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Indefinite Leave to Remain Application for Children

Can a child stay in the UK indefinitely?

There are several ways a child can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and stay indefinitely in the UK, including if they have at least one parent who is settled in the UK, they hold a child visa or a dependant visa, under the private life route, or if they have been adopted.

Gaining ILR offers considerable advantages for children, not least the ability to remain in the UK indefinitely without being subject to immigration control. Children with ILR are able to access the NHS, receive child benefits, attend school, travel freely to and from the UK, and apply for British citizenship after 12 months.

It is important to note that as an alternative to applying for ILR, it may also be possible for a child to apply immediately for citizenship if they:

  • were born in the UK to non-British parents who later settled or gain British citizenship, or
  • were born overseas and have a British parent, or
  • are a commonwealth citizen and have a parent who lived in the UK before 1973

The routes to ILR for a child outlined in this article are by no means exhaustive. It is always recommended to discuss your case, or that of your child, with an immigration solicitor who can explain the options available and the best way forward.

If you want to have a chat about your child, please speak to one of our friendly immigration solicitors in complete confidence at 020 3744 2797 or email info@reissedwards.co.uk.

ILR for a child of a parent settled in the UK

As a parent who has settled in the UK, you can bring your child who is not currently in the UK to settle here if meet one of below requirements:

  • Both parents are present and settled in the UK, or
  • One parent is present and settled in the UK, and the other parent is deceased, or
  • One parent is present and settled in the UK and has sole responsibility for the upbringing of the child, or the child normally resides with this parent and not their other parent, or
  • One parent or a relative is present and settled in the UK, and there are “serious and compelling” family or other considerations which would make excluding the child from the UK undesirable. Suitable arrangements must have been put in place for the care of the child.

Note: It is also possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain for a child who was born in the UK before their parent/s got ILR.

To make a successful ILR application for a child of a parent who is settled in the UK, the child must meet below requirements:

  • Have no unspent criminal convictions or represent a risk to the British public
  • Be financially supported by their parent/s without recourse to public funds
  • Have adequate accommodation provided by their parent/s
  • Not be married or in a civil partnership
  • Not be leading an independent life or have formed an independent family unit

Where a child is 18 or older, they will also need to meet the English language requirements and pass the Life in the UK test.

ILR for a child dependant visa holder

A child dependant visa holder may be eligible for ILR if they have a parent who has settled through their UK visa (e.g. ILR through Skilled Worker visa). Many visa holders will qualify for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. It is important to note that if the child’s parent is in the process of applying for ILR, they can include the dependant child in the same application.

To qualify for ILR for dependants, the settled or British parent must be the child’s biological parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent (if their biological parent has died). If the child lives with both parents in the UK, both must be settled here or in the process of applying for settlement. In addition, the child must meet below requirements:

  • Have permission to remain in the UK as a dependant of their parent
  • Be living with their parent/s or plan to do so
  • Be financially supported by their parent/s without recourse to public funds
  • Have adequate accommodation
  • Not be married or in a civil partnership
  • Not be leading an independent life and not having formed an independent family unit

ILR for a child visa holder

A child may be able to apply for ILR if they hold a child visa and they have a parent who is a British citizen or is settled in the UK. Child visas are different from child-dependant visas: child visas are issued under the family migration route to those with a British or settled parent in the UK; child-dependant visas are granted to children of parents with a work, study, or business visa.

If the parent is not settled in the UK but they are in the process of applying for ILR, they can add the child to their application form.

If the parent has already applied but is waiting for a decision, the child will need to submit a separate ILR application form. To make a successful application for ILR as a child visa holder, the settled or British parent must be the child’s biological parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent (if their biological parent has died). If the child lives with both parents in the UK, both must be settled in the UK. In addition, the child must meet below requirements:

  • Have permission to remain in the UK as a dependant of their parent
  • Be living with their parent/s or plan to do so
  • Be financially supported by their parent/s without recourse to public funds
  • Have adequate accommodation
  • Not be married or in a civil partnership
  • Not be leading an independent life and not having formed an independent family unit

ILR for a child who has lived in the UK for 7 or 5 years (private life route)

Under the 7-year child immigration rule, a child who was born in the UK and has been continuously resident here for 7 or more years can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) immediately on the basis of their private life here.

In addition, a young person aged between 18 and 24 who has lived in the UK for more than half of their life can apply for ILR after just 5 years compared to the normal 10 years (this is also known as early ILR concession).

Where a child is 18 or older, they will also need to meet the English language requirements and pass the Life in the UK test.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leading immigration law firm based in Central London. We regularly assist parents applying for ILR on behalf of their children. Our experienced family immigration solicitors can:

  • Check your child’s eligibility for ILR.
  • Review your circumstances or those of your child and recommend the best approach to gain ILR.
  • Apply for indefinite leave to remain for a child on your behalf.
  • Deal with the Home Office regarding any queries raised regarding your child’s ILR application.
  • Advise on gaining British citizenship for your child, including British citizenship for a child born in the UK and British citizenship for a child born abroad.
  • Handle the ILR refusal of your child’s application.

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O.L

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"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

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