ILR Refused? What Are Your Options?

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ilr refused

If your application for ILR has been refused, you’ll need to act quickly to understand how to best proceed in your circumstances.

In this guide, we outline why the Home Office refuses ILR applications and what your options are if you have received a refusal.

 

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Indefinite Leave to Remain – sometimes known as settlement or permanent residence in the United Kingdom – is an immigration status granted by the UK Home Office. It allows individuals to live, work, and study indefinitely in the United Kingdom without being subject to immigration controls. You can lose Indefinite Leave to Remain by residing outside the UK for more than two years at a time, but otherwise, it can remain valid for your entire lifetime. After being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, you may be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen.

 

Why was my Indefinite Leave to Remain application refused?

The Home Office can reject ILR applications for a variety of reasons. It is essential to determine the specific cause of your refusal decision before deciding how best to proceed. If your application was refused, you would have received a refusal letter from UK Visas and Immigration outlining the reason(s) why they made this decision. You should carefully read this letter to identify why your application was refused and the options available to you going forward, as not all applicants will have the same options for recourse.

 

What are the General Grounds for Refusal of my Indefinite Leave to Remain application?

The General Grounds for Refusal are guidance issued to Home Office decision-makers on what situations should result in the automatic refusal of an application. They include the following situations:

  • If you have been the subject of a deportation or exclusion order from the United Kingdom
  • If you have been convicted of a criminal offence in the United Kingdom or abroad for which you have received a custodial sentence of at least 12-months
  • If you have been convicted of a criminal offence and have been deemed a persistent offender
  • If you have been convicted of a criminal offence which caused significant harm to others
  • If your residence in the United Kingdom has been deemed unconducive with the public good based on reasons such as character, conduct, associations, or other reasons
  • If you have been or currently are in a sham marriage or sham civil partnership
  • If you failed to provide any mandatory information, biometric details, medical information, or attend a required interview
  • If you have made false representations or been deceptive in immigration applications
  • If you owe significant amounts of money to the NHS
  • If you fail to disclose or manage debt

 

If your application has been refused for any of these reasons, you will usually not be granted the right of appeal.

 

What are other common grounds for refusal of my Indefinite Leave to Remain application?

Some other common grounds for refusal of an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain include the following:

 

If you fail to meet residency requirements

To be eligible for settlement in the United Kingdom, you must have lived in the country legally for the correct amount of time. For most people, this time period will be five years. For some people, this can be three years or ten years. If you submit your Indefinite Leave to Remain application too soon, your application will be rejected.

You must also have spent 180 days or less outside the country in the 12-month period prior to submitting your online application. The only exception for this rule is individuals who are married to British citizens or settled persons in the United Kingdom. Some individuals are also required to have spent 180 days or less outside the country in any 12-month period during the qualifying period – for most people, this will be the past five years whilst living in the United Kingdom. You will need to provide a written explanation, locations, and dates of every absence you have had in the past 12-months. You should consult a solicitor with questions about prolonged absences if you are concerned that this could impact your application. If you have spent more than a total of 180 days outside the UK in the past year, your application will be rejected.

 

If you fail to meet the Life in the UK Test and English language requirements

To be eligible for settlement in the United Kingdom, you must have passed the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirement for your background. You must have evidence that you meet both requirements at the point of submitting your online application form.

The Life in the UK Test is a computer-based examination that tests your knowledge of British culture, history, and daily life. It costs £50 per applicant to take the Life in the UK Test at an approved test centre. You will have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions.. You must pass the exam with at least a mark of 75%. Some individuals, such as those under the age of 18, over the age of 65, or people with long-term mental or physical health conditions, are exempt from the examination. All other individuals must take and pass the Life in the UK Test to be eligible for ILR in the United Kingdom. If you are required to pass the test and do not do so, your application will be rejected by the Home Office.

The English language requirement states that you must have sufficient knowledge of English with official documentation. You can prove your knowledge of English in one of the following ways:

  • You have passed a qualified English language exam at the correct CEFR level for your circumstances (B1, B2, C1, or C2)
  • You have been granted a university degree (taught or research) at an English-language institution
  • You are the national of an eligible English-language majority country

 

Some individuals, such as those under the age of 18, over the age of 65, or people with long-term mental or physical health conditions, are exempt from this requirement. Other categories of people including refugees and survivors of domestic violence are also exempt. All other individuals must successfully prove their English language proficiency. If you are required to meet the English requirement and do not do so, your application will be rejected by the Home Office.

 

If you made mistakes and inaccurate answers on your ILR application form

To be eligible for ILR in the United Kingdom, you must fully and accurately fill out the online application form for your circumstances. There are a number of different online application forms for Indefinite Leave to Remain, including:

  • Form SET (O)
  • Form SET (M)
  • Form SET (P)
  • Form SET (F)
  • Form SET (LR)
  • Form SET (AF)

 

You must use the correct form for your circumstances. If you submit the wrong form, your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom will be refused. You must also be certain to include accurate information on your application form. If you accidentally submit your application form with inaccuracies and mistakes, your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain may be refused by the Home Office.

 

If my Indefinite Leave to Remain application has been refused, what are my options?

Depending on why your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain was refused, you will need to determine how you want to proceed. You should carefully read your refusal letter to understand why the Home Office refused your application. You must choose the correct option, as your immigration status in the United Kingdom is now at risk.

