Indefinite Leave to Remain

Your path to Permanent Residence: Get expert ILR advice today

ILR – The Final Stage Of Your Immigration Journey

Indefinite Leave to Remain will often represent a milestone in a person’s stay in the UK when they obtain Indefinite Leave (ILR). This application could be made on the basis of marriage, employment, or long residence. However, it is important to understand that this indefinite permission will not be granted unless all the qualifying UK Immigration criteria are met.

What Is Indefinite Leave To Remain?

The right to remain indefinitely in the UK is called Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR. It comes with no time limit on your visa conditions. It’s also known as Permanent Residence by some. The main application form for this type of application is called SETO or SETM. Immigration staff may refer to this name instead of ILR.

Once you have been granted this Indefinite leave, you can stay in the UK without any restrictions on employment and are entitled to benefits. Settlement can be obtained same day through the Home Office Premium Service Centres. We can book your appointment and have a representative attend on the day during your Indefinite Leave to Remain application process.

The Visa Routes To Indefinite Leave to remain Are:

  • Working in the UK for 5 years through a combination of Tier 2 General and Tier 1 General
  • Complete 5 years on a spouse or unmarried partner visa – FLRM to ILR SETM
  • Through 5 years with a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
  • Completion of 5 years with an Ancestry Visa
  • Through 10 years of legal residence in the UK made up of any visa including student visa
  • Tier 1 Investor visas lead to settlement, but qualifying time is dependent on investment amount

What Can Exclude Me From Applying for ILR?

  • Excessive amount of days out of the UK during your 5 year period
  • Failure to pay taxes and keep HMRC updated – especially for Tier 1 General migrants
  • Criminal convictions – Severity differs, but you can expect to wait at least 2 more years to qualify
  • Applying too early for your Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Not meeting the specific requirements for your settlement route
  • Failure to submit all required documents
  • Negative Immigration History

Spouse/Partner Visa Holders Before the 9th July 2012

You can qualify as the spouse, civil partner (same sex) or unmarried partner of a British citizen or someone who is settled here, following the completion of your initial two-year probationary period. If you applied for your visa or entered the UK before the 9th of July 2012 then your probationary period for Indefinite Leave to Remain is 2 years, providing you meet all the requirements. If you don’t qualify for ILR due to not passing the English Language Test then you can extend under the old rules for another 2 years. This allows you to obtain the English test requirements during that 2 year period.

Spouse/Partner Visa Holders after the 9th July 2012

If you applied for your visa on or after the 9th of July 2012 then your probationary period for ILR is 5 years. You will be granted permission as a spouse for 2.5 years. You will then need to qualify again and to obtain your final 2.5 years leave to remain. These 2 periods of leave will bring you to 5 years and to the ILR qualifying period. It is important that you and your sponsor are still earning enough to qualify for ILR as you did in previous spouse applications. If you don’t qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years due to failing one of the test requirements then you can extend your spouse visa for another 2.5 years. This can be done until you meet the Home Office requirements.

Qualifying for ILR After Five Years Continuous Employment

Immigration categories that qualify after 5 years residence

  • Tier 1 of the points-based system (excluding Tier 1 PSW)
  • Tier 2 of the points-based system
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Private servant in a diplomatic household/ Domestic worker in a private household
  • Overseas government employee
  • UK Ancestry
  • Spouse/partner Dependents of PBS migrants

What Are The Requirements To Apply For SETO Based On Working In The UK For 5 Years?

The requirements for each working visa are different. Here is a brief summary of the main categories providing general guidance on how to qualify under them:

Tier 2 General

Completion of 5 years in the UK with a Tier 2 General Visa. At the time of ILR application, you must have a letter from your employer to state you are still required. You must also earn a salary at or above the required SOC code salary as set out by the Home Office. The applicant may also be required to earn a salary of £35,000 or more to qualify, depending on your job.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Completion of 5 years in the UK with your Entrepreneur visa. You must have invested the specified funds and employed the correct amount of employees during your time in the UK.

Ancestry Visa

After 5 years you can apply if you have evidence of working or searching for work during your time in the UK.

PBS Dependents

Spouse/partner dependents of PBS migrants will get ILR after 2 years in the UK if they haven’t extended on or after 9th July 2012. Otherwise, all applicants who obtained entry clearance or extension after 9th July 2012 will require 5 years completed before they can apply for ILR. This includes any children born outside the UK.

Common FAQs For ILR Applications

What If I Qualify For ILR And My PBS Dependents Don’t?

