What is Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)?
Indefinite Leave to Remain is the term for permanent residence or settlement in the UK. It can be achieved through various routes depending on which visa you have held over the last 5 or 10 years and in some cases 2 years. Once you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions.
Visa categories that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain include:
- Spouse visa / Unmarried partner visa / Same Sex / Civil Partner visa (after 2 years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012)
- Child or Parent or Adult Dependent Relative Visa
- Tier 1 Investor or Innovator Visas and Tier 2 UK work permit visas (after 5 years)
- UK ancestry visa (after 5 years)
- EU nationals and dependents (after 5 years)
- Long residence (after 10 years of legal residency in the UK)
Your ILR – settled status – will become invalid if you are absent from the UK for more than 2 years. 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 is essential to qualifying for a British Citizenship through Naturalisation or Registration and ultimately obtaining a British Passport.
Your family members can also apply for ILR if they are your dependents under the Tier 1 or Tier 2 Categories and they will need to meet the requirements in their own right too.
And settlement can in some cases be acquired by migrants who do not hold legal immigration status, but this is necessarily a long process. Such a migrant who manages to acquire limited immigration leave will have to wait for ten more years before they can eventually apply for settlement.
Requirements for ILR and Settle in the UK
Certain requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain are common to all routes, unless an exemption applies, such as:
- Pass the Life in the UK Test,
- Pass an English Test at minimum of B1 Level
Applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner, you will need to have completed 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or settled person. You will also need to satisfy the strict financial requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
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 under the Points Based System
Work related and Investment related settlement routes include the Innovator visa route, Tier 1 Investor visa, and Tier 2 General Skilled Worker visa, Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa and the UK Ancestry Visa.
To apply under these categories remain you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK in a permitted category;
- You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any rolling 12 calendar month periods 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.
You can also apply for ILR if you have had 10 years of lawful residence in the UK.
Do I qualify for ILR based on the Long Residence 10 years route to Settlement?
You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain based on a 10 years route to settlement if you have resided in the UK lawfully. Some visa holders are put on a 10 years route to settlement by the Home Office if they do not meet their visa requirements fully but the Home Office considers that it will be unfair to refuse the visa and therefore, the Home Office can put you on a 10 years route to settle permanently in the UK.
If you have been residing in the UK lawfully for 10 years you can apply for ILR based on your long residence rules. 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 delivers your ILR decision in 24 hours for £800 and if you purchase the Priority service the Home Office caseworker will decide your case within 5 days for £500.
Why should I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain? What are the benefits?
Once you have obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain, you are exempt from immigration control that means you no longer have to apply for visas to continue to live in the UK. You can live in the UK permanently. There are no restrictions upon your activity in the UK, you can work, run a business, access healthcare, travel back and forth from and to the UK as you please and many more.
Biometric Residence Permit for ILR
Everytime you make an application to the Home Office for permission to remain/stay in the UK you will have to provide your biometrics. You may already have a Biometric Residence Permit but when you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain you will need to enroll your biometrics again and once your ILR is granted, usually you will receive a BRP card within 7 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?
The Home Office is issuing the BRP card with an expiry of 31st Dec 2024 due to some changes in encryption technology it uses for producing these cards. You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get more updates on this matter.
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 2 continuous years you can lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you are in such a situation you should obtain Immigration advice.
Which form to use to apply for my ILR?
Depending on your route to Settlement you can use the relevant form for example if you are applying for ILR based on Spouse visa you need to use form “SET M”. You can now apply online for your ILR.
What is Life in the UK test?
Life in the UK test is designed by the Gov to test how well you have integrated into the British society as a whole and how much you understand about British values and culture. This is a mandatory requirement the only exception is based on age and based on medical or health grounds. 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. If you are on an Investor Visa and have invested £10 Million you can apply for ILR after 2 years of residence in the UK. Whereas, if you are on a family visa you have to reside in the UK for 5 years. Applicants on Turkish Business person visa can also apply for ILR after 5 years residence in the UK.
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 on 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.
A legal representation letter is vital and 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 Solicitors
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 the best immigration advice in London at OISC Level 3 for an ILR application to clients from all over the UK, including the Harrow, Wembley, Ealing, Birmingham, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bristol and even Scotland.
Our clients come from all over the world including Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Tanzania, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, USA, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, Brazil, Columbia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Vietnam & China to name a few.
We have experienced Immigration Lawyers in London, and we also have Immigration Lawyers in Harrow, so you have access to the best Immigration Advice in London.
Call now and speak to us and discover for yourself that we are the right Immigration Lawyers in London, or Harrow, 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) usually after living in the UK for 5 years but depending on the route you might qualify for ILR within 3 years or 10 years of residence in the UK.
What requirements do I have to meet to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You will need evidence that you have been living lawfully in the UK, hold a B1 English language certificate & have passed Life in the UK test. There are other requirements to meet also such as your absence from the UK should not exceed the maximum number of days allowed.
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 biometrics.
What is the fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Home Office charges a fee of £2389 per applicant and you will also need to pay £19.20 to provide your biometrics to the Home Office. These fees are regularly updated by the Home Office.
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 is allowed for my Indefinite Leave to Remain application to be successful?
You should not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in the last 12 months during your qualifying period for ILR application.
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 GOV website and yes you can resit the exams as many times as many you need to there is no limit on how many times you can sit for the exam.
What is the processing time frame for my Indefinite Leave to Remain application?
The published time for ILR processing is 6 months by the Home Office. However, most of our clients receive their ILR grant decision within 3 months of submission.
What is the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain and Citizenship?
ILR allows the holder permanent stay in the UK, whereas obtaining British Citizenship makes the holder British Citizen which has more advantages than the ILR.
Can I lose my Indefinite Leave to Remain status?
Yes, you can if you are absent from the UK for 2 or more years continuously. However, if you manage to enter the UK even for a day during these 2 years you will not lose your ILR status.