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Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain After 5 Years

Indefinite Leave to Remain (or ILR, for short) is the ultimate aim for many migrants to the UK. Often it is the culmination of many years of hard work and diligent dedication to ensuring compliance with the strict visa rules in place. So, if you are looking to settle your status in the UK and are about to become eligible to apply for ILR, this article has been designed to help you to take the next step on your immigration journey.

Eligibility Criteria For Indefinite Leave To Remain

To apply for ILR, you need to ensure not only have you been in the UK for an appropriate amount of time (generally 5 years but perhaps less if you are in the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa or another beneficial route) but have also met the strict eligibility criteria laid out below:

  • You are of good character
  • You have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK (by taking the Life in the UK test) and the English language
  • You have not spent more than 900 days outside of the UK in the five-year qualifying period
  • You have not spent 180 days or more outside of the UK in the 12 months prior to your application for ILR

As long as you meet this eligibility criteria, you will be able to make an application to settle in the UK. If your application is granted, you will be able to live and work in the UK without the need for a visa, indefinitely. You will also have the opportunity to apply to become a British citizen after having ILR for 12 months. We cover British citizenship later on in the article.

How To Apply For Indefinite Leave To Remain

To apply for ILR, you must first ensure you are eligible as per the criteria laid out above. As long as you are eligible, you will need to make an application online using the appropriate portal. Once your application has been received, you will then need to provide documentary evidence as required by UK Visas and Immigration.

The list below lays out the documents likely to be required by UK Visas and Immigration:

  • Any passports or travel documents that you have possessed during your stay in the UK
  • All birth or adoption certificates for any dependants included in your application
  • A police registration certificate if you have been required to register with the police
  • Evidence of your income - this will need to be in the form of wage slips and bank statements
  • Your certificate for the life in the UK test and proof of a relevant English language qualification (if required)
  • Evidence of any absences from the UK
  • Two identical colour passport-sized photographs of each applicant with their full name clearly written on the back of each photo

You will need to provide these in a manner which is laid out in your application, alongside ensuring you send originals (unless it is specified otherwise).

Rejected For Indefinite Leave To Remain? Next Steps

There are many reasons for applications for ILR being turned down. These reasons generally include criminal activity for which you have received a conviction, a history of immigration offences, failure to prove eligibility and many others. To prevent these issues, it is important you ensure you adhere to the eligibility criteria for ILR.

In the section below, we will look at what you can do if you have received a rejection. There are essentially 4 options for those who have had their ILR application rejected:

Submit A New Application - If the reason for your rejection is straightforward (such as an administrative error), the best option may be to correct the error and resubmit your application.

Appealing Against the Decision - There is no automatic right to an appeal for those who have had their application for ILR Â turned down, however, if your human rights would be infringed by your application being turned down, you can lodge an appeal within 14 calendar days of your rejection.

Apply for An Administrative Review - If you believe your application has been turned down due to a decision-making error, you are able to apply for your application to be reassessed. If the review finds in your favour, your decision will be overturned.

Apply For A Judicial Review - A judicial review is the final option for those who have had an application for ILR turned down and have explored all other options. A judicial review is a complicated legal process that requires extensive knowledge to prove the decision was made incorrectly, you will certainly need the assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer for this process.

British Citizenship

Once you have had ILR for 12 months you are able to apply to become a British citizen. This option allows you to become a British national and gain a British passport. You will need to meet additional criteria, but much of this is in-line with gaining ILR. As long as you have not left the UK for more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying, you should be able to make an application for British citizenship.

Getting More Help

If you need more help with applying for ILR or you have any other immigration query, please get in touch. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers can help you with all facets of the UK's immigration system. So call today for a free, no-obligation consultation and get the information that you need.

Related article: Applying for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of 10 year long residence

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Reiss Edwards Reviews


"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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