There are strict requirements to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. These depend on which visa you are on, and for how long you have been resident in the UK. Processing times also vary greatly depending on your visa class.
Given the complexity of the different access routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain, and with so much at stake for you and your future, it is important to seek legal advice early on the options open to you for your specific circumstances, to avoid delays and ensure your case is effectively represented to the authorities.
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite Leave to Remain, or Permanent Residence, grants an applicant the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, and entitles them to apply for naturalisation.
Am I eligible?
Qualification criteria vary depending on the type of visa status you have held in the UK, with some operating on a points-based system.
When you can apply for Indefinite leave to Remain depends on the visa held:
- Partner of a British Citizen or Person settled in the UK visa: after two years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012, after five or ten years if applied on or after 9 July 2012
- Tier 1 visa: after five years
- Tier 2 visa: in limited circumstances only, after five years
- UK ancestry visa: after five years
- Retired Person visa: after five years
- EU nationals and dependants: after 5 years
- Discretionary Leave to Remain: six years
- Long residence: after ten years continuous legal residency in the UK
- Returning resident: if settled in the UK prior to departure and returning to the UK within two years of departure, then may be able to apply immediately on return
Across all visa types you will need to be free of any unspent convictions.
What will I need to show to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
If you are aged between 18 and 64 then as part of your ILR application you will need to:
- Pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test
- Pass a recognised English language test
What you need to know about Indefinite Leave to Remain
There is no time limit on Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK but it is important to understand that the status can be lost. For example, you should avoid spending periods of more than two years outside the UK as this may lead to the loss of Indefinite Leave to Remain. It may also be revoked if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.
Postal applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain can take up to six months to be processed and completed, during which time you will need to surrender your passport. Appointments are available for a same-day decision, the waiting time for this is between four to six weeks.
How we can help you
At DavidsonMorris we have the experience and insight to make the process as smooth as possible.
As a team of immigration specialists and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of applications, and for providing expert visa-related advice. We also understand the stresses involved with pursuing the process, and take great pride in playing a supportive role to make the application process as smooth as possible.
The breakdown of a relationship between a couple with international backgrounds can lead to complex immigration issues, especially when one partner relies on the other’s immigration status to remain in the UK. Civil partnership dissolution, divorce [...]
We can also assist with:
- Help you understand the requirements for indefinite leave to remain
- Your options for applying for permanent settlement
- What documents you need to submit
- Assistance with your dependents’ applications
- Assistance with your Life in the UK Test