.What is Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)?
Indefinite Leave to Remain means the same thing as permanent residence or settlement in the UK. Once you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions. It can be achieved through various routes depending on your circumstances and how long you have been in the UK.
Visa categories that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain include:
- Spouse visa/Civil Partner visa/Unmarried Partner visa (after five or ten years) The settlement rules for these three categories are the same. If the applicant meets all the requirements of the rules they will go on the five-year route to settlement but if they only meet some of them they will go on the ten-year route. But once settlement has been achieved it has equal status, whether acquired after five years or ten years.
- Child, Parent or Adult Dependent Relative visa (the time period varies depending on the circumstances) A child or a parent may qualify for settlement after either five or ten years. The required period for an Adult Dependant Relative varies, depending on the situation of their sponsor. In some cases settlement can be acquired immediately.
- Working/business/investment visas (after five years or less in some cases) In the majority of cases settlement can be acquired after five years but some routes offer settlement in three years or even two years. In some cases leave held under different visas can be combined.
- UK Ancestry visa (after five years) In every case the required period is five years.
- EEA nationals and dependants (after five years) In every case the required period is five years.
- Long residence (after ten years of legal residence in the UK) The applicant must demonstrate that they have lived continuously lawfully in the UK for that period, under any type of visa or combination of visas.
- Refugee/Humanitarian Protection status (after five or ten years) The required period for settlement will be either five years or ten years, depending on whether the supplicant has been granted refugee status or Humanitarian Protection status and, if the former, on which type of refugee leave they were granted.
Your ILR settled status will become invalid if you are absent from the UK for too long. If your ILR becomes invalid, you may be able to apply for a Returning Resident visa in order to return to the UK. Achieving indefinite leave to remain status may be necessary for an application for British Citizenship via Naturalisation or Registration.
Your family members, if any, may in many cases also be able apply for ILR along with you.
And settlement can in some cases be acquired by migrants who do not hold legal immigration status, under the “private life” rules. These rules potentially cover both adults and children: those who have overstayed their visas, those who were born in the UK without legal status, and those who came to the UK illegally.
The rules about settlement in this area are complex. In many cases a successful applicant will be granted two and a half years’ leave or five years’ leave and a settlement application may be possible after five years or ten years, depending on the circumstances. So in some cases the migrant will have to extend their leave until they have acquired a sufficient period. But in the case of some children if the application is successful settlement will be granted immediately.
Requirements for ILR and Settlement in the UK
Certain requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain are common to most routes (although there are some exceptions) such as:
- Pass the Life in the UK Test
- Satisfy an English language requirement
- Not to have spent too much time outside the UK
Applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner, you will need to have completed five years or ten years in the UK as the partner of a British citizen, someone who already holds settlement, or other type of qualifying sponsor.
If applying for Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain as an Adult Dependent Relative or Child you will need to demonstrate that you will be adequately maintained, accommodated and cared for without recourse to public funds. There is no English language requirement and it is not necessary to pass the Life in the UK test.
Each of the family-related settlement categories also have their own additional eligibility criteria, which we will be able to guide you on fully.
Requirements for ILR working/business/investment visas
To apply under these categories you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You have spent a sufficient continuous period in the UK in a permitted category(ies)
- You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any rolling 12-month period preceding the date of application
Each of the work and investment related settlement categories also has its own additional eligibility criteria, which we will guide you on in detail.
Do I qualify for ILR based on the Long Residence 10-year route to Settlement?
You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain based on a ten-year route to settlement if you have resided in the UK lawfully for that period. Your residence can consist of different visa routes.
Can I apply for ILR fast track?
Yes, you can. You can buy Super priority or Priority Service. Super priority normally delivers your ILR decision by the next working day for £800 extra and if you purchase the Priority service your case will normally be processed within five working days for £500 extra.
Why should I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain? What are the benefits?
Once you have obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain you no longer have to apply for visas to continue to live in the UK and you can live in the UK permanently. There are no restrictions upon your activity in the UK, and you can work, study, or run a business. You can access NHS healthcare free of charge and you can receive any state benefits you are entitled to.
