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The UK’s Most Trusted ILR Visa Consultancy
With over 12 years’ experience and more than 15,000 UK Visa approvals secured worldwide, we have steadily built First Migration’s reputation as one of the most trusted immigration consultancies in the world. As you can see from our Trustpilot reviews, we have an industry-leading reputation for always securing UK Visa approvals, while providing our clients with a five-star service.
Welcome to First Migration’s ILR Visa Information Centre.
We have dedicated the past decade to helping our clients secure their Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Visa approvals. To demonstrate the level of knowledge and experience we have obtained during this time, we have created an ILR Visa Information Centre to provide you with the most comprehensive information you need to get started. We are confident that after reading all the information you can find online; you will realise we have provided you with the best information possible based on our years of success. Should you want our expert assistance or guidance at any time, why not pick up the phone and speak to one of our ILR Visa Experts so we can assess your case for free? Alternatively, you can request a call-back on this page, and one of our experts will call you instead.
We would also recommend that you take the time to get a sense of the service and results we guarantee our clients by checking out our reviews on Trustpilot.co.uk. Should you become our client, you will work with an ILR Visa Expert that has secured thousands of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Visa approvals in the past 12 years, while receiving a five-star service. Rest assured that should you choose First Migration to act as your legal representative, like all our clients that came before you, we will secure your ILR Visa approval. To date, we have secured over 5,000 ILR Visa approvals in the past 12 years and have never let a client down when they qualify for the visa they are applying for as you can see from our online reputation.
The questions and information below address the most frequently asked questions in our client meetings and serve to demonstrate we are the foremost experts in securing ILR Visa approvals. We look forward to hopefully working with you to ensure the process of securing the UK ILR Visa approval is as simple and as stress-free as possible.
What is an Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa or ILR Visa?
An Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa (aka ILR Visa) is the final UK Visa that every non-British person in the UK is working towards securing to ensure they never have to apply for another UK Visa again. Depending on the category of UK Visa you are living in the UK on, you should be able to secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa after either 5 or 10 years’ of living in the UK continuously and lawfully. For more information about how you can qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 5-year or 10-year ILR rules, please read the appropriate section below. Once you have finally secured your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, we are pleased to confirm that there are no visa restrictions, no expiry date on the visa (hence the word “indefinite” in the name), and you can continue to live in the UK without applying for any more UK Visa extensions.
We are also pleased to confirm that there are no employment restrictions on Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa, so you can work for anyone and even start your own business. An ILR visa also allows you to come and go from the UK for the rest of your life without ever having to apply for another UK visa (as long as you do not leave the UK for more than 2 years in one go once you have secured ILR, or you will lose it!). Should you wish to become a British Citizen, you must obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa before being allowed to apply for British Citizenship and ILR is the last UK Visa required before you can become a British citizen.
How can you qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa or ILR Visa?
There are two ways to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. You can either hold a UK Visa that makes you eligible to apply for an ILR Visa after five years of living on that visa category – for example, a Tier 2 (General) Visa, a UK Ancestry Visa, or a UK Spouse Visa, etc. Alternatively, you can live in the UK for a continuous and lawful period of 10 Years on any combination of UK Visas – known as ILR based on 10-Years Long Residence.
You should note that not all UK visas qualify for ILR after 5 years in the UK, and you will find a list of eligible visas under the 5-year ILR section further down this page. Should you be on a visa that does not qualify under the 5-year route to ILR, you will need to be in the UK for at least 10 years continuously and legally before you can qualify for ILR under the 10-year Long Residence rules (also explained below). Apart from continuous residence in the UK on valid UK Visas for at least 5 years, you will also have to make sure that satisfy all the other ILR rules and requirements.
For the specific requirements for either the 5-year route to ILR or 10 years Long Residence, please see the 5 years ILR and 10-year ILR sections below, but as a general overview, you are also required to:
- Pass an exam called the Life in the UK test. This simple test is to ensure that you have an understanding of life in the UK and British history, politics and culture.
