Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK: A Path to Settlement

For those who have spent several years in the UK and wish to make it their permanent home, the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) option stands tall. Workers holding a Skilled Worker visa or Innovator, Investor, or Sole Representative visas can explore this route to solidify their stay in the UK.

Understanding Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) opens the doors to a life in the UK devoid of constraints. While often referred to as Permanent Residence, it’s distinct from the concept. Permanent Residence was designed for EEA nationals under the EU free movement of people. ILR, on the other hand, embraces non-EEA and non-EU nationals who aren’t eligible for settlement via the EU settlement scheme.

The Benefits of ILR

Gaining ILR status is akin to embracing freedom. Individuals with ILR are free to live, work, and relish life in the UK indefinitely. They can access state benefits as eligible, though they don’t attain British Citizenship. While they can travel in and out of the UK with ease, prolonged absence beyond two years might risk losing ILR status.

Criteria for ILR Application

The eligibility for ILR varies based on the applicant’s current visa category and UK status. Not all visas pave the way to ILR; Start-up, Tier 4 (Student), and Tier 5 (Temporary) visas are exceptions. The required duration of residence in the UK prior to application also hinges on specific situations.

Key eligibility criteria include:

  • Passing the Life in the UK Test
  • Limited absences from the UK (no more than 90 days in any 12 months during qualifying years)
  • Adherence to immigration rules with no criminal record
  • Meeting English Language requirement (unless exempt)
  • Adequate funds for self-support and dependents

Visas like Spouse, Family, and Long Residence may also lead to ILR.

Documentary evidence to Support your ILR Application

Apart from meeting the criteria, applicants must furnish some essential documents such as::

  • Current and past valid passports
  • Travel records during UK residence
  • Proof of available funds, e.g., bank statements and wage slips
  • Life in the UK test certificate (if applicable)
  • Birth or adoption certificate of dependents (if applicable)
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Police registration certificate (if applicable)

Family Members and ILR

Dependents, including partners and children under 18, can apply alongside the main applicant if they meet the eligibility criteria. Partners need to have lived with the main applicant for at least five years and satisfy financial criteria. Children must meet certain requirements as well.

The Application Process

To secure ILR, apply before your current UK permission expires to avoid overstay consequences. Overstaying can lead to removal, refusal of further leave, and legal action. If your ILR application is pending, your UK stay remains valid until a decision is reached.

The process might involve attending a UKVAC centre for an interview if applying within the UK. Online submissions are common, and the Home Office aims to decide within six months.

Navigating Application Fees

The Home Office application fee is £2,389 per applicant. Expedited decisions come at an additional cost (£500 for a 5-day decision, £800 for a 2-day decision).

Seek Expert Advice

Navigating ILR applications requires familiarity with evolving rules and guidance.Seek expert advice from our experienced business immigration lawyers for accurate guidance.

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