Indefinite Leave to remain
‘ILR’ stands for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is a type of settlement applicants an apply for to live and work permanently in the United Kingdom with the same freedoms as a UK citizen.
Applicants are able to use their Indefinite Leave to Remain status to become a UK citizen, which grants them freedom to live, work and study without limitation, stay in the UK without time limits and travel outside of the UK free of immigration controls.
The route to Indefinite Leave to Remain can be a lengthy one, as most individuals will have had to be in the UK with a valid visa for at least 5 year to be able to qualify such as with a Spouse Visa.
However, there are some visa routes than allow for faster naturalising times, such as the Innovator or Investor visa, Global Talent visa or Start-Up visa where individuals become eligible to apply after 2-3 years.
There are other visa routes that require an individual to have 10 years lawful residence before they are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Indefinite Leave to Remain does not expire but can be revoked by the Home Office if they deem the holder to be dealing in inappropriate or criminal behaviour, or if they have lived outside of the UK continuously for more than 2 years among other circumstances.
At present, the United Kingdom’s Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have been processing a backlog of applications post 2020, so the waiting time to receive your Indefinite Leave to Remain will be longer than usual.
Generally, the processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain applications takes approximately 6 months. This can also become longer for straightforward cases or for complicated ones in which UKVI must perform additional inspections and require more evidence before taking any decisions.
Can I speed up the processing time?
UKVI offer a priority and super priority service for certain visa applicants to receive a decision within 5 working days, or 24 hours.
The priority service costs an additional £500 on top of the ILR application fee. The 5 days start from either the day you prove your identity with UKVCAS or the day after you uploaded your details on the Immigration ID check app.
Applicants may be able to pay for a faster decision on a visa or ILR settlement application if they are applying from inside the United Kingdom.
The super priority service has the same conditions as the priority service, however it costs £800 on top of the Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee, and is not available through the Immigration ID check app.
Applicants will receive their decision by the end of the next working day after you prove your identity at an in-person appointment, or after two working days if your appointment is on a weekend of bank holiday.
If applicants apply together with family, every family member will need to pay to get a faster decision.
Applicants will typically receive a biometric residence permit (BRP) within 7 to 10 days of a decision.
How much does an Indefinite Leave to Remain application cost?
Your application fee depends on what form is needed to submit your application or ILR:
- At present, the fee for ILR is £2,389;
- Leave to remain (Other) – £1,033;
- Leave to enter for persons in the UK who are liable to immigration detention – £1,033;
- Visitor Extension main applicant & all dependants – £993.
Note that these costs do not include priority or super priority services, these are the stand alone costs. Applicants will have to pay the baseline fee as well as the priority fee if they wish to receive a decision sooner.
What is the process of an Indefinite Leave to Remain application?
Apply straightaway once you qualify. There are certain requirements applicants must meet before they can submit an application.
Applicants must prepare to provide these supporting documents:
- A valid passport;
- Evidence of your current leave to remain (i.e. your visa or BRP);
- Proof you meet the English language requirement and have passed the Life in the UK test;
- Payslips to prove you meet the minimum income requirements if applicable;
- Explanations of any absences from the UK.
Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants are eligible to apply if:
- They have had residence in the UK for the sufficient amount of time as detailed on their visa without any continuous breaks or absences;
- They abide by the UK law and immigration rules as detailed on their visa;
- They have not come to the UK illegally.
Applicants must prove that:
- They have passed the ‘Life in the UK’ test;
- They can show proof of their English language proficiency, for example if they are nationals of an English speaking country, have an English degree, have passed the English language test;
- They can meet the ‘continuous residency’ requirements;
- They can meet any minimum income requirements.
What is detrimental to an ILR application?
There are many reasons why Indefinite Leave to Remain could be refused, and UKVI are firm with their decisions if applicants do not provide applications to their specific requirements.
Applicants who have not filed their documents correctly or who provide false or incorrect identity documents will be at risk of not receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Other reasons include:
- If the applicant has had excessive or continuous absences from the UK;
- If the applicant has breached their UK immigration rules;
- If the applicant has been convicted of a crime;
- If the applicant has not disclosed any debt they have accrued;
- If they cannot meet the Life in the UK requirements;
- If they cannot mee the language requirements;
- If their UK visa is invalid;
- If they applicant behaves in a way that is inappropriate, adverse or criminal.
When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You can apply immediately if you qualify. It varies depending on what type of UK visa you have, but most often five years of permanent residence is required. Once you have accrued the time detailed on your UK visa, you will be eligible to apply.
Continuous residency means that you have not spent 180 consecutive weeks in the UK during the qualifying period or spent more time overseas.
In some instances, it is easier to obtain an investment visa in less than a year if you already have sufficient capital in Britain, however this UK visa route is not for everyone.
Can I travel while my Indefinite Leave to Remain is being processed?
Those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain may continue to travel outside of the UK when the applications are processed, but they must continue to plan on naturalising in the UK.
Their absence from the UK must not breach 180 days or else their application will be void.
When an applicant does not have the right to reside
An applicant will not have the right to reside if they do not have one of the following:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain;
- A valid visa allowing for residency;
- A criminal record or deportation charges.
Applicants do not have the right to reside but can stay in the UK while they hold one of the following:
- A visa;
- A family permit.
A ‘right to reside’ means being legally entitled to live in the UK/Ireland, either for a fixed period or indefinitely.
How IAS can help
Our capable legal team have years of experience in guiding clients through the complicated process of Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Acting as consular advisors, our trained lawyers aid in unpicking legal terminology, mentoring clients through their case, suggesting the best routes for specific cases, representing in court during judicial appeals, and more.
When it comes to Indefinite Leave to Remain, our lawyers understand the process in depth, for both individual and dependants candidates.
That is why when it comes to life altering decisions such as applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, our lawyers will have you covered.
To find out how we can help you with your immigration related issue and to speak to a friendly member of staff, please get in touch today on 0333 305 9375.
Last modified on October 4th, 2022 at 10:36 am
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