- Not have spent too much time outside the UK– the rules state you should not have left the UK for more than 180 days in any given 12 month period under the 5-year route to ILR or no more than 539 days in total for the 10-year qualifying period or more than 180 days in one single trip if applying for ILR under the 10-year route.
- You must not have any criminal convictions or County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) – if you have spent any time in prison for committing a crime in the UK, then the chances are that you will not secure ILR. Should you have received a fine or judgement in court (including Traffic Offences) within 24 months(2 years) of applying for your ILR visa, you will most probably be refused under the Good Character Requirement. Should you have any issues of this nature, we sincerely recommend that you call us on +44 (0) 203 178 2048 to enable one of our ILR Visa Experts to advise you properly about the best way to qualify for your ILR Visa due to the complexity of the current rules.
- Satisfy the English language requirement– you must now prove that your English speaking and listening ability is at or above level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). Please note that some applicants are exempt from this requirement, so feel free to speak with us if you have any queries?
- Prove that you can support yourself and any dependents without the need for recourse to Public funds– in plain English, you need to demonstrate that you have sufficient savings/earnings to support yourself and your family.
- Satisfy specific requirements that are unique to each visa category you are applying from– you should note that each UK Visa that leads to ILR has specific requirements that need to be satisfied for you to qualify for ILR. As you can appreciate, there is not enough space on this page to explain each visa type’s specific requirements so we would recommend that you speak with us, and we can check your eligibility for ILR over the phone for free.
For more specific information on the two different routes to ILR, the next sections explain how to satisfy the requirements to qualify for ILR based on the 5-Year or 10-Year Long Residence routes.
Eligibility requirements to qualify for a UK ILR Visa – 5 Year Route
So how can you obtain an ILR visa after only 5 years continuous and lawful residence in the UK? To be eligible, you must be on one of the following visas (or a combination of the following visas if permitted) and resident in the UK for at least 4 years and 11 months before you can apply for ILR:
- UK Ancestry Visa
- Retired Person
- Tier 1 (General) Visa
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa
- Tier 1 (Investor) Visa
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
- The Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP) Visa
- Tier 2 (General) Visa
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa
- Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa– only if your first Tier 2 (ICT) visa was granted/issued before 6th April 2010
- Tier 5 (International Agreement) Visa
- Turkish Business Person – Please note that you only have to be living in the UK for 4 years on this visa to qualify for ILR and can include any time you have spent on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Business or Investor Visa
- Investor, Innovator, Businessperson or Self-Employed Lawyer Visa
- Work Permit Visa
- Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
- Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcaster Visa
- Domestic Worker Visa – please note that you can only apply for ILR under the 5-year route if your Domestic Worker Visa was issued before 6th April 2012
- UK Spouse/Civil Partner/Unmarried Partner/Same-Sex Visa
You will also have to satisfy the following rules to be eligible under the 5-year route:
- Each of the visa categories listed above has its own specific requirements that will need to be met to secure ILR. As you can appreciate, this webpage would be too long if we confirmed the specific requirements linked to each visa category, so why not request a callback and one of our ILR Experts can advise you about the requirements that are specific to you? As an example, Spouse Visa holds will need to satisfy the Appendix FM financial requirement again, and a Tier 2 Visa holder will need to show their employer still needs them and they are earning more than the minimum salary for their job, etc.
- At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 4 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 5 years of continuous residence is reached). The 5-year period starts according to the rules on the date that your first qualifying visa was issued (either in the UK or overseas). If your first qualifying visa was issued outside the UK, any time spent outside the UK between when your Entry Clearance Visa was issued overseas and when you first arrived in the UK is considered towards the 5-year qualifying period. Should you have switched onto one of the visas stated above in the UK at least 5 years ago (rather than arrive on a qualifying visa), the start date would be the date of issue in the UK of your first qualifying visa 5 years ago.
