What is indefinite leave to remain?
After a visa holder has lived in the UK for a given period, they can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), entitling them to live in the UK for as long as they wish. ILR is granted to those who have shown a commitment to the UK on a temporary visa.
There are strict requirements to qualify for ILR, but these five tips are designed to make you aware of potential pitfalls and make the process that bit easier.
Tip One – Make your Application at the Right Time
Although this may sound obvious, making your application at the wrong time can result in its immediate rejection. But when is the correct time?
Tip Two – Know your Visa
It is important you know what visa you have and the requirements that are imposed upon you under that visa.
In April 2015, a new income threshold rule was enacted. Under this new condition, those that hold a Tier 2 visa must be earning at least £35,000 a year at the time of your application.
This rule is only applicable to Tier 2 visa holders, but you should always if there are any terms of your residency in the UK that may affect your application.
Tip Three – Count your Holiday Days
The minimum of five years you must have spent in the UK must be ‘unbroken leave’. Meaning you must not have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK during any of the five years of your residency.
Spending more than 180 days outside of the UK throughout the year will break the continuous period, and you will need to start the qualifying period for settlement again.
Tip Four – Applicants for ILR must pass the Life in UK test and an English language test.
The Life in UK test is multiple-choice and lasts 45 minutes. The questions test your knowledge of the information in the Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents handbook/ Applicants need to pay a fee and book their test online at least seven days in advance. Guidance on preparing for the examination can also be found on the government website.
The English language test is to be taken at a test facility approved under Appendix O of the Immigration Rules. This requirement test is not applicable if you are from a country where the common language is English, a full list of these countries can be found at www.gov.uk.
Tip Five – Obey by the Laws and Regulations at all Times
It goes without saying that you should obey the laws and regulations of any country you are in, either as a tourist or resident. However, specifically in regard to applications, it has a significant influence.
To grant ILR, the applicant must be of good character. The government website explains what is meant by this in detail, but it is accepted that being of good character means respecting the rights and freedom of the country, observing its laws and fulfilling your duties as a resident. The results of criminal and financial checks carried out by the UK Border Agency are also considered.
Your First Step Towards British Citizenship.
Being granted ILR is the first step towards gaining British Citizenship. It is essential you take the time to research and prepare your application thoroughly. It if any doubt about your application or any of the required elements consult an experienced immigration solicitor for guidance.
For more information and legal advice visit Talk2Solicitors.co.uk to get expert advice from Immigration Solicitors.