If you qualify for ILR before your spouse of child dependent then they must continue as a PBS dependent until they have reached 5 years residence in the UK. The only exception to this is if they came before July 2012. You will still need to ensure you have maintenance for your dependents if on a visa that requires this. If you qualify for long residence ILR then your family are considered separate and you can then get an FLRM spouse visa for your partner. If you have a query about indefinite leave to remain eligibility and would like assistance getting it through the Same Day Premium Service then contact us for further information.

Do I need to sit any tests for ILR?

The vast majority of applicants will need to take the Life in the UK Test to qualify. The test is part of the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK. This is made up of an English language component and the Life in the UK test. You can’t complete only one component. The test checks your understanding of history, culture and life in the UK. It is not a substitute for having a suitable English language qualification such as a degree taught in English or a recognised SELT English Language Test qualification.

What Type of English Test Do I Need?

Most settlement applications also require you to show sufficient knowledge and proficiency in English through the Life in the UK Test. There is the ESOL English Language Test with Citizenship Material for those with low English Language ability. The Home Office call this requirement the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK or KoLL for short. If you haven’t already met the English Language Requirement with previous qualifications or Tests then you will need to take your English Language Test at one of the Home Office approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) Providers. You will need at least a B1 level to qualify for Indefinite Leave. A Degree taught in English will be suitable if confirmed by NARIC that it meets the Home Office requirements.

Should I Apply For ILR Myself?

If you would like us to manage your Indefinite Leave to Remain application on your behalf, you should seek our professional advice at an early stage. This will ensure that your application is fully prepared and any relevant timing or immigration issues addressed. By using our services we will assist in making sure you meet the strict Home Office immigration laws. This helps to avoid your application being rejected, costing you and your family a lot of emotional and financial stress.

Living for 10 years in the UK and Long Residence Application

If you have been living legally in the UK for the past 10 years then you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This would be through the 10 year Long Residence route. Recently the Home Office has approved this ILR route for acceptance at their Premium Service Centres. The advantage is that you can expedite the application to have your ILR Approved Quickly. Preparation is the key for ILR Long Residence applications due to the long history of documentation required. It is vital to ensure you have as much information as possible such as old passports, travel dates, address history and immigration letters.

What Happens After I Get My Indefinite to Remain?

There are several scenarios that can play out after you obtain your Indefinite Leave to Remain. It is important you plan ahead from the start as the wrong decision can cause problems for you and your family. This may lead to delays in getting British citizenship or a losing your ILR completely.

“It’s advised to obtain British Citizenship 12 months after ILR to avoid future issues”

EEA Migrants can apply for British citizenship after they have obtained a document certifying EEA PR and have exercised treaty rights for at least 6 years. If an EEA national has exercised treaty rights for 6 years or more they don’t have to wait the 12 months to apply for citizenship. They can apply directly after they obtain their EEA PR document.

If you have obtained ILR through Long Residence (10+ years in the UK) or the old spouse visa (2+ years in the UK) then you are eligible for British citizenship 12 months after you were approved your Indefinite Leave to Remain.

How long do I need to wait after getting ILR before I can apply for British Citizenship?

The answer can vary depending on how you obtained your Indefinite Leave to remain. If you obtained it through 5 years of working such as Tier 1 General, Tier 2 General or a Work Permit then you should be eligible for British citizenship 12 months after getting approved ILR. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t leave the UK for more than 90 days within this 12 month period before applying for British citizenship. As you will have a high chance of refusal due to residence requirements. Residence should be spent within the UK during this period.

Will I lose my ILR after being out of the UK for 2 years?

This is a common question WM Immigration get asked. The answer is yes if you have lived outside the UK for over 2 years with your ILR then you can expect it to be curtailed and cancelled on return. The reason is that part of the agreement to getting ILR is that you will be a permanent resident of the UK. By leaving for more than 2 years you have shown you don’t intend to be a permanent resident of the UK. For this reason, it is advised that you prepare, plan and apply for British Citizenship first before leaving the UK.

Can I travel back to the UK on holiday and reset the 2 year period?

Taking a short break to the UK to try and reset the 2 year period will not work. To break the 2 year period, you have to be returning to the UK for something substantial, such as work and actually living in the UK. Some people may get away with this a few times by visiting the UK, but at some stage, they will be questioned. If apparent they are not intending on living in the UK the border officer can cancel their ILR. We advise all migrants who obtain ILR to try to obtain British citizenship first if they want to live in another country afterwards. This permits them to retain the possibility to come back to the UK at a future date.

Get help with your ILR application to ensure you meet the Home Office Requirements

ILR Application Service

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