When you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK – also called settlement – it can be a bit like buying a lottery ticket. Your success or failure is increasingly dependent on arbitrary factors introduced by the British Government. From refusing an applicant due to a five-year-old mistake on a tax form, to excessive UK absences by the date of the ILR application, it has become more and more challenging for those who dream of settlement in the UK to achieve it. To have that dream snatched away after years of planning can be agonising. Your application deserves to be expertly handled at every step for the best chance of success. At A Y & J Solicitors, our team have a forensic understanding of ILR requirements and an exceptional application success rate. Why leave something as important as this to chance?
At A Y & J Solicitors in London, our immigration solicitors have a wealth of experience in getting people from around the globe over the line with their Indefinite Leave to Remain application. Our team can assist ILR applicants at whatever stage of the process they are going through, giving them the very best chance of getting their ILR application approved. And there are no runaway legal costs to worry about either – our services have fixed fees, so you know exactly how much you need to pay right from the start, with no nasty surprises further down the line.
Case study: Click here to read about how A Y & J Solicitors helped a client after his accountant made an error which caused his ILR application to be refused. He’s now settled in the UK and his children are registered British citizens.
We are specialists in immigration law and have supported more than 4,000 business owners and professionals around the globe to successfully navigate the UK system. We work quickly, always responding to any queries within 24 working hours. And we work closely with the Home Office to pre-empt issues before they jeopardise sponsorship applications or breach compliance. We manage all United Kingdom immigration matters, including visa applications under the new points-based immigration system, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), Spouse Visas, nationality and more. We also handle complex cases of appeal, administrative reviews, judicial reviews and the many immigration challenges involving European Union law and human rights.
At A Y & J Solicitors, we’ll assign you a UK immigration expert to assist you with your ILR application, advising you all the way from beginning to end. Should we identify any weaknesses in your case – if 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 application approved.
A Y & J Solicitors (based in London) serves individuals and businesses around the globe. We have more than 1,200 positive client reviews across Google and Trustpilot and are listed in The Legal top 500 best UK law firms, so you can rest assured your immigration challenges are in safe hands when you take these three simple steps:
The following migrants may be eligible to apply for ILR:
There are other routes to indefinite leave to remain, so eligibility should be checked on a case-by-case basis.
To apply for ILR, you must normally meet the following criteria:
It is important to note that ILR status can be revoked if you live outside the UK for more than two years.
Applications for ILR are online and you must ensure that the correct application form is chosen, depending on each immigration category you are applying for. It is important that all the information in your application is 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:
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).
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 the refusal. Depending on the immigration category you choose, the following options are possible solutions and we will advise you on the best one for your circumstances:
There are various routes to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. These include applications based on:
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 five years of 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.
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:
The standard service for ILR applications is up to six months. It costs an additional £800 for super priority processing (24 hour) and £500 for priority processing (five-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.
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 two 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 on the expiry date you should follow this up with the Home Office.
Due to changes in encryption technology your new BRP may be issued automatically with an expiry of December 31 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.
If you have resided in the UK with your spouse for a continuous period of five years, you should be eligible to apply for ILR. You should not apply for ILR more than 28 days before completing five 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 five years’ residence as a spouse, you would normally become immediately eligible to apply for British citizenship straight away – provided you meet the requirements.
The qualifying criteria for ILR depends on your current visa status and may also be affected by any previous visas you may have held while 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.
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.
Most eligible visa categories require a minimum five 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 three 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.
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 from a country where English is the main language (i.e. on the Home Office list of majority English language-speaking countries), 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 ENIC certificate showing the academic level and, where applicable, the English language level at which the degree was taught.
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 three days in advance. 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 seven days before re-taking it. Test centres should make special provision for disabled candidates.
Some people are exempt 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.
Since December 17 2019, applicants are provided with a Unique Test Reference number, rather than a paper certificate.
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 it has been submitted online, so you should ensure 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.
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"Very helpful and efficient team, the fees are a significant investment but I couldn't have done the process without them. I recommend allowing 2-3 months for applications to avoid extra fees, but I was on a very tight timeline and the team was able to wrap up everything very quickly. Really grateful for all their hard work."
"I have used A Y & J Solicitors twice now to deal with spouse visa applications. They are highly professional and each time got excellent service. Recently, Nagina Hanif helped out with our application and she was very thorough and diligent in getting all the paperwork done and kept us posted through out the process. I know A Y & J solicitors fees might be bit on the higher end when compared to others, but I think this represents the quality of service you get in return. Before signing on A Y & J solicitors, I looked at few other options few years ago but our first application, when it came to renewal time I simply went with them as I knew they were highly reliable. I would highly recommend them!"
"Fabulous assistance from start to finish. They really made my visa application a smooth experience."
"Great Team, appreciate on time support and highly professional. I would recommend AY & J Solicitors."
"Competent and reachable."
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