Tips and help on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK is a big step for most people. Whilst it may not be the same commitment as applying for British nationality it is nonetheless a major mark in your Immigration journey and may either be the culmination of your Immigration applications or a massive leap towards being able to apply for British Citizenship in the future. In this blog we look at how best to secure Indefinite Leave to Remain status.
Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors
Central London based OTS Solicitors are best placed to advise you on your Indefinite Leave to Remain application as the immigration law team are specialists in ILR applications. 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
When and how you should apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain will depend on your:
• Current visa status; and
• The type of historical visas you have held; and
• Immigration record
For some people their visa can provide a passport to accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain status (such as the Tier 1 Investor Visa) whereas for others they will be able to apply after living in the UK for five years (such as those working in the UK on a Tier 2 (General visa). However, for some people the advice is that they won't be able to successfully apply for ILR until they have been in the UK for either ten years or even twenty years.
It is often the case that people assume that it is too early to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain but, if you take legal advice from an ILR solicitor, they will be able to guide you through the specific procedures on going from say a spouse visa to ILR or from a Tier 2 (General) visa to ILR.
Do I need Indefinite Leave to Remain?
One of the questions immigration solicitors are asked is ‘Do I need Indefinite Leave to Remain?’ When Immigration solicitors explain the benefits and freedoms that flow from a successful ILR application most people agree that it is best to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as soon as you are eligible to apply. Some people then choose to go onto apply for British citizenship but that isn’t mandatory. It is a question of personal choice and, of course, whether you meet the eligibility criteria for British naturalisation at the time of your British Citizenship application.
The significant advantages of securing ILR, rather than remaining a visa holder are:
• You can remain in the UK on an indefinite basis provided that you stick to the ILR Immigration Rules;
• Indefinite Leave to Remain status can lead to you acquiring British Citizenship. If you don’t want to lose your citizenship of origin a British nationality solicitor will be able to advise you on whether you could obtain British Citizenship whilst still retaining your citizenship of origin (called dual nationality). Whilst the UK allows dual nationality not all other countries do so. That is why some people prefer to stick with ILR status;
• ILR status gives you the right to live and work in the UK. If, for example, you entered the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa you may think that you don’t need ILR status as you already are able to work under your Tier 2 (General) visa. However, a Tier 2 (General) visa means you are either restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List or you have to find a sponsor to employ you. That means your job options are more limited than if you secure Indefinite Leave to Remain because with ILR you can work for any employer or set up your own business.
Tips on securing Indefinite Leave to Remain
Most applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain view their application as a pretty momentous land mark for them in their Immigration journey and are therefore anxious about their ILR application and how best to complete the SET M application form and whether they meet the SET M requirements.
• Make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria for ILR. This isn’t as simple as it might sound as the eligibility criteria for ILR are based on your visa route. For example if you are going from Tier 2 to ILR you will need to meet the specific financial requirement that relates to the application. If you are applying for ILR as a Tier 2 (General) visa holder you will need to be paid at least £35,800 per year. However, if you are going from a spouse visa to ILR the financial requirement is a lot lower. Likewise the length of time you have lived in the UK and your eligibility to apply for ILR will depend on whether you are applying from Tier 2 to ILR or if you entered the UK on an Investor Visa or a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa;
• Make sure your time in the UK counts for your ILR application. It is all very well to say that you secured your first visa to enter the UK six years ago and therefore you are eligible to apply for ILR, but that may not be the case. That is because the Immigration Rules say that not only do you need to spend a specified period of time in the UK (the time is specific to the visa you entered the UK on) but your time in the UK must be ‘unbroken’. In essence this means you can't have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any twelve month period that relates to your ILR application. If you do so then, under Immigration Rules, this breaks the lawful continuous residence requirement for eligibility for ILR. It is therefore best to keep an accurate record of time spent outside the UK and if you are in any doubt about whether you meet the ILR continuous residence requirement to take legal advice before submitting your ILR application ;
• Prepare for life in the UK. When ILR solicitors advise you to ‘prepare for life in the UK’ they don’t mean practise watching cricket in the rain but to prepare for the Life in the UK test and, if you have to take it as part of the eligibility criteria for ILR, the English language test. Although the tests can be taken lots of times, you will have to pay an application fee each time you take the tests;
• Pay attention to the details. It is essential that not only attention to detail occurs when completing your SET M application form but that particular care is taken with the documents required to support your Indefinite Leave to Remain application. The documents you require will depend on the type of ILR application as the paperwork needed for a spouse visa to ILR application will be very different to a Tier 2 to ILR application. If you are unsure of the documents you need to obtain to support your ILR application it is best to take legal advice from an ILR solicitor;
• Is the timing of your Indefinite Leave to Remain crucial? If you know that you don’t want to wait a long time for the Home Office to process your SET M application form then you should consider using the Home Office priority service to speed up the ILR process. Although the priority application costs more in Home Office fees it can be well worth the money if you want a quick decision on your ILR application.
Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors
If you have questions about applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or have had your application for ILR refused 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.