Indefinite Leave to Remain FAQs

by | Jul 15, 2022 | Indefinite Leave to Remain, UK Immigration, UK Settlement

Updated on 10 October 2023

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is an immigration term that means permanent residency or settlement in the UK. It is widely known that the ILR status allows you to live, work or study in the UK without restrictions on the length of stay and without the need to apply for a visa extension. In this post, we cover the lesser-known (but still important) aspects of ILR including the rights it gives you, how you can prove your ILR status and how it can be lost. 

How do I prove that I have Indefinite Leave to Remain status?

There are several ways in which you can prove that you have ILR. This may be documented as:

  • a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Your BRP will display either ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, ‘Indefinite Leave to Enter’, or ‘No Time Limit’
  • a No Time Limit (NTL) stamp in your passport (expired or otherwise), stating ‘There is at present no time limit on the holder’s stay in the United Kingdom’
  • an Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) stamp in your passport (expired or otherwise), stating ‘Given indefinite leave to enter the United Kingdom’
  • an ILR stamp in your passport (expired or otherwise)
  • an ILR endorsement in your passport (expired or otherwise)
  • a letter from the Home Office confirming your right to remain indefinitely in the UK.

What if I do not have a document to prove that I have ILR?

If you have ILR but do not have a document to prove it, you can apply for confirmation of this status in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You can do this through an administrative process called a no-time limit (NTL) application. 

To discuss your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain with an experienced immigration adviser, contact our team on 0208 757 5751 or complete our contact form

Do I need permission to work in the UK once I have ILR?

Once granted ILR status, you can take up new employment, self-employment or engage in any business. Further, any restrictions previously placed on your hours or type of employment are lifted. For example, students can only work 20 hours per week during their studies. 

Can I access UK healthcare if I have ILR?

Healthcare will be available to you if you have ILR and are ordinarily resident, meaning that you are habitually and usually resident in the UK, and any absences have been of a temporary or occasional nature. For more information, read the government’s guidance or see the video on NHS entitlements and health care for migrants. 

Can I sponsor my family members to join me in the UK once I have ILR? 

Family members who are not British citizens may be able to join you in the UK. Different rules depend on what type of family member they are, for example, partner, child, parent, or adult coming to be cared for by a relative.

What if I have a child born in the UK after I have been granted ILR?

If you have a child who is not a British citizen, but who was born in the UK on or after 01 January 1983, they may be able to register as a British citizen once you have Indefinite Leave to Remain. Any child born to you in the UK while you remain settled here may be a British citizen automatically at birth.

Can I access public funds once I have Indefinite Leave to Remain? 

If you have ILR, you have access to public funds. 

Can I vote in the UK once my ILR application has been approved?

If you have ILR, you can only vote in national and local elections and referenda in the UK if you fulfil the age requirement for registration and are not subject to any other legal incapacity. 

Do I still need to register with the police once settled in the UK?

After you are granted ILR, you will not need to register with the police even If you were previously required to do so. Your police registration certificate will be stamped to show this.

Can I lose my ILR status?

It is possible to lose ILR in certain circumstances. If you commit a serious crime and are deported from the UK, your ILR will be invalidated. Further, under Paragraph 20 of the Immigration Rules, your ILR will lapse if you stay outside the UK for more than two years, as you will be considered no longer present and settled in the UK. If you wish to re-enter the UK after two years, you must apply for a Returning Resident visa.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Advice

Our immigration advisers regularly assist foreign nationals settling in the UK with their families. The financial requirement rules are complex and include mandatory requirements in the documentary evidence that must be provided to demonstrate access to the relevant funds.

Our UK Settlement lawyers can provide a no-obligation assessment of your prospects of qualifying for an ILR Application or professional advice or assistance with preparing a settlement application. 

At Whytecroft Ford, we know that accurate and timely advice could make all the difference in the world. We are a highly driven professional team that provides clear and reliable immigration advice to individuals applying for a UK settlement. We apply our extensive knowledge and expertise to our client’s needs.

Related links 

More frequently asked questions

What documents do I need for an ILR application?

For an ILR application, you will need some of the following documents (these will vary depending on your personal circumstances) :
– A passport or other valid travel document
– The information that details periods of absence
– Proof of English language ability (if applicable)
– Life in the UK test information
– A Biometric Residence Permit (if one has been issued to you)
– Financial information
– Accommodation information
– Evidence which proves cohabitation (if the application is through the partner route)
– Birth certificates of any dependents if you are including them in your application

How many days before I can apply for ILR?

You can submit your ILR application up to 28 days before you will reach the qualifying period of continuous residence.

How long is ILR valid?

ILR status will not expire, but it can be lost in certain circumstances. BRPs, as proof of ILR status, are issued for ten years.

Is ILR the same as Settled Status?

A person with unlimited leave granted by virtue of Appendix EU is able to leave the UK for five years without their settled status lapsing (or four years if the person is a Swiss national). However, a person with ILR can only leave the UK for two years before their ILR will lapse.

Can I change from 10 years route to 5 years route?

If you are currently on the 10-year partner route and your circumstances change, this means you are now able to meet the requirements for the 5-year partner route, you can apply to switch to the 5-year route via Form FLR (M).

How much does ILR cost?

Presently the Home Office fee for an ILR application made in the UK is £2,885. You can find the latest fee updates on the UK government website.

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