Tier 1 General ILR closes 6 April 2018: Time is ticking to apply for UK settlement!
Tier 1 General visa holders have until 6 April 2018 to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK under their existing visa.
While the Tier 1 General visa route is now closed to new applications and extensions, current Tier 1 General visa holders are permitted to apply for ILR where eligible – but this settlement route is being withdrawn after this date.
This means that to apply to settle in the UK as a Tier 1 General visa holder, you must submit your complete ILR application by 5 April 2018 at the latest.
If you are successfully granted ILR, you will be permitted to live and work in the UK without time limitation or immigration restrictions. You may also after a year with ILR become eligible to naturalise as a British citizen.
Tier 1 General ILR: Eligibility Criteria
As a Tier 1 General visa holder, you may be eligible to apply for ILR after five continuous years in the UK.
The five years must have been spent lawfully and you must have been economically active in the UK, under any of the following visa categories:
- tier 1 (General) migrant;
- tier 2 (General) migrant;
- tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) migrant granted under the rules in place before 6 April 2010;
- highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) participant; or
- work Permit Holder;
and importantly – your most recent visa stay must have been under the Tier 1 General visa.
You must be aged between 18 and 64 and meet the stringent minimum earnings requirement, covering 12 consecutive months of the last 15 months prior to your application.
You will need to be free of any unspent convictions to make an ILR application.
The application also requires you to submit biometric information (fingerprints and facial image) and obtain a biometric residence permit to confirm your immigration status and entitlements.
The fee for an ILR application is £1875 for 2017-2018.
In addition to the ILR application form, you will be required to collate and submit supporting documentation, such as personal tax returns.
It will be important to ensure you provide all required documents in the required formats and covering the required time periods. Errors or omissions in documentation can result in delays or even refusal of your application.
Tier 1 General ILR and Dependants
As part of your ILR application, it is possible to include your spouse, partner and children under 18 years of age, provided they hold dependant visas – not as separate visa holders. This means for example that if your spouse is a Tier 2 visa holder, they cannot apply within your application.
Non-UK born children can only apply if both parents have or are applying for ILR. UK-born children do not need to apply for ILR. They can be registered as British once both parents have ILR.
Other points to consider
While ILR status is permanent, it may be lost in certain circumstances. For example, if you have lived outside the UK for a continuous period of two years or more, for reasons of national security or if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK.
Alternatives to ILR?
If you are a Tier 1 General visa holder there may be alternative options for you to consider if you are not eligible to apply for ILR or do not wish to apply for ILR. DavidsonMorris can advise based on your circumstances. For example, consider the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa if you have £200,000 to invest in a UK enterprise, or the Tier 1 Investor visa if you have a minimum £2million to invest in the UK. The Tier 2 visa may also be a possibility if you are employed in a highly skilled role and where your employer holds a sponsor licence.
Act now! DavidsonMorris can help with Tier 1 General UK settlement
At DavidsonMorris we specialise in all aspects of the Tier 1 visa, including advice on settlement for visa holders.
We have the experience to advise you on your specific immigration or settlement needs and the most appropriate route for your circumstances.
As a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, we have an established reputation for effective and efficient management and processing of visa applications, and for providing expert visa-related advice. We also understand the stresses involved with moving across the world, and take great pride in playing a supportive role to ease the pressure.
If you have a question about a Tier 1 General ILR application, please contact us.