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Can I apply for ILR after 2.5 years?

After spending the correct time of lawful, continuous residence in the UK, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your ILR application process, call our friendly team of advisors on 0333 305 9375.

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ILR in 2.5 years

ILR, or, Indefinite Leave to Remain, is a form of long-term settlement in the the UK. Typically, most people will apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the five or ten year route, depending on their personal circumstances.

For some, acquiring ILR to live in the UK is paramount, so it makes sense to want to apply under the quickest possible avenue. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after just 2.5 years of holding a visa.

ILR is a highly sought after form of settlement, thanks to its unlimited time scale for stay and access to UK amenities such as free healthcare. Moreover, ILR is the ideal platform to applying for British Citizenship. It is important to know that the ILR process can be lengthy, but very rewarding to an individual granted stay in the UK.

For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your ILR application process, call our friendly team of advisors on 0333 305 9375.

The five year route

The 5 year route to ILR or settlement in the UK is perhaps the most common way to go about getting ILR. This means that a person can submit an ILR application after 5 years of continuous, lawful residency in the United Kingdom.

There are several circumstances that allow you to apply for ILR after just five years; these include:

If you are planning to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you must be aware of the time limits in place on how long you have spent out of the UK. Usually, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK at any given time. This, however, can be waivered in exceptional circumstances.

The 10-year route

The 10-year route to submitting an ILR application requires an individual to have at least 10 years of lawful, continuous residence in the United Kingdom. This can be from one, or a combination of different visas.

The rules surrounding the 10-year path to ILR status are often very strict. You must ensure you fully meet the eligibility criteria. The ILR requirements for this route are as follows:

  • You should have lived lawfully in the UK for 10 years continuously
  • You must pass the Life in the UK test (You may be exempt from this and the English language test if you have a physical or mental condition)
  • You must meet the minimum English language test requirement of level B1
  • You should have no previous breaches of immigration rules
  • Have existing leave to remain in any given UK immigration category or current visa
  • No grounds for the Home Office to believe that you should not be granted ILR in the UK

Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you.

Can I get ILR sooner than 5 years?

Although the main guidelines for becoming eligible for ILR stand at five to ten years, there are in fact some UK immigration categories that allow an overseas individual to apply for ILR after as little as three years. However, these categories are very limited and do not apply to everybody. You may be able to apply after three years if you have a:

  • Global Talent visa
  • Entrepreneur visa
  • Innovator visa
  • If you are a private servant in a diplomatic household

In order to apply under these circumstances, you must be able to show that you meet the financial requirement along with any minimum income threshold in addition. Furthermore, you must be able to show that you have taken an approved English language test unless you come from a majority English-speaking country.

Requirements for continuous residence in the UK

One of the main eligibility requirements for ILR is to ensure that you meet the continuous residence requirements set out by the Home Office. Typically, the maximum period of time you can spend outside of the UK is 180 days within a 12-month period, anything over this may affect the validity of your current visa and make you ineligible for ILR.

In addition to this, you must consider the following guidelines that could hinder the chances of getting an ILR. You must not:

  • Have lost any permission to stay in the UK
  • Have any criminal convictions or spent time in prison
  • Have been subjected to deportation due to criminal convictions or any immigration breaches

To ensure you meet the correct continuous residence requirements, you can seek guidance from our trained immigration lawyers.

How do you apply for ILR?

You must apply online for ILR. The application process can often seem daunting to a first-time applicant but provided that you follow the steps you should be able to submit a valid application.

To apply, you must fill out one of two forms- Form Set (M) or Form Set (O). Form set (M) is to be filled out by those applying on the grounds that they have family in the UK classed as a British citizen or a settled spouse. Form Set (O) is to be filled out by everybody else, for example, those applying for ILR after 5 years on a Skilled Worker visa.

Along with the correct application form, you will be required to submit a series of supporting documents. These include:

  • A current valid passport or alternative travel documents
  • A birth or adoption certificate
  • Travel documents that detail any time spent outside of the UK
  • Immigration history details
  • Details of finances or cash savings should you need to meet any financial requirement
  • Life in the UK test pass certificate
  • Proof of your knowledge of the English language
  • A police registration certificate (if applicable)

Once you have applied, you can expect a decision within 6 months, however, if you require a faster decision, you can opt for the super-priority service at an additional cost of £800 per applicant.

You should apply for ILR before your current visa expires.

How can I prove my ILR status?

You may be required to prove your ILR status as part of a right to work check with a new employer or to buy or rent a property in the UK. You can prove your ILR in the following ways:

  • A Biometric Residence Permit
  • A No Time Limit stamp on your passport
  • A letter from the Home Office confirming your ILR status
  • An Indefinite Leave to Enter stamp on your passport

ILR with a Spouse visa

The length of a Spouse visa is 2.5 years. To be eligible for ILR as spouse visa holders, applicants must be able to prove they have been in the UK continuously and lawfully for 5 years. With this in mind, before your spouse visa expires, you must apply for a spouse visa renewal to ensure you have met the minimum continuous residence requirements. You must ensure that you submit a Spouse visa extension application at least 28 days before your current Spouse visa is due to expire.

After 5 years, provided that you meet the requirements, you can apply for ILR after a UK Spouse visa to remain in the UK with your spouse or in a civil partnership. You must be able to prove your relationship to your spouse with a marriage certificate, or, if you are unmarried, you must be able to demonstrate that you both live at the same address and have done for at least 2 years.

Becoming a British citizen

Indefinite Leave to Remain acts as the perfect prerequisite to becoming a British citizen. By becoming a British citizen, you have the guaranteed right to remain in the UK as well as access benefits, pensions, and public healthcare. In addition, you can also apply for a British passport.

You can apply to become a British citizen 12 months after living in the UK with ILR. The process of naturalization can seem complex and daunting, so you can get in touch with our immigration lawyers for expert legal assistance and guidance.

How can Immigration Advice Service help?

Our leading immigration lawyers are here to offer you expert advice on your legal query. Whether you are applying for a visa or ILR, our team are ready and waiting to help you take the next step on your immigration journey.

For more information on how we can help, call our friendly team of advisors on 0333 305 9375, for immediate guidance.

We can help you if you need help with your Skilled Worker Visa application.

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