the country for ten years
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain?
To apply for ILR, you must meet the following criteria:
Have held your visa continuously for five years (or have lawfully resided in the UK for continuous ten years)
- Show proof of your English language proficiency:
- Nationality from an English-speaking country
- OR An accepted English language degree
- OR Successfully passing an accredited English language test
- Pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test
- Meet the ‘continuous residency’ requirements
- Meet any minimum income requirements (if applicable)
It is important to note that ILR status can be revoked if you live outside the UK for more than two years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) fees
The fees for indefinite leave to remain is £2389.
This does not include the mandatory £19.20 biometric enrolment fees.
It cost an additional £800 for super priority processing (24 hour) and £500 for priority processing (5 day processing) where eligible.
How Do I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Applications for ILR are online and you must ensure that the correct application form is chosen, depending on each immigration category you are applying. It is important to have all information in your application accurate, and applicable to your case. You must pay a fee to apply, and you do not get a refund if you are refused. Common reasons for refusal include:
- Incorrect or insufficient documentation; or
- Incorrect or incomplete application;
- Failure to provide additional documents or information within a certain period of time, if you are requested by the UK Visas and Immigration to do so.
We, at A Y & J Solicitors will assist you with your ILR application, advising you from beginning to end. Should we identify any weaknesses in your case, for example, you have spent many months outside of the UK, we will ensure that this is addressed in our legal representations. This will greatly enhance your chance of having your ILR approved.
What Documents Do I Need to Provide When Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Generally speaking, you will need to provide the following documents when applying for ILR (Note: This is not an exhaustive list and it could be different depending on different visa type).
- Your passport;
- Evidence of your current leave to remain (i.e. your visa);
- Proof of any absences from the UK;
- Payslips from your employer to prove you meet the minimum income requirements, for Skilled Workers;
- Proof you meet the English language requirement and have passed the Life in the UK test.
What Are the Benefits of an Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa?
Indefinite Leave to Remain provides you and your family the opportunity to advance your status in the UK. Those with ILR can live and work in the UK, free from visa restrictions. Before applying for ILR, be aware that if you stay outside the UK for a continuous period of 2 years or more once ILR is granted, it will normally result in losing your ILR status.
Our experienced team can assist you and your family with the application process for this route, we have successfully helped many grateful clients navigate through the process. From the initial consultation until you receive the decision on indefinite leave to remain application, we are ready to help and make the process positive and hassle-free. We are unique that we also deliver the highest services to our clients and their family members.
What Can I Do if My Application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is Refused?
ILR refusals can be devastating for you and your family. On many occasions, your life is put on hold due to such a negative decision. Our expert team can move swiftly to advise you on your options to challenge to the refusal. Depending on the immigration category you choose, following options are possible solutions:
- Resubmitting your ILR application;
- Appeal against the decision;
- Lodge an Administrative Review
- Issue Judicial Review proceedings
We will advise you on the best steps to take based on your circumstances.
What are the different routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain?
There are various routes to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
These include applications based on:
- Long Residence in the UK (SET(LR))
- Family and Private Life in the UK(SET(M))
- Work in the UK (SET(O))
- EU Settlement Scheme
Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years?
Whether you can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK depends on whether you are on (and have been residing on) a route that qualifies for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Some visa categories allow the holder to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years continuous residence in the UK on that visa, or a combination of qualifying visas.
Some routes may have options for an even shorter qualifying period, whilst others are not a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain at all.
What is the Indefinite Leave to Remain application form I need to use?
The form you are required to use depends on the basis of your application.
Applicants are normally expected to apply online and the most comment types of online application are:-
Apply to Settle in the UK (including work based categories) (also known as SET(O))
Form to apply for ILR on the basis of Long Residence in the UK (also known as SET(LR))
Form to apply to settle as the partner or parent of a settled person (also known as SET(M))
How long does it take to process an Indefinite Leave to Remain application?
The standard service for ILR applications is up to 6 months.
It cost an additional £800 for super priority processing (24 hour) and £500 for priority processing (5 day processing, where eligible).
Normally, a limited number of SET(LR) applicants can use the super priority service daily. If the maximum number of customers has been reached when you are ready to submit and pay, the option for super priority will not be available on your application form.
Biometric Residence Permit with ILR
When you apply for ILR, you will need to enrol biometrics as part of the application. This will be the case even if you might have enrolled biometrics for a previous visa and even if you have previously been issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
When your ILR application is approved, you will be issued with a new BRP.
Your BRP showing ILR status will normally be issued for 10 years.
When your BRP expires (unless you have subsequently left the UK for more than 2 years or been granted British Citizenship) you will be required to renew the card.
You will need to check your BRP card carefully on receipt. If the card bears any errors expiry date you should follow up on this with the Home Office.
Due to changes in Encryption Technology your new BRP may be issued automatically with an expiry of 31 December 2024. This will not affect your status and the Home Office will keep BRP holders up to date as to how to update their early-expiring cards.
Indefinite Leave to Remain UK as a spouse
If you have resided in the UK with your spouse for a continuous period of 5 years, you should be eligible to apply for ILR. You should not apply for ILR more than 28 days before completing 5 years as a spousal visa holder.
Some aspects of the application will be similar to your previous applications as a spouse. You will need to show that you are in a subsisting relationship with your sponsor and have adequate accommodation for yourself and your family (for example a rental agreement or proof of ownership of your home).
You would again need to provide evidence to show you meet the financial requirement (sufficient income/funds) at the date of application.