 

Re-apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

If your application was refused for a minor reason, you might be able to re-apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Your refusal letter will identify if you can submit a new Indefinite Leave to Remain application with the correct information. If so, you must fill out a new online application form with all required information, pay the necessary application fee, submit supporting documents, and provide biometric data. You should receive a decision on your new Indefinite Leave to Remain application within six months of submitting the online application form.

 

Appeal the refusal decision at a First-tier Tribunal

Appealing the refusal decision of your Indefinite Leave to Remain application is a process by which you or your solicitor will apply to have a First-tier Tribunal reconsider your case. Your refusal letter will identify if you can appeal the refusal decision at a First-tier Tribunal. If so, you or your solicitor must apply online to commence your appeal within 28-days of receiving the refusal decision. If you are required to leave the United Kingdom before commencing an appeal, you can apply online within 28-days of leaving the UK.

You may or may not have a hearing for your appeal case. If you do not have a hearing for your appeal, you will pay £80 in tribunal fees. If you have a hearing for your appeal, you will pay £140 in tribunal fees. If the hearing goes ahead, you or your solicitor will go before the First-tier Tribunal to argue in your favour based on the facts of your case, as will a representative from the Home Office. The judge will decide based on the arguments heard on both sides and issue a decision. You may receive the decision in person at the tribunal or by post.

 

Administrative Review by the Home Office

Administrative review is a process by which the Home Office will reassess your application. Your refusal letter will identify if you can request an administrative review of the decision. In general, you cannot apply for an administrative review if you have been granted the right of appeal. It costs £80 to request an administrative review of your application, and you can submit this request online via the Home Office website.

If you are currently in the United Kingdom, you must request an administrative review within 14-days of receiving the refusal of your Indefinite Leave to Remain application. If you are currently outside the United Kingdom, you must request an administrative review within 28-days of receiving the refusal of your Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

You will generally receive a decision on your administrative review request within 28-days of submitting the online application. After receiving the outcome of the administrative review, one of the four following outcomes will apply to you:

  • Your administrative review has been successful. The Home Office’s decision to refuse your Indefinite Leave to Remain application is withdrawn
  • Your administrative review has not been successful, and the Home Office’s decision to refuse your Indefinite Leave to Remain application remains valid, as do all initial grounds for refusal of your application
  • Your administrative review has not been successful, and the Home Office’s decision to refuse your Indefinite Leave to Remain application remains valid. However, one or more of the initial grounds for refusal of your application have been withdrawn
  • Your administrative review has not been successful, and the Home Office’s decision to refuse your Indefinite Leave to Remain application remains valid. However, the Home Office has found alternative reasons to refuse your application. You may be able to apply for a second Administrative Review of the alternative reasons for refusal

If your administrative review is unsuccessful, you may be able to escalate your case to the process of judicial review. Your legal representative will be able to advise on the viability of this option.

 

Judicial Review at the Upper Tribunal

Judicial review is a process of last resort available to individuals who believe that a decision has been made unlawfully on their application. It is intended for challenges against grounds that applicants believe are illegal, irrational, unlawful, or unreasonable. Your refusal letter will identify if you can apply for judicial review. This is a highly specialised process, and you should consider instructing a legal representative for your case.

You should not use judicial review if you believe the wrong decision has been made on your Indefinite Leave to Remain application – it is specifically for unlawful decisions made by public bodies such as UK Visas and Immigration. The Upper Tribunal cannot hear cases based on the following sets of circumstances:

  • If you seek to challenge the validity of the Immigration Rules or related legislation
  • If you seek to challenge the lawfulness of your detention
  • If you seek to challenge your sponsor not being included on the Register of Licenced Sponsors
  • If you seek to challenge the refusal of a British citizenship application
  • If you seek to challenge the refusal of asylum seeker support funds
  • If you seek to challenge a decision previously made by the Upper Tribunal
  • If you seek to challenge a decision previously made by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission
  • If you seek to challenge a decision you believe contravenes the Human Rights Act (1998)
  • If you seek to challenge a decision that has been certified as being in the interest of national security concerns

If you would like to go forward with a judicial review of your case, you must submit an application form to the closest regional office of the Upper Tribunal to where you live. You will then be required to pay initial application fees for the first stage of your judicial review application. If your initial application for judicial reviewis successful, you must pay additional fees. This will be a lengthy, complex, and expensive process, so you should proceed with caution. You may be able to instruct your solicitor to negotiate an alternative process with the Home Office in advance to avoid taking your case to an Upper Tribunal.

 

Do I lose my Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee if my application is refused?

If the Home Office refuses your application, you will lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee. The current application fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain stands at £2,404 per applicant.

 

ILR refusal FAQs

What happens if my Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application is refused?

If your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is refused, you will need to take any available action within 14-days if you are in the United Kingdom or 28-days if you are outside the United Kingdom. You may be able to reapply if the reason for refusal was minor.

Do Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications get rejected?

Yes, applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain are frequently rejected. This can be due to the failure to meet English language requirements or Life in the UK test requirements, mistakes on your application form, failure to meet residency requirements, and reasons under the General Grounds for Refusal.

Can you appeal an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) refusal?

You may be able to appeal an Indefinite Leave to Remain refusal if you have a valid reason to appeal and hold the right of appeal based on your circumstances. Not all refusals will allow for appealing decisions. Your refusal letter will identify if you can appeal the decision on your ILR application.

Can I reapply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

You may be able to reapply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if the reason for refusal was minor, such as a small mistake on your application form or failure to provide a document. Your refusal letter will identify if you can reapply for ILR.

 

Legal disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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