ILR Requirements for the UK

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Foreign nationals in the United Kingdom on visas are subject to time limits on their permission to live in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This means that you are subject to immigration control and do not have all the rights and obligations of British citizens. An important step towards living in the United Kingdom permanently is to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

The Indefinite Leave to Remain application is a crucial step in your immigration journey, so you should take all necessary steps to ensure that your ILR status is approved. This article will outline the requirements to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom. It will explain the eligibility criteria, how to apply for ILR, and the application fees associated with this process. This article will also answer commonly asked questions by Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants.

 

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as ILR, settlement, and permanent residence, is immigration permission to live in the United Kingdom without time limits. ILR grants you the right to live, work, study, and apply for benefits in the United Kingdom. It also provides a route to eligibility for British citizenship if you would like to become a dual national in the future. For many people, having ILR is a crucial part of permanent immigration to the United Kingdom as it secures your immigration status for years to come.

However, it is important to note that your Indefinite Leave to Remain can be revoked under certain circumstances. If you live outside the United Kingdom for more than 2 years at a time, your ILR status can be revoked by the Home Office. Your ILR status can also be revoked if you have been convicted of serious criminal offences or if you demonstrate national security risks. Therefore, many people with Indefinite Leave to Remain later seek to become British citizens when they are eligible to do so.

 

What are the different routes to ILR?

Depending on the route you took to live in the United Kingdom, you will apply for a specific route to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. There are many different routes to eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain and different types of application forms depending on your specified route.

You must select the right Indefinite Leave to Remain route based on your specific situation, so you will want to ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements.

 

Work visa routes

If you have worked in the United Kingdom on various work visa routes and other immigration categories, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with Form SET(O):

  • Skilled Worker Visa and Tier 2 Visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and T2 Minister of Religion
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson), International Sportsperson, and T2 Sportsperson
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Global Talent
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Investor)
  • Innovator Visa
  • Points Based System (PBS) Dependent Visa
  • Turkish Worker Visa
  • Turkish Businessperson Visa
  • UK Ancestry Visa
  • Overseas Business Representatives
  • Retired Persons
  • Bereaved Partners

 

Family visa routes

If you have been living in the United Kingdom with a settled family member, such as a partner, parent, or child, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with Form SET(M)

  • Family Visa – Partner Route (Spouses, Civil Partners, and Unmarried Partners)
  • Family Visa – Parent Route
  • Family Visa – Child Route
  • Family Visa – Adult Dependent Route

 

Humanitarian routes

If you have lived in the United Kingdom with refugee status, humanitarian protection status, or have Discretionary Leave, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with Form SET(P)

 

Child applications

If you have lived in the United Kingdom as a child under the age of 18 and are applying without other family members, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with Form SET(F)

 

Armed forces routes

If you served in the UK Armed Forces as a foreign national, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with Form SET(AF)

 

 

What are the ILR requirements to settle in the United Kingdom?

The requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain will broadly depend on the specific route under which you are applying. The most important requirement is that you have lived in the United Kingdom for the correct amount of time for your relevant immigration category.

Applicant

Qualifying period of UK residence

If you are a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a British citizen or settled person in the UK and you were granted initial leave to remain before 9 July 2012. ILR after 2 years in the UK
If you are a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a British citizen or settled person in the United Kingdom who meets all English language and financial requirements, and you were granted initial leave to remain after 9 July 2012. ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you are a spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a British citizen or settled person in the United Kingdom who did not previously meet all English language and financial requirements, and you were granted initial leave to remain after 9 July 2012. ILR after 10 years in the UK
If you have an EEA Family Permit ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have a UK Ancestry Visa ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have a Tier 1 (Investor Visa) ILR after 2, 3, or 5 years in line with the amount of money you have invested whilst in the UK
If you have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa ILR after 3 or 5 years in line with the type of business activity you have conducted whilst in the United Kingdom
If you have a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa ILR after 3 years in the UK
If you have a Skilled Worker or Tier 2 Visa ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have a Turkish Worker Visa or Turkish Businessperson Visa ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have a Points Based System (PBS) Dependent Visa ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have a Retired Person Visa ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have refugee status or humanitarian protection status ILR after 5 years in the UK
If you have Discretionary Leave to Remain and you were granted initial leave to remain before 9 July 2012. ILR after 6 years in the UK
If you have Discretionary Leave to Remain and you were granted initial leave to remain before 9 July 2012. ILR after 10 years in the UK
If you have been living in the United Kingdom legally under various routes with long residence ILR after 10 years in the UK

 

If you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain before the required time period for your immigration route, your application will be rejected by the Home Office. You must also meet the eligibility requirements in line with the relevant Indefinite Leave to Remain route.

 

What are the ILR eligibility criteria?

The eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain will broadly depend on the specific route under which you are applying. However, there are broad eligibility requirements that you will need to demonstrate in your application and supporting evidence.

