If you want to live in the UK as a non-EEA citizen, you need to have permission to do so. This permission is normally a visa with conditions attached to it, such as a duty to study at a designated University or to work for a particular UK business. There are two labels attached to most visas that a person must hold when residing in the UK: limited leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain. As a general rule, limited leave to remain is temporary in its validity and will expire unless extended. Indefinite Leave to Remain, on the other hand, is a form of settlement and will allow you to remain permanently in the UK, as long as you do not leave for a period of 2 continuous years. In order to secure indefinite Leave, you must first have held limited leave to remain for usually 5 years, although this may vary.
In this article, we will concentrate on people who have limited leave to remain with a valid visa. We will look at the options for those who have not yet gained indefinite leave to remain and see how this affects their ability to claim welfare benefits in the UK. Including how they can go about getting indefinite leave to remain.
In general, your visa outlines your ability to receive public funds. In most cases, non-EEA citizens in the UK who are currently on a visa will have no recourse to public funds and this is stated clearly on their biometric residence permit. The reasoning for this is simple: you will need to either support yourself or be supported for the entirety of your visa period. This is achieved by having a family member in the UK, a business in the UK or you work for a sponsor. Not only will you not be able to claim public funds, but you will also have to prove your ability to support your stay.
The only time non-EEA citizens can claim welfare benefits in the UK is if they acquire indefinite Leave to remain. The process of applying for indefinite leave to remain takes place at the end of a qualifying visa period (normally 5 years, but there are exceptions). This allows the migrant to cement their stay in the UK for the long term which means they are no longer governed by visa rules. Once you have gained indefinite leave to remain you will then be eligible to apply for welfare benefits with those who have settled in the UK.
To secure indefinite leave to remain, you need to reach the minimum qualifying period specified by your visa route. In the vast majority of cases, this is 5 years. As well as the remaining in the UK for those 5 years, you need to ensure that you've not left the country for significant periods within that qualifying period. For instance, you cannot leave the country for over 180 days in any individual year during your stay if you have a Tier 2 General visa, or a sole representative visa. The rules relating to spouse visa holders is slightly less specific and considers whether a British spouse had also been absent when you were. The extended leave criterion ensures that you are normally resident in the UK and spend most of your time in the country. You will need to apply if you wish to gain indefinite leave to remain, and they will assess this against the qualifying criteria laid out in the next section.
To apply for indefinite leave to remain, there are various eligibility criteria that you need to meet. As we've already laid out, you need to be in the UK for the minimum qualifying period. You will also need to ensure that you have not left the country for more than is permitted. As well as these basic criteria, you will also need to meet the following:
As long as you meet the criteria, you can apply. You will usually receive a decision within 8 weeks. The processing time will be dictated by how busy UKVI is at the time and also the complexity of your application.
While rare, it is not unknown for UKVI to take exceptional circumstances into account on an application for indefinite leave to remain. If you have spent over 180 days outside of the UK within your 5-year qualifying period, then you may still be able to apply. However, since you have not met the criteria, you will need to supply information that explains the reasoning behind your extended stay outside of the UK.
While there is no defined acceptable reason for a stay longer than 180 days outside the UK, some examples that may be acceptable are:
UKVI will require you to provide evidence of the reason for your extended stay. Official documents such as death certificates and proof of cancellation/amendment of travel arrangements can help to prove that you have a valid reason. As there is no stated definition of what makes up a valid reason, these reasons may still not be accepted. It will be down to the UKVI officer in your case to apply their discretion. If you need help with your application for indefinite leave to remain, then please get in touch with our immigration solicitors.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS