ILR Visa Lawyers London

Free assessment

Free Eligibility Assessment

Apply For Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

Are you looking to apply for indefinite leave to remain? If you need help with the application, Master Legal Services is an expert team of immigration lawyers providing immigration-related services for both businesses and individuals. For further information on how we can help, feel free to contact our office to speak to an expert on 020 8935 5205 or via Whatsapp on 07710987064

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?

Indefinite leave to remain,  also referred to as settlement, is a status that a foreign citizen can apply for if they are already living in the UK. This status means that a migrant in the UK is permitted to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

Permission to enter and stay in the UK (‘Leave’) can be granted to a person for a specified period of time, known as Limited Leave, or can be granted for an indefinite time, known as Indefinite Leave. The granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) is often also referred to as “Settlement”, as this is essentially what the permission amounts to. A migrant who is  granted ILR is permitted to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

Most migrants will need to have been granted one or more periods of limited leave before being able to apply for Settlement/ ILR. The length of time that they will complete in the UK before they can apply for ILR is referred to as the “qualifying period”. The qualifying period will depend on the category and the circumstances of their leave in the UK.

Qualification for ILR status will depend on the category and circumstances of the individual but it will be based on the length of time spent in the UK. There are both financial factors and length of stay that need to be taken into account. For more information visit our indefinite leave to remain page.

ILR is a status non-EU citizens and their family members must be granted before applying for British citizenship.

For example: A migrant spouse of a settled person who meets the financial requirements will be required to complete 60 months in the UK before they can apply for ILR; a migrant spouse of a settled person who does NOT meet the financial requirements, is required to complete a period of 10 years in the UK before they can apply for ILR.

What are the Eligibility requirements for ILR application:

You must meet the requirements set out in the Immigration Rules which are relevant to the visa category which you are apply from.

  • All applicants aged 18-64 must meet the two parts of the Knowledge of Language and Life (“KOLL”) requirement by :
  • Passing the Life in the UK test, and
  • Meeting one of the following language qualifications:
  • having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR),or
  • having a degree that was taught or researched in English, or
  • being a national of an English-speaking country.

Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK – What documents do you need to submit:

As with all applications, you will be required to provide the appropriate documentary evidence to prove that you meet the required criteria.

In general, the documents that are required for applications for Indefinite leave to remain include:

  • Completed application form
  • Submit the appropriate application fee
  • a current passport or other valid travel ID
  • your biometric residence permit card, if you have one
  • all the passports you’ve held during your time in the UK
  • 2 passport size colour photographs
  • Evidence of continued residence for any dependent(s)
  • The Life in the UK test certificate
  • Evidence that you meet the English Language requirements, as stated above

For each visa category, there will be specific documentary evidence that the Home Office will require from the applicant. It is very important that all the relevant documents are submitted with the application form. If documents are missing, this could be a reason to refuse the application.

Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK – Exemption From The KOLL Requirement

The two categories which are exempt from the KOLL requirement are: Bereaved Partner and Highly Skilled Migrant

  • Applicant’s will need to meet the residency requirements. In most cases this will be to attain at least 5 consecutive years of residence in the UK.
  • Applicant’s should meet the good character requirements

Once you have been granted ILR it is important that you are not be absent from the UK for two years or more. If you are absent for a period of more than 2 years, your ILR status will be curtailed.

You will be eligible to apply for British citizenship after you are granted ILR, and again our professional immigration experts can provide you with a free, no-jargon initial assessment. In most circumstances, you become eligible to apply for citizenship after having ILR for 12 months. There are some exceptions to this for different visa categories.

Routes to ILR

Being granted with ILR status in the UK makes a person absolutely free from any immigration control and restrictions in the country. As the name suggests, there is no time limit for the leave in the UK. In addition, one becomes eligible to make an application for Naturalisation.

Normally, the qualifying period in the majority of visa categories is 5 years. If for some reason you do not qualify (finances, absences from the UK), there is an option to rely on 10-year long route for ILR.

You and your dependent(s) applying with you can make an application within 28 days before completing the qualifying period. If you apply earlier than this the application may be refused. The qualifying period will begin either from the date you entered the UK with a visa in the relevant category or the date you were first granted permission to remain in the UK in the relevant category.