In addition to this you will need to pass the Life in the UK test and also submit evidence that you know have a sufficient level of English (B1 level of the CEFR framework in Speaking and Listening).
You will also need to show that you have been living together (cohabiting) with your spouse, in the UK, since your last grant of leave as a spouse.
Once you have been granted ILR on the basis of 5 years’ residence as a spouse, you would normally become immediately eligible to apply for British Citizenship straight away – provided you meet the requirements for Citizenship.
Can ILR Status be Revoked?
ILR status can indeed be revoked. This could happen is a person was found to have acquired ILR status through deception or becomes liable for deportation.
What is an ILR card?
When you apply for ILR, you will need to enrol biometrics (photograph and fingerprints) as part of the application. When your ILR application is approved, you will be issued with a biometric residence permit (BRP), which might also be referred to as an ILR card.
ILR Qualification Criteria
The qualifying criteria for ILR depends on your current visa status and may also be affected by any previous visas you may have held whilst resident in the UK.
You will need to meet the criteria for ILR under your specific visa route.
In addition you must normally not fall under the “general grounds for refusal”. For example, if you have recently acquired a criminal conviction, that might affect your eligibility to apply for ILR.
applying for british passport after indefinite leave to remain
Once you have gained ILR status, after 12 months you may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship. If you are married to a British Citizen, you may even be eligible to apply straight away for naturalisation as a British Citizen.
You should check that you meet the requirements, before applying for Naturalisation.
Once Naturalised as a British Citizen, you can then apply for your first British passport.
Qualifying Periods for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Most eligible visa categories require a minimum 5 year qualifying period for ILR. Some routes offer accelerated routes to ILR (for example, the Tier 1 Investor route, where some qualifying candidates can apply after 3 years).
ILR on the basis of Long Residence requires the applicant to have accumulated 10 years lawful residence in the UK. That is, the applicant must have lived in the UK for 10 continuous years, with any combination of lawful leave, to qualify for ILR on this basis.
Visa holders cannot normally apply more than 28 days before they have completed their qualifying period for ILR, under the relevant route.
English Language Knowledge for ILR
Anyone aged 18-65 must demonstrate English to the required level for ILR. The minimum level is (B1) of the CEFR framework, in both Speaking and Listening.
If the applicant is the majority of an English language speaking country, they can show evidence of their nationality, to prove that they meet the requirement.
Other applicants need to supply evidence that they have either a Home Office approved English test result or have a degree taught in English. Degrees taught outside the UK will need to be accompanied by a UK ENICcertificate showing the academic level and, where applicable, the English language level at which the degree was taught.
Life in the UK Test for ILR
Anyone aged 18-65 must pass the Life in the UK test as a qualifying criteria for ILR. The paper tests the applicant’s knowledge of British customs and traditions, in 24 questions and within a 45 minute timeframe. The test must be taken through one of the 30+ approved government centres in the UK.
Applicants are strongly advised to study and prepare in advance for the test and need to book at least 3 days in advance, when ready. The candidate will be required to provide ID to sit the test. The test costs £50 and can be re-taken but if you fail (the pass mark is 75%) you must wait 7 days before re-taking the test. Test centres should make special provision for disabled candidates.
Some people are exempted from taking the test, due to exceptional circumstances, but this would be only where the applicant has a long-term physical or mental disability, supported by medical evidence that they cannot sit the test.
From 17 December 2019, applicants are provided with a Unique Test Reference number, rather than a paper certificate.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Forms
It is essential that you have fully understood the questions on the application form and that all answers have been reviewed by the applicant.
The form cannot be edited directly, once the form has been submitted online, so you should ensure that the form contains accurate data.
If you need to amend or clarify an answer following submission, this data should be provided as supporting evidence.
An error on the form could lead to delays or even the refusal of an ILR application and can also impact on future applications you submit (or sponsor), so attention to detail is paramount and you should seek legal advice if you have any doubts.
Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as Settlement, is a status granted to overseas migrants that provides freedom from time restrictions on permission to live in the UK.
To be eligible for ILR, you must meet the continuous residency requirements. This means that you cannot have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period. The 180 days is roughly six months, so the allowance is quite generous. However, those on a Worker Visas, Entrepreneurial and Talent visas are often caught out because they have to travel extensively for work. If you consider this an issue, it is in your best interest to discuss your absences with our lawyers prior to making your application.
If you qualify for ILR prior to your spouse/partner and/or dependant children, they will need to continue on a dependant visa until they meet the continuous residency requirements. You will need to ensure the maintenance requirements for your dependants are met.
Success Story on Indefinite Leave to Remain
ILR Tax Deception/Bad Character Issues, Client’s application approved at the UKVI Same Day Service
Recently, Applicants have faced issues receiving settlement following completing five continuous years in the UK as a Tier 1 (General) migrant. To qualify for the settlement, a Tier 1 (General) Migrant must be able to show that he/she has completed a continuous period of 5 years as a Tier 1 (General) and further be able…
A Y & J Solicitors’ Review
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I went to AY&J when my ILR application was refused with 322(5) and 245AAA due to tax amendment and number of absences. During my initial consultation, Diana picked up all the important points from my refusal letter and she gathered all the relevant documents that might be helpful for AR. Unfortunately my AR was refused and we lodged Judicial review. Just today I found out my oral permission has been granted. Hoping the case will be resolved soon. AY&J have been keeping up to date about my application and their service is exceptional. They always answered my queries. I would recommend anyone with Visa issues(including 322(5)) to go see Diana and youÕll come out relieved.
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