- You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK Visa(s) for the last 5 years.
- You must not have left the UK for more than 180 days in any given 12-month period. Please note that the year period the Home Office consider is NOT the calendar year as that would be far too simple. The Home Office will look at any given 12-month period in the last 5-years to try and find a 12-month period you left the UK for more 180 days in total.
- You must never have applied for your visa extension(s) after the expiry date of one of your visas during the qualifying period. There are exceptions to this rule, so if you have any concerns about this requirement, we recommend you speak to one of our ILR Visa Experts to see if you qualify for ILR?
- You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement (known together as the Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) requirement). For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement sections below.
- You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a court has made a judgement) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that you speak with one of our ILR visa experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.
- Should you have a husband, wife or partner living with you on a dependent visa, they may also be able to apply at the same time as you for ILR. They are entitled to apply if they have been living with you in the UK for at least the last 2 years if their first dependant visa was granted on or before 9th July 2012 or for the last 5 years in the UK if their first dependant visa was granted on or after 9th July 2012. They will also need to pass the Life in the UK test, satisfy the English Language requirement and a few other requirements such as the Time Outside requirement.
Should you wish to check whether you or your dependents qualify for ILR, why not call us now on 0203 178 2048 or submit a Call-back request on this page and one of our ILR Visa Experts will call you instead?
As you may be aware by now, this is just a simple overview to assist you in assessing whether you may be able to apply for an ILR Visa, as the ILR Visa rules are exceptionally complicated by design. So why not take advantage of our initial 20-minute free assessment by requesting a Call-back from a UK ILR Visa Expert, and we can assess your specific situation against all the rules and requirements to ensure you will be able to secure the Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa approval.
Eligibility requirements to qualify for a UK ILR Visa – 10 Year Long Residence Route
Should you have been living in the UK continuously for 10 years on any valid UK Visas*, you are entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Long Residence rules. As you can appreciate, there are some other rules which you must satisfy to qualify. The rules you need to satisfy are as follows:
- At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 9 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 10-year qualifying period is completed).The 10-year qualifying period starts according to the rules on the date that you first arrived in the UK or when you were first given granted permission to stay in the UK by the UK government. Please note that you can claim for ANY continuous 10-year period in the past when applying for ILR based on long residence, and it does not have to be the last 10 years specifically.
- You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of the different categories of UK visa you have held during the 10-year residency period in the UK.
- You must not have left the UK for more than 539 days (18 months approx.) in total in the last 10 years and no more than 180 days (6 months) in one single continuous trip.
- You must never have applied for a visa extension more than 28 days after one of your visas has expired during the last 10 years if applying for a visa extension before 24th November 2016. For visa extensions you applied for on or after 24th November 2016, you must not have applied after your visa expired.
- You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement (known as the Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) requirement.For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.
- You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences) in the last 2 years before applying. If you have any CCJ’s, Fixed Penalty Notices, criminal convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands from the Police, we recommend that you discuss your issues with one of our ILR Visa Experts.
- Please note that any time spent in prison, a young offender’s institution or secure hospital cannot be counted towards your 10 years Long Residence.Furthermore, any time you have lived in the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands cannot also be counted towards your 10-year period as they are not part of the United Kingdom.
You should also be advised that no dependents can apply with you for 10 years Long Residence unless they also have been in the UK for 10 years continuously and they satisfy all the rules in which case they will need to make a separate application. Should you have a wife, husband or partner who is your dependent and they have been in the UK for less than 10 years; they will need to switch in the UK onto a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner Visa once your ILR on the basis of 10-years Long Residence has been approved. They could then either apply for ILR after 5 years on a UK Partner Visa or make their own 10-year Long Residence application once they have been here for 10 years (whichever comes first of course).
If you have any doubts or queries concerning the rules stated above or whether you qualify, we sincerely recommend that you do not take any chances and speak to one of our UK ILR visa experts on 0203 178 2048. The rules and ways of getting discretion from the Home Office for issues you may face are exceptionally complicated but rest assured that we over 12 years of experience in securing discretion for long residence if needed.
