A No Time Limit (NTL) application allows those who have old-style immigration documents or those who have lost them to upgrade to a biometric residence permit (BRP card) which can be used to confirm their existing UK immigration status. The Home Office has issued a reminder that since April 2022, it has been free for those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK to make an NTL application.
The key benefits of having a BRP Card include holders being able to prove their right to work in the UK and right to rent in England using free online services. A BRP also facilitates straightforward travel in and out of the UK.
Applications for NTL must be made in the UK on the NTL application form.
What is an NTL Application?
NTL is an administrative process by which a person with indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) can apply for confirmation of this status on a BRP Card. A person who has ILE or ILR is free of immigration time restrictions and considered to be ‘settled’ in the UK. A person may apply for an NTL BRP Card:
- where they have legitimately changed their identity or appearance since being granted ILR and want this confirmed on a BRP Card
- Where they have changed their nationality and want this confirmed on their BRP
- to upgrade their non-digital proof of ILR or ILE, for example, if they have a vignette in their passport, they can exchange this for digital confirmation of their status in the form of an NTL BRP
- if their passport containing an ILE, ILR or NTL endorsement has been lost, stolen or has expired
- where they are settled in the UK, but they do not have any documentary evidence to prove their status.
NTL Application Benefits
It is not mandatory for a person to apply for an NTL BRP but there are benefits to doing so, for example, an NTL BRP:
- has enhanced security features which cannot be found on an old-style vignette (sticker) which means there is less chance of it being used fraudulently by another person
- is evidence that a person has the right to stay permanently in the UK and has a right to work and access certain benefits
- it enables individuals to prove their right to work or rent using the Home Office online checking services, which are simple and secure and will need to be used by BRP holders from 6 April 2022
- will facilitate easy travel to and from the UK.
Who can apply for an NTL application?
In order to qualify for an NTL BRP, the applicant must:
- have indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, including those who were considered ‘settled’ in the UK on or before 1 January 1973
- have not lost their ILE or ILR (for example by being absent from the UK for a continuous period of 2 years or more since 2000)
- continue to be entitled to ILE or ILR (for example the ILE/ILR has not been or will not be revoked)
- apply from within the UK using an NTL application form
You do not need to apply for NTL BRP if you
- are a British citizen
- have the right of abode in the UK
- are an Irish citizen
- are a European Economic Area (EEA) national or a family member who acquired a right of permanent residence under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 before they were revoked on 31 December 2020 subject to certain savings provisions
- are an EEA national or their family member who has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
- have been granted permission on the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) route.
If a person has been outside the UK for more than 2 continuous years and has lost their indefinite leave, they can apply for re-admission to the UK as a returning resident. From 6 July 2018, a person with indefinite leave who has been outside of the UK for more than 2 continuous years, must apply for entry clearance as a returning resident.
NTL applicants can include the following dependants on their application form:
- Spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- children who are under the age of 18
Each dependant must hold indefinite leave status in their own right. And children aged 18 or over cannot be included as dependants and must apply separately.
How to apply?
Applications must be made from within the UK using an NTL application form on GOV.UK. To make a valid application you must submit your biometric information (photograph and fingerprints) at a local service centre.
NTL Application Documents
You can use the following documents to prove your ILR status in the UK:
- an indefinite leave to enter (ILE) endorsement
- an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) endorsement
- previous no-time-limit endorsements
- returning resident visas
- open date stamps after ILE/ILR has been granted
- a biometric residence permit (BRP) showing that you have ILE/ILR
You will need your passport confirming your identity, proof of ILR status (from the above-mentioned list). In case you are applying for an NTL BRP due to a change of name, you must provide additional documentation such as a change of name deed poll or a marriage certificate.
The Home Office caseworkers will review their records and files to check for evidence of indefinite leave in case you do not have proof of your status. For example, in a situation where you have lost your status documents.
Frequently asked questions
Once an NTL application has been submitted along with all supporting documents, you may have to wait up to 6 months for a decision from the Home Office. A well-prepared application is usually decided sooner. You may opt for priority services to speed up the process.
Mr A was granted ILR as an Indian national on the basis of long residence. He
subsequently marries a Canadian national and applies for naturalisation as a Canadian citizen which he is granted. As a result, he automatically loses his Indian nationality. Mr A applies for NTL as a Canadian citizen and provides evidence of this in the form of a Canadian passport as well as a letter from the Indian authorities that he has lost his Indian citizenship. In this example, Mr A should be granted an NTL BRP providing he meets all other requirements of the application process.