Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If you’re considering applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status, our team can provide the guidance and assistance you need.

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Summary of Immigration History

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If you’re considering applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status, our team of experienced immigration advisors can provide the guidance and assistance you need. But first, let’s understand what ILR entails.

Understanding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of permanent settlement available to foreign nationals residing in the UK. Typically, individuals must have lived in the UK for at least five years to apply for ILR. However, in certain situations, such as having specific visa categories, you can become eligible after just three or even two years of UK residence.

Various immigration visas can lead to ILR, including Spouse Visas, Innovator Visas, and the Skilled Worker Visa. Gaining ILR status allows you to live in the UK without any immigration-related restrictions and marks the initial step toward becoming a British citizen.

ILR Eligibility and Requirements in the UK

The eligibility criteria for ILR vary depending on individual circumstances and the type of visa held. While the fundamental requirement is lawful residence in the UK for a specific duration, other conditions must be met as well. Here are the primary requirements:

  • Lawful Residence: You must have lived in the UK legally for a defined period.
  • Compliance with Immigration Laws: Applicants should not have violated immigration laws during their stay in the UK and must have a clean criminal record.
  • Absence from the UK: Your time spent outside the UK should not exceed 180 days in a 12-month period during the qualifying period.
  • Life in the UK Test: Passing the Life in the UK test, which evaluates knowledge of British culture, history, and traditions, is mandatory.
  • English Proficiency: Demonstrating proficiency in English at the B1 level, as defined by the Common European Framework of Languages.

Exemptions from ILR Application

Certain individuals do not need to apply for ILR to obtain settled UK status. This includes those eligible for British citizenship by descent, child dependents of British citizens or people with settled status, adult dependents in need of long-term care by a British citizen or someone with settled status, and refugees resettled in the UK through the Gateway Protection Program.

Different Routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain

Individuals who have lawfully resided in the UK under various visa categories can apply for ILR after meeting specific time thresholds. These include:

  • Spouse Visa
  • Unmarried Partner Visa
  • Family Visa
  • Global Talent Visa
  • Investor Visa (Tier 1)
  • Innovator Visa
  • Start-Up Visa
  • Skilled Worker Visa
  • Sportsperson Visa (T2)
  • Minister of Religion Visa (T2)
  • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
  • UK Ancestry Visa
  • Retired Person Visa
  • Long Residence
  • Returning Resident

In some cases, eligibility for ILR can be achieved through less conventional routes that do not require holding a specific visa.

Minimum Residence Duration for ILR

The length of time required to qualify for ILR depends on individual circumstances. Generally, overseas nationals can apply for ILR after five years of lawful residence in the UK. However, specific visas may require shorter durations:

  • Innovator Visa: Eligible after three years, depending on business achievements.
  • Entrepreneur Visa: Eligible after three years, depending on business activities (please note that this visa is no longer available).
  • Global Talent Visa: Eligible after three years if the last endorsement was given under “exceptional talent” or “exceptional promise” criteria or under UK Research and Innovation fast track criteria.
  • Investor Visa (Tier 1): Eligible after two or three years, depending on business activities.
  • Commonwealth citizen serving in the British Armed Forces: Eligible after four years.

In some cases, the minimum residence requirement is longer than five years. For example, individuals living in the UK under Long Residence must spend ten years in the UK if they are over 18 and seven years if they are under 18 before applying for ILR.

English Language Test Requirements

As part of the ILR application, you must demonstrate English proficiency at the B1 level in speaking and listening, as specified by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Most applicants need to provide a certificate from an approved test provider with their application. However, exemptions exist, including citizens of certain countries and individuals over 65 or those with specific qualifications.

The Life in the UK Test

A crucial component of the ILR application is the Life in the UK test, also known as the British Citizenship test. This 45-minute test assesses knowledge of British culture, history, and traditions through 24 randomly generated multiple-choice questions. A passing score of at least 75% is required. The test costs £50 and is available at accredited centers.

