Changes to immigration laws are underway due to Brexit. If you are currently on a Visa or looking to remain in the UK, then you must know your rights!
Read on for everything you need to know about Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK if you have been here for five years or more.
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)?
Indefinite Leave to Remain is when a person has the legal right to remain in the UK, without any time constraints.
Before applying for ILR, there are stringent conditions that must be met.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is also called Permanent Residence in the UK or holding a UK Settlement Visa.
Once you have held an ILR for 12 months, you can then apply to naturalise as a British Citizen.
Before applying for an ILR status, you must have one of the following:
- An unmarried partner visa
- An EEA Family permit
- A UK Ancestry Visa
- A Tier 2 Visa (in restricted circumstances)
What are the conditions of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?
You must meet various strict requirements before applying for ILR in the UK. The specific conditions will depend on the type of visa you have and how long you have resided permanently in the UK.
The fundamental prerequisites are as follows:
One of the primary conditions to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain is to spend a certain amount of time living in the UK. This can be for employment purposes, study or as a dependent. An appropriate Visa must accompany your stay.
Before applying for an ILR status, you must have continuously resided in the UK for a minimum of 5 years before submitting your application.
Any time spent in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands is exempt from your qualifying period.
Allowed Period of Absence
You are permitted a maximum of 180 days outside the UK in 12-months, under the rules of continuous residency. There are some exemptions to this, in particular, if you hold one of the following Visa permits:
- Tier 1 Visa
- PBS Dependent Visa
- UK Ancestry Visa
Continuous Lawful Period
To apply for ILR, your continuous period of residency in the UK must be lawful.
Your resident’s status is lawful if:
- You have not spent any time in prison
- You have not overstayed beyond the period allowed on your visa
- You have not taken paid work abroad while in the UK on a work permit
- You can provide evidence of any time spent outside the UK
- You have not spent any time in the UK without valid leave to enter or remain
Are there exceptions to the 5-year ILR application rule?
Yes. You can apply for ILR after being on a tier 1 investor Visa following 2, 3 or 5 years. The length of time is dependent on the level of investment.
You can also apply for ILR after 3 or 5 years on a tier 1 entrepreneur visa. The length of time is dependent on the business activity.
You can also apply for ILR after three years on tier 1 exceptional talent visa.
What documentation do I need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK following five years?
You will need to prove how long you have resided in the UK and evidence the type of life you have been leading. This means that your residency has been lawful and that you have immersed yourself in the language and culture of the UK.
The documents you require can include:
- An English language test certificate
- Proof of your identity, such as a valid passport or driving licence
- Verification of your continuous residency. This can include utility bills, tenancy agreements or mortgage statements
- Recent payslips or bank statements
- A ‘Life In The UK’ certificate
How do I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after five years?
You can apply online via the government website. The application fees are as follows:
- £2,389 for the basic application
- £50 for any additional persons included on the application
- £50 for life in the UK test, paid when the examination is booked
- £19.20 for any biometric tests needed
The general processing time for an ILR application is six months, so ensure that you apply with plenty of time to spare. However, for an additional £500, there is a 5-day expedited service. For an £800 fee, your application can be processed within one working day.
Can my dependents also apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Any children under the age of 18 can apply for ILR (regardless of how long they have been in the UK) if:
- One or both of their parents hold an ILR status
If the child is on a dependent visa, then they will need to apply for ILR at the same time as the parent(s). This is a vital point of note as the child will lose their dependent visa when the parent is granted ILR. The child will then only be able to request ILR after five years of UK residency.
What are the conditions for Indefinite Leave to Remain for EEA and Swiss nationals?
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, then you do not need to apply for ILR in the UK. You will automatically be granted permanent status after five years of residency.
You will also qualify for permanent residency if you are the family member of a qualified national. Both these paths can lead to British citizenship by naturalisation as well.
Immigration applications can be complicated if you are unfamiliar with the process. Delaying or incorrectly submitting your forms can result in problems and, if your visa expires, deportation.
By speaking to an immigration expert, you can ensure that you receive guidance on the best and quickest way to achieve Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
Contact one of our friendly immigration solicitors to get professional advice.
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