Indefinite Leave to Remain: Staying and Settling in the UK after the Death of your Partner

The death of your partner is devastating but the immigration and private client Wills and tax lawyers at OTS Solicitors know just how hard it can be to grieve for the loss of a loved one when you are worried about whether you will be able to stay in the UK and, as well as losing your partner, face having to leave the country that you have grown to think of as home.

UK immigration and private client solicitors

For advice about staying in the UK after the death of a partner call our specialist lawyers on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to see how we can help you with your immigration status and any associated private client issues. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointment.

Settlement in the UK after the death of your partner

As Will and private client solicitors when we prepare a Will or carry out estate planning we always recommend that if you are partner of a UK citizen or someone with settled status in the UK you should consider applying for settlement as soon as you are entitled to do so. There may be complicated reasons to delay an application, such as tax matters, and that is why it pays to get both immigration and private client law advice on the timing of your settlement application.

For most people it is best to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as soon as you meet the eligibility criteria and the residence requirement. However, for some visa holders in the UK because of their relationship status, the loss of a loved one can occur before you have made an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Indefinite Leave to Remain after the death of a partner

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under another route (such as five years or ten years lawful residence) you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK if your partner has died and your partner:

Who can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if they have been bereaved?

You can only apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the bereavement route if your immigration status in the UK was based on your relationship. That means you can't apply for ILR under this category if you are in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa or a student visa, even if you are in a long-term relationship with a British citizen or someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under this settlement route you must have been the partner of your deceased loved one. In the immigration Rules ‘partner’ is defined as:

  • A husband

  • A wife

  • A civil partner

  • A spouse

  • A person you were living with in a relationship that was like a marriage or a civil partnership.

You cannot apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under this route if you are the fiancée of your deceased partner and you are in the UK on a fiancée visa.

When should I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner?

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain at any time after your partner’s death. That means you can apply whilst you still have time left on your visa.

The immigration Rules do not say that you have to apply for bereavement Indefinite Leave to Remain within a set time limit after you partner’s death but Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors say that when you feel able to look at paperwork it is best to make your application rather than delay. 

Can I apply for ILR if I had separated from my partner before their death?

The immigration Rules say that at the time of your partner’s death the relationship between the two of you must have been genuine and subsisting. In addition, you must have both intended to live permanently with each other in the UK. If you had separated from your partner or started divorce proceedings it is best to speak to a specialist immigration and Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitor about your alternative visa and settlement options.

Can I apply from overseas for Indefinite Leave to Remain after a bereavement?

The immigration Rules say that you must be physically present in the UK to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner. It is therefore best to take legal advice before you leave the UK as whilst you understandably may want to travel overseas to see friends and family after the death of a loved one you may have issues with re-entering the UK unless you have checked your immigration status first. That is important as you won't be able to make your Indefinite Leave to Remain application from outside the UK.

What will I be able to do if I get Indefinite Leave to Remain?

If you get Indefinite Leave to Remain then it means that you can continue to live in the UK on an indefinite basis. In addition you will be either able to take up employment without needing an employer to sponsor you under a Tier 2 (General) visa and you will be able to set up your own business without needing a Start-up visa or Innovator visa.

In addition to having the freedom to work without visa restrictions and conditions you will also be able to:

Do the same Indefinite Leave to Remain rules apply to all bereaved partners?

The same Indefinite Leave to Remain immigration Rules don’t apply to all partners. Special rules apply if, for example, your partner was a member of the UK armed forces.

UK immigration and private client solicitors

For advice about staying in the UK after the death of a partner call our specialist lawyers on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form to see how we can help you. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointment.

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For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

 

We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and Human Rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, entrepreneur visas and Investor Visas.

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