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Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 12 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Applying For Indefinite Leave To Remain In The Uk

Some foreign nationals who have been in the UK with permission for a certain amount of time will be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain. If an applicant is given indefinite leave to remain they have the right of permanent residence in the UK – this is also known as settlement.

Foreign nationals will usually have to have been in the UK continuously for between two to five years before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Whether or not they are eligible will depend on the type of visa under which they were given permission to come to the UK.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

Applicants will usually have to show that they have an appropriate knowledge of the English language and of UK culture. Applications should not be made more than 28 days before the end of the period for which they have permission to be in the UK but must be made before that period ends. Application forms, and guidance notes on completing them, can be downloaded from the UK border Agency website.

Applications Based on UK Family Ties

Applications by married, or unmarried, partners and those in civil partnerships should be made using form SET(M). Applicants must have lived in the UK with permission for two years and still be married. A joint application for dependent children under 18 may be made on the same form. Applicants whose spouse or civil partner has died may apply for indefinite leave to remain using form SET(O) and there is no minimum qualifying period of residence.

Victims of domestic abuse can apply for indefinite leave to remain using form SET(DV). To be granted indefinite leave to remain they must have come to the UK, with permission, as the partner of a UK resident. The applicant must also have been in the UK for a period of two years during which time the relationship broke down due to domestic violence.

Other family members may apply for indefinite leave to remain using form SET(F). This form is for applications by children under 18 as well as parents, grandparents and other dependent family members of UK residents. Applicants in this category cannot include their own dependents on the form.

Applications based on UK ancestry should be made using form SET(O).

Applications by Workers

Whether or not someone in the UK on a work permit or visa is entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain will depend on the type of visa they have. Foreign citizens on the following types of work visas may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after they have been in the UK continuously for five years:
  • Highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors or Tier 1 under the new points-based system which is being introduced from 2008 onwards;
  • Sponsored skilled workers (Tier 2 under the new system).
Applications for indefinite leave to remain by those in the above categories should be made using form SET(O).

Applications by EU Citizens

Citizens of EU countries who have lived in the UK continuously for five years may apply for confirmation of permanent residence using form EEA3.

Applicants from Turkey

Turkish citizens who set up a business in the UK pursuant to the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) may apply for indefinite leave to remain using form ECAA Turkey (Main) after they have been in the UK for four years. Their dependent family may apply using form ECAA Turkey (Dep).

Applicants from Bulgaria and Romania

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens who came to the UK under the terms of the ECAA to set up a business may apply for indefinite leave to remain using form ECAA(4), which is also sometimes referred to as ECAA(ILR), once they have been in the UK for five years. The ECAA ceased to apply to citizens of Bulgaria and Romania once these countries joined the EU in January 2007 but applications may still be made under this category by people who came to the UK prior to that date.

