Everything you need to know about UK Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain allows migrants to settle in the UK following being in the country on another visa or visas for a certain period of time (or in certain circumstances without lawful and valid leave to remain in the UK). Settlement means being able to live in the UK free from the immigration and visa restrictions and conditions which need to be adhered to whilst on the previous visa. UK Indefinite Leave to Remain applications can be daunting and confusing due to the amount of evidence required, therefore it is advisable to contact our specialist settlement team to book a consultation and discuss your case in further detail.

What is UK Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Having Indefinite Leave to Remain means there are no longer any time limits on a person’s stay in the UK and they are regarded as being a settled person. Non-EEA nationals can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain having previously spent time in the UK as one (or a combination of) the following*:

  • Spouse or partner of a British citizen or settled person;
  • Parent or child of a British or settled person;
  • Adult Dependent Relative of a British or settled person;
  • Business person in the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Investor or Exceptional Talent visa;
  • Worker in the UK under the Tier 2 category;
  • On the basis of UK Ancestry.

*This is not an exhaustive list.

Typically there are two main settlement routes; the 5 year settlement route and the 10 years long residence route. There are also accelerated settlement routes available to high net worth business applicants depending on the level of investment made in the UK.

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, Applicants will need to be able to provide sufficient evidence as to their continuous residence in the UK for the qualifying period. All Applicants between the ages of 18 and 64 years old must also pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements. Having Indefinite Leave to Remain means holders are free to work and study in the UK as well as access healthcare and other benefits. Indefinite Leave to Remain can also lapse or be cancelled, invalidated or revoked at any time under certain circumstances.

What is the difference between UK Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship?

Many people mistake having Indefinite Leave to Remain as being the same as having British citizenship. Whilst Indefinite Leave to Remain means a person is free from immigration control, it does not mean getting a British passport.  Despite what the name suggests, UK Indefinite Leave to Remain does not give a person unrestricted access to living in the UK and there are limitations to the time that can be spent outside of the UK. A person’s Indefinite Leave to Remain will lapse if the holder has been outside of the UK for a continuous period of more than 2 years.

In order to naturalise as a British citizen, Applicants must usually hold Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 1 year before applying for a British passport as well as meet all of the other requirements such as demonstrating good character.

Can I retain my UK Indefinite Leave to Remain having been outside the UK for longer than 2 years?

Anyone who has Indefinite Leave to Remain who has been outside the UK for more than 2 years can make an application as a returning resident if they wish to return to live in the UK permanently. Returning resident applicants must be able to provide enough evidence to demonstrate their strong ties to the UK and explain their current circumstances and why they lived outside the UK for more than 2 continuous years. Applicants who are successful will have their Indefinite Leave to Remain reinstated. Alternatively, holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain should ensure they make a trip to the UK once every two years in order for their Indefinite Leave to not lapse; however, this may not be possible or convenient in some instances.

Using Legal Representation to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit an Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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