Immigration UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain In The UK: Everything You Should Know

Have you lived long enough in the UK and believe you deserve to be a permanent resident? If so, you need to obtain Indefinite Leave To Remain Status. 

The UK is one of the best European countries, so it’s not surprising that you would want to live permanently in the country. 

In this post, you’ll find all the information you need to know about applying for and obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

What Is Indefinite Leave To Remain Status?

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Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) means settlement in the UK. When you obtain indefinite leave to remain status, you become a permanent resident in the country. You can live, work, and study in the UK for as long as you want.

It’s important to note that indefinite leave to remain doesn’t make you a British citizen. You are only a permanent resident. You can’t participate in exclusive activities like voting in general elections. However, having indefinite leave to remain status makes applying for and becoming a British citizen easy.

There are different ways to apply for indefinite leave to remain, as you’ll find out later. How you apply will depend on your circumstance in the UK. If you work in the UK, for example, how you apply for ILR will be different from that of someone staying with a family member in the UK.

Ultimately, the process is strict and involves many documentation procedures. All of these are to ensure there’s no immigration fraud. If you are a legal resident in the UK, you can seek the help of qualified immigration lawyers to evaluate your chances of applying for indefinite leave to remain.

Who Can Apply For Indefinite Leave To Remain

The following are the categories of UK residents that qualify to apply for indefinite leave to remain status:

  • People who work in the UK.

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You can apply for ILR if you work in the UK and have worked for at least five years. However, if your work visa is a tier 1 visa, you only need to have worked for two or three years. For Global Talent and Innovator visas, the requirement is just three years. Furthermore, your visa type hugely influences how you apply.

  • People who have family in the UK.

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Your family could be your parent, unmarried partner, spouse, child, or other qualifying relatives. Importantly, they must have settled status. Your application procedure depends on how they obtained their settlement status and your visa type.

  • People who have lived in the UK for a long time.

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If you’ve lived in the UK for ten years or more, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. It doesn’t matter whether you are working or studying. You can apply if you prove that you’ve been a legal resident of the country for at least ten years.

  • People who are Commonwealth citizens.

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The Commonwealth realm is a group of countries that recognize the Queen of the UK as their head of state. Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand are some examples. If you’re a citizen of any country in the Commonwealth realm – not the Commonwealth of Nations – you may have the “right of abode” in the UK.

Right of Abode permits you to live and work in the UK without worrying about visa and other immigration requirements. If you have this “right of abode,” you are automatically a UK permanent resident.

Time In The UK Requirement For Work Visa Holders

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Residing in the UK for a particular period is one of the critical requirements of getting ILR to remain status if you’re on a work visa. For most visa types, you must spend at least five years in the UK before applying. However, not all UK visas count as residency. The primary visas that matter include:

  • All Tier 1 visas, except the graduate entrepreneur visa.
  • Skilled worker visas.
  • Minister of Religion visas.
  • International Sportsperson visas.
  • Innovator visas 
  • Global Talent visas.
  • Representative of an Overseas Business.

Different rules apply if you travelled outside the UK during the period or were on more than one visa. Generally, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the country in any 12 months. Otherwise, it won’t count. 

On the other hand, if you were on multiple visas, you can combine the period of your stay in the UK.

Financial Requirement For Work Visa Holders

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If you’re a work visa holder, you must also meet specific financial requirements. These financial requirements mainly involve your salary, which depends on your visa type.

If you have a skilled worker visa, your salary must meet the minimum £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour threshold. However, the minimum may be higher if your job has a higher going rate.

For example, your salary may be up to £25,600, but your job’s going rate is up to £28,000. In such a situation, you do not meet the financial requirement and can’t apply for indefinite leave to remain.

To be safe, check the UK GOV website for the various going rates for jobs under the skilled worker visa.

If you have an international sportsperson visa, your salary must be at least £35,800. Note that this minimum only includes what you earn from your main job and not more than 48 hours a week. Any money you make outside these doesn’t count as part of your salary.