Indefinite leave to remain: The 5 years route

After spending a continuous period of 5 years in the UK, a person may be eligible to make an application for Indefinite Leave to remain. This is the most common route of gaining ILR in the UK.

Whether or not a person will be eligible to apply after 5 years will depend on the  visa category which they are currently in the UK with and subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.

To find out if you are eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, contact our office to speak with a specialist Immigration Adviser.

Indefinite leave to remain: The 10 years route

A migrant would be able to apply to settle in the UK if they have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years. This is known as ‘long residence’, or the ’10 year route’. A migrant could apply for ILR as a long resident if they have:

  • been in the UK legally for 10 years (known as your ‘continuous residence’)
  • kept to the terms of their UK visa
  • the applicant must meet the knowledge of language and life requirement
  • there must be no reason why granting leave is against the public good

The 10-year qualifying period starts from either: date of arrival to the UK with a visa or date when the permission to stay in the UK was granted.

Continuous residence is time spent in the UK without gaps. You can leave the UK during the continuous residence for up to:

  • 180 days at a time;
  • 540 days in total.

Time spent in a prison, young offender institution or secure hospital or in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Channel Islands cannot be counted.

You may be able to extend your leave to remain for another 2 years if you do not meet the requirements to the Language and Life in the UK tests.

How long it takes

You’ll be told whether your application has been successful within 6 months of your application date if you use the standard service. If you use the super priority service a decision will be made: by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday; 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend. If you apply for extension, you’ll be told whether your application has been successful within 8 weeks.

Your family members (‘dependants’) can apply separately if they’re eligible. A partner or a child can be a dependant, but they cannot be included in your application.

Your partner can apply to remain in the UK as the partner of a settled person if they are not eligible to apply separately and your application for settlement is successful. They may be able to include their children in their application.

Children over 18

Your children may have to leave the UK if they’re not eligible to apply separately and are over 18. You may be able to include your dependants in your application if you apply to settle under your visa category instead.

Applying as a Spouse of a settled person:

It should be noted that significant changes to the immigration rules took place in 2012. Before this, a family member of someone who is present and settled in the UK would be granted a visa for two years initially. After this 2 year temporary visa, if they were still in a genuine and subsisting relationship, they could apply for Indefinite leave.

However, the immigrations rules were tightened and the process of apply for ILR became longer after changes to the rules in 2012.

At present, if your initial visa in the UK was as a spouse/ family member of, you will be initially granted a visa that lasts 30 months (i.e. 2 and a half years). After this period, you will need to apply again for another 30 months. Only you have spent 5 years in the UK, that is you have been granted limited leave to remain twice, will you be eligible to apply for ILR.

In most cases, you would be required to be an ILR holder for 12 months before you could apply for naturalisation. However, under the new rules, a spouse who has been in the UK lawfully for a period of 5 years, is eligible to apply for naturalisation immediately after being granted ILR.

FAQs

What if my Indefinite leave to Remain application was refused?

You may be able to send a new application. You will not be refunded for this application. Therefore due care should be taken to ensure the application form is completed correctly and that you meet the eligibility and suitability criteria.

Before making another application, you should identify the reasons that your application was refused and understand if these are matters that can be corrected in your future applications.

For example, you may meet the criteria for ILR, but did not provided adequate documentary evidence, in which case you should ensure that for the next application the correct documents are provided. Another example is that you may have completed an incorrect section of the application form. In this case you should ensure that only the appropriate sections which apply to you should be completed and should be completed correctly.

What are the fee’s for ILR application? How much the application for ILR cost?

The cost of immigration applications are amended on a regular basis. The Home Office fee’s were recently amended the application fee’s this year. At present, the application fee for indefinite leave to remain when applying from inside the UK is £2,389. The fee is higher for applications with dependents and increases with the more dependents included in the application.

If you are making an application for settlement as a dependent relative, the current fee is £3,250, and again is more depending on number of dependents included in the application.

Once you are granted ILR, you are issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which is a card that confirms your status in the UK. You should travel with this BRP and your national passport together.

How long is Indefinite Leave to Remain valid for?

A migrant  who is granted indefinite leave to remain status in the UK will hold this status indefinitely, without a specified time limit. If you are granted with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you will be provided with a Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’) which confirms your status.

