The Set M form is used to apply for UK indefinite leave to remain (ILR) if you are the partner, parent or child of a person who is already settled in the UK or a British citizen.
With ILR, you can live and work in the UK unrestricted by the length of stay and without immigration limitations. You will also be able to access benefits such as health services, education and be on the pathway to gaining British citizenship.
Who should apply for ILR using Set M form?
The Set M form should be used if you are applying for indefinite leave to remain for family life as the partner of a person who is present and settled in the UK on the 2 year route or the 5 year route.
The 2 year route requires that you have been granted limited leave for 27/24 months and have completed at least 24 months under part 8 of the immigration rules from the date of entry into the UK as a partner.
The 5-year route and requires that you were granted 30 months limited leave to remain and have completed at least 60 months.
Partner meaning married, civil, unmarried same-sex partner of a British citizen or settled person. You must also plan on living with your UK partner.
The parent of a child that is present and settled on the 5-year route will also be eligible to apply if they have completed at least 60 months on a 5-year route to settlement. The parent needs to have parental responsibility for the child and the child may either be a British citizen or have settled status themselves.
It is a mandatory requirement that you and any children under the age of 18 are in the UK when applying.
ILR eligibility requirements
To be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain as a parent or partner on the 5-year route you will need to meet financial requirements to show you are able to support yourself and any dependents. This will be through either income from your employment/self employment or from your sponsor, pensions, savings over £16,000 and some other income sources are considered.
To meet the required financial requirements (correct as at the time of publishing) you will need at least £18,600 as a partner. For 1 child plus partner £22,400, 2 children in addition to partner £24.800, 3 children in addition to partner £27,200. Each additional child after this increases the amount by £2,400.
You will be exempt from meeting the income threshold if your sponsor receives one of these benefits: carer’s allowance, disability living, sever disablement, industrial injury disablement benefit, attendance allowance, personal independence payment, armed forces payments, constant attendance allowance, mobility supplement, war disablement pension or police injury pension.
Should you be exempt from the income threshold, you will need to meet the financial requirements by providing evidence of adequate maintenance. Your solicitor will be able to assist you with this evidence.
You will also be required to meet the two parts of the knowledge and language and life in the UK requirements by passing the Life in the UK test and have a relevant qualifications in English language. These qualifications can include:
- Speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 level or above (from the list of recognised qualifications on the government website)
- Having a degree that was either taught or researched in English
- Being a national of an English speaking country
When can you apply for ILR using Set M?
You will need to apply for your ILR before your current leave expires to avoid overstaying.
You must not, however, apply more than 28 days before your leave expires or you could have your application refused and the fee will not be refunded.
It is essential that you and your dependants who are applying using the Set M form are present in the UK at time of application.
You may add dependents (children under the age of 18) on your application, and each dependent will carry an additional fee. Children over the age of 18 will need to submit their own application and pay the fee.
How to complete the Set M form
Your application will only be considered if it is valid and complies with Home Office requirements. This means you must ensure:
- Set M form is the correct form for your circumstances
- You are applying with the current version of the Set M form
- All relevant sections have been completed truthfully
- The form has been signed
- You have paid the correct ILR application fee
- Your biometric information is provided during your UKVCAS appointment
- All required supporting documents are provided including identification documentation and proof of eligibility such as English language ability, either by scanning or uploading online
All reasons for you wishing to stay in the UK are to be stated throughout the set M form. Section 8D is specifically for additional information that will help to support your application. In this section should try to give good reasons/grounds for staying in the UK.
It is mandatory to complete the personal history section of the form, section 9. You must be honest in this section regarding any criminal convictions, cautions and such.
Set M supporting documents
Supporting documents, of which there are many, are submitted online. This means you can retain original copies while your application is being processed. The form will request that you provide specific documents, such as those in the table below, although you may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances. Take professional advice to ensure your submission covers all the necessary evidentiary requirements.
|ILR supporting documents||Details|
|ID||A valid passport, national identity card or travel document will be required for each applicant.|
|Photographs||You will need to provide photographs of all applicants on the form as well as your partner should you be applying as a partner. Photographs need to be colour and passport sized with your full name written on the back.|
|Financial records||Bank statements, pay slips, building society accounts, etc to prove your ability to support yourself and any dependents financially.|
|Proof of residence||You will need evidence that you are living with your partner, such as utility bills, medical letters, HMRC letters and statements that are in joint names. A minimum of 6 different pieces of evidence are required. These letters need to be dated over the 2-year pre-application period.|
|Proof of knowledge of life and language in the UK||This can be either a life in the UK test pass certificate, a recognised ESOL qualification, a letter from your partner’s employer confirming your understanding of the English Language or a medical certificate that exempts you from taking the test.|
|Proof of partner’s residency status||Your partner will need to provide proof of their residency status, and this could be through their current passport or travel documents.|
Supporting documents must be in English or Welsh, or they will need to be translated by an individual qualified and approved by the Home Office. If a certified translation submitted is not submitted, the application can be refused due to insufficient evidence.
How long does it take to process the SET M form?
ILR applications can take between 3 – 6 months. Issues relating to COVID are resulting in delays, and it is recommended to take advice on processing times when you apply.
UKVCAS offers a range of services for ILR application processing:
- Standard Service: the application is decided within timescales of 8 weeks to 6 months.
- Priority Service: the application is decided within 10 working days (until November ends) or in 5 working days (after December starts)
- Super Priority Service: the application will be decided on the next working day.
You are, however, permitted to stay and carry on working under your existing visa whilst your application is being considered.
How much is the Set M application?
The ILR application fee per applicant is £2,885. Failure to pay the correct fee can result in your application being rejected.
The Set M form is a notoriously complicated and lengthy application, with a number of potential pitfalls.
To avoid delays with your application, or issues with validity or eligibility, it will be important to ensure all required information is provided fully and correctly. You must ensure you have completed all sections that are relevant to you and that you have included all required supporting documentation.
Should any section be incomplete, your application will be invalid and returned to you. This could ultimately lead to a loss in the right to appeal if your permitted stay expires before you make a valid application.
DavidsonMorris are specialist UK immigration solicitors. We help individuals with all aspects of the UK ILR application, from guidance on eligibility to supporting with compiling a comprehensive submission. For advice on making an application for ILR, contact us.
Set M form FAQs
What is Set M form?
Form Set (M) is the Home Office application form used to apply for UK indefinite leave to remain if you are the partner or spouse of a British citizen or settled person.
Who can apply for indefinite leave to remain?
You may be eligible to apply for ILR using SET (M) if you have been living in the UK continuously with lawful status under a spouse or partner visa.
Can I apply for ILR 28 days before 5 years?
You can make the application up to 28 days before the end of the required qualifying period, but no earlier.
Last updated: 2 September 2023