Can I Apply for ILR After 5 Years?
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of settled status which overseas nationals can apply for after they have spent a certain period of time living in the UK.
In most cases, an individual will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after they have spent five years living in the UK. This includes those who have been living in the UK under work visas, family visas and the Ancestry Visa.
You will need to fulfil certain requirements to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which are explained in greater detail in this blog post.
Which Visas Lead to ILR After 5 Years of UK Residency?
A number of different UK visas and immigration permissions can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain status after five years of UK residency.
This includes those who have been living in the UK under the following visas:
- Spouse Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Other Family Visa
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Tier 2 (General) Visa
- T2 Minister of Religion Visa
- T2 Sportsperson Visa
- Ancestry Visa
- Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
- Global Talent Visa
- Dependents of routes listed above
Any time which you have spent in the UK under a visa or immigration permission or visa which is no longer in operation, may still qualify as reckonable residency towards Indefinite Leave to Remain status. This includes visas such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.
Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain After Less Than Five Years of UK Residency??
Some individuals will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after less than five years of UK residency.
This includes those who have been living in the UK under the Investor Visa and the Innovator Visa. Innovator Visa holders can apply for ILR after three years of UK residency, provided their circumstances haven’t changed significantly. Investor Visa holders will be eligible for ILR status after three years of UK residency, or even two, depending on the level of their business activity in the UK.
Also, if you have lived in the UK under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa for three years, you might be able to apply for ILR.
Do Any Visas Not Count Towards Minimum Residency Requirements?
Not all time spent in the UK counts towards minimum residency requirements for ILR. Short stay visas such as the Standard Visitor Visa and the Marriage Visitor Visa.
Also, any time spent under the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa or the newly rebranded Student Visa does not count towards minimum residency requirements.
What is the 180 Day Rule?
One of the most fundamental ILR requirements is the ‘180 day rule’. This rule stipulates that you must not have left the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period if you want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Short trips away from the UK do not break period of absence rules. Absences should be consistent with your immigration permission. For example, if you are working in the UK, your absences should in line with annual leave entitlement.
There are exceptions to the period of absence rules. If you have not been living in the UK due to ‘serious or compelling reasons’, the period of absence might be disregarded and deemed allowable.
A period of absence due to one of the following reasons should be deemed as permissible:
- Serious illness of the applicant or close relative
- A natural disaster
- A conflict
- Someone who has been sponsored to work abroad in a PhD level occupation
- Work undertaken overseas by certain full-time HM armed force reserve members
If you want to make a request for absences to be exempted, you will need to provide evidence support your claim. For example, you may need to provide medical certificates or evidence of disruption to travel arrangements.
If your absences relate to your employment, including annual leave, you will usually need to get a letter from your employer detailing the reasons for your absence.
If you have been living in the UK under an Innovator Visa or Investor Visa, you may not need to provide reasons for any absences from the UK if those absences did not exceed 180 days.
Calculating Continuous Residency Requirement
It is crucial that you calculate your continuous residency period correctly. Technically, the residency period can begin from the date your visa was issued rather than the date you actually entered the UK, provided that period was not longer than 90 days.
If this period exceeded 90 days, the days after the first 90 days will not be included in the residency period.
What are the Other Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
As well as the 180-day rule, you will also need to meet other requirements to be eligible for ILR:
- Must not have broken any immigration conditions or any laws whilst living in the UK
- Must be able to demonstrate that your English language ability is to at least the level of B1 as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
- Must achieve a pass in the Life in the UK test – this is a test on the history, traditions and culture of the UK
Bear in mind that you will not need to prove your level of English if you are from a majority English-speaking country. Also, those aged 65 or over do not need to prove their level of English.
What About Dependants?
Children who are under 18 can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if one of their parents holds ILR status, regardless of the length of time they have spent in the UK.
If your family members are in the UK under a dependant visa, they must apply for ILR at the same time as you.
How to Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain After Five Years
Before you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain it is important to establish whether you are eligible or not. As well as the rules around your continuous residency period, it is vitally important that you can demonstrate an adequate level of English and that you have passed the Life in the UK test.
The two ILR application forms are:
- Form Set (M) if applying on basis of being a spouse/civil partner, long-term partner or child of somebody already settled in the UK
- Form Set (O) for all other applications
The Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee is currently £2,389. You will need to take into account costs for English language tests and your Life in the UK test too.
As part of the application process, you will need to provide certain documents and information including your passport, birth/adoption certificate, financial information, information regarding your periods of absence and your immigration history.
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers offer expert assistance to those who are looking to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
We can help you to secure your settled status in the UK and enjoy a new life free of immigration restrictions.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out more.