Indefinite Leave to Remain

The UK Indefinite Leave to Remain application process is document-heavy and costly.

We can guide you through the Home Office process.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Applicants face strict requirements to qualify for UK 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.

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Indefinite Leave to Remain, or UK settlement, grants an applicant the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. It is a mandatory requirement for non-EEA nationals looking to apply for British citizenship

Am I eligible to apply for ILR?

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

Depending on your visa category, you may also have to show you have not breached a specific threshold for absences from the UK. 

Family members on a dependant visa may also be eligible for ILR where the main applicant qualifies.

Additional requirements

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

How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

To apply you will need to complete the relevant application form and compile the supporting documents to submit to the Home Office. Most applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain now require applicants to attend an appointment at UKVCAS to submit their biometric information and submit digital copies of supporting documents. 

What if the application is refused?

If your application has been refused, it will be important to understand the reasons why before deciding on your next steps. For example, if there was an error in completing the form, if you paid an incorrect fee or if you were refused on discretionary grounds.

If you choose to make a new application, ensure your new submission addresses the previous grounds for refusal.

I have criminal convictions, will this affect my application?

Previous offences and convictions are likely to affect your application, although this does depend upon the type of conviction or offence.

For more information, it is best to speak to DavidsonMorris. Our solicitors will be able to advise as to when a conviction will become spent and when it is possible to apply.

How we can help you

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.

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.

Need advice?

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020 7494 0118

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