Individuals who have been in the UK for a number of years may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if they want to permanently settle in the UK. Workers who are in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa or those who have obtained an Innovator visa, Investor visa or Sole Representative visa may qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows applicants to live and work in the UK without any restrictions and later naturalise as British Citizens. ILR is sometimes commonly referred to as Permanent Residence, however this is not correct. Permanent Residence was the settlement of EEA nationals and their family in the UK under the European Union free movement of people. ILR is acquired by non-EEA nationals and EU nationals who are not eligible for settlement under the EU settlement scheme.
Successful ILR applicants have the permission to live and work in the UK with no time limit. In addition to being able to work in the UK without restrictions, ILR holders are entitled to receive state benefits they qualify for. However, ILR holders are not British Citizens and therefore are not eligible to vote in General Elections unless they qualify by virtue of their nationality. While ILR holders are able to leave and return to the UK without restrictions, they may lose their ILR status if they remain outside of the UK for two years.
Applicants can qualify for ILR under several visa categories and the requirements shall depend on the applicant’s current visa category and status in the UK. It is important to note that not all visas provide a route to ILR. Visas that do not provide a route ILR include the Start-up visa, Tier 4 (Student) visa and a Tier 5 (Temporary) visa.
The time an applicant is required to have been in the UK prior to submitting their application will also depend on the applicant’s circumstances. Applicants who are in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, Sole Representative visa or Innovator visa may apply when they have five years of continuous lawful residence in the UK where those in the UK on an Investor visa will require continuous residence of two to five years depending on the amount they have invested into the UK.
To be eligible for ILR, the following criteria must be met:
Visas such as Spouse, Family and Long Residence may also provide a route to ILR.
In addition to meeting the requirements, applicants may be required to submit the following documents:
A main applicant’s partner and children under the age of 18 (their dependants) can apply on the same form as the main applicant if they are eligible.
A partner is eligible if:
A child is eligible if they:
In most circumstances, both the child’s parents must be settled, or applying to settle, in the UK legally for a child to be allowed to settle.
A main applicant’s partner and child over the age of 18 will need to pass the Life in the UK Test and prove they have English Language skills.
Individuals who would like to apply for ILR should do so prior to the expiry of their current permission to stay in the UK. It is an offence for to ‘overstay’ and knowingly remain in the UK beyond the time permitted in their visa. To do so could result in removal from the UK, refusal of further leave and criminal prosecution. If an applicant’s leave expires while their application for ILR is being considered by the Home Office, the applicant will have leave to remain in the UK until their application has been decided.
If the application is being made from within the UK, the applicant may be required to attend a UKVAC centre for a leave to remain interview. The purpose of the interview is for the Home Office to request further information, verify facts of documentation and check that all the visa requirements have been met.
Applications for ILR, in most cases, can be submitted online and the Home Office aim to make a decision within 6 months although this is not guaranteed.
The current Home Office application fee is £2,389 per applicant. Applicants who want to receive a faster decision can pay an additional £500 to get a decision within 5 working days or £800 to get a decision within 2 working days.
When submitting an application for ILR, reference should be given to the Home Office guidance relevant to the current leave to remain in the UK (visa) the applicant holds and the Immigration Rule which are subject to constant change.
For any Indefinite Leave to Remain legal advice, contact our Immigration lawyers at Davenport Solicitors, London. Call us on 020 7903 6888 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to reply within 24 hours.
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