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK Requirement

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If you’re between 18 to 64 years, you must take and pass the knowledge of language and life in the UK test before getting ILR status. The test proves that you lived in the UK for the five-year minimum period and that you’re accustomed to the country’s way of life.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test is also necessary when applying for British citizenship. However, people who passed the test while applying for permanent residence don’t need to retake it when applying for citizenship.

You can apply for the test online via the official website. You only need an email address, acceptable ID, and a debit or credit card to pay the application fee. Acceptable IDs include an international passport, residence permit, residence card, and a valid travel document. You can present any of them, not all.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test costs just £50. You have thirty test centres in different parts of the UK to choose from. Ideally, you should select a centre closer to you.

You must study the Life in the UK test handbook to pass the test. The book isn’t expensive and costs just £12.99. Alternatively, you can go for the practice questions and answer book. It costs £7.99.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test comprises twenty-four questions about British customs and traditions. You have forty-five minutes to answer all questions and must score at least 75% to pass.

If you fail the test, you can reapply and retake the test after seven days. You’ll have to pay a fresh fee for any new application, and you can apply as many times as you need until you pass.

How To Apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain

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Like every other UK visa application, the application for indefinite leave to remain is online. You must apply at least twenty-eight days after you meet all the requirements. As you apply, you can save your progress and resume any time.

The documents you submit during your application will depend on your visa type. You’ll get a comprehensive list on the application website. However, documents to prove that you met the salary requirement and passed the Life in the UK Test are compulsory. You also need to pay the indefinite leave to remain fee.

Among the application forms, you’ll need to apply for a biometric immigration document and biometric residence permit (BRP). In other words, you may need to submit your biometrics afterward.

You just book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre to submit your biometrics. You could submit your supporting documents at the UKVCAS centre if you did not upload them during your online application.

It takes about six months to get a verdict on your indefinite leave to remain application. However, in urgent situations, you can pay for super priority service and get a verdict within five days. You can also pay for super-priority service and get a verdict within two days.

Indefinite Leave To Remain Application Fee

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The indefinite leave to remain fee is relatively expensive, which isn’t surprising considering the weight of the outcome. It costs £2,404 per applicant. If, for example, you’re applying with your family members, each person must pay the £2,404 fee.

As mentioned before, it takes around six months to get a verdict, but you can pay extra to speed up the process. Priority service, which provides a verdict in 5 working days, costs £500. On the other hand, the super-priority service, which provides a verdict in 2 working days, costs £800.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indefinite Leave To Remain UK

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How Long Does Indefinite Leave To Remain Last?

The word “indefinite” means lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time. So, if you have an indefinite leave to remain, it means you can stay in the UK for as long as you want. The status doesn’t expire.

Indefinite Leave To Remain makes you a permanent resident in the UK. You can travel in and out of the country as often as you want, and you won’t need a visa to enter every time.

However, while indefinite leave to remain doesn’t expire, it can become invalid. Your indefinite leave to remain status will become invalid if you continuously stay outside the UK for up to 2 years.

Nevertheless, even then, you can still get into the UK by applying for a Returning Resident visa. If your visa is approved, you’ll get your indefinite leave to remain status back.

What Benefits Can I Get With Indefinite Leave To Remain?

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The number one benefit of Indefinite Leave to Remain status is that you can make the UK your home. You can live, work, and study for as long as you want. In addition, you can travel in and out of the country at any time.

However, there are other exciting benefits as well.

With Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can vote in some UK elections. The possibilities are slim, but they exist. Furthermore, you get access to free healthcare once you’re settled in the UK. You may also qualify for certain NHS entitlements.

Since you can live in the UK for as long as you want, you can start a family – if you haven’t already – and your children will automatically become British citizens.

What Are the Conditions of Indefinite Leave To Remain?

Generally, you only need to abide by UK laws. Don’t break the law, and you won’t have any problems. If you commit any serious crime, the government can strip you of your ILR status and deport you to your home country.

Bottom Line

Obtaining indefinite leave to remain status is the only way to reside permanently in the UK. The process can be complex due to the much documentation, but with the information in this post, you should find it easier. Ultimately, you can seek assistance from experienced immigration lawyers.