The Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service for a faster decision on ILR applications has been reinstated following temporary suspension due to COVID. This applies to both the ‘priority service’ and ‘super priority service’.
For advice on the processing of your ILR application during the pandemic, contact us.
What is the ILR priority service?
The indefinite leave to remain premium service, now referred to as the ‘priority service’ following the introduction of UKVCAS, offers, for a fee, faster processing of applications for UK indefinite leave to remain than under the standard processing service.
What are the standard ILR processing times?
UKVCAS operates standards for application processing. Applicants applying from within the UK for indefinite leave to remain can expect to wait up to six months for a decision on their application.
Standard processing times start from the date the application is received.
How is the ILR priority service different from the standard service?
The indefinite leave to remain premium service time starts when you complete your appointment with UKVCAS to provide your biometric information and supporting evidence, and ends when the Home Office sends their decision to you.
Under the priority service, ILR application processing is expedited and you should expect a decision within 5 working days of your appointment with UKVCAS. It costs £500, which is in addition to the usual application fees.
For the purposes of processing times, working days are classed as Monday to Friday and do not include bank holidays.
Note that processing times relate only to the decision-making and not delivery. This does not count the time to issue the biometric residence permit, which is typically 7-10 working days.
What is the super priority service?
Under the super priority service, you can receive a decision by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment, or within 2 working days if your appointment is on a weekend. This service costs £800 in addition to the normal application fees.
Super priority appointments on a weekend are treated as having taken place on the next working day, ie the following Monday, or in the case of a bank holiday, the Tuesday.
How will I receive my ILR decision?
If your application is successful, the decision will be emailed to you and a confirmation letter will follow by post.
Refused applications will be notified by post.
What if indefinite leave to remain premium service processing is delayed?
Usually, where there is an issue or delay with your application that will take processing beyond the relevant processing service timeframe, you would be notified of the delay and what this means for your application.
For example, if you are using the indefinite leave to remain premium service for 5-day processing, you should be contacted within the 5-day window to notify of any issues or delays with your application.
Note that the processing services operate on the basis that the applicant has provided all the required information and documentation for their application to be processed and a decision reached. Processing delays will result where the applicant is asked to provide more information and caseworkers have discretionary powers to exempt applications from the processing timeframes where they are incomplete.
How to avoid processing issues or delays with your ILR application
To help avoid indefinite leave to remain premium processing delays, applicants are expected to ensure their application is complete prior to submission and to their UKVCAS interview. This means ensuring you understand the eligibility requirements, that you can provide sufficient evidence of your eligibility and that you follow the application process and meet any deadlines.
Check you are eligible
- The continuous period can’t include time spent in prison or in a young offender institution, or time spent in a secure hospital. If you have lived in Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, you can’t count that period of time towards your continuous period in the UK.
- Absences from the UK not exceeding 180 days in any 12 months of the qualifying period.
- You have adhered to the conditions of your visa or immigration status during your period of leave in the UK.
- If you are between 18 and 65 years old, you must also pass the Life in the UK Test and be able to demonstrate that you have English language skills that are sufficient to live in this country.
- Evidence that your application meets the General Grounds for Refusal – for example, addressing if you have any criminal convictions.
- You have been legally resident in the UK for the relevant qualifying period per your settlement route (see below table), and at the time of your application, you have the right to be in the UK through any form of visa or immigration status.
|Current category||Qualifying ILR period|
|Spouse or civil partner of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK visa||After 5 years where the relationship is genuine and subsisting|
|Unmarried partner||After 5 years where the relationship is genuine and subsisting|
|EEA Family Permit||After 5 years|
|UK Ancestry visa||After 5 years|
|Innovator route||After 3 years|
|Tier 1 (Investor) visa||After 2, 3 or 5 years depending on level of investment|
|Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)||After 3 or 5 years depending on the business activity|
|Global Talent and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa||After 3 years|
|Skilled Worker visa and Tier 2 (General)||In limited circumstances only, after 5 years|
|PBS visa dependants||After 5 years|
|Retired Person visa||After 5 years|
|Discretionary Leave to Remain||After 6 years|
|Long residence||After 10 years continuous legal residency in the UK|
|Returning resident||If settled in the UK prior to departure and returning to the UK within 3 years of departure, then may be able to apply immediately on return|
|Turkish worker or businessperson||After 5 years|
Domestic Worker in a Private Household
After 5 Years
Apply at the right time
In most cases, applications for indefinite leave to remain should be made within the 28 days before the expiry of your visa or immigration status. However, if you entered the UK within 3 months of your visa being issued, you might be eligible to apply 28 days prior the issue date on the visa. Take advice if you are unsure as to you when you are eligible to make your ILR application.
You should ensure your application is made before your current period of leave has expired. you provide evidence of funds to maintain yourself if required on the application form and guidance.
