Indefinite leave to remain | How to Apply, Eligibility, Documents & Processing Time


Indefinite Leave to Remain abbreviated as ILR is a document that proves that the bearer has been granted immigration status after living in the UK for some time under a temporary visa. To be granted this status, you must have shown your commitment to the UK. It is also known as the UK settlement visa and with this document, you can now enjoy life in the UK without any limitations of time.

You can study, work or enjoy most of the privileges and advantages that a British Citizen enjoys. With this status, you can also leave or enter the UK without any restrictions.

Applying for the Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you will need to follow the laid down procedure. It might be tricky to do so if it is your first time and that’s why you may need one of UK’s most reliable visa and Indefinite Leave to Remain specialist solicitors.

Here at immigration solicitors 4 Me, we offer the services of our competent solicitors, who are ready to take you through the process and ensure that your ILR application meets success. 


To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you must apply when already in the UK and you must show proof that you’ve been in the country for some time under one of the other visas.

There are specific categories of people to whom the Home office grants this status. This is after they have fulfilled several criteria including having legally resided in the UK for quite some time.

Following are some of the categories;


  • Ancestry visa holders: These must have lived in the UK for not less than five years.


  • Spouses under a marriage visa: The marriage visa, in this case, must have been obtained on or after the 9th of July 2012 and one needs to have stayed in the UK for not less than five years.


  • Work permit visa: This is granted to those who come to the UK for work and they must have worked in the country for at least five years.

Even if you qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain under the above and various other categories, there are a few reasons one may not be eligible for ILR.

Some of them are as under:


  • If you have spent most of your five years outside the UK


  • You have failed to pay taxes as required by the law


  • You have submitted your application way before time


  • You will be locked out if you don’t submit all the required documents


  • If you have a negative immigration history


  • You have been convicted for at least two years during your stay in the UK


When applying for ILR, you must do so before the expiry of the existing UK visa. This should not be done twenty-eight days before the expiry period.If you do apply, your application may be declined. Furthermore, you would lose the fee and you have to pay again when reapplying.

  • You will be required to fill a SET (M) or a SET (O) form and this depends on the visa you have been staying while in the UK.


  • The personal history section should be filled and do not leave any blanks.  The application form must containsimilar information that is in the required documents.

When applying for ILR as a partner of a person settled in the UK, you will need to use the SET (M) form and you can add children under eighteen as dependants.

To qualify for this, you must have stayed with the partner for not less than five years. You must also meet the financial requirement of a minimum of £18,600.

This amount will be calculated in terms of the income from your sponsor, you and your sponsor’s pensions, any salary that you receive from the UK and cash savings of over £16,000.

When applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must have stayed in the UK for not less than five years and during those years, you must have complied fully with the requirements of your visa.

The five-year period in question includes the time that you got your visa or given permission to live in the UK and this period must be without gaps- you must show proof that you have stayed in this country continuously.

The Home Office may decline your Indefinite ‘Leave to Remain’(ILR) application if gaps are exceeding a certain period.

You will be required to submit two passport size photos with your name at the back of each, a passport photo with your partner’s name written at the back, and any children or dependents that you may have.

You will so be required to present original documents and not photocopies. Any document that is not in the English language should be translated into English.

Get photocopies of the first and the last pages of your passport and the pages with visa stamps. You will also be required to have proficiency in the English language and knowledge of life in the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain is not processed for free; there are costs that you have to meet. The cumulative fee as at 2019 is £2,389.

However, this is bound to change from time to time and therefore you need to confirm with the home office before you are in the process of application.

The overall cost may include documents translation fees, English language test, solicitors’ fees, etc. In addition to other costs, you will be required to pay for the “Life in the UK” test, which is part of your documents.

The processing of the Indefinite Leave to Remain can take up to six months and during this time, you will need to surrender your passport.

Within this period, you will be informed whether your application was successful and if not, then you will get guidance on what to do.

Again, you can book for a priority appointment with the Home Office (at some fee) for 24 hours decision. Most people especially ones that are not willing to go through the entire procedure opt for this service.

Note- Application for an Indefinite Leave to Remain varies greatly depending on the current visa category availed by the applicant.

When applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain, you should be ready for any decision and if your documents don’t measure up to the required criteria, it could be declined.

The best decision here is to apply for an extension of stay for two years, this will give you ample time to fully comply with the requirements of the Indefinite Leave to Remain and then you can reapply.

For further consultation on a refusal decision, you can contact our ILR refusal specialist solicitors. We are confident to guide you in the right direction and help you while reapplying for the ILR.

British citizenship and Indefinite Leave to Remain(ILR) are two different things. Although the two have some common requirements, you should not confuse them.

The Indefinite leave to remain allows you to “settle” in the UK and with this status, you no longer are subject to the Immigration controls-that means you can enter and exit the country any time you wish.

Once you have lived in the UK under the ILR status, you can now apply for British citizenship, also known as “naturalization”. This gives you the right to own a British passport with the full rights of a UK citizen. 


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