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Tier 2 to ILR: How to apply

A Tier 2 Visa allows skilled workers to come to the country to take up employment.

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A Tier 2 Visa allows skilled workers to come to the country to take up employment. If you hold this permit, you can remain in the UK for up to 5 years and 14 days, depending on the nature of your business.

After you have lived in the UK for a qualifying period of 5 years, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This status grants you the right to remain in the country without the restriction of a point-based visa.

Obtaining your ILR in the UK is one of the preliminary steps towards British citizenships. For this reason, there are several Tier 2 to ILR requirements you need to meet to adjust your status.

Our legal experts have summarised the requirements you need to meet to change your status and settle in the UK.

If you have any further queries about your Tier 2 to ILR process, get in touch with one of our advisers.

Who is eligible to switch from Tier 2 Visa to ILR?

If you hold a Worker Visa, you may be eligible to change your status to ILR. To submit your application, you must complete the SET O Form, which can be used by the following eligible visa categories:

  • Tier 2 (General) Visa;
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa;
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa;
  • Tier 2 (Ministry of Religion) Visa;
  • Tier 1 (General) Visa;
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa;
  • Tier 1 (Exception Talent) Visa;
  • Tier 1 (Investor) Visa;
  • Representatives of an Overseas Business;
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Visa.

Tier 2 to ILR requirements: qualifying period

To adjust your Tier 2 Visa to ILR, you must have spent at least 5 continuous years in the UK. This qualifying period usually starts from the date of the approval of your entry clearance.

If your leave was issued before 11th January 2018, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in 5 years. For visas issued after this date, you can spend 180 days during any 12 months outside the country.

It is worth noting that if you entered the UK several weeks after the issue of your visa, your 5-year qualifying period might start later.

You are required to list all your absences in your Tier 2 ILR application form, together with a written explanation for each of them. If you have spent some time outside the UK for work purposes, you must also include a letter from your employer.

Minimum Earning Threshold for Tier 2 to ILR requirements

To obtain your Tier 2 Visa, you must meet specific salary requirements. If you want to adjust your status, you must still have access to adequate funds to sustain your family.

For Tier 2 to ILR application made before April 2020, the minimum threshold required is of £35,800. You should still be in a position of employment with a registered sponsor and earn the minimum required salary at the time of your application.

However, specific categories, such as skilled workers to Ph.D. level, are exempt from the ILR salary requirement. If you work hourly, you may need to meet different criteria. Your immigration adviser can help you understand how to proceed.

Do not forget to include pension plans, benefits schemes, and other sources of income in your Tier 2 ILR application form.

ILR Requirements for Tier 2: Life in the UK Test

To obtain your ILR status, you must prove your commitment to British customs and traditions. For this reason, you are required to pass the Life in the UK Test. This computer-based exam will assess your knowledge of subjects such as British law, history, and culture. You must score at least 75% to pass, and you need to attach your certificate to your Tier 2 ILR application form.

In addition, you must submit proof of your proficiency in spoken and written English. If you do not hold any English-based degree qualification, you must pass a language test at B1 Level of CEFR.

How to apply to adjust your status from Tier 2 to ILR

You need to apply for your ILR status before your current Tier 2 Visa expires. However, you cannot submit your request more than 28 days before the completion of your five-year qualifying period.

The correct Tier 2 ILR application form is the Set (O) Form. You should complete every section of it without mistakes; otherwise, your application will be rejected.

You must submit relevant supporting documents in original form to evidence your eligibility. Your papers must be written in English or accompanied by a certified translation. One of our qualified immigration solicitors will be happy to help you gather relevant documents to prove:

  • Your identity. To this end you must include two passport-sized photographs with your full name written on the back;
  • Your continuous residence in the UK, such as utility bills and tenancy agreements;
  • Your Life in the UK and English Test pass certificates;
  • Your source of income and financial details. Payslips, letters from your employer, and bank statements are considered as adequate evidence.

Can I switch from a Tier 2 Visa to UK Citizenship?

Before you can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, you need to obtain your Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Once you have switched from Tier 2 to ILR, you need to spend at least one more year as a lawful resident in the UK. After this time, you may apply for British citizenship. If you are married to a settled UK person, you do not need to wait, and you can change your status as soon as you get your ILR.

Can I lose my ILR status?

Once you obtain your ILR status, you must maintain your lawful and continuous residence in the UK. You cannot stay outside the country for more than 2 years. Otherwise, your ILR will be revoked, and you will need to re-apply.

You may also lose your status if you commit an offence that leads to your deportation from the UK, or if you are considered as a threat to national security.

If you still wish to reside for an extended period outside the UK without losing your status, you first need to get British citizenship.

Do you need legal help for your Tier 2 ILR application?

IAS is a team of UK immigration solicitors, who are expert in advising on all aspects of settling in the UK. Our legal advisers can help with all your needs, to ensure that your Tier 2 to ILR application meet all the ILR conditions.

As a part of our bespoke service, our lawyers can ensure that you have adequate evidence before you submit your application. Furthermore, we can prepare a Letter of Representation to support your case, and we are happy to liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.

You can get in touch with our LondonManchester, or Birmingham immigration lawyers, or use the office finder to find the closest branch to you.

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