Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR allows a non-British individual to live in the UK indefinitely without any immigration control. If you have already spent a certain time living in the UK in a category which leads to ILR, you can apply for ILR to settle in the UK if you meet all the qualifying criteria.
Once granted Indefinite Leave To Remain, you can live, work, and study in the UK without any restrictions. ILR also allows you to apply for British Citizenship once you meet all the eligibility requirements under the British Nationality Act 1981.
ILR Qualifying or Eligibility criteria
If you want to apply for ILR you must be already in the UK on a valid visa category that leads to settlement. For how long should be in the UK to be eligible to apply for ILR varies based on visa categories. Below are the time qualifications criteria after which you are eligible to apply for an ILR for each visa category. Though in most cases it is 5 years continuous living in the UK as ILR qualifications criteria, yet there are other time limits applied also, which are:
- 2 years if you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or one who is settled in the UK and your visa was issued prior to 9th July 2012;
- 5 years if you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or one who is settled in the UK and your visa was issued on or after 9th July 2012;
- 5 years if you are on an unmarried partner, EEA family permit, and UK ancestry visa;
- 2, 3 or 5 years if you are on a Tier 1 Investor Visa. The qualifying number of years here depends upon the level of your investment;
- 3 or 5 years if you are on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa again depending on your turnover or number of employees;
- 5 years if you are a retired person of independent means;
- 5 years if you have been a sole representative of an overseas company;
- 5 years if you have lived in the UK under the gateway protection program;
- 6 years if you have lived in the UK with discretionary leave;
- 10 years based on long residence;
- 10 years based under the private life and 10-year partner or parent route
No residence rule
There are instances in which one need not have to meet the residency requirement. For example, a child below the age of 18 with leave to enter or remain who wants to settle with his/her parent, parents, or a relative who lives in the UK and is settled in the UK can apply for ILR anytime because they may be granted Indefinite Leave to Enter from overseas.
Calculation of continuous residence
Continuous living in the UK means you have lived in the UK for that many years continuously and if you went outside the UK during this period it is only within the time limit allowed to you in your existing visa category. Also to understand the date from which the counting starts is important. So, the relevant period is counted backward from the date of application, the date you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The general rule for absence allowed during the continuous living says that you should not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 1 year. However, there are exceptions to this rule as well in some cases, which applies due to the compassionate and compelling nature of the absence.
Other ILR qualifying criteria
Apart from continuous living in the UK you also need to meet other conditions. They are following as mentioned here:
- You should have lived lawfully in the UK during the qualifying period;
- You should have passed a Life in the UK test – unless under 18 years or over 65 years;
- You should meet the English language requirement at level B 1.
- You will need to confirm that there are no criminal convictions against you and also confirm that you were not in breach of UK immigration law.
If you submit any incorrect evidence or try to deceive the Home Office, you may land up with a ban.
Cost of application
Currently, the Home Office fee for the ILR application is £2389 + £19.20 for biometrics additional £800 for premium same-day service is charged when applying for an ILR.
The post-Brexit situation for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens
Now as a result of Brexit EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will be treated at par with other foreign nationals. So, all the ILR qualification criteria will apply to any new applicant from these countries. Those EEA, EU, and Swiss citizens living in the UK can apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme if they enter the UK before 2300 hrs on 31 December 2020.
Should you wish to discuss your case for ILR you can contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261