- Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements
- Visas which count towards Indefinite Leave to Remain residency requirements
- When can I apply for ILR?
- English language test requirement
- Life in the UK test
- What do I need to know about periods of absence?
- Required documents
- Application process and fees
- Can ILR be revoked?
- When can I apply for British Citizenship?
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of UK permanent residence. With Indefinite Leave to Remain status, you can remain in the UK without any imposed immigration conditions.
Typically, you can apply for ILR after you have spent five years lawfully living in the UK. However, some individuals are eligible for ILR status after just three years of UK residency. A number of different visa types can count towards the minimum residency requirements for ILR.
After you have spent one year living in the UK under Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can apply for British citizenship.
What are the Indefinite Leave to Remain Requirements?
To be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will need to meet a number of requirements and conditions.
The main requirement for UK ILR is to have spent a certain period of time living in the UK lawfully, which is typically five years. However, by itself, this is not sufficient for ILR.
The other general requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain are as follows:
- You must not have broken any laws or breached any immigration conditions pertaining to your visa/immigration permission during your time in the UK
- You must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period during your UK residency
- You must pass the Life in the UK test. This is a series of multiple-choice questions which are based on British history, traditions and culture
- You must be able to prove that your reading, speaking, listening and writing of English is to at least the level of B1 as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Which Visas Count Towards Indefinite Leave to Remain Minimum Residency Requirements?
Typically, the time you spend in the UK living under a long-term visa will count towards minimum residency requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship.
On the other hand, time spent in the UK under short-term visas/immigration permissions, such as the Temporary Work Visas or Standard Visitor Visas will not count towards UK ILR minimum residency requirements and permanent residence.
Which visa/conditions count towards UK ILR minimum residency requirements?
- Spouse Visas or Civil Partner Visas
- Unmarried Partner Visas
- Global Talent Visa
- Exceptional Talent Visa
- Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
- Entrepreneur Visa
- Investor Visa
- Innovator Visa
- Start-up Visa
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Intra-company Transfer Visa
- Minister of Religion Visa
- Sportsperson Visa
- Ancestry Visa
- ‘Long residence’
- Returning resident
- Retirement person visa
When Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
In most cases, you must have spent at least five years living in the UK in order to be eligible for ILR status.
However, some individuals will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after less than five years of UK residence.
There are exceptions to the five-year ILR residency rule including those who have lived/are living in the UK under the immigration permissions listed below.
Which visas are exempt from the ILR five-year residency rule?
- Innovator Visa – Eligible after three years, depending on business achievements
- Global Talent Visa – Eligible after three years if last endorsement was given under “exceptional talent” or “exceptional promise” criteria or under the UK Research and Innovation “endorsed funder” fast track criteria
- Entrepreneur Visa – Eligible after 3 years, depending on business activities
- Investor Visa – Eligible after 2 or 3 years, depending on level of investments
- Exceptional Talent Visa – Eligible after 3 years if last endorsement was given under the “exceptional talent” or “exceptional promise” criteria for the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering or British Academy
Also, a Commonwealth citizen who has served in the British Armed Forces will usually be eligible for ILR status after four years of residence in the UK.
There are some cases when an individual will only be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after they have spent longer than five years in the UK. This includes those who have been living in the UK under a form of ‘Long Residence’.
Some individuals will receive settled status automatically, without needing to complete an ILR application.
Who can receive Indefinite Leave to Remain automatically?
- Adult dependent of a UK citizen or person with settled status who requires long-term care from their UK family member
- Child dependent of a British citizen or person with settled status
- Refugees who have settled in the UK through the Gateway Protection Program
English Language Test Requirement
To be eligible for UK ILR, you will need to demonstrate that you possess at least a B1 level of English to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
You must prove that your reading, writing, listening and speaking of English is to the B1 level standard. The B1 level is set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
You must pass an English language SELT test of at least B1 level at an approved testing centre.
There are four SELT test providers which are approved by the Home Office, which are:
- Trinity College London
- IELTS Selt Consortium
- Pearson Education Ltd
There are thirteen test centres across the United Kingdom which you can choose from to complete your test.
On the day of your test, you will need to provide evidence of your identity such as your passport, Biometric Residence Permit (BPR), driving license or Government Identity card.
If you pass the test, you will be given a unique reference number which you will need to quote in your ILR application.
If you are from one of the following countries you will be exempt from the English language requirement for ILR:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- Ireland (for citizenship only)
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Also, there are a number of other exemptions from the English language test ILR requirement, including:
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those who have graduated in a course taught in English at degree level or higher in a course at a recognised educational institution
- Anyone suffering from a long-term mental or physical condition
- Victims of domestic abuse
- A partner or spouse of a person who has died who was a British citizen or person with settled status
What is the Life in the UK Test?
The Life in the UK test is something which ILR applicants must sit (unless they have already passed the test).
Here are some key points about the test.
What is the UK Life in the UK test?