*Please note that any time spent on all UK Visas including UK Visitor Visas, Business Visitor Visa, Working Holiday Maker, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, Tier 1 (Post Study Work) & (International Graduate Scheme) Visas count towards your 10-years Long Residence. The only exception to this relates to any EEA (European) Visas which you may have been on as they fall under EU law and are not technically UK Visas. However; the Home Office can offer you discretion if they wish regarding any time spent on an EEA Visa during the last 10 years, but this cannot be guaranteed.
How much will it cost to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
The cost for an ILR Visa consists of the government fee and the biometric fees. Applicant’s applying for ILR do not have to pay the NHS Surcharge.
The current government fees for an ILR application per applicant are as follows:
- The Home Office ILR Visa Government fee* = £2,389 per applicant for a Standard Service processing time application (which takes up to 6-months to secure the approval from the date of the biometric appointment). Due to the slow processing time for the Standard Service, we would always recommend that our clients consider paying for the Super Priority Service, which costs an extra £800. The Super Priority Service costs £3,189 per applicant in total, and you should receive your decision within 24 working hours after your biometric appointment.
- The Biometric Fee = £19.20 per applicant. Even though you may need to pay for a biometric appointment if you want one within the next 3-4 weeks, the Home Office still charge £19.20 per applicant to process the biometric data.
- The Biometric appointment fee = this fee ranges from a free appointment (if you wait 3 weeks or more) up to £260 per applicant for an appointment at the Premium Service Centre in Central London. For your information, the most typical fee paid for an average appointment across the UK is about £100 per applicant. Should you choose the Standard Service, you could consider obtaining a free biometric appointment in 3 weeks’ time as it will take up to 6 months to receive your decision. Should you choose the Super Priority Service, we would recommend that you consider paying for the earliest appointment possible so that you can secure your 24 working hour decision ASAP.
- The government fees stated above total £2,408.20 per applicant for the Standard Service or £3,208.20 per applicant for the Super Priority Service (plus the biometric appointment fees which have not been included as the prices vary).
Should you want to know the costs for the different levels of service we offer here at First Migration to ensure our clients secure their ILR Visa approval, please click here.
*Please note that the prices stated above are subject to change and are simply a guide to assist you in planning ahead for the potential cost of applying for an ILR Visa.
How does the UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Visa application process work?
The application process for securing your ILR Visa is now fully digital. It takes between one week (via the Super Priority Service) to 6 months (with the Standard Service) to secure your ILR Visa approval after submission.
Should you be looking to secure your future in the UK by securing Indefinite Leave to Remain, the application process using our Full Representation Service will be as follows:
- You would pay our professional fee (full fee or deposit if agreed) and agree in writing to our Terms and Conditions which will be emailed to you.
- Once both tasks have been completed, we will provide you with our Expert ILR Document List and the ILR document templates to keep things as simple for you as possible.
- You would need to gather all the required ILR supporting documents first to ensure the application we can use the documents you provide us to ensure your ILR Visa application will be successful.
- Once your supporting documents have been gathered and checked, we will set up the online application form and fully complete it for you (as the application process is now fully digital and documents are no longer submitted to the Home Office by post). We will also organise all of your documents, and scan them into our secure server ready for upload once the application has been submitted.
- Once we have drafted your online application form, we will email you a copy to review so that you can let us know if any changes are needed. Rest assured that we believe in making sure you are fully involved in every aspect of the preparation of your case for your peace of mind.
- When the online form is ready for submission, we will organise a time for you to attend our office so your dedicated ILR Visa Expert can submit the application on your behalf after checking every question and answer on the form with you.
- We will submit the online application for you, and we will use your credit/debit card to pay the appropriate government fee and NHS Surcharge payments. Once the payments have been made, we can book your biometric appointment at the nearest Sopra Steria biometric centre.
