Having Indefinite Leave to Remain status in the UK means you can work and live in the country free from immigration restrictions. This is also a fundamental prerequisite for seeking British Citizenship.
When considering your ILR application, the UKVI needs to gather information about your status from the following:
- The information you have entered on your SET (O) Form;
- Internal Home Office systems from relevant agencies (such as the Criminal Investigation Department);
- Home Office security checks;
- Other security checks (if needed).
Therefore, it is essential to complete your Indefinite Leave to Remain application Form to the highest standard. Where there are minor errors or omissions in your request, it can be delayed or rejected.
The Home Office can deny your ILR application based on the general grounds of refusal. These criteria are part of the UK Immigration Rules and may either be mandatory or discretionary. In the second case, the UKVI may consider your immigration history before deciding on how to proceed with your application.
What happens if your Indefinite Leave to Remain is refused?
If your request for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK is refused, you and your legal adviser will receive written notice. This letter explains the reasons for the refusal of your ILR and whether you have the right to appeal. If this is the case, your report may also include further information on how to proceed.
All appeals must be made within the time limits indicated on your refusal letter. You usually have 14 days to apply if you are in the UK, and 28 days if you are outside the country.
What to do if your ILR is refused
If your ILR is refused, you should first address the issues indicated in your rejection letter. If this is due to a minor mistake on your form, you may consider resubmitting your application.
Depending on the reasons for your refusal, your immigration solicitor can advise you on the best way to proceed.
Appealing an ILR refusal
Appeals against the UK Border Agency are operated by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. You can be represented by your immigration advisor, who will liaise with the UK Border Agency’s legal delegate. The Tribunal is independent of any government body, and your appeal may be heard by one or more judges.
You have no right to appeal if you submitted your ILR application after your permission to stay in the UK had already expired. The same applies if you are still allowed to remain in the country despite your ILR refusal.
If you want the decision on your visa application to be reconsidered, you can apply for an administrative review. You can submit your request online, and the whole process costs £80.
You must apply for an administrative review within 14 days from the refusal of your ILR. However, this service is only available if you do not have the right to first appeal against your refusal.
You will receive the result of your administrative review within 28 days. If during this time your visa expires, you may not need to leave the UK. Once you get your result, you cannot request a second review.
You cannot make any other visa application while waiting for your administrative review to be processed. Otherwise, your request will be automatically withdrawn.
Judicial review is a complex process that is only available in some instances approved by the court. This procedure lets you challenge the validity of decisions made by public authorities, such as the UKVI.
It can be worth pursuing judicial review only if you have a strong case. If you decide to apply for it, seeking advice from an experienced immigration lawyer is essential.
Judicial Review is a remedy of last resort. Failure to win can result in you paying a significant amount of money to cover the cost of the entire process. Before going court, your lawyer may prefer to write to the Home Office and attempt to negotiate a different alternative.
General Grounds for refusal
- Failure to meet the residency requirements
To apply for an ILR in the UK, you must not have spent more than 180 days in any 12-months period outside the country. You must provide a written explanation of every absence. However, in some circumstances, you can spend some time outside the UK without breaking your continuity period.
As a general rule, your eligible continuous period starts over after any long gaps in your residency. It is advisable to check with your immigration adviser when to apply for ILR to maximise your chances to succeed and avoid rejection.
If your ILR is refused because you have not spent enough time in the UK, you may need to wait before resubmitting your application.
- Refusal due to the English language or Life in the UK requirements
If you are between the age of 18 and 65 and you are from a non-English speaking country, you must provide evidence of knowledge of the English language. To apply for an ILR, you must pass an approved English test with at least a CEFR level B1 in speaking and listening. Otherwise, you can present any academic qualification that was taught or researched in English.
If you have already passed your Life in the UK test as part of your current immigration status, you do not need to repeat the test.
- Refusal of ILR due to mistakes and inaccuracies on your application forms
To apply for your ILR in the UK, you must submit the SET (O) Form. It includes several sections that may be complicated to complete without the help of an immigration expert. Getting any part of your ILR application form wrong can result in a refusal.
Your SET (O) Form can be rejected for the following reasons:
- You have submitted incomplete evidence;
- You have lied or submitted false documents;
- You have failed to submit a written declaration of the intended purpose of your stay. If you are seeking ILR in the UK for reasons not covered by the rules, the UKVI will refuse your application;
- You have been summoned to an interview, but you have failed to attend;
- Your sponsor has failed to provide written confirmation of his or her support;
- You did not provide records of any past immigration status in the UK;
- You are under the age of 18, but neither your parents or legal guardian has signed your form. The UKVI may also ask for further written consent from your parent or legal guardian to check if you have their permission to apply for ILR.
- ILR refused because of your criminal convictions
One of the ILR requirements is to prove that you have “good character”. You must declare any criminal conviction in your ILR application. Failure to disclose or to provide character references may result in refusal of your request.
Usually, your ILR can be refused because of the following reasons:
- You are convicted of an offence for at least four years;
- You are convicted of an offence for at least 12 months but less than four years and 15 years have still not passed since your sentence;
- You are convicted of an offence for less 12 months, and 7 years have still not passed since your sentence;
- You have received court disposal within the 24 months preceding your ILR application;
- You are, at the time of your application, subject to a deportation order;
- You are subject of a UN or EU travel ban;
- You are considered as a persistent offender who shows disregard for the law;
- You have broken the current conditions of your stay.
If you commit an offence that results in a period of imprisonment within 6 months of being granted ILR, your status may be curtailed.
- Refusal of ILR due to tax discrepancies
One of the sections of your SET (O) application form is dedicated to your financial situation. Since the UKVI will check your information with the HMRC, it is strongly recommended not to make a false statement. This is also an offence and may result in criminal penalties.
If you have unpaid any UK taxes, your ILR application will be automatically refused. If you have had any issues with your tax payments and you have managed to resolve with the HMRC, the UKVI may still reject your request. For this reason, you should seek legal guidance to liaise with the Home Office.
How can IAS help in case of ILR refusal?
Here at IAS, we have experience in dealing with several different immigration cases. This includes ILR applications and refusals.
First, we will address the issues indicated in your refusal letter and resubmit your application, if necessary. If you want to appeal the UKVI decision, we can liaise with the UKVI to negotiate a review of your case.
Whether the reason for your refusal, we can offer our bespoke service to give you the best chance possible for success.