- What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Do you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
- Who does not need to apply for ILR?
- UK visa routes suitable for ILR
- Supporting documents needed for ILR application process
- Indefinite leave to Remain fees
- What ILR forms do I need to complete?
- Does ILR automatically lead to British citizenship?
- Frequently asked questions
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?
Having Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or permanent residence immigration status allows someone to be able to settle on a permanent basis in the UK.
Immigration rules means that many people can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after living in the UK for at least five years continuously.
There is a variety of visa routes open to those wanting to gain ILR status including living in the UK on a worker sponsor visa, a spouse visa or a skilled worker visa in a shortage occupation.
Once given ILR status, there are no restrictions on travel into the UK and no time limits on living in the country. You will be able to work in any role or industry, become self-employed or be a charity worker. You will be eligible for free healthcare on the NHS and be able to access public funds, including benefits if needed.
ILR is also seen as a crucial step in getting a British passport and citizenship.
Do you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain does have a cost associated with it, therefore, it is essential to double-check you met the strict requirements before making an application otherwise you risk refusal and loss of money.
You must meet the following criteria to be considered for ILR status.
- Be continuously resident in the UK for a certain period of time
- Have successfully passed the Life in the UK Test – this tests your knowledge of British history, culture and traditions
- Have not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in any 12 months during the qualifying period
- Not breached any immigration rules during your time living in the UK
- Do not have a criminal record
- Prove that you have acquired a Level B1 in English, as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or any equivalent qualification such as a degree
Who does not need to apply for ILR?
There are certain circumstances in which an individual can be classed as ‘settled’ in the UK without having to apply for ILR.
Children of a British citizen or someone with settled status may be permitted to remain in the UK without restriction.
In addition, refugees who have found sanctuary in the UK via the Gateway Protection Program may be granted clearance to remain in the UK indefinitely and do not need to apply for ILR.
UK visa routes suitable for ILR
There are a number of visas which offer a good pathway to being eligible to settle in the UK and qualify to be a British citizen. You should ensure your visa qualifies and once the minimum time restriction has been reached you can make an application for ILR status.
Eligible UK visas
The following visa application and types can lead to ILR status:
- Fiance Visa
- Spouse Visa
- Unmarried Partner Visa
- Family Visa
- Skilled Worker Visa (formerly Tier 2 General work visa)
- Innovator Visa
- Investor Visa
- Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
- Entrepreneur Visa
- Health and care Visa
- Start-up Visa
- Sportsperson Visa
- Minister of Religion/Religious worker Visa
- Intra Company Transfer Visa
- UK Ancestry Visa
- PBS Dependant Visa
- Discretionary Leave to Remain
- Long Residence
- Returning Resident
Supporting documents needed for ILR application process
In addition to your application form and application fee, you are also required to submit a range of supporting evidence to the Home Office so they can assess your suitability as a main applicant.
The possible information you will need to send may include the following:
- Your current passport
- All old passports that were valid during the time you have been in the UK
- Any travel documentation relating to any time spent outside of the UK during your period of residency
- Financial documents such as bank statements, wage slips
- Any relevant birth or adoption certificates if dependents are involved in your application
- Your Life in the UK Test pass certificate (if not exempt)
- An English language proficiency level of B1 pass certificate (if not exempt)
- A police registration certificate if you had to register with the police upon arrival in the UK
- Your immigration history
- Any other relevant documentation that relates to your specific visa category
- Two identical passport-sized photographs in colour, with your name clearly written on the back
You must ensure you send original copies of your document confirming identity as well any others required. They must be submitted in English and Welsh, otherwise you must provide a certified translated copy.
You do not need to hold a Biometric Residence Permit in order to apply for ILR If you submit an application and ILR is granted, you will automatically receive a permit.
Indefinite leave to Remain fees
How much you will need for the immigration service to process your application will depend on how fast you need to have your case approved and whether you wish to use a premium service.
The average processing timeframe for a standard application will take 6 months and the application fee is £2,389 per applicant – this includes any dependents.
If you wish to take advantage of expedited processing then you can opt for a shorter timeframe of 5 working days with a priority service. This will cost an additional fee of £500.
For those wanting to receive a decision within 1 working days of making an application then the fast track application package will cost a further £800 for expedited processing.
As well as the above fees, there are also costs involved with making an application. For example, you may be required to take a Life in the UK test to prove you meet the English language and culture requirements – the cost of this test is £50. If you fail the test and need to take a resit then you will have to pay the £50 fee again.
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and leave to remain fees
|Indefinite leave to remain (main applicants + any dependents)||£2,389|
|Same-day indefinite leave to remain application||£3,819|
|Leave to remain||£1,033|
|Leave to remain 5-day priority application||£1,533|
|Super priority leave to remain||£1,833|
What ILR forms do I need to complete?
There are two main forms used in ILR applications- Form Set (O) and Form Set (M). The one you need to fill in depends on your specific circumstances.
For those who apply for ILR as someone’s partner/spouse, or as the parent of a child that already holds settled status in the UK, Form Set (M) needs to be filled in.
In all other circumstances, Form Set (O) needs to be completed.
Does ILR automatically lead to British citizenship?
Holders of ILR status will not automatically be given British nationality status. However, once you have lived in the UK under your new status you will become eligible to apply for citizenship.
You will need to complete an application form and pay further British citizenship fees to the Home Office to change from ILR status to full citizenship.
If you are over the age of 18 and your application for British nationality is successful, you will be invited to participate in a British citizenship ceremony. You will be sent an invitation from the Home Office. You must book the citizenship ceremony within three months of receiving this.
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The required documents for ILR are extensive, as you are required to prove your continuous residency in the UK, as well as demonstrate you have a clean and legitimate immigration history. The ILR documents vary depending on which visa route you are applying from.
The following is a list of all the forms of documentation you may need to provide to prove that you meet the ILR requirements:
- A valid passport (or another form of ID, such as a birth certificate or driver’s licence)
- A birth certificate (if applying as a dependent)
- A travel document (if no passport is included)
- Biometric Residence Permits (if issued)
- Evidence of cohabitation (if applying through the spouse/partner route)
- Evidence of adequate accommodation
- Bank statements, payslips, or job contract (to prove you meet the financial requirements)
- Documents explaining any periods of absence (such as travel documents)
- English language certificate or degree (unless exempt)
- Life in the UK Test certificate
- Evidence to show continuous residence (such as tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, council tax bills, and/or utility bills)
- Documents pertaining to any change in personal circumstances
You must hold Indefinite Leave to Remain status for at least one year before you are eligible to make an application for British citizenship.
There are certain circumstances in which you can have your ILR revoked. These include:
- If you leave the UK for a period of two years or more
- If you commit any crimes or offences which are deemed not conducive to the public good (in this circumstance you may be deported)
These vary depending on which route you are applying from. Those applying from the Tier 2 Worker route must show that they are earning at least £35,000 in most circumstances to be eligible, while those applying from the Spouse and Partner route must show that they and their partner have a combined income of at least £18,600.