How To Apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain
Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR, also referred to as settled status, gives you the right to stay in the UK for as long as you want. You will be able to work or study as you wish and claim benefits, if you are eligible.
It is a step on the path to British citizenship and gives you substantially more rights than you have with a visa. For those wishing to settle permanently in the UK, either with their families or as an individual, Indefinite Leave to Remain is a route to achieving this.
At IBB Law, we represent individuals from around the globe who wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Our immigration team is known for its attention to detail and strong track record of success in applying for ILR.
We can discuss your situation with you and provide you with the advice and representation you need to achieve the permission you need to stay in the UK permanently.
If for any reason you are not currently eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, we deal with a full range of UK visas and work visas and we can advise you of the other options available to you.
Complete support for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications
We represent clients and their families from all countries and walks of life, securing Indefinite Leave to Remain so that they can spend as long as they want in the UK. Our services in securing an ILR visa UK include:
- Discussing your circumstances with you to establish your eligibility and advising you on when to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Completing your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Putting together the correct documents in support of your application
- Providing advice and representation if you have received a rejection or refusal of Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Dealing with Indefinite Leave to Remain renewal where your leave has been lost because you have been away from the UK
For further information in respect of our immigration services, see UK visas.
Why choose IBB Law for your ILR visa UK?
At IBB Law, our experienced immigration team offer:
- An in-depth understanding of the rules surrounding Indefinite Leave to Remain and how to make the strongest possible application
- Advice and support for your case from experts who offer exceptional service and who are always on top of current developments in immigration law
- Competitive representation and proactive assistance in securing Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Immigration solicitors who have been independently accredited by the market-leading lawyer directory, The Legal 500, for their outstanding work in the complex area of immigration law
Looking for immediate help with an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite Leave to Remain is legal permission to settle in the UK without a time limit. There is no need to apply to renew the consent unless you leave the country for more than two years and you can work and study without needing to seek permission.
You can enter and the leave the country as you wish, provided you are not away for two years or more, and you can claim benefits if you are eligible to do so.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is generally granted to someone who has been in the UK for a number of years, often five, under one or more visas. For many, Indefinite Leave to Remain leads to British citizenship.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain but you have not been provided with documentation confirming this, or you have lost your passport which confirmed your status, you can request a Biometric Residence Permit. This will show that you have Indefinite Leave to Remain. While it is not essential to hold this evidence, it does mean that you will be able to easily prove your settled status if asked, for example, by an employer, a landlord or bank.
We can advise you on how to apply for a no-time limit Biometric Residence Permit confirming your right to live in the UK.
How to get Indefinite Leave to Remain
Below is a guide to applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, covering the following key points:
- Making an Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- How long can I stay outside of the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Why does my Indefinite Leave to Remain have an expiry date?
- What documents do I need for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- What happens after I receive Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Indefinite Leave to Remain refusals and rejections
- Do I need to renew Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Alternatives to Indefinite Leave to Remain
- How much does Indefinite Leave to Remain cost?
- What rights does Indefinite Leave to Remain give you?
- Supporting documents for Indefinite Leave to Remain
- How long does an Indefinite Leave to Remain application take?
Making an Indefinite Leave to Remain application
If you have lived in the UK for the required period of time and you meet the necessary criteria, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The number of years you need to have been in the UK varies, depending on the visa you have. It is often five years, although if you have a tier 1 visa it may be two or three years.
You may also have to meet certain salary requirements, depending on which visa you hold, and prove that you have an acceptable standard of English. You will also generally need to take and pass the Life in the UK test.
If you hold a family visa, for example, as a spouse, partner, parent, child or dependent adult, you may also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
For those who have lived in the UK for ten years or more, you can request Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of your private life and ‘long residence’ in the country. Even if you do not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain, if you have been continuously resident in the UK legally for ten years or more, you can apply for Leave to Remain, which will extend your stay by two years.
