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Indefinite Leave to Remain Requirements

Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements

If you’re applying for Indefinite leave to remain in the UK, then it’s essential to understand the requirements.

Our Manchester immigration solicitors can give professional advice to help give your application the best chance of success.

Contact us on 0161 826 9783 to find out more about how we can help you with your application for indefinite leave to remain.

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Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is an important step for those wishing to make the UK their permanent home. This is because it’s the first step towards naturalization and becoming a British Citizen.

Being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain means that you can live in the UK without restrictions.

The process of applying for indefinite leave to remain can be confusing, so it’s important to fully understand all the requirements before making your application.

The first requirement to qualify for indefinite leave to remain is to have been living lawfully in the UK for a certain period of time under a category that leads to settlement. The length of time depends on the particular circumstances of the applicant and the type of visa they hold.

Our immigration lawyers in Manchester can offer you expert advice and services to help with your application for indefinite leave to remain. Contact us on 0161 826 9783 For more information.

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Which visas can you qualify for ILR under?

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain under the following visas:

  • UK Ancestral Visa
  • Marriage to a British Citizen under a Spouse Visa
  • Marriage to an EU National – completing five years as the spouse of an EU national. Under the EEA routes, applicants are taken to have obtained Permanent Residence, which is tantamount to having received Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur
  • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
  • Tier 1 Investor
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Long residence stays

 

There are certain categories that unfortunately do not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain. These  include Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer, Tier 4 Student and Tier 5 categories.

How long will it be before I’m eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

The qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain for the various categories are as follows:

  • Spouse or civil partner of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK – 5 to 10 years
  • Unmarried partner – after 5 years
  • EEA family permit – after 5 years
  • UK ancestry visa – after 5 years
  • Marriage to an EU National – completing five years as the spouse of an EU national. Under the EEA routes, applicants are taken to have obtained Permanent Residence, which is tantamount to having received Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur – depending on the level of business activity, the applicant may qualify for ILR after 3 or 5 years.
  • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent – applicants endorsed under exceptional promise criteria will qualify after 5 years. Applicants endorsed under exceptional talent criteria will qualify after 3 years.
  • Tier 1 Investor – depending on the level of investment, the applicant may qualify for after 2, 3 or 5 years.
  • Tier 2 (General) – completing five years in this immigration route and able to fulfill the minimum income threshold criteria.
  • Long residence stays – if you have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years.

The Life in the UK Test

In order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK you must have sat and passed a Life in the UK test, this is sometimes referred to as the British Citizenship Test.

The life in the UK test consists of 24 questions on the topic of UK traditions, values and way of life.

The test can be taken online at over 30 test centres in the UK. You get 45 minutes to sit the test and to pass you must score at least 75%.

It costs £50 to sit the Life in the UK test and you must book online in at least 3 days advance.

If you are under 18 or over the age of 65 then you will not have to sit a Life in the UK Test to apply for ILR.

Knowledge of English

To be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK you must also prove your knowledge of the English language.

You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Sit an English language test at a registered test provider at a level of B1 in speaking and listening
  • Show proof that you have a degree that was taught in English

If you are from a majority speaking English country then you will be exempt from proving your knowledge of the English language.

This includes, but is not limited to, citizens of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Refugees, those under humanitarian protection and people over 65-years-old are exempt from having to fulfil the English language requirement when they apply for ILR.

For expert Indefinite Leave to Remain and immigration advice, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Contact Us

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Continuous residence in the UK requirement

One of the main requirements to qualify for indefinite leave to remain is to have been a continuous resident of the UK for a specified period of time. The length of time varies depending on which visa you are applying with.

This requirement is also known as the qualifying period. During this time there is a period of absence from the UK that is allowed. Usually this is a maximum of 180 days in a year.

In some cases, you may be able to get indefinite leave to remain regardless of your continuous residence in the UK.

You can get an exception from having a long period of absence and still be granted indefinite leave to remain if you can prove that there was a serious or compelling reason for this.

The commonly recognized cases of such reasons are:

  • Serious illness
  • Birth/death of a close relative
  • Conflict
  • Natural disaster

You must be able to prove you reason, you can do so with the following documents:

  • Medical certificates
  • Birth/death certificate
  • Proof of postponement of travel ticket arrangements due to natural disaster

Criminal records and breaches of immigration law

As well as the other requirements, the Home Office will also take any history of criminality into consideration when looking at your indefinite leave to remain application.

If you have had a prison sentence of over 4 years then you application will be refused.

Any sentence of more than 12 months but under 4 years will also mean that you application for indefinite leave to remain will be denied, unless 15 years have passed since the sentence.

Any offence you are convicted on within 24 months prior to you application will also lead to a refusal.

If your records show any previous issues with you immigration status then this could also lead to your application being denied.

Requirements for ILR under a Spouse Visa

When applying for indefinite leave with a spouse visa there are some extra requirements that must be met.

You must be able to prove that you are still in a relationship.

As well as this you must meet the financial requirements for ILR under a Spouse Visa.

The level of finances you must be able to prove are as follows:

  • £18,600 where there are no dependant non-British children
  • An additional £3,800 for the first non-British child
  • An additional £2,400 per child thereafter

You can meet the financial requirement using:

  • Income from salaried or non-salaried employment of you or your partner
  • Income from self-employment, or income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK from you or your partner
  • Cash savings of at least £16,000 held for at least six months, in any currency, by the you or your partner

Income-related benefits will cannot be counted towards the financial requirement.

It is possible to combine some of the sources of income, but not all.  For instance, self-employment cannot be combined with cash savings.

Requirements for ILR as a refugee

If you are a refugee or have been living in the UK under humanitarian protection for at least 5 years then you can apply to become settled in the UK.

The requirements for ILR also differ for refugees or those under humanitarian protection.

Those who are granted refugee status or humanitarian protection are usually granted leave to remain for 5 years in the UK. Once those 5 years are about to expire they must apply for ILR if they wish to stay in the UK.

Refugees can’t apply for ILR from outside of the UK, instead they should apply online whilst they are in the country.

To be granted ILR as a refugee then a safe return review is required. The Home Office will review the individuals home country’s situation at the time of the application to consider whether they still need protection.

To prove they are eligible refugees have to have a residence card that proves their continued residence in the UK and will also need to show that they don’t have any criminal history.

Once a refugee has fulfilled this requirement they are usually granted settled status.

Refugees are not required to take an English test or the Life in the UK test.

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