- A multiple-choice computer test
- Tests your knowledge of British geography, culture, history, and traditions.
- Costs £50
- Consists of 24 questions which are randomly generated on the day
- Takes 45 minutes to complete the test
- Must score at least 75% to achieve a pass
- Over 30 test centres in the UK
- Must sit the test at one of the five tests nearest to your home address
- If you fail the test, you can sit it again from seven days after the date of your test
- Can resit the test as many times as you need.
Who does not need to sit the Life in the UK test?
- Those aged under 18 or over 65
- Those with a long-term mental or physical condition
As with the English language test, you will need to bring some official identification with you to the test centre, such as your passport, driving licence or Biometric Residence Permit (BPR). You will also need to bring a letter such as a bill or bank statement which shows your address.
What Do I Need to Know About Periods of Absence?
In most circumstances, you must not have spent longer than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period during your qualifying period.
However, in certain circumstances, you will be still able to apply for ILR even if you have spent longer than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period.
Some of the situations which won’t be considered as part of the 180-day maximum period of absence include absences listed below.
Which circumstances are excluded from the 180-day maximum absence rule for ILR?
- Serious illness of the applicant or a close relative
- A conflict
- A natural disaster, such as a volcanic eruption
- An applicant who has been sponsored to work in a PhD level occupation
- Work undertaken overseas by certain full-time HM armed force reserve member
- Absences taken by applicants with a Global Talent or Exceptional Talent visa may not be classed as periods of absence under certain conditions.
To find out more about whether your time abroad will be classed as a period of absence, please call our immigration lawyers in Manchester now on 0161 826 9783.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Advice
We are here to provide expert advice and guidance on Indefinite Leave to Remain. We are committed to providing the very best service that you will find in the whole of the North West.
Our professional and highly experienced immigration lawyers can offer you advice on your eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain and the requirements which you will need to fulfil. We will assess your unique circumstances and offer bespoke advice to help you secure your settled status.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Package
With our application package, one of our immigration caseworkers will work with you to formulate your application to the very highest standard.
This includes advising you on the documents which you will need to include in your application and helping you to prepare your crucial portfolio of evidence. Also, we will complete your application form and submit your full application to the Home Office.
To find out more about how we can help you obtain permanent residence in the UK, please call our immigration lawyers in Manchester now on 0161 826 9783.
What are the Required Documents for an Indefinite Leave to Remain Application?
You will need to provide a number of supporting documents with your application in your portfolio of evidence. You must also provide information relating to any dependents who are to be included in your application.
These documents must be in their original form. You must provide a valid explanation if you cannot provide original documents. Generally, the Home Office will give some leniency if there are genuine reasons why you cannot provide original documents.
Also, any documents or information which is not in English of Welsh must be translated by an accredited translator. Both the originals and the translated copies must be included in the portfolio of evidence.
Some of the documents which you will need to submit with your ILR application includes:
- Passport and travel documents, including any previous passport which expired during your UK residency
- Birth or adoption certificates
- Information/documents detailing any time you spent outside the UK during the qualifying period and the reasons for these absences
- A history of your immigration
- Certain financial information, which could include bank statements and salary information
- Two identical passport-sized colour photographs
- Pass certificate for Life in the UK test (unless exempt)
- Pass certificate for English language test (unless provided in another form/you are exempt)
Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Process and Fee
It is always prudent to prepare your portfolio of evidence before you submit your application form. Once it has been prepared, you can complete the application form.
The two forms for Indefinite Leave to Remain are Form Set (M) and Form Set (O). Form Set (M) is the form to be completed if you are applying for ILR on the basis of being a partner of someone, or parent of a child who is already settled in the UK.
Form Set (0) is for all other forms of ILR applications, including for those who have been living under a Skilled Worker Visa or an Ancestry Visa.
The current fee for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application is £2,389. However, it is important to bear in mind that the additional costs involved in your application such as the Life in the UK test (£50) as well as the English language test. Also, if any of your documents need translating, you will need to take translation costs into account too.
Generally speaking, you can expect to receive a decision on your ILR application within six months of the application being received. However, the processing stage might be delayed if immigration officials have any concerns with your application.
For instance, you may be requested to provide some additional information, which will delay the processing of your application. In the worst-case scenario, your application may even be rejected. This is why it is crucial to ensure that your application includes all relevant documentation and is completed to the required standards.
The specific documents which you will need to provide depends to some extent on your personal circumstances. Our highly experienced immigration lawyers in Manchester can provide expert guidance on the documents which you will need to include in your portfolio of evidence. Please call us now on 0161 826 9783 for more information.
Can ILR Status be Revoked?
As a person with settled status, you won’t be subject to the immigration conditions you were previously living under and you will be able to live in the UK without any restrictions.
However, it is important to bear in mind that ILR status can be rescinded in certain circumstances:
- You are convicted of a criminal offence
- You were granted ILR as a refugee and you are no longer classed as a refugee
- You are liable to deportation
- You have been found to have been granted ILR by deception
Also, if you leave the UK for more than two years in a single-period, your ILR status will be revoked.
