Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)


An Indefinite Leave to Remain which is the UKs main Settlement Visa is the ultimate end-goal for many migrants who come to the UK.

Britain offers a wealth of opportunities, in terms of career, culture, and family life. So it is only natural that having invested five or more years in the UK, you will want to make the UK a permanent home for you and your family.

Politicians and interest groups, some supporting more immigration and others opposing increased entry into the UK, have caused the UK Government to increase requirements for migrants to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Yet, overall, the UK Government knows that it needs migrants to come to the UK not only for work but because migration brings many cultural and social benefits to the UK, look at cosmopolitan London for example.

Obinna Baranta

Obinna Baranta


Unfortunately, some civil servants, like Entry Clearance and other Visa Issuing offers, take the restrictions too far and try to reduce immigration to the UK and this can lead to unlawful or unfair refusals to grant visas when the applicant is in fact qualified to settle in the UK.

It is important to submit a carefully prepared and expertly reviewed application when it comes to ILR.

The visa fees are high and aside from paying more than once the delay from a refusal and appeal process can affect employment, business travels, planning and peace of mind.

Visa issuing officers have sometimes relied on the flimsy reasons to arbitrarily refuse applicants for ILF and these range can range from a minor or historical mistake on tax forms, to missing one pay slip, to insisting Tier 2 visa holders earn a minimum of £35,000 before they can apply when there are provisions that allow for flexibility where this amount has not been earned in the previous tax year.

Without doubt, it has become increasingly challenging for those who dream of settlement in the UK to achieve it, still, many are getting Indefinite Leave to Remain every day. Expert input always makes a positive difference here.

Liberty Bridge Solicitors’ ILR Solicitors have in-depth understanding of ILR requirements and consistently achieve incredibly high success rates for clients who are ready to settle in the UK.

By instructing us, you can be confident that your application will be managed with highest levels of skill, professionalism and client care.


The following migrants may be eligible to apply for ILR:

  1. Current holders of a working visa under the PBS system
  2. Current holders of a Dependent Visa or Partner Visa
  3. Long-term residents of the UK, i.e. those who have been in the country for ten years

To apply for ILR, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have held your visa continuously for five years (or have lawfully resided in the UK for continuous ten years)
  2. Show proof of your English language proficiency:
    Nationality from an English-speaking country
    OR An accepted English language degree
    OR Successfully passing an accredited English language test
  3. Pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test
  4. Meet the ‘continuous residency’ requirements
  5. Meet any minimum income requirements (if applicable)

It is important to note that ILR status can be revoked if you live outside the UK for more than two years.

Applications for ILR are paper based and you must ensure that the correct application form is chosen, depending in which immigration category you are eligible to apply for at any particular time.

It is best that all the information entered on your application form is accurate, verifiable and applicable to your case.

A fee must be paid to apply, and you do not get a refund if you are refused.

Common reasons for refusal of ILR applications include:

  1. Incorrect or incomplete application;
  2. Incorrect or insufficient documentation; or
  3. Failure to provide additional documents or information within a certain period of time, if you are requested by the UK Visas and Immigration to do so.

Experience solicitors at Liberty BridgeSolicitors will be happy to assist you with your ILR application by advising you from beginning to end.

If we identify any weaknesses in your case, for example, you have spent many months outside of the UK, we will ensure that this is addressed in our legal representations.

Our written representation submitted in support of your application to advocate for grant of ILR to you and or your family, may persuade the Secretary of State to use his discretion in your favour.

The Secretary of State, via his Entry Clearance Officers can be politely and respectfully reminded by us of the need for his office to act lawfully when considering your application.

Acting lawfully in this type of process, necessarily includes acting fairly and justly. For example, by overlooking minor or otherwise excusable inadequacies in your circumstances or your application, if the criteria in question is not fundamental.

The discretion granted to visa officials under the law exists because the law knows that individual circumstances will always vary and differ.

A good instance is where a person has lost important documents and evidence of their circumstances in a fire or theft incident. In this instance it would be unfair for the Home Office to insist on production of documents that cannot be produced when an affidavit or police report can confirm the loss of the documents.

Strong supportive inputs such as these are eloquently raised and addressed when we are involved in your application. Generally speaking, expert input will always enhances any applicants chance of success in grant ILR by UK Home Office.

You will need to provide the following documents when applying for ILR (Note: This is not an exhaustive list).

  1. Your passport;
  2. Evidence of your current leave to remain (i.e. your visa);
  3. Proof of any absences from the UK;
  4. Payslips from your employer to prove you meet the minimum income requirement of £35,000 or more, for those holding Tier 2 visas;
  5. Proof you meet the English language requirement and have passed the Life in the UK test.

The Indefinite Leave to Remain provides you and your family the opportunity to advance your secure status in the UK.

Those with ILR can live and work in the UK, free from visa restrictions.

You can also travel out of the UK without the fear of not being allowed to return.

Once ILR is granted, please ensure that you will not stay outside the UK more than a continuous period of 2 years.

Staying outside the UK for 2 year after your ILR is likely to result in losing your settlement status unless the Secretary of State for Home Department decides to exercise his discretion and accept an explanation from you.

Our experienced team can assist you and your family with the application process for ILR or an application to explain a stay of more than 2 years outside the UK in hope that the Secretary of State will use discretion to prevent expiry of your ILR because you stayed too long out of the country.

We have helped many grateful clients navigate through the process and our team will be glad to hear from you.

From your initial consultation with one of our solicitors, until you receive the decision on your ILRA application, we are ready to help make the entire experience worry-free and successful.

Generally, refusals can disrupt plans and ILR refusals can be devastating for applicants and families.

On many occasions, your life and plans are put on hold whilst the negative decision is being reconsidered or a new application is prepared and processed.

Our experts will move swiftly to advise you on your options and how to challenge any unlawful or unjustified Home Office decision to refuse your application.

Depending on the type of settlement visa you have applied for, e.g via being a spouse, other family member or a long term skilled worker, long term student, Tier 1 Investor Visa Holder or a Tier 2 Entrepreneur Visa Holder, one of the following options are possible solutions:

  1. Resubmitting your ILR application;
  2. Appeal against the decision;
  3. Lodge an Administrative Review (available to those applicants in the Point Based System category)
  4. Issue Judicial Review proceedings

We will advise you on the best steps to take based on your circumstances.

To be eligible for ILR, you must meet the continuous residency requirements.

This means that you must be in have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period.

The 180 days is roughly six months, a generous allowance that must not be violated.

However, those on a Tier 2 General Visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa are often caught out because they have to travel extensively for work.

If you consider this an issue, it is in your best interest to discuss your absences with our lawyers prior to making your application.

If you qualify for ILR prior to your spouse/partner and/or dependant children, they will need to continue on a points-based visa until they meet the continuous residency requirements.

You will need to ensure the maintenance requirements for your dependants are met.

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