- After online submission, your dedicated ILR consultant will be able to upload all your supporting documents to the Home Office server and provide your fully prepared application back to you so that you can take it to the biometric centre with you.
- After attending your biometric appointment and having your biometrics taken, we will have to wait for either one working day (with the Super Priority Service) or 8-weeks (with the Standard Service) for the Home Office caseworker to decide on your application.
- Once the UKVI have made their decision on your ILR application, First Migration will receive your approval by email first, and then by hardcopy approval letter in the post within 3-4 working days. We will then receive your new ILR Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) ID card at our office within 7 – 10 working days of approval and will organise to get the ILR BRP card to you. At this point, our service will come to an end, you will be delighted, and all you will have to do is prepare for your British citizenship application if that is your goal!
So as you can see, our ILR Visa experts can make the entire process of securing your future in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain as stress-free and as simple as possible. So why not call one of our ILR Visa Experts today (or submit a call-back request form on this page), and we can assess your eligibility to secure ILR for free.
Our UK Visa services are tailored to your needs, so you can choose the price you want to pay, for the service you require.
For access to our knowledge & experience, we offer consultation services. If you want to be cost-effective and secure your approval by yourself, consider our Expert Checking Services. For an extra fee, we’ll even provide our Expert Document
List & bespoke templates to save you time. If you want a guaranteed approval though, you are looking for our Full Representation Services. With this service you are allocated your own dedicated UK Visa Expert to manage the entire process, with a no-win, no-fee guarantee. Whichever service you choose with First Migration, expect a professional
and stress free service.
General Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Visa FAQs
Over the past 12 years, our ILR Experts have perfected the way we present and submit our ILR Visa applications to ensure we always secure our clients their approvals while providing a five-star service. During this time, we have been fortunate enough to experience almost every possible situation when it comes to eligibility or supporting document issues, and we know every reason given for refusing an ILR Visa application. Armed with this expert level of knowledge and experience, we can ensure you secure your ILR approval, the first time you apply.
So, you can either spend months researching how to secure your own approval or follow our simple instructions and allow us to secure the approval for you? Should you choose our full representation service, you will receive our no-win, no-fee guarantee (subject to our Terms and Conditions), and benefit from our expert legal cover letter that will argue your case through to approval. We have only been as successful as we are in securing ILR Visa approvals due to the power of our legal cover letter. Perfected over the past 12 years and 5,000+ UK ILR Visa approvals, our legal cover letter explains your case to the Home Office while linking your supporting documents to the specific rules that apply to your case. That way, we can ensure that even a poorly trained or new Home Office caseworker will not make mistakes when deciding upon your case.
Should you not want our ILR Experts to represent your application fully, why not allow us to be your insurance policy by taking advantage of our consultation services or Expert ILR Visa Checking Service? We offer a Telephone/In-Person Consultation if you simply want us to answer any questions or doubts you may have about your application. As you are paying for our time and access to our expert knowledge, we will tell you the answers to any questions you have and teach you everything you need to know to secure your ILR Visa approval. Likewise, once you have fully prepared your cover letter, your applications form(s), and gathered all the documents needed, you can purchase our Expert Checking Service to ensure you have not made mistakes that could jeopardise your future. While we can only guarantee your ILR approval if we are representing your case, rest assured your dedicated ILR Visa Expert will advise you of all the changes needed to your application. Considering our full-service clients secure their ILR approvals first-time, you can expect your ILR application to be approved if our advice is followed to the letter.
Why not call one of ILR Visa Experts today (or request a call-back on this page), so we can provide you with a quote for different services we offer, and let us give you the confidence you need to choose First Migration to ensure you secure your future in the UK.