This card has an expiry date of 10 years and this can leave many people confused about limitation of their ILR status. The date on the BRP card is only regarding the expiration of the card itself and not regarding your ILR status. This means the card will need to be renewed after 10 years.  It is similar to the expiry date on a passport; the passport will need to be renewed but the actual citizenship status remains the same.

How long after ILR can I apply for naturalisation/ British Citizenship?

If you are applying as a spouse or a British citizen, you can apply for naturalisation immediately after receiving ILR status. Otherwise, you will be eligible to apply for naturalisation after 12 months of holding ILR status.

How many days can I spend outside the UK with ILR status?

As a holder of ILR, you should not spend more than 2 years outside of the UK otherwise you will lose your ILR status.

If you would like to apply for British citizenship after being granted ILR, then you should not be absent from the UK for more than 450 or 270 days (spouse of a British citizen) in the qualifying period and for more than 90 days in the immediate 12 months before the naturalisation application.

Can ILR status be revoked?

There are some circumstances where your ILR status can be revoked. The reasons for revoking ILR status includes:

For reasons of national security- for example you have committed a serious criminal offence that leads to your deportation.

If you leave the UK for a period of 2 years or more. In this situation, you may be allowed to reapply.

The Home Office may revoke your ILR if there is a reason to believe that you do not intend to reside in the UK.

Can you lose your permanent status in the United Kingdom?

The short answer is YES. Everyone, who has been absent from the UK for more than 2 consecutive years, will automatically lose their indefinite leave as a matter of law.

A person who has been absent for more than 2 years must apply for entry clearance as a returning resident and will be assessed by Entry Clearance Officers.

There are some exceptions which prevent a person’s leave from lapsing. Any period spent outside the UK will not count towards the calculation of the 2 year period for the following people:

• partner or child accompanying a member of HM Forces overseas;

• partner or child accompanying a permanent member of the British Council, Department for International Development, Home Office, or Foreign and Commonwealth Office overseas.

Can I get back my ILR?

The person will be readmitted for settlement provided that they:

• had indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK when they last left;

• has not been away from the United Kingdom for more than 2 years;

• did not receive assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK;

• now seeks admission for the purpose of settlement.

To prove one’s settled status in the UK it is required to provide the following:

• indefinite leave to enter (ILE) endorsement or BRP;

• indefinite leave to remain (ILR) endorsement or BRP;

• no time limit endorsement or BRP;

• returning resident visas;

• open date stamps in passport after ILE/ILR has been granted.

If such evidence cannot be provided, a person’s settled status may still be confirmed through:

  • records on databases, such as central reference system (CRS) or case information database (CID), or paper files that show indefinite leave has been granted;
  • other proof the applicant was settled in the UK on or before 1 January 1973 and this status has not been lost or revoked.

Can I lose my Indefinite Leave to Remain Status If I am missing from the UK for less than 2 Years?

A person who has been absent from the UK for less than 2 continuous years will retain their indefinite leave. It is usually possible to check absences from the UK through entry and (old) embarkation stamps (endorsed by Immigration Officers).

SEEKING ENTRY FOR THE PURPOSES OF SETTLEMENT

A person must show that they are seeking entry for the purposes of settlement. Whilst in most cases a person would be returning to settle at the point of entry, there may be other circumstances where a person is in work or study for long periods overseas, but still intends to ultimately settle in the UK on completion of the employment/study. This will not disqualify a person from admission as a returning resident, provided:

• they are normally resident in the UK (for example, a person has property or family or other interests in the UK which are being closely maintained through regular contact);

• at the time of their entry, they consider the UK to be their permanent home;

• they have not been away from the UK for more than 2 years and intend to return to the UK for settlement in the future.

Can I loose my Indefinite leave to Remain Status If I am missing from the UK for more than 2 Years?

Where a person is absent from the UK for more than 2 years, their indefinite leave will automatically lapse. A person may nevertheless be admitted as a returning resident if they can demonstrate strong ties to the UK. Any applications for readmission following a 2-year absence, must be made at a UK visa application centre.

FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION

• their strength of ties to the UK including:

– the nature of those ties (family, property, business);

– the extent to which those ties have been maintained during the applicant’s absence;

• the length of their original residence in the UK;

• the length of time the applicant has been outside the UK;

• the circumstances in which they left the UK and their reasons for remaining absent;

• their reasons for now wishing to return;

• whether, if they were to be readmitted, they would continue to live in the UK;

• any other compelling or compassionate factors.

