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How do I prove my Indefinite Leave to Remain status?

Indefinite Leave to Remain is the coveted status those from overseas aim for, to be able to permanently settle in the UK. As an applicant, you may want to know how you prove your right to reside – our blog post can tell you how.

For high-quality immigration advice, contact our team on 0333 305 9375.


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    What is Indefinite Leave to Remain? 

    Indefinite Leave to Remain is an immigration status that gives the holder leave to remain in the UK with no time or immigration restrictions. You must have been living in the UK for at least five years before applying to meet the residence requirement. Due to its stability and lack of restrictions, in comparison to other visas, it is often the route aimed for by foreign nationals looking to settle in the UK. If you are given ILR, you are regarded as “settled” in the UK.

    An applicant must also:

    • Pass an English Language Test at B1 level (or have relevant academic qualifications)
    • Have no absences longer than 180 days in any given 12 month period
    • Pass the Life in the UK test
    • Lawfully living in the UK with no breaches of immigration restrictions or convictions

    This list is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many complex regulations and requirements to meet to successfully apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. You should always seek legal advice for your specific circumstances.

    ILR refusal

    How do I prove I have Indefinite Leave to Remain? 

    There are a few ways to prove your Indefinite Leave to Remain status. These can include:

    • Biometric Residence Permit
    • A No Time Limit stamp on your passport
    • A letter from the Home Office confirming your ILR status
    • An Indefinite Leave to Enter stamp on your passport

    A Biometric Residence Permit will usually act as your proof of “right to reside” and your immigration status. It will include all your personal details to prove your identity:

    • Name
    • Date and place of birth
    • Fingerprints
    • A photograph