When Can I Apply for British Citizenship?
Indefinite Leave to Remain is the steppingstone towards British citizenship and the completion of your immigration journey. If you plan to remain in the UK for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to either apply for citizenship (or dual citizenship).
After you have lived in the UK for one year under ILR, you will be eligible for British citizenship. However, you won’t automatically become a British citizen – you will need to complete and submit a British citizenship application.
The requirements for British citizenship are very similar to ILR. If your circumstances haven’t changed significantly during your residency under ILR, you will be eligible for British citizenship.
Whilst both ILR and British citizenship enable you to live in the UK without any restrictions, you will only be able to apply for a passport as a British citizen.
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As mentioned above, can apply for ILR on the basis of being the spouse of a British citizen. You must have spent at least five years living in the UK under the Spouse Visa to be eligible.
The Spouse Visa lasts for 30 months, but it can be extended for a further 30 to equate to five years of residence in the UK.
Once you have lived in the UK for five years, you will be eligible for ILR, provided that your circumstances haven’t changed significantly.
Continuous lawful period refers to time spent in the UK as a lawful resident.
Your stay in the UK will be classed as lawful if:
- You have not spent any time in the country without valid leave to enter or remain
- If requested, you can provide adequate evidence of your periods of absence from the UK
- You have not taken any employment abroad whilst in the UK on a work permit
- You have not spent any time in prison
- You have not overstayed your immigration permission
You can remain in the UK indefinitely without any imposed immigration restrictions. In other words, you will have permanent residence in the UK.
Many choose to eventually apply for British citizenship after they have been living in the UK for at least twelve months.
Children do not automatically receive Indefinite Leave to Remain (or British citizenship) if they were born in the UK.
However, if a child was born in the UK and at least one of their parents holds ILR or British citizenship, the child of the parent will be eligible for British citizenship.
Our Manchester immigration lawyers understand that it can be very distressing to have your application rejected.
First of all, it is important to understand why your application was rejected. Your refusal letter will explain the reasons for the refusal.
If there was an obvious error in your application, the best course of action is to rectify the problems and then submit another application.
However, if you believe your application was unfairly rejected, you could opt to challenge the Home Office’s decision. If you believe that a genuine mistake was made when your application was considered, you could proceed with an administrative review. With this option, your application will be reconsidered by another immigration official.
Alternatively, in certain cases, you might be able to lodge a full legal appeal against the decision.
If you wish to challenge the Home Office’s decision, our Manchester immigration legal specialists are here to support you every step of the way.
Please call us now on 0161 826 9783 for more information.
Certain individuals will be automatically eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain/British citizenship which will therefore mean that they do not need to submit an application.
Those in the following situations will not need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain:
- Those eligible for British citizenship by descent (or another form of automatic citizenship)
- Dependent adults who rely on the personal care of a UK-resident family member
- Refugees resettled in the UK through the Gateway Protection Programme
There are two different forms for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Form Set (M) is the form to be completed if you are applying for ILR as a partner of someone or parent of a child who is already settled in the UK. In all other Indefinite Leave to Remain applications, Form Set (O) is the form to complete.
The fee for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application is currently £2,389 per applicant.
However, it is important to keep other fees related to the application in mind. This includes the fee for the English language test, the Life in the UK test and the cost of any translation services.
If you have been lawfully living in the UK for five years, you will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain status. This includes those who have been living in the UK under the Spouse Visa, or one of the work visas.
You could be eligible for ILR after less time in some cases. For instance, if you have been living in the UK under an Innovator or Investor Visa, you could be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after just three years of UK residency.
The vast majority of ILR applicants will need to sit the Life in the UK test. The Life in the UK test is a multiple-choice computer test consisting of 24 questions which are randomly generated on the day of the test. You will be tested on your knowledge of British geography, culture, history and traditions.
You have 45 minutes to complete the test and you must score at least 75% to achieve a pass. It costs £50 to sit the test.
Those who are under 18 or over 65 and those with a long-term physical or mental condition will not need to sit the test.
It is highly likely that any spent or unspent criminal convictions will be taken into consideration when your application is assessed. The severity of the crime will depend on whether you are automatically ineligible for ILR or if your application will be considered.
We are a team of immigration legal experts with a wealth of experience in the field. We can help you to formulate your Indefinite Leave to Remain application to the very highest standards, maximising your chances of securing the settled status you deserve.
With our Indefinite Leave to Remain application package, we will:
- Meet you either in-person or remotely to discuss your case
- Assess your eligibility for ILR
- Advise you on the documents which you will need to include in your application
- Help you to prepare for the English language test and Life in the UK test
- Prepare your portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your eligibility
- Complete the application form
- Liaise with the Home Office throughout the application process
- Submit your application to the Home Office
- Keep you fully informed of the application’s progress in the processing stage
To find out more about our application package, please call us now on 0161 826 9783.