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Thanks for the quick response.. His name is Dennis and we are both Nigerian but I am born here in London.. He came here when he was 16years old and he's now 31 next month(overstayed) ...He does not have criminal records or asked to leave the united kingdom in spite the previous applications(unsuccessful marriage to eu citizen/a father of a British child. That the DNA showed the baby wasn't his) he has made to the homeoffice..Yes we are intending to get married and five months ago I was pregnant with twins for him but I had miscarriaged and bcos of my recent op. Even if I have another pregnancy, there is every possibility I will lose it..We are both living together at the moment.. We been together for almost 18months but we have some proved to show our living together for 13 months or so.. The reasons why we are concerned is because my uncle said the years he has overstayed in England could be against him if we have to submit applications for unmarried partner visa. Thanks
Adrian Jude - 12-Mar-19 @ 1:27 PM
@Anima - Only British citizens can apply can apply for universal credit. Why do you wish to remain in the UK if your spouse has left?
TJ. - 26-Jan-19 @ 10:58 PM
I on a EU family member 5 year route. My husband in whose name l m in the UK has left the UK hence all my benefits have been scraped including child benefit for my disabled 12 year old son.A recentletter on my application for Universal Credit says l m not a UK citizen and deserve not live in the UK.Can l apply for a permanent or derivative redidence or Indefinite leave to remain. Please help me. Thanks.
Anima - 26-Jan-19 @ 7:31 AM
I'm currently on the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa. I've been in the UK for the past 8 years. My DES expires in January next year. Am I eligible for the ILR? Thank you for your help.
Kay - 26-Nov-18 @ 12:30 AM
I have been a living and working in the Uk for 6 years now as an EU citizen (I also have a passport of a non Eu country). Accidentally!!! when applying for a new passport I have found out that i have been stripped of my EU (latvian) citizenship. I will be proceeding to get my EU citizenship back. But what are my rights for staying in the UK?
Al - 9-Jul-18 @ 2:49 PM
I have question guys and will appreciate it if anyone can give me advice. I have leave as a spouse of a UK national. My first visa was issued on 30-01-2014, and came on 18-03-2014!under the 5 year rule I qualify for ILR after 60 months which will be 18-03-2019 right? My current visa expires on 30-08-2019 which technically means its 1 month 14 days longer than the exact 5 years. Can i apply for ILR 28 days before my 5 years routine or I must have to wait until my BRP expires? How they calculate is it based on my entry to uk 5years or based on BRP expires Thank you
Bita - 15-Jun-18 @ 11:11 AM
Hi i've got an indefinite leave to remain /permanent resident visa from 2008 but it was on my expired old passport. I am carrying my old passport together with my new passport. I have been out of the country for few times with no problem of my visa. But a friend of mind said that my visa is not valid because it was on my expired passport. Is this true? Can somebody from home office explain my situation. I don't seem to have a problem before until i've heard from a friend about this. Especially i have an upcoming holiday out of the country.
MR - 8-Jun-18 @ 9:50 PM
hi every one i am on 10 years family route.MY husband and three kids are British.Can i apply ILR after 5 years.Thanks
Faisal - 1-Jun-18 @ 1:53 PM
I have my BRP valid till 2020, from august 2017, tier2 general WP. After 6 months, I left the UK for India, because of lack of projects. Now I got a curtailment notice that it will be over by July 2018 from Home Office. Can I apply for ILR or extend it? I am in India now. Thanks Raj
Raja Khongthaw - 31-May-18 @ 10:38 AM
@Simba - you can apply for ILR if you have lived in the UK for at least 5 years on your current visa
TJ. - 15-May-18 @ 3:58 AM
I have question guys and will appreciate it if anyone can give me advice. I have leave as a spouse of a UK national. My first visa was issued on 25-06-2013, under the 5 year rule I qualify for ILR after 60 months which will be 25-06-2018 right? My current visa expires on 07-08-2018 which technically means its 1 month 14 days longer than the exact 5 years. Can i apply for ILR on 25-06-2018 or do I have to wait until at least 28 days before the expiry of my current visa?
Simba - 14-May-18 @ 11:22 PM
I havr been granted definite leave undet 20 year route. Do I have recourse to public funds under this?
Meena - 23-Apr-18 @ 4:33 PM
@Jeida15 - You should apply for PR before your permit expires otherwise you will be classified as an overstayer and your application may be refused
TJ. - 14-Apr-18 @ 6:12 AM
Hi, In Sept/18 I will be 5 years into my marriage with an European Citizen living in UK, my residency card expires on April/19, When can I apply for my PR? Should I wait for my card to expire or Can I apply earlier? We meet all the requirements my question is only about the timing of application, if you could help me with that it will be really appreciated. Thanks
Jeida15 - 13-Apr-18 @ 2:03 PM
@Parm - if you have previously submitted your results to the Home Office and they were accepted you do not need to take the test again
TJ. - 2-Apr-18 @ 3:16 PM
Hi ,i nearly completed my 5year route spouse visa.done my life in uk test.I submitted my previous ielts certificate for previous extension which was accepted(was expired).just wondering do i need to do pass any other english test or i can submit the same Ielts certificate.Reply please .thanks
Parm - 2-Apr-18 @ 1:47 PM
@Saeed - if you were granted a family visa under the 10 year route then you will only be eligible for ILR after 10 years in the UK
TJ. - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:16 AM
Hi I am wondering that can I apply for ILR after 5 years while the document attached to my spouse visa is saying 10years. Plz let me know.
Saeed - 29-Mar-18 @ 6:54 PM
Hi I am wondering that can I apply for ILR after 5 years while the document attached to my visa is saying 10years. Plz let me know.
Saeed - 29-Mar-18 @ 3:06 PM
Hi I was wondering if you know anything about asylum seekers who have lived in the U.K. for 10 years is there any thing have done for them ? Or eligible to apply for state ? Thank you
Hardi - 29-Mar-18 @ 7:51 AM
hi there i applied for the certificate of travel ( black )and they issued meone only valid for 1 year instead of 5 years because i have 5 years HP leave to remain till 2023 . can i challenge them and ask for a review ? i wanted 5 years not 1 year i think this is not right cause my friend got same back passport and same HP Leave but he got 5 years passport validation . tanx
joseph - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:55 PM
@Jazq - If you have already used your previous IELTS results for UK immigration purposes then you do not need to retake it.
TJ. - 19-Mar-18 @ 6:09 AM
Hi I arrived in the UK under Tier 2 work permit in 2013. I did my IELTS in 2012 and was approved at the time of my entry to the country. I'm due to apply for ILR set O soon. Can I still submit my previous copy of IELTS or do I have to retake the exam?
Jazq - 18-Mar-18 @ 3:47 PM
Queen Sheba - Your Question:
HalloIs it true that a person on a spouse visa 10 year route to settlement can now switch to a 5 year route to settlement?If yes, how? Will it be treated as a fresh and new application? If rejected what are the implications? Will the applicant be required to leave the UK.Thank you