What is the UK ILR?

The UK ILR or Indefinite Leave to Remain Can also be called permanent settlement or residence – it is simply a status granted to immigrants who have gone through the application process and have been granted the necessary permission for leave to remain in Britain which entails the right to live, study and hold paid employment without the fear of any time restrictions.

Citizens of non-EEA countries who have met the necessary requirements for ILR eligibility are qualified to submit applications for the status. What this means in the general sense is that any individual wishing to process an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain must have completed five years within the borders of the United Kingdom and with legitimate status without undue absence from the country. When an individual is granted an ILR, he or she has access to an indefinite stay in the UK, but then, there are circumstances that can lead to the revocation of an ILR

Obtaining an ILR might turn out to be your initial step towards the acquisition of a UK citizenship and eligibility demands that extensive relevant documentations on your current status be submitted as well as meeting outlined specific requirements. Because of the complications inherent the application process, many applicants have been known to employ the services of Immigration lawyers as their wealth of experience and expert guidance becomes really useful when you are in the process of packaging your application. Besides, the process of applying for an ILR is a time sensitive one, thus, expert guidance becomes a necessity.

The conditions an immigrant needs to meet in order to qualify for an ILR are several; there is a specific financial requirement which you must meet in terms of minimum earnings that will serve as an indication that you are self-sufficient. In addition, you will be required to meet several residential as well as personal requirements. Once you have been granted an ILR and has acquired an additional eligibility period of residence in the United Kingdom, you will be qualified to submit applications for British citizenship

How fast can you obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain?

This is largely dependent on the British immigration category an applicant is in. In explanation, applicants who are holders of ancestry visa will become eligible for an ILR after living in the UK for five years (fewer than 28 days). In the same vein, individuals who hold Tier 2 General visa gains eligibility for ILR after five years period. On the contrary, holders of  Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa routes become eligible for an Indefinite Leave to Remain within a period less than five years. However, this can only be possible when they meet expedite criteria for an ILR. Upon meeting all the requirements, the applicant will be exposed to a plethora of application processes; least of which is a same day service.

What are the reasons for revoking an ILR 

You Indefinite Leave to Remain status can be revoked under certain circumstances, they include; 

  • Reasons bordering on national security – This affects people who have been found guilty of serious criminal offences which may lead to deportation.
  • Absence – this affects individuals who were absent from the UK for two years or more. For this category of people, there is room for re-application.
  • Home Office prerogative  – The home office has the right to revoke your Indefinite Leave to Remain if they have cause to believe that you have no intention of living in the United Kingdom.

When can I apply for ILR as a Spouse?

If you are in the UK as a spouse of a settled person (i.e. a British citizen or someone with permanent residence status), and you meet the financial requirements, you can apply for ILR after 5 years.

However, if you do not meet financial requirements, you will be eligible to apply for ILR after 10 years of continuous stay in the UK.

At the moment, the threshold to meet the financial requirement is that your settled spouse  should be earning at least £18,600. Please note that this financial threshold increases as the number of dependents in your application increases.

For a detailed assessment of making an ILR application, contact our office and meet with an expert immigration lawyer.

For postal applications, the timeframe for a decision is between  3 – 6 months.

There is an option to make an appointment for a same-day decision in some specific instances.

Can I travel outside of the UK with ILR?

Once you are granted ILR, you are issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which is a card that confirms your status in the UK. You should travel with this  BRP and your national passport together.

How many days can I spend outside the UK with ILR status?

As a holder of ILR, you should not spend more than 2 years outside of the UK. If you more than 2 years outside of the UK, you will lose your ILR status.

If you would like to apply for British citizenship after being granted ILR, than you should not be absent from the UK  for more than 270 days in the qualifying period AN should not be absent from the UK for more than 90 days in the immediate 12 months before the naturalisation application.

Do get in touch with our team for more info on the services we offer, which include applications for British citizenshipthe EU settlement scheme, Indefinite Leave to Remain, UK Spouse Visa applicants, Fiancee visa , Permanent residence for EU nationals, UK residence cards, Document checking service, UK visitor visa, Unmarried partner visas, and many more.