Knowledge is power, but experience counts for everything when it comes to ensuring an ILR Visa is approved every time, without exception. As you can appreciate, our ILR experts are testing the ILR Visa system daily. This enables us to ensure our clients are always ahead of any changes to the ILR immigration rules, ILR policy guidance, or the latest excuses given for refusing an ILR Visa application. This level of practical experience ensures that we can manage the process for our clients, make all the right decisions when applying, reduce the risk of mistakes being made, and give our clients the peace of mind they expect. As soon as a new excuse is given for refusing an ILR case, our detailed ILR document list, document templates, and legal cover letter are updated to ensure this new excuse cannot be used to refuse our clients’ ILR Visa applications.
Should the application process change while you are applying, our advice and service will immediately adapt to the new circumstances, so you will not be impacted in any way. Only by preparing and securing ILR Visa approvals daily could you ever apply for an ILR Visa in total confidence that it will be approved first-time. So why not become a part of First Migration’s success story and take advantage of our experience and expert knowledge? All you have do is sign up for our service, pay our professional fee, follow our advice, and let your dedicated ILR Visa Expert do everything else for you!
There are three easy ways you can contact us to take advantage of our free ILR eligibility assessment and speak with an ILR visa expert with over 12 years’ practical experience. Rest assured that you will only ever speak directly with a UK Visa Expert here at First Migration should you contact us through one of the following means:
- You can call us on 0203 178 2048 – and you will be able to speak directly to an ILR Visa Expert with over 12 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR Visa approvals. Your dedicated expert will check your eligibility for free and explain about our services and the process of securing your ILR Visa. Should you want to visit us before signing up for services, we will offer you a free 30-minute in-person consultation with one of our ILR visa experts at our central London office. We know that once you have spoken or met with us; you will place your faith in us to ensure the most important UK Visa application you will ever make is approved the first time.
- You can use the live chat feature if you are viewing our site via a desktop computer or tablet device – you can find the live chat feature at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. This is an excellent way to have an instant chat with a UK Visa Expert that has secured thousands of ILR Visa applications to date. Should all our UK Visa Experts be away from the office when you try to use this service, just submit a call-back request or message, and an expert will call you ASAP.
- You can submit a Call-Back Request, and we will call you back as soon as possible. You can do this at the top of the screen, and one of our ILR Visa Experts will call you to carry out the free assessment over the phone.
We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to ensure that your Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa is approved the first time, without exception.
We also offer you a no-win, no-fee guarantee to show you how confident we are in securing ILR Visa approvals
Should you sign up for our full-representation service, we offer a no-win, no-fee guarantee (in line with our Terms and Conditions) to demonstrate just how confident we are in securing your ILR Visa approval. All you need to take advantage of this guarantee is provide us with the supporting documents we ask for, in the format requested, and follow our advice to the letter when we are applying on your behalf.
We also reassure all our clients that should they sign up for our full-service and satisfy all the eligibility requirements, they are signing up for us to work with them until we secure the ILR Visa approval. As a result, our service will only be over once we have delivered the approval as promised.
One of the many requirements that must be satisfied to secure an ILR Visa approval is to be able to show that there is suitable accommodation in the UK. Suitable accommodation is defined as a property to live in that is not overcrowded and does not contravene public health regulations.
You can share the property with other people, but you may be required to demonstrate that there will not be overcrowding at the property and that there is enough living space at the property if the ILR Visa is granted.
General ILR Visa FAQs
Any applicants applying for ILR between the ages of 18 and 65 years old are required to take an exam called the Life in the UK test and satisfy an English language requirement. The Life in the UK test is not a complicated test, but we sincerely recommend that you learn from the official study guide otherwise, it may be tough to pass the test.
Most British nationals that we know that have attempted the Life in the UK test have failed because they have not read the study guide! The test itself is has been introduced to see how much you know about British history, culture and politics.
There are four ways to satisfy the ILR Level B1 Speaking and Listening English language requirement:
- you are a national of a majority English speaking country – Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
- You have a degree that was taught in English (to a high enough level) awarded outside the UK, and the degree is comparable to a UK degree;
- You have a degree awarded by a UK University; or
- You have passed an approved English test (Trinity College London (TCL) Level B1 test or the IELTS Life Skills Level B1 test).