Other routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain exist, including for those who have been in the UK for five years or more on a UK Ancestry visa, for those with humanitarian protection, refugee status, discretionary leave, and individuals who have returned to the UK and who previously had indefinite leave to remain.
How long can I stay outside of the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You can stay away from the UK for up to two years, but if you stay away for two years or longer, you will lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
If you have been out of the country for two years or more, you may still be able to return to the UK to live under your previous conditions in some circumstances, such as where you have relatives living in the UK or you have lived in the UK for most of your life.
If you wish to return, you will need to make enquiries of the authorities. Our team can advise you on the best way to approach this. To be able to return, you will need a Returning Resident visa if you previously had Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Why does my Indefinite Leave to Remain have an expiry date?
Indefinite Leave to Remain does not have an expiry date, but you may hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) that is due to expire on 31 December 2024.
The reason for the BRP expiry date is linked to the technology that the UK authorities used in issuing the permits and restrictions imposed by the EU authorities. This no longer applies, but the Home Office is planning to move immigration status online by the end of 2024, so the expiry date for BRPs still exists.
It is hoped that individuals with BRPs expiring on 31 December 2024 will be able to move their immigration status online in early 2024, before the expiry date.
What documents do I need for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The documents needed by UK Visas and Immigration will depend on your circumstances and the route you are taking to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, which could be either a five-year or ten-year route.
Basic documents that will be required include:
- Your passport or other valid travel and identity document
- Details of any periods of absence from the UK
- Evidence that you meet the required standard of English
- Confirmation that you have passed the Life in the UK test
- Evidence of where you have been living
- Your Biometric Residence Permit
You may also need to provide evidence of your employment, job details, your salary, details of your grandparents’ birth and marriage (if you are an Ancestry visa holder) and details of your relationship with a partner or spouse (if you hold a Family visa).
The range of documentation needed can be substantial and it is important to include enough evidence to satisfy each requirement. Our team can advise you as to exactly what will be necessary in your circumstances and ensure that your application includes sufficient information.
What happens after I receive Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Once you have been given Indefinite Leave to Remain, your Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one) will be amended to show that you have ILR. You could also receive a stamp in your passport stating this, or that you have No Time Limit in respect of your presence in the UK. A stamp stating that you have Indefinite Leave to Enter could also be used, or you may receive a letter from the UK authorities confirming your Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Indefinite Leave to Remain refusals and rejections
If your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is refused or rejected, you are advised to seek legal advice. It is often the case that insufficient evidence has been included with an application.
If you ask us to help you, we can advise you of your options. If UK Visas and Immigration have made an error in processing your application, we can ask for an administrative review. If more information is required, we may be able to submit a fresh application on your behalf.
It may occasionally be necessary to ask for a judicial review, where the decision was unfair, illegal, or irrational because the law was not correctly applied or the correct process was not followed in dealing with your application.
Do I need to renew Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite Leave to Remain renewal is not necessary, provided you have not been out of the UK for two years or more, but you may need to extend your Biometric Residence Permit. This is done by applying to the Home Office, having your biometric identity information taken, and paying the relevant fee.
Documents you will need to provide include the following:
- Your existing Biometric Residence Permit
- A valid passport or other national identity document
- Proof of your continuous residence in the UK if you receive Indefinite Leave to Remain more than two years ago
- Passport photos
Alternatives to Indefinite Leave to Remain
Potential alternatives to Indefinite Leave to Remain include British Citizenship and naturalisation. If you are not eligible for either of these options, we can discuss your situation and give you our recommendations.
How much does Indefinite Leave to Remain cost?
The application fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain is £2,389.
How long does an Indefinite Leave to Remain application take?
An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain takes six months to be processed. In some cases, you may be able to pay extra for a faster service, which could give you a decision in five days. This costs an additional £500 and is referred to as the ILR Priority Service.
If would like to discuss when to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and whether the priority service is advisable in your case, please feel free to call us.
Get immediate expert advice on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
If you wish to apply for Leave to Remain and you would like expert help and support, our highly experienced immigration team will be happy to assist.