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A Guide to Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain is a major step on the immigration journey of an overseas national. A form of settled status, Indefinite Leave to Remain enables an individual to live in the UK without any immigration restrictions imposed on them.

The main requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain is that you must have lawfully lived in the UK for a certain period of time, which is typically five years.

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A Guide to Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain is a form of settled status which is often seen as a first step towards British citizenship.

In this blog post we set out a guide explaining how to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The general steps towards applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain are as follows:

  1. Ensure you are eligible
  2. Gather your information and documents
  3. Complete online application form
  4. Pay the fee
  5. Upload documents to your profile
  6. Attend appointment at visa application centre
  7. Submit your application
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What Do I Need to Know About Indefinite Leave to Remain?

In order to be eligible, you must have lived in the UK for a certain period of time, which is usually five years. Those who have been living in the UK under the Skilled Worker Visa, a Spouse Visa or an Ancestry Visa will be eligible for ILR after five years.

Certain individuals will be able to apply for ILR sooner. This includes those who have been living in the UK under the Innovator Visa or Investor Visa, who may be eligible after three years or even two, depending on their business activity.

Some people may not be eligible for ILR until they have spent longer than five years outside of the UK. This includes those whose UK residency is deemed to be ‘long residence’.

You will also need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for ILR:

  • Must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period
  • Must be able to demonstrate that your English language ability is to at least the level of B1
  • Must have achieved a pass in the Life in the UK test
  • No breach of immigration conditions or any laws

Those who hold Indefinite Leave to Remain can stay in the UK without any conditions imposed on them. You can freely leave the country and return to the UK, provided you don’t spend more than two years outside the UK in a single period.

What Information Do I Need to Provide When I Apply for ILR?

The key part of the application process for any UK visa is the submission of your information and documents, and an Indefinite Leave to Remain application is no different.

Some of the information which you may need to provide includes:

  • Your passport or other valid travel document, including any which have expired during your time in the UK
  • Birth or adoption certificates
  • Proof of your English language ability (unless exempt)
  • Proof of your pass in the Life in the UK test
  • Information about your living arrangements in the UK
  • A police registration certificate if you were required to register with the police when you arrived in the UK
  • Any travel documents with details relating to periods of absence from the UK during your residency in the country

The specific documents which you will need to provide depends on your personal circumstances. For example, if any dependents are included in your application, you will need to provide information about them.

What is the Application Process for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

If you want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will need to do so online. There are two different application forms.

  • Form Set (M): For someone who is applying to settle on the basis of being the partner of someone or parent of a child who is already settled in the UK
  • Form Set (O): For all other ILR applications

The first step in the application process is to complete the online application form. Once you have done this, you will need to pay the full application fee of £2,389. The full application fee will need to be paid for each dependent who is included in the application too.

Once your online application form has been completed and the fee/s paid, your documents will need to be uploaded to your account.  It is imperative that you provide all relevant documentation pertaining to your circumstances. Failure to do so could result in your application being delayed, or even rejected.

Usually, you will not need to provide the original versions of your documents, apart from your passport. However, if immigration officials have any doubts about any of your information, you may be asked to verify your documents.

Attending your Appointment and Processing Time

You will usually need to attend an appointment at a United Kingdom Visa and Citizenship Application Services centre as part of the application process. An email will be sent to you with details of your appointment.

At your appointment, it is a good idea to bring the following information:

  • Your passport
  • A printed copy of your appointment confirmation letter
  • Copies of your supporting documents
  • Original or copy of your application form and signed declaration

At the end of your appointment, the staff member will confirm that your application has been received.

Settlement applications take up to six months to be processed. However, you may be able to choose one of the priority services if your application is time sensitive.

With the priority service, your application will be processed within five working days at an additional cost of £500. And with the super priority service, your application will be processed within one working day at an additional cost of £800.

What are the Benefits of Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Indefinite Leave to Remain is perhaps the most important step in the immigration journey of an overseas national. ILR status effectively gives someone the right to live, work and study in the UK without any restrictions.

Those who are granted with ILR do not need to pay anymore money towards leave to remain visas or for the immigration health surcharge.

Indefinite Leave to Remain holders also have benefits towards family reunification. As an ILR holder, you have the right for your immediate dependants to join you on one of the Family Visas. These visas afford attractive benefits, such as the possibility of working and studying in the UK without any restrictions.

However, your freedoms are not identical to those of a British citizen. Your ILR status will be revoked if you spend more than two years outside the UK in a single period. Also, if you are convicted of a crime, this is likely to affect your ILR status.

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation after you have spent 12 months living in the UK under ILR status. As a British citizen, you can enjoy the full benefits of citizenship which includes the possibility of applying for a British passport.

How Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Can Help

Birmingham Immigration Lawyers have helped many overseas nationals to secure their settled status in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain.

With our specialist application package, we will help you to formulate your application to the very highest standard.

One of our experienced immigration lawyers will work with you through the entire application process. They will take the time to understand your own circumstances, before advising you on the information which you will need to submit to the Home Office. This guidance is absolutely crucial and could be the difference between your application being accepted or rejected.

Once your information is ready to submit, your lawyer will complete your application form and submit your full application to the Home Office accompanied by a letter of recommendation, highlighting the merits of your case.

They will liaise with the Home Office throughout the processing stage and will keep you informed on the progress of your application.

To find out more about how we can help you to settle in the UK, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.