Absence from the UK

Generally, to qualify for ILR, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period. However, exceptions apply for absences due to reasons such as conflict, serious illness, natural disasters, or specific work commitments. Keeping records of your time spent outside the UK is advisable.

Assistance with ILR Applications

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be complex and time-consuming. Our team is dedicated to providing professional assistance. We offer comprehensive support, including advice, document checking, and application submission.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Assistance

Our immigration advisors can guide you through every step of your ILR application. After assessing your eligibility, we’ll help you complete the application form accurately, perform a thorough document check, and prepare a Letter of Representation to support your case. Call us at 0333 363 8577 or make an online inquiry to initiate your ILR application.

Required Documents for ILR Application

When applying for ILR, including dependents, you must provide several supporting documents. Ensure these are original documents unless you can explain their absence due to exceptional circumstances. Typically, you need to submit:

  • Passports and travel documents.
  • Birth or adoption certificates.
  • Documents demonstrating periods spent outside the UK.
  • Police registration certificate (if required).
  • Immigration history.
  • Financial records, such as bank statements.
  • Life in the UK test pass certificate.
  • English language test pass certificate (if applicable).
  • Two identical passport-sized photos.

UK Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Forms

The primary forms used for ILR applications are Form Set (O) and Form Set (M). Form Set (M) is for ILR applications as a partner or parent of a child with settled status. For all other ILR applications, including those under various visa categories, Form Set (O) is used.

ILR Application Processing Time

While there’s no fixed timeline, standard ILR applications are typically processed within six months. This does not include the processing time for the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which you’ll receive upon approval.

ILR Application Fees

As of 2022, the ILR application fee is £2,389 per applicant, with an additional £19.20 fee for biometric registration. If applying with dependents, each must pay the full fee. Expedited services are available at extra costs: £500 for the priority service (five working days) and £800 for the super-priority service (one working day).

Rights with UK Indefinite Leave to Remain

ILR grants you permanent residence in the UK, allowing you to work, study, and access free NHS healthcare without restrictions.

Revocation of ILR Status

It’s essential to be aware that ILR status can be revoked in specific situations, such as no longer being considered a refugee, being liable for deportation but unable to be deported, obtaining ILR through deception, or leaving the UK for over two years.

Appealing a Refused ILR Application

If your ILR application is refused, you can challenge the decision by seeking an administrative review or, in certain cases, lodging an official legal appeal.

Acquiring British Citizenship

ILR is a significant step toward British citizenship, but it doesn’t automatically grant citizenship. After living in the UK under ILR for 12 months, you can apply for British citizenship through naturalization.

The EEA Citizens Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme instead of ILR, allowing them to live and work in the UK without restrictions post-Brexit.

Understanding the Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Are you curious about the prerequisites for applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)? There exist specific criteria that must be met to be eligible for ILR.

The fundamental requirement for ILR is to have maintained lawful residence in the UK continuously for a specific duration. In most cases, non-EEA individuals can apply for ILR after residing in the UK for five years. However, the exact duration varies based on the visa category and individual circumstances. It is crucial to assess your unique situation in the UK before submitting an ILR application.

In addition to the time requirement, there are other conditions that prospective applicants must satisfy to become eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s important to note that meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee ILR approval.

The ILR Requirements Include:

  • No Criminal Convictions or Immigration Law Violations
  • Successful Completion of the Life in the UK Test
  • Demonstration of B1 Level English Proficiency, as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (unless exempt)
  • A Maximum of 180 Days Spent Outside the UK in a 12-Month Period During UK Residency

It is critical to understand that if an applicant is found to have misled the Home Office in any application or during their UK stay, they may become ineligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and further disciplinary actions could be taken.

Understanding the Time Requirements for ILR

The duration one must spend in the UK before being eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (the qualifying period) is determined by the specific visa category they hold or their living situation. To count towards ILR requirements and the ILR application, the individual must have lawfully resided in the UK.

For most applicants aiming for ILR status, the typical qualifying period is five years. Individuals with spouse visas, family visas, unmarried partner visas, and certain UK work visas like the Skilled Worker visa can apply for ILR after five years to enjoy residence in the UK free from immigration rules.

