UK Visas Indefinite Leave to Remain
Being allowed to settle in the UK for the long term without needing to worry about extending visas is one of the last parts of a UK migrant’s journey and the final goal for so many of our clients. We love the excitement of helping people with the last parts of settling in the UK and the relief that comes with knowing that you can stay indefinitely.
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UK Visas ILR - When Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must have stayed in the UK for around 5 years. For some visas, such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Investor Visa, you are not required to stay for the full 5 year period. For information on when you can apply, it is best to speak to of our consultants directly to discuss your specific visa and residency timeframes.
During the continuous residency period, you can’t be outside the UK for more than 180 days in 1 year. If you have left the UK for more than the allowed 180 days, there may be an exception for compassionate reasons or serious illness. If your absence was due to work, your employer must send a confirmation to support your case.
Who is Eligible?
If you have stayed in the UK for 5 years under any of the following immigration categories, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain:
- Tier 1 General
- Highly Skilled Migrant Program
- Work Permit
- Self-Employed Lawyer
- Writer, Composer or Artist
- Tier 2 General
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion
- Tier 2 Sportsperson
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer
As part of the application process, you must also show that you can speak, read and write well in English and that you pass the knowledge of life in the UK test. There is also a points assessment as part of this application.
The English test for Indefinite Leave to Remain ensures that you have learned sufficient English in the UK over your time here to be able to live in any part of England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. To pass the test, you must be able to understand the main points within an English conversation – this will be based on things you encounter in day to day life. You must also demonstrate that you can deal with most situations that are likely to arise and that you can produce simple text on your own interests. You will also be asked to describe your own experiences and plans.
Is Anybody Exempt from the English Language or Life in the UK Tests?
Previously, some categories of migrant were exempt from either test. These included victims of domestic violence, bereaved partners of UK citizens, people of independent means, people who have been in the UK as a refugee, and European nationals. However, these exceptions change on a regular basis and have been updated, so it is always a good idea to presume that you will need to take these tests unless advised otherwise by a trained professional.