ILR supporting documentation
Make sure you compile a comprehensive submission with supporting documentation. This includes ensuring all of the relevant forms have been completed in full and in accordance with the relevant guidance notes. All information provided should be accurate and up to date. You should bring all relevant supporting documentation to your UKVCAS interview in the correct format, whether original or as certified copies.
Any photographs to be provided should comply with UK visa regulations.
Documents you need to apply for indefinite leave to remain include:
- your current passport or another form of valid travel documentation, and all other passports you have held while resident in the UK
- your biometric residence permit (BRP), if available
- where your documents are in another language other than English or Welsh, you should provide certified translations
The above documents are the minimum that will be required for your application but depending on your individual situation, you may also need to provide other documents
For instance, you may be asked for additional information on your children, or for proof of your marriage. You may also be asked to explain any periods of time outside the UK during the qualifying period.
You will be asked to prove your continuous residence by providing proof in the form of utility bills, doctors letters, employer letters, mortgage or rent documents, official HMRC letters or other relevant documents.
There are a number of different ILR application forms, depending on your current immigration status and eligibility grounds, such as SET (O) and SET (M). Ensure you are using the correct application form when applying.
Generally, the online application forms will ask for:
- your personal details such as address and date of birth
- passport and nationality details
- immigration history such as when you arrived in the UK
- personal history such as criminal convictions or participation in acts of terrorism
- whether you have taken and passed the Life in the UK test
- proof of your English language ability
Payment is taken as part of the above application. The fee for an indefinite leave to remain application is £2,389 in 2021.
You may book your appointment online (details will be emailed to you if you have provided an email address in your online application) or by phone, using the UKVCAS Premium Support Line on 0900 165 6600.
Appointments may be booked up to 28 days in advance. Generally, it will be possible to book an appointment for the same day, the following day and for hours outside normal office hours, for instance, on an evening or weekend.
Some appointments will be free of charge, while other appointment slots, depending on time and the type of UKVCAS centre you attend, will carry a fee. The different types of centre and associated appointment fees are:
- Core Service Points – open for extended hours both during the week and at weekends. Appointments between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm during the week are free. Appointments outside these times during the week and on weekends will cost from £50 to £100 per person. Located in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow and Manchester.
- Enhanced Service Points – provide an inclusive package of additional services. Costs to use these centres are £60 per person between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm on weekdays, and £125 per person outside these hours. There are 50 enhanced service points in the UK.
- Premium Lounge – based in London and providing a personalised service in a high-quality venue (complimentary hot and cold drinks, complimentary snacks, free wifi, etc). Appointments between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm on weekdays cost £200 per person. Appointments outside of these hours cost £260 per person.
- VIP Service – the UKVCAS appointment takes place at your home, your workplace or some other location chosen by you. This service is available on a 24 hour basis on any day in the year. The cost of the VIP service will depend on the details of the appointment, for instance, location and length of time.
- Pop-up Service – usually where a group of people from the same organisation are applying for a visa, for instance, at a university, UKVCAS can set up a pop-up service point where the organisation is based or at a venue nearby. This could be for a half day, a full day or for a longer period of time.
The cost of this service will depend on the number of applicants, the location and how long the pop-up service is required for.
You must pre-book your appointment. It is not possible to turn up to a UKVCAS centre without an appointment.
On the day of the appointment, it is recommended that you arrive ten to fifteen minutes early, with all of your supporting documentation including your passport and, where available, your BRP.
The purpose of the UKVCAS appointment is to take your biometric details (fingerprints, signature and photograph) and so that you can provide any documents not already uploaded as part of your online application.
If you are asked to provide further information or documentation, you should do so promptly and within the stated timeframe.
Anyone attending a UKVCAS centre will be required to follow guidelines for social distancing, wearing face coverings and hand washing.
Receive your decision
If your application has been successful, you will receive your decision by email, and then by letter. Your BRP will be sent to you at your stated address between 7-10 days of the decision.
If your application has been rejected, you will only receive a decision letter.
Ordinarily, indefinite leave to remain premium service processing would be an option if you are concerned about the timing of your application and ensuring your lawful status in the UK is maintained.
However, the availability of priority and super priority services remain subject to COVID-19 restrictions. As at 6 November 2020, ILR priority and super priority services are not available. For advice on processing of your ILR application during the pandemic, contact us for guidance.
UK indefinite leave to remain applications are generally complex – from understanding the Home Office process to getting the timing of your application right and compiling a comprehensive submission and arranging your appointment with UKVCAS, there is so much for applicants to consider to avoid a refused application.
If you have a question or any concerns about making your ILR application or how the timescales work in terms of ILR application processing and decision making, contact us. We can advise on eligibility, building a robust submission and the timings to submit your application.
Last updated: 6 November 2020