Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years in the UK?
All the talk of getting Brexit done and the flurry of activity over the new government’s planned changes to UK immigration law is making people question their Immigration status and ask ‘ Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years in the UK?’ In this blog we answer your questions on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years in the UK.
Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors
Central London based OTS Solicitors are experts in Indefinite Leave to Remain applications and can advise you on the best and quickest way to secure Indefinite Leave to Remain. For ILR advice from friendly and approachable ILR solicitors call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete the online enquiry form.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Most applicants for ILR want the Immigration Rules to be straightforward and to know exactly when they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. It is often assumed that although the ILR rules are complicated there is only one route to ILR but that isn’t the case. London immigration solicitors will tell you that how quickly you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain all depends on the type of visa that you entered the UK on and your Immigration and residence record whilst in the UK.
Preparing for your ILR application
In an ideal world, applicants for ILR would start getting ready for their ILR application when they first decide that they want to come and live in the UK. That isn’t as daft as it sounds as if the right questions are asked by an Immigration solicitor, they can look at your settlement and ILR goals and how best to achieve that outcome for you.
Preparation doesn’t just come in the form of discussing best visa options but warning you, in advance, about the continuous residence and UK absence rules and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications or the consequences of breaching Immigration Rules on your subsequent ILR application.
The timing of your ILR application
Although you may be in a rush to submit an ILR application to the Home Office it is as well to remember that the application must be made before the expiry of your current entry clearance into the UK. That is because if your visa expires without an application being made to extend the visa or submitting your ILR application you will be classed as an ‘overstayer ‘by the Home Office. That in turn will affect the prospects of success of any future Indefinite Leave to Remain application or British Citizenship application.
Why apply for ILR after five years?
If you aren’t feeling anxious about your Immigration status in the UK in light of Brexit and planned changes to UK immigration law, you may question why you should rush to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years residence in the UK. However, London immigration solicitors will tell you that the main advantages of securing ILR are that:
• You will be free of Immigration control. That means if you obtain ILR you won't need to continue to make repeat visa applications, you won't need to worry if you fit into a visa category, and you will have more freedom over choice of jobs as you won't be restricted (if you are on a Tier 2 (General) visa) to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List or finding work with an employer who has a Sponsor Licence;
Continuous residence and ILR applications
Whatever your visa type you will have to have a period of continuous residence in the UK before you are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The minimum period of continuous residence is not consistent and depends on the type of visa you entered the UK on. As the Immigration Rules don’t impose a consistent continuous residence policy it is best to check how long you will need to be continuously resident for in the UK when looking at your visa options.
Visas and routes to ILR
Some people assume that if they enter the UK on a visa that they will be able to apply to extend it and will eventually be able to settle in the UK. However not all visas lead to settlement in the UK. For example if you enter the UK on a visit visa then the visit visa will not lead to settlement in the UK and your six months on the visit visa will not count as part of your period of continuous residence in the UK if you apply for ILR.
spouse visa to ILR
The UK spouse visa can lead to UK settlement. The spouse of a British citizen or someone with Settled Status in the UK can apply for ILR if they have been in the UK for a period of five years provided that they meet the continuous residence rules and their relationship is subsisting at the time of the ILR application and they meet the other general and spouse specific ILR eligibility criteria.
If you are in the UK on a Tier 2 visa then you may be able to settle and secure ILR status after five years of continuous residence but you have to meet a range of criteria, including financial eligibility and therefore the Immigration Rules are different to the ILR rules from spouse visa to ILR.
The ease in which you can go from a Tier one visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain very much depends on the nature of your visa and the UK’s recognition of your talents.
For example, if you entered the UK on a Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa your period of continuous residence in the UK to be eligible to apply for ILR is three years. However, if you only showed exceptional promise you have to wait a further two years as the continuous residence period for ‘promise’ is five years.
Likewise, if you entered the UK on an Investor Visa the Immigration Rules on applying for ILR are complicated and based on the amount of your investment. If you invested £10 million you can apply for ILR after two years whereas if you only invested £5 million you will have to wait three years. If you made the minimum current investment under an Investor Visa of £2 million you have to have five years of continuous residence on relevant visas before being eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
For entrepreneurs entering the UK on the new style Innovator visa the continuous residence period is a minimum of three years whereas the more junior entrepreneur cannot apply for ILR from a Start-up visa but has to switch to a visa like an Innovator visa before then waiting to meet the three year continuous residence requirement for ILR.
Can I apply for ILR after five years in the UK?
The answer to the question ‘Can I apply for ILR after five years in the UK?’ all depends on the nature of your visa. If you are fortunate you may not have to wait five years. For others the wait is longer and can be ten or twenty years. However, don’t forget a successful application for ILR status isn’t just about your continuous residence as you also have to meet the absence from the UK rules as well as having a good Immigration record, meeting the visa specific eligibility criteria as well as the general criteria. If you are confused by all those criteria it is best to take legal advice on your ILR options.
Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors
If you have questions about when you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or have concerns about whether you will meet the visa specific or general criteria for ILR then the ILR lawyers at OTS Solicitors are best placed to advise you on your Indefinite Leave to Remain application or your ILR appeal options. For ILR advice from friendly and approachable ILR solicitors call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete the online enquiry form.