To satisfy the English language requirement via an English test, you must pass the English test to Level B1 in speaking and listening (about 5 out of 10 in difficulty).
For more information about how you or any dependants applying with you can satisfy the English language or Life in the UK test requirements, call one of our UK visa experts on 0203 178 2048 (or request a Call-Back above).
16. The Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner Visa route to ILR
If you currently hold one of the following UK Partner Visas and are looking to try and secure an ILR visa, you must have spent at least 4 years and 11 months living in the UK with your partner continuously to qualify for ILR:
- UK Spouse Visa (and note that all these visa categories are also known as Settlement Visas)
- UK Civil Partner Visa
- UK Unmarried Partner Visa
- UK Same-sex Partner Visa
Once you have been living continuously in the UK for 5-years to satisfy the residency period, you will also need to satisfy the following requirements to qualify for ILR:
- You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK visa(s) for the last 2 or 5 years.
- Please note that unlike most other UK visa categories, there is not technically a limit on the amount of time you can spend outside the UK when UK Partner Visa holders apply for an ILR visa. Having said this, if you have spent a lot of time outside the UK (i.e. more than 6 months per year), we would recommend that you discuss this matter with one of our ILR Visa Experts to ensure you will not face any issues when applying for your ILR Visa. You can call us now on 020 3178 2048.
- You must never have applied for any of your UK Partner Visa extensions after the expiry date of one of your visas during the residency qualifying period (i.e. 5-year qualifying period).
- You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the level B1 English Language requirement. For more information, please read the KoLL Requirement section above.
- You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a court has made a judgement) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that you speak with one of our ILR Visa Experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.
- You will also be required to prove that you have been living at the same address as your visa sponsor (i.e. your partner that is either British or holding an ILR visa) for the last 5 years in the UK. Should you choose to become our client, rest assured that we would provide you with a definitive list of documents, you should submit to guarantee your ILR Visa is approved. This list is based on over 12 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR Visa approvals.
Should you wish to check whether you or your dependents qualify for an ILR visa, why not call us now on 020 3178 2048 or submit a Call-back request above and one of our dedicated ILR Visa Experts will call you instead?
Since March 2019, the entire application process is now fully digital, and there are no specific application forms needed. When the application is initially set up online, the correct category of UK Visa must be selected to ensure that you are applying for the correct visa. Before the application process evolved to a fully digital process, the application forms needed to apply for ILR were as follows:
- SET(LR) Form – The name of this form stood for “Settlement Long Residence” is was used by everyone applying for ILR based on 10-years continuous and lawful residence in the UK (on any combination of UK Visas).
- SET(M) Form – This name stood for “Settlement Marriage” and was used by anyone holding a Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner Visa to secure Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
- SET(O) Form – This form was entitled “Settlement Other” and accounted for more than 80% of all ILR Visa applications submitted. Put simply, anyone applying for ILR that was doing so under the 5-year route to ILR, that held an eligible category of UK Visa apart from a UK Partner Visa, used this form.
We are pleased to confirm that these forms are technically not appropriate anymore, and should you take advantage of our services, we can ensure that you apply correctly online so that the application is secured first-time.
As the name of the visa suggests, an ILR Visa is granted for an “indefinite” period and technically has no expiry date (unless you leave the UK for more than 2-years in one trip or the visa is taken away by the UK government for any reason).
Having said this, do not be confused when you receive your ILR Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Visa ID card after securing your ILR Visa approval. All adult applicants in the UK will receive an ILR BRP card that has an expiry date of 31st December 2024, and all child applicants will receive a BRP card valid for 5-years. The expiry date on the ILR BRP card is not the expiry date of the ILR Visa (as it is indefinite) and is only the expiry date of the BRP card itself.