Our Response:
You can apply to extend your spouse visa application when you have lived in the UK on the visa for 2.5 years. You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years of being in the country legally. Much depends upon whether you meet the requirements attached to any further visa application. If you do not meet the requirements, you would be required to leave the UK at when the term of your current visa ends.
AboutImmigration - 15-Mar-18 @ 12:41 PM
Hallo Is it true that a person on a spouse visa 10 year route to settlement can now switch to a 5 year route to settlement? If yes, how?Will it be treated as a fresh and new application?If rejected what are the implications?Will the applicant be required to leave the UK. Thank you
Queen Sheba - 14-Mar-18 @ 1:17 PM
I am living in UK for almost four years with my husband. I have biometric residence permit type spouse/ partner leave to remain valid for 2.5 years. I came to UK on Tier 1 general dependent visa in July 2014. Will my time period on tier 1 visa will be calculated for applying ILR - 5 year route? Secondly, My husband became a British citizen after our marriage and we are living together on same address in UK. Now, my husband will be going abroad for work but I am thinking to stay in UK to complete my 5 year route to ILR. My husband will fulfil all my financial requirements by living abroad. I need to ask, will this decision of my husband working outside UK and I living in UK will effect my application for ILR? As, I am his dependant and we will not be living on same address in UK for 1 year. We will continue to live together in future and we have a son who is British citizen as well. And I will be living with him. Finally, I gave ielts General in October 2014. Will I have to give a new English language exam for my visa applications? Thanks
Me - 8-Mar-18 @ 12:28 AM
Hi, I'm finalising a SET M form to apply for my Wife IDR via a 5year route. Do I have to provide details on the form for our Biritish Citizen daughters. On the last FLR(M) form it was mandatory to include details of any dependent children not applying with you, including those who are British citizens or settled in the UK. So I am a little unsure if I need to provide details on the SET (M) this time. Thanks.
pfchiu - 3-Mar-18 @ 1:38 AM
Hi guys can someone tell me full list of papers i need to show to HOffice as a proof for i leave to remain? I'm on a spouse visa for 5 years,my wife is eu passport holder, i have joint water bill for 5 years now, what else i need
Burtos - 20-Feb-18 @ 12:59 PM
@Oli - If your husband is a British citizen you can apply for British citizenship immediately after being granted ILR.
TJ. - 18-Feb-18 @ 8:05 AM
Hi I was granted Discretionary Leave to remain in 2011 based on my private life built in the U.K and having grown up here as a child and all my family being here. I got married in 2014 but I remained on the same route. I now have my settlement in the U.K after completeing 2 x 3 years on discretionary leave private life. I want to know if am I eligible to apply for British citizen through naturalisation as my husband is British even though I was not granted my stay on that basis.
Oli - 18-Feb-18 @ 1:21 AM
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