Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

The UK immigration rules allow various categories of migrant nationals to settle in the UK, which is known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). If you’re looking to make an ILR application, our team of solicitors has helped many individuals secure UK settlement and can provide you with the help and advice you need.

Before IRL can be granted, a migrant has to satisfy various requirements, including sufficient knowledge of English/Welsh/Scottish Gaelic and of life in the UK. We have extensive knowledge of what’s required to make a successful application and keep up to date with all the latest developments regarding immigration law.

To speak to a solicitor about settling in the UK by making an indefinite leave to remain application, get in touch with JMW by calling 0203 675 7600, or by filling in our online enquiry form to arrange for a member of the immigration team to get back to you.

How JMW Can Help

Our solicitors will help you to assess if you are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain and whether or not you are likely to be successful. Following an initial consultation, we will advise you on the steps you need to take to make an application, including the documents required as evidence.

We will thoroughly review your documents to ensure your application for permanent residence in the UK is successful. Once complete, we will write legal representations to the Home Office to ensure your application is properly considered. We can then submit it, doing the hard work for you.

The team is proud of its extremely high success rate.

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is a form of settlement available to migrant nationals, which enables a person to live in the UK without any restrictions.

Typically, you must have spent at least five years in the UK before you can apply for ILR. However, in certain circumstances, an application can be made after three years of residence.

What are the Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

There are a number of requirements to apply for ILR, which depend on your individual circumstances, such as the type of visa you hold. A basic requirement for all ILR applications is that you have been lawfully living in the UK for a certain period of time.

To become eligible to apply for settlement in the UK, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be lawfully living in the UK for a certain period of time
  • Have had no breach of immigration laws during your stay in the UK
  • Have had no criminal offences committed during your stay in the UK
  • Have spent a period of time outside the UK that didn’t exceed 180 days in a 12-month period during the qualifying period
  • A pass in the Life in the UK test, which is based on British culture, history and traditions
  • An understanding of English/Welsh/Scottish Gaelic to an acceptable level

Certain individuals will not need to apply for ILR to be granted settled UK status, including:

  • Those eligible for British citizenship by descent
  • Child dependents of British citizens or a person with settled status
  • An adult dependent who is reliant on the long-term care of a family member
  • Refugees resettled in the UK through the Gateway Protection Program

Who can Make an Application for Settlement in the UK?

Applications for settlement in the UK can be made by the following categories:

Employed in the UK for the past five years
Settlement can be granted for those who have been living under one or more of the following categories for the past five years:

  • Skilled workers, sportspeople and ministers of religion
  • Sole representatives of an overseas business
  • A private servant in a diplomatic household
  • A domestic worker in a private household

Skilled workers will need to satisfy a minimum required income when applying for UK settlement. This means that applicants must be paid at least a minimum salary of £35,800 from 6th April 2019 in order to qualify for ILR. This rose to £36,200 in 2020 and to £36,900 in 2021.

In all cases of settlement related to employment, applicants should not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12-month period.

Investors and entrepreneurs can benefit from an accelerated route to settlement if certain conditions have been met, such as the size of the investment made, which is as follows:

  • £10 million investment - two years to settlement
  • £5 million investment - three years to settlement
  • £2 million investment - five years to settlement

If you have been granted leave as an innovator, you may be able to settle in the UK after three years if you meet certain milestones for your business.

Global talent migrants
If you have been granted leave as a global talent, you would be able to settle in the UK once you have been in the country for:

  • Three years with an exceptional talent visa
  • Three years with an exceptional talent endorsement in science
  • Three years with an endorsement under the UKRI-endorsed funder scheme
  • Five years with an exceptional promise in either arts and culture or digital technology

Been a resident in the UK for a long time
Applicants who have been long-time residents in the UK must be able to show evidence of 10 years of continuous and lawful residence in order to qualify for settlement.

Spouse or unmarried partners of a person present and settled in the UK
You can qualify for ILR as the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner of a British citizen or someone who is settled in the UK, following the completion of the initial five-year probationary period.

Family members of a settled resident
Specific relatives who are dependent on a settled person currently living in the UK can apply for IRL. These include:

  • Children aged under 18 years old
  • An adopted child aged under 18 years old
  • A parent, grandparent or another dependent relative aged 18 or over

Settlement applications can also be made for people under the following categories:

  • UK ancestry
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Bereaved parents
  • Nationals of Turkey, Romania or Bulgaria established in business on the basis of the European Community (EC) Association Agreement
  • Persons granted exceptional leave to remain, discretionary leave or humanitarian protection


What documents do I need to include in my ILR application?

As part of your application, you will need to include a number of supporting documents - this also applies to any dependents who are applying with you. 

Typically, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Passport and travel documents, including any old passports, which were valid during your time in the UK
  • Birth or adoption certificates
  • Documents that account for any time spent outside of the UK during your residency
  • A police registration certificate if you were required to register with the police when you arrived in the UK
  • A history of your immigration
  • Financial information such as bank statements
  • A certificate for passing the Life in the UK test
  • A certificate providing B1 level of English
  • Two identical passport-sized photographs

It is important to remember that the documents you provide must be the original versions. If you are unable to provide these, you will need to explain why as part of your application. If there are exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may give some leniency.

What is the English language test?

An important part of the ILR application process is to prove that you meet an English language requirement of B1 in speaking and listening as specified by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

You will need to include a certificate from an approved test provider to include in your application. 

Not everyone is required to fulfil this criteria; for example, citizens of Commonwealth countries or majority English-speaking nations will usually be exempt. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

The following applicants will also be exempt from the English language requirement:

  • Those aged 65 years or over
  • Holders of a degree or higher qualification at an accredited educational establishment that was taught in English
  • Those under humanitarian protection
  • Victims of domestic abuse
  • A partner or spouse of a person who has died and was a British citizen or person with settled status

What is the Life in the UK test?

The Life in the UK test, also known as the British Citizenship test, is a necessary requirement for an ILR application. The test is based on the culture, history and traditions of Britain.

The test costs £50 to take, consists of 24 questions and lasts for 45 minutes. Questions are randomly generated on the day of the test and you must achieve a score of at least 75% to pass. 

If you fail the test, you are able to retake it at least seven days after the date you last took it, and it can be retaken as many times as needed to achieve a pass.

Those aged 18 and under, or 65 or over, will not need to sit the test, nor will those who have a long-term physical or mental condition - written confirmation must be provided from a doctor.

How much does it cost to apply for indefinite leave to remain?

The current fee for making an ILR application is £2,389. If any dependents are also applying with you, you will need to pay a second full fee. 

A priority service is available for an additional £500 that will allow your application to be processed within five working days. A super-priority option is also available for a further £800 where your application will be processed within one working day.

Talk to Us

If you’re looking to settle in the UK permanently, our solicitors can help you make a successful application for indefinite leave to remain. Contact us by calling 0203 675 7600, or by filling in our online enquiry form to request for a member of the immigration team to get back to you.

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