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What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Indefinite leave to remain is a grant of leave that is not limited by time. It is granted for an indefinite period and without any immigration restrictions, hence the name. You can work and study and also claim public benefits.

Being granted Indefinite leave to remain is also known as settlement or being settled, and often marks the end of having to make repeated applications for extensions or further leave to remain.

It is usually granted after a period of 2, 5 or 10 years, depending on the type of visa you have held.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

The qualifying criteria will vary depending on the type of visa you have.

For example, on a spouse visa, you can usually apply for ILR after five years. The same applies for a Tier 1 visa and a UK Ancestry visa.

If you have been granted Discretionary leave, you can apply after 6 years (if your initial grant began before July 2012) or after 10 years.

You can also apply for ILR after 10 years of lawful residence in any visa category or combinations of visas. We deal with this in more detail in the following blog page.

What is the English Language Requirement for ILR?

As part of your application, you will need to demonstrate that you can speak English to the required standard. Currently, the rules require that you can speak English to Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Languages.

Your qualification will be valid only if your English exam is taken through an approved (SELT) Provider.

There are some, limited, exceptions, where you can be exempted from meeting the English language requirement, as follows:

You do not need an English Language test if you:

  • Are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • Are aged under 18 or over 65
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition
  • Hold a degree or any educational establishment that was taught or researched in English.

Do I need to pass the Life in the UK Test for ILR?

Yes. To prove your knowledge of life in the UK, you will be required to sit a multiple choice test.

Not everyone is required to take this test as part of the naturalisation process and we will be able to advise if you are exempt.

How long will my ILR Application take?

The time can vary, and depends on a number of factors.

There are some factors within your control, such as ensuring that you comply with all of the stipulated requirements and provide all the necessary documents. In cases where there are missing documents, a decision may take longer. This is why it is important that you receive correct advice at the appropriate time for your case.

On average, decisions are made in around 6-12 weeks. You do have the option of paying an additional premium, to receive a decision within 2 weeks.

What happens if my ILR application is rejected?

If you find that your application is rejected, you will usually have the right to appeal against this. It is best that you seek advice about the reasons for your refusal, so that you stand a good chance of being successful with your appeal.

If you are not given a right of appeal, you may be able to challenge the decision by a process known as Judicial Review.

Contact us today, our experts are on-hand to discuss your case with you.

How can Batley Law help with my ILR Application?

To stand a better chance of success, it is important that you receive advice from an early stage. 

We have extensive experience in these applications. We are therefore in a good position to ensure that you avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls that lead to a refusal.

For every case, we will:

  • Advise you of the requirements that apply to your case;
  • Check all of your documents to ensure they comply with the requirements;
  • Complete the online application;
  • Arrange the Home Office biometrics appointment;
  • Draft a detailed letter of representations to go with your application.

If you would like our assistance with your spouse application, get in touch today.

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