 

Continuous residence requirement

You must have maintained continuous, lawful residence in the United Kingdom throughout the duration of the qualifying time period

You must not have been absent from the United Kingdom for more than 180 days within any given 12 month period – please note that this requirement does not apply to individuals with Partner Visas (spouses, civil partners, and unmarried partners), Tier 1 Visas, UK Ancestry Visas, Retired Person Visas, and PBS Dependent Visas.

 

English language requirement

You must meet the English language requirement by demonstrating that you speak and listen at least at the Common European Framework of Languages (CEFR) B1 level – this can be demonstrated by taking an English language test at a certified test centre, by having a degree-level or higher qualification at a recognised English language university, or being a national of a majority English speaking country. Individuals with refugee status and humanitarian protection status are exempt from this requirement. Individuals who are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, or have significant physical and mental health conditions are also exempt.

 

Life in the UK requirement

You must have passed the Life in the UK Test. Individuals with refugee status and humanitarian protection status are exempt from this requirement. Individuals who are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, or have significant physical and mental health conditions are also exempt.

 

Good character requirement

You must demonstrate that your application adheres to the General Grounds for Refusal. If you have any criminal convictions or have broken the conditions of your immigration status whilst in the United Kingdom, you must disclose these on the application form.

 

 

How do I fill out the ILR application form?

It is critical that you correctly fill out the Indefinite Leave to Remain application form. Before beginning the application, you will need to determine which of the ILR application forms is correct for your application. For example, you may need to complete Form SET(O), Form SET(M), Form SET(P), Form SET(F), or Form SET(AF). Once you have selected the correct form for your immigration route, you should provide an email address and begin the online application form.

First, you will need to enter all required personal details. You should pay close attention to ensure that your details are correct, including passport numbers, phone numbers, and home addresses. If you have a partner or children, you will need to include their information as well. You will also need to correctly identify the immigration route you are on.

Next, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom. You will need to fill out sections related to your knowledge of the English language and the Life in the UK Test, information about your accommodation and financial arrangements, details on your immigration history, and personal history information such as criminal convictions, penalties, and cultural and family ties in your home country. If you do not provide accurate information related to your personal history, your application can be rejected outright.

At the end of the application, you will be asked to provide details about your current Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom, such as information about your Biometric Residence Permit and reasons for remaining in the UK indefinitely. You will then be asked to confirm all information, consent to provide the required supporting documents, and pay the relevant application fee. Once you pay the application fee, you will need to upload all supporting documentation. You will also be required to either attend a biometrics enrolment appointment at a UK Visa and Citizen Application Services (UKVCAS) appointment centre or use the UK Immigration: ID Check application. Once you have enrolled your biometric information, your Indefinite Leave to Remain application is officially and fully submitted to the Home Office for consideration.

Generally, you should receive a decision on your Indefinite Leave to Remain application within 6 months if you opt for the standard processing service. If you pay for Priority or Super Priority, you will get a faster decision. If your application is approved, you will receive the decision in an email. If your application is refused, you will receive the decision in a letter through the post.

 

What supporting documents do I need to provide for my ILR application?

Applicants are required to submit extensive supporting documentation to evidence their eligibility and that they meet the ILR requirements. This will include core ILR documents as well as additional documentation to suit your specific circumstances and application.

The ILR document checklist includes:

  • Your valid passport or Home Office Travel Document
  • Proof of your English language proficiency
  • Proof of passing the Life in the UK Test
  • Your current Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • Information about your current accommodation, such as tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, and Council Tax letters

 

In addition, you may also need to provide:

  • Bank statements
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates of dependent children
  • Correspondence documents to your accommodation, such as utility bills,
  • Police registration certificate
  • Financial documents

 

What is the application fee for my ILR application?

The application fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain is £2,389 per person. If you are applying as a family, every person in your family will be charged. This is payable at the end of the online application form. Your application will not be officially submitted until you have paid the application fee.

You may be able to purchase expedited processing for your Indefinite Leave to Remain application. It costs an extra £500 to get a faster decision through Priority Service, usually within five working days. It costs an extra £800 to get a faster decision through the Super Priority Service, usually within one working day.

 

UK ILR Requirements FAQs

What is required for my ILR application?

You are required to have lived in the United Kingdom for the relevant qualifying time period for your relevant immigration route. You must also meet all eligibility criteria, submit an online application form, pay the relevant application fee, submit supporting evidence, and enrol your biometric information.

Can I apply for ILR after 5 years?

Most people living in the United Kingdom will be eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years. If you previously did not meet the English language and financial requirements, you may have to wait until you have lived in the United Kingdom for 10 years. Some people can apply for ILR before having lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years.

Can I apply for ILR before 5 years?

You may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain before 5 years of living in the United Kingdom in limited circumstances, such as holding a Tier 1 Visa on the Investor, Entrepreneur, or Exceptional Talent Routes. Most people living in the United Kingdom will be eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years.

Can I apply for ILR after 3 years of marriage?

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after living in the United Kingdom for 5 years if you have a Partner Visa (Spouse Route). You can also apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years if you are in a Civil Partnership or Unmarried Partnership.

 

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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