In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom, it is almost always necessary to have resided legally and continuously in the UK for a minimum of five years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain: Required Period of Stay
Detailed below, you’ll find some of the more specific period of stay requirements that apply to the various immigration categories that must be fulfilled to qualify for ILR:
5 years continuous residency for immigration categories: Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Investor), Tier 2, Innovator, Businesspersons, Ministers Of Religion, Private Servants In Diplomatic Households, Domestic Workers, Overseas Government Employees, Representatives Of Overseas Newspapers, Representatives Of Overseas Businesses, Ancestry Visa, Artist, Composer, Writer, Investor, Retired Persons Of Independent Means, Airport Based Operation Ground Staff Of Overseas-Owned Airlines, Spouses Of Present and Settled Persons In The UK, Humanitarian Protection, Refugee, Persons Having Rights Of Access To Their Child In The UK, Unmarried Partners Of Persons Present And Settled In The UK, EEA Nationals and Their Family Members.
4 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Foreign/Commonwealth citizen discharged from HM Forces, Gurkhas discharged from HM Forces.
3 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Tier 1 (Investor) where the total amount invested exceeds £5 million, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) where the organisation has a minimum of 10 full-time employees and generates an annual turnover of at least £5 million.
2 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Tier 1 (Investor) where the total amount invested exceeds £10 million.
10 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Persons having right of access to their child; Long Residence (SET LR).
6 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Discretionary Leave to remain.
20 years continuous residence for immigration categories: Illegal Long Residence;
Please note that if you are applying for a visa on the basis of family relationships with one or more individuals in the UK, you will be required to provide evidence that you are in a close and committed relationship with them accordingly. You’ll also be expected to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to finance your stay, with no requirement to claim benefits at any time.
The official minimum annual income for a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same sex partner visa is set at £18,600. However, applicants already in the United Kingdom who fall under the pre-2012 legislation overhaul will only be expected to show that they can support themselves financially in accordance with current benefits thresholds. Applications submitted in accordance with points-based systems are subject to significantly different financial requirements and qualification criteria than applications on the grounds of family immigration.
If you have any questions on your eligibility or concerns regarding financial requirements, contact Aristone Solicitors to organise your obligation-free consultation with a member of our legal team.
English Language Requirements
In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain, the applicant must be able to demonstrate competent English language skills at B1 of CEFR level or the equivalent. In addition, a broad general knowledge of life in the United Kingdom and the culture of the UK must be demonstrated. Applications for IDL can be submitted 28 days prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement, which for most applicants is currently five years.
UK Indefinite Leave to Remain Test Exemptions
Some applicants are not expected to undergo official English language tests or demonstrate their understanding of UK culture, as outlined below:
- Applicants under the age of 18 years
- Applicants aged 65 or over
- Applicants with a recognised mental or physical health issue that could affect their capacity to take either test
- Applicants residing in the UK on discretionary leave, under humanitarian protection legislation or as a refugee
- Applicants seeking IDL following the death of a spouse who was a settled person in the UK or a British citizen
- Applicants seeking IDL on the basis of the domestic violence rule
In some instances, it may be possible to combine categories towards qualification for indefinite leave to remain. Please contact a member of the individual immigration team at Aristone Solicitors to discuss your case and requirements in more detail.
UK immigration policy currently states that the categories outlined below can be combined to satisfy the relevant residency qualifying period:
- Tier 1 (General) can be combined with HSMP, work permit, innovator, self-employed lawyer, writer, composer or artist, Tier 2 (General/ Minister of Religion/Sportsperson/ICT);
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) can be combined with Business Person (in Guernsey or Jersey since 30 June 2008) and/or Innovator;
- Tier 1 (Investor) can be combined with Investor;
- Tier 2 (General) can be combined with Tier 1 (except Tier 1 Post Study Work), Tier 2 (General/Minister of Religion/Sportsperson/ICT), Innovator, highly skilled migrant, representative of an overseas newspaper, representative of an overseas business, work permit, minister of religion, member of operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline.
- Long residence (SETLR) can be combined with any other visa on the condition that the applicant has resided legally and continuously in the UK for a minimum of 10 years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain Lawyers in Luton
The complexities of applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK are not to be underestimated. Whether planning ahead or in the midst of an ILR application, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Aristone Solicitors has one of the highest application success rates of any specialist IRL legal team in Luton. We’ll ensure that your application is backed by the complete and convincing evidence necessary to support your case. Whether applying for the first time or in need of legal advice following a refusal, we’re standing by to help in any way we can. Contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today to discuss your requirements in more detail.