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Indefinite Leave to Remain Requirements

It’s essential to understand the Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements before applying. Our immigration solicitors in Manchester have a high success rate of taking applicants through the process to successful granting of ILR.

Contact us on 0161 826 9783 to find out more about Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements and if you are eligible to apply. We’re available in-person, on the phone or online.

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    Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements

    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 the Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements that apply to you, 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 navigate which Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements apply to your situation. Contact us on 0161 826 9783 For more information.

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    Which visas can lead to ILR?

    The Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements allow you to apply for ILR 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 Indefinite Leave to remain requirements stipulate different qualifying periods for different visas, including:

    • 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

    The Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements include successfully passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test.

    This test 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, British history and way of life.

    The test can be taken online at over 30 test centres in the UK.

    You will have 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.

    If you fail the test you may resit as many times as needed, upon payment of the fee.

    Knowledge of English

    One of the Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements is that you must 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
    • Belize
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Jamaica
    • Ireland (for citizenship only)
    • Malta
    • New Zealand
    • 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 advice about Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements and eligibility, call us now. Contact Us

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      Continuous residence in the UK requirement

      One of the main Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements 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

      If you hold a spouse visa, then additional Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements must be met.

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

      Additonally, 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 ILR financial requirements 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 you or your partner

      Income-related benefits 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 Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements for refugees or those under humanitarian protection also differ.

      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. They should apply online whilst they are in the UK.

      To be granted ILR as a refugee then a safe return review is required. The Home Office will review the individual’s home country 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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