Should you apply to become British before the expiry date on the ILR BRP card, the expiry date of the card will not affect you as your citizenship replaces your ILR status in the UK. Should you not secure British citizenship before the expiry date on your ILR BRP card, you will have to apply for a replacement BRP card to extend the expiry date of the BRP card (rather than re-apply for ILR). The cost for a replacement BRP card is a fraction of the cost of applying for ILR, so this should only be a minor inconvenience when the time comes.
If you hold an ILR Visa in the UK, there are no restrictions on your ability to work or study in the UK. You are fully entitled to undertake the following work in the UK:
- You can be an employee of someone else’s company.
- You can be self-employed (as a sole trader or in a partnership).
- You can be a Director of your own Limited company or an employee of a family member’s Limited company.
- A combination of all the above.
Should you wish to study in the UK when you hold an ILR Visa, you will be treated as a British person, and not required to pay the very expensive fees an overseas student is required to pay.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
As you will have full access to financial (benefits) and NHS healthcare support paid for by the British government when you secure your ILR Visa, you are not required to pay the NHS Surcharge when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
For your information, you may find that the NHS Surcharge is sometimes stated as the Immigration Health Surcharge (or IHS), so do not be confused, as they are just different ways of saying the same thing.
Our advice is always to consider paying the £800 per applicant extra to apply via the Priority Service to secure the approval in one-working day after the biometric appointment. It is very important that you secure the approval in the UK before your current visa expires as you cannot submit a fresh application after your current visa expiry date if your application is unsuccessful. Many applicants are not aware of this fact and considering you can typically only apply for your visa extension up to 28 days before your current visa expires (unless switching category), you may only have one chance to secure the approval.
The only times we would typically recommend a client consider saving the money and apply using the Standard Service (which takes up to 6 months to receive your decision) would be:
- If many applicants are applying at the same time and it is difficult to pay the very expensive government fees;
- If you currently have more than 6 months left on your current UK Visa, and there is a very low risk, your current visa may expire during the process. As you should receive a decision via the Standard Service before your current visa expires, there is little risk to saving the £800 per applicant Priority Service
If you have tried applying yourself without expert assistance and find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving an ILR Visa refusal, the advice we would offer about your options differs depending on whether you applied in the UK or from outside the UK.
If you applied in the UK and your Spouse Visa application is refused:
- We would recommend that you call one of our UK Visa Experts immediately, and they can thoroughly assess your situation and confirm the best options available to you to turn this situation around ASAP.
- Should the applicant’s current visa have expired before you receive the refusal, you will only be able to appeal the decision by following the appeal process, as no further fresh applications can be submitted to turn the situation around. Please note that Points Based System (PBS) to ILR applications under the 5-year path do not receive the right to appeal the decision, and you can only request an Administrative Review from another Home Office caseworker. Applicants applying for 10-year Long Residence ILR will be granted the right to appeal through the courts. You should note that the appeal process can take 9 – 12 months during which time the applicant cannot travel and can only work if they submitted their application before the visa expired. There is also never a guarantee of success when it comes to the appeal process through the courts, and you will be relying on the judge that hears the appeal to overturn the decision.
- Should you receive an ILR Visa refusal in the UK and your current visa is still valid; we can assist you by submitting a perfectly presented second application and secure the ILR Visa approval for you. We would always recommend this option if available as it is the safest and quickest way to turn the situation around for you.
If you have recently received an ILR Visa refusal, we would recommend you call one of our ILR Visa Experts to see how they can assist you, or submit a call-back request on this page, and they will call you instead.
Everyone that secures their ILR Visa that is not married to a British national must spend no less than a full 12-months on ILR before they may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship (via a naturalisation application).
Should you be married to a British national and secure ILR, you do not need to wait for 12-months and can apply immediately for British citizenship if you satisfy the naturalisation rules. For more information about the eligibility requirements to secure British Citizenship, please read our British Citizenship page (or request a call back from one of our British Citizenship Experts!).