Biometric Residence Permit for ILR
Every time you make an application to the Home Office for permission to remain/stay in the UK you will have to provide your biometric details. You may already have a Biometric Residence Permit but when you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain you will need to enrol your biometrics again and once your ILR is granted usually you will receive your BRP card within seven days of your application approval.
My Indefinite Leave to Remain BRP card is expiring in Dec 2024. Do I need to apply for ILR again?
No, The Home Office is currently issuing BRP cards with an expiry of 31st December 2024 due to some changes in encryption technology it uses for producing these cards. Once you have been granted ILR you do not have to apply for it again unless it has been revoked.
Can Home Office revoke my Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The Home Office can revoke your ILR status under certain circumstances such as if they find out that you obtained your ILR through deception.
Can I lose my ILR status?
If you stay outside the UK for too long you can lose your ILR. If you are in such a situation you should obtain immigration advice.
What is the Life in the UK test?
The Life in the UK test is designed by the Home Office to test how well you have integrated into British society and how much you understand about British values and culture. In total there are 24 questions and it is a timed test where you have 45 minutes to answer all the questions.
What are the Residence requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The residence requirements vary depending on which route you are on. Many routes require a total of five years’ residence but some require less and some more.
What we can do for you for a successful ILR Application
We can initially advise you about the strength of your ILR application. If there are likely to be any difficult issues we will advise you about these.
We can advise you about submitting the right documents so that you have the best possible application. We have helped many clients successfully with their ILR applications. You can watch our client’s video testimonial, we can do the same for you.
It is our job to complete your application forms and also submit the application. This also includes advice on the Biometrics appointment.
Our aim is to submit your application smoothly and in addition provide up-to-date information at all times. This way you do not need to keep up to date with the UKVI changes.
We remain available during and after the submission of your application and until a decision comes through.
We will provide a legal representation letter, which will support your application.
We will work hard and diligently and advise you fully on your application. This ensures you have the best chance of success.
Contact our Indefinite Leave to Remain Lawyers
Why not give us a call to discover that we are the best Indefinite Leave to Remain Immigration Lawyers in London and Harrow? We work with clients from all over the UK, so if you are not in London or Harrow do not worry, we can assist you wherever you are. We provide top quality immigration advice in London for ILR applications to clients from all over the UK, including Harrow, Wembley, Ealing, Birmingham, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bristol and even Scotland.
Call now and speak to us and discover for yourself that we are the right Immigration Lawyers for you. Alternatively, you can Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
ILR Frequently Asked Questions
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Indefinite Leave to Remain allows the holder to stay in the UK permanently.
When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after having lived in the UK for the required number of years, which varies from visa to visa.
What requirements do I have to meet to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The requirements vary but in most cases they include an English language requirement and Life in the UK Test and a requirement that you have not spent too much time outside the UK during the qualifying period.
How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You can apply online for your ILR application and can provide your documents to the Home Office online too. You will need to attend a visa centre to provide your biometric details.
What is the fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The Home Office charges a fee of £2,885 per applicant. These fees are regularly updated by the Home Office (and typically increased).
What is the difference between limited leave to remain and Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Limited leave to remain allows you to stay in the UK for a specific period of time and upon expiry you have to either extend your visa or return to your home country. Indefinite Leave to Remain allows you to stay in the UK permanently.
How much absence from the UK is allowed for my Indefinite Leave to Remain application to be successful?
This varies from visa to visa.
How can I book Life in the UK Test and can I resit the exam if I fail the first time?
You can book the Life in the UK test from the HM Government website and yes, you can resit the exams as many times as you need to; there is no limit on how many times you can sit the exam.
What is the processing time frame for my Indefinite Leave to Remain application?
The Home Office’s published time for ILR processing is six months. However, there is no guarantee about this.
What is the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship?
ILR allows the holder permanent stay in the UK but there are limits on how long they can stay outside the UK. British Citizenship has no such restrictions and of course a British citizen is entitled to hold a British passport. And there are a few other advantages.
Can I lose my Indefinite Leave to Remain status?
Yes, if you are absent from the UK for too long you can lose it. In many cases the limit is two years but for those who hold Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme the limit is five years.