However, different visas and living circumstances have varying minimum residency requirements:

Visa/Immigration Status – Minimum Time Requirement

  • Investor visa: 2-5 years (depends on capital)
  • Global Talent visa: 3 years
  • Innovator visa: 3 years
  • Skilled Worker visa: 5 years
  • Minister of Religion visa: 5 years
  • Sportsperson visa: 5 years
  • Spouse or Unmarried Person (including civil partner) visa: 5 years
  • UK Ancestry visa: 5 years
  • Family visa: 5 years
  • PBS Dependant visa: 5 years
  • Retired Person visa: 5 years

Other Routes for ILR Time Requirements

There are alternative pathways to achieve Indefinite Leave to Remain status that don’t necessitate holding a specific visa. These pathways depend on an individual’s immigration status and living circumstances. Some of these routes require a longer period of UK residence before becoming eligible for ILR:

Immigration Status – Minimum Time Requirement

  • Turkish worker or businessperson: 5 years
  • Dependant adult or child of someone with settlement status/citizen: No minimum residence
  • Returning resident: May have no requirement if returning to the UK within 3 years of departure
  • Discretionary Leave to Remain: 6 years
  • Long residence and under 18: 7 years
  • Long residence and over 18: 10 years
  • Commonwealth citizen who has served in British Armed Forces: 4 years
  • Individuals between 18 and 25 who have lived in the UK at least half their life: Up to 22.5 years
Calculating Continuous Period Requirements

Determining whether you meet the minimum time requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be complex. Only time spent lawfully in the UK counts toward ILR requirements. Note that time spent in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands does not count toward ILR requirements and does not impact your ILR application.

The qualifying time period is calculated backward from one of the following dates: the date of ILR status issuance, the application date, or any date within 28 days after your application.

Exemptions from ILR Application

While Indefinite Leave to Remain is a precursor to British citizenship and offers settlement akin to permanent residence, certain individuals may not need to fulfill the typical ILR requirements or undergo the standard ILR process to attain settlement status or become a British citizen.

For example, dependant children of British citizens or individuals with settlement status may receive permission to stay in the UK. Similarly, refugees under exceptional circumstances who have gone through the Gateway Protection Program typically have the opportunity to remain in the UK without restrictions.

Understanding Periods of Absence Requirements

In general, to qualify for ILR, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period during your UK residency.

Exceeding 180 days of absence in a 12-month period can jeopardize your continuous UK residency. Periods of absence should align with the purpose of your stay in the UK. For example, brief trips outside the UK, such as work-related annual leave, count toward the 180-day limit.

Exceptions to Periods of Absence Requirements

However, there are exceptions and points to be aware of concerning periods of absence requirements:

  • If the delay between your entry clearance date and entry to the UK exceeded 180 days, this delay won’t be counted as a breach of the 180-day 12-month limit.
  • Innovators under the Innovator visa scheme and those issued with a PBS Dependant visa before January 11, 2018, may not need to explain their periods of absence when applying for ILR.
  • Specific visa or immigration status holders, including Innovator or Exceptional Talent visa holders, UK Ancestry visa holders, Retired persons of independent means, and Points-Based System dependants, may not need to provide reasons for their absences if they haven’t exceeded the 180-day limit.

Typically, the Home Office may request documentation detailing your periods spent outside the UK during your UK residency, unless you fall into one of the categories mentioned above. Thus, it’s advisable to retain travel documents that document your time spent abroad in the UK, regardless of the duration.

In cases where someone has exceeded 180 days of absence from the UK due to a severe physical or mental condition, it’s unlikely that their continuous residency will be deemed broken, and they may still qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Understanding the English Language Test

For most Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants, demonstrating at least a B1 level of English proficiency in speaking and listening, as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, is essential.

The English language test can be taken at various locations in the UK and globally. However, it must be completed at an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) center. Unless exempt, you should include a certified UK test pass certificate from an accredited test center with your application or provide access to your test results online.

Exemptions from the English Language Test

It’s important to note that taking the English language test is not mandatory for everyone seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain. Several individuals may be exempt from this requirement:

  • Citizens of majority English-speaking countries.
  • Applicants who have obtained a degree or higher qualification in English from a recognized institution.
  • Individuals aged 65 or older or those with long-term physical or mental conditions.
  • Others in specific circumstances, such as adult dependents, victims of domestic violence, and partners or spouses of deceased British citizens or individuals with settlement status.

In addition to the English Language Test (ELT), ILR applicants may also need to take the Life in the United Kingdom test, also known as the British Citizenship Test, before being granted ILR.

Seeking Assistance with Your Indefinite Leave to Remain Application

The Immigration Advice Service is dedicated to maximizing your chances of a successful Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

Understanding the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Upon successful ILR application, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) as identification. There’s no need to apply separately for the BRP, as it contains information like your name, date of birth, place of birth, immigration status, and includes a photo of your face and your fingerprints.

ILR Application Fees

The current application fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain is £2,404, with an additional £50 per person for dependants included in the application. It’s important to consider other costs such as the Life in the UK test (£50) and the English language test (approximately £150), along with any charges for professional document translation.

ILR Decision Timeline

For standard Indefinite Leave to Remain applications, the Home Office aims to reach a decision within six months from the date of application receipt. This timeframe excludes the processing time for your Biometric Residence Permit. If your application is approved, you should receive your BRP within seven days of the decision.

For those seeking a faster decision, there are expedited services available:

  • Priority service: Processes your application within five working days for an additional £500.
  • Super priority service: Processes your application within one working day for an additional £800.

Document Requirements

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, it’s crucial to include specific documents with your application. The required documents can vary depending on individual cases. Failing to provide specified documents may result in rejection. If additional documents are requested, such as a police registration certificate, it’s essential to provide them promptly to prevent delays.

Original documents are typically required, but if you cannot provide them for reasons beyond your control, the Home Office will take this into consideration.

Potential documents and information to include in your application:

  • Passports, including expired ones during your UK residency.
  • Two identical passport-sized photos.
  • Life in the UK test pass certificate (if not exempt).
  • English language test pass certificate (if not exempt).
  • Birth or adoption certificates.
  • Documents detailing time spent outside the UK during your residency.
  • Immigration history.
  • Financial information, including bank statements.

Application Forms

After gathering all necessary documents, you’ll need to complete the appropriate application form and submit it to the Home Office. Use Form Set (M) for partner or parent applications and Form Set (O) for all other Indefinite Leave to Remain applications. Ensure that you fill out the application accurately, as the Home Office may reject applications that do not meet administrative ILR requirements. In some cases, you may be asked to attend an interview after submitting the application. You can reach out to us for assistance with your application.

Life in the UK Test

The Life in the UK Test is a 45-minute examination comprising 24 multiple-choice questions based on British culture, customs, and history. Most ILR applicants must pass this test to be considered for ILR status. To prepare, study the official Home Office Life in the UK Handbook. The test can be taken at over 30 centers in the UK, with bookings available at the five nearest centers. You must book the test at least three days in advance, and you need to bring identification with your UK address on the test day. The test costs £50.

If you have any more questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Through a Spouse Visa

For non-EEA or Swiss nationals, the path to residing permanently in the UK can begin with marriage to a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. This results in the issuance of a Spouse Visa. If you’re living in the UK with your spouse or partner under this visa, you might want to explore the option of obtaining ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) to establish permanent residency without the constraints of immigration regulations.

Duration of Spouse Visa and the Transition to ILR

Initially, a Spouse Visa is granted for two and a half years. After this period, you can extend your Spouse Visa for another two and a half years, provided you meet the Home Office’s current requirements. At the conclusion of the extension period, you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s advisable to apply for ILR before your Spouse Visa expires.

Requirements for ILR Application on a Spouse Visa

The specific prerequisites for obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain after holding a Spouse Visa slightly vary depending on whether you’re on a five or ten-year path to ILR. Nevertheless, the primary requirements remain quite similar.

To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the five-year route as a Spouse Visa holder, you must:

  • Still be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner.
  • Meet the financial requirements.
  • Demonstrate that you and your partner have suitable accommodation for your family.
  • Have had leave to remain as a partner for 60 months.
  • Satisfy the English language and Life in the UK requirements.

Proving a Genuine and Subsisting Relationship for ILR

To qualify for a Spouse Visa initially, you and your partner must demonstrate that your relationship is genuine. When transitioning from a Spouse Visa to ILR, the Home Office will reevaluate your circumstances to ensure your relationship is still ongoing. Ways to establish this include:

  • Co-habitation.
  • A long-term relationship, including marriage or civil partnership.
  • Shared responsibility for children.
  • Shared financial responsibilities.
  • Future plans together.

Financial Requirement for Spouse Visa to ILR

For both the Spouse Visa and the transition to ILR, you and your partner must prove a minimum income threshold of £18,600. Additional sums apply if you’re applying with dependent children. You can demonstrate your financial eligibility through various means, including salaried employment, cash savings, non-employment income, or benefits received in the UK.

Absences for ILR Spouse Visa Applications

Unlike some other visa categories, there is no specific limit on the number of absences allowed for those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain from a Spouse Visa. However, it’s essential to avoid spending a significant amount of time outside the UK, as it could raise questions about the genuineness of your application.

Accommodation Requirements for ILR

The accommodation criteria for obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain from a Spouse Visa are similar to those for the initial partner visa application. You must demonstrate that you have suitable accommodation available for your family, meeting public health regulations and providing enough rooms for all family members.

English Language Requirement for ILR on a Spouse Visa

To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Spouse Visa holder, you must prove your English language proficiency at least at level B1 through an approved English language test, such as the Integrated Skill in English test or IELTS. You may be exempt from this requirement if you come from a majority English-speaking country.

Life in the UK Test

To be granted ILR as a Spouse Visa holder, passing the Life in the UK test is another requirement. The test evaluates your knowledge of British life and customs. You must score at least 75% to pass. Some exemptions apply, such as age-related or medical conditions.

ILR Application Cost and Processing Time

The standard fee for submitting an ILR application as a Spouse Visa holder is £2,404 per applicant. The Life in the UK test costs an additional £50. If you require expedited processing, a super-priority service is available at an extra cost of £1,800.

Path to British Citizenship Through ILR

One significant advantage of obtaining ILR is that it serves as a crucial step toward British citizenship. British citizenship grants you freedom from immigration control, eligibility to apply for a British passport, and numerous other benefits.

ILR Processing Time

The standard processing time for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application is approximately six months, but expedited services are available. Timely document submission is crucial to prevent delays or rejections.

Documents Required for ILR Application

Supporting documentation must be provided for ILR applications, including passports, absence records, English language test certificates, Life in the UK test certificates, accommodation details, and the completed Indefinite Leave to Remain application form (Set M). All documents should be original copies or translated into English or Welsh if necessary.

Impact of Divorce on ILR Spouse Visa

If you divorce your spouse after applying for a Spouse Visa and have not completed five years of continuous residence in the UK, you may need to apply for a different visa category or establish your eligibility as a responsible parent with a child who has been in the UK for at least seven years and has British citizenship or settled status.

ILR Application Rejection

If your ILR application is refused, you have the option to submit a new application addressing the grounds for refusal. Common refusal grounds include excessive absences, immigration breaches, undisclosed debt, criminal convictions, language test failures, or other adverse behavior.

ILR with a Criminal Record

You can still apply for ILR with a criminal record, but you must disclose all convictions, spent and unspent, in your application. Failure to do so can lead to rejection. For expert guidance on ILR applications, including those with specific circumstances like criminal records, it’s advisable to consult an immigration advisor. They can provide tailored advice and assistance with the application process.

How Immigration Secure Can Assist You

Navigating the various visa categories and application procedures can be challenging. Immigration Secure offers expert guidance to help you choose the right immigration category and ensure you meet all specific requirements for a successful application. Our services include comprehensive document checks, assistance with application forms, and the provision of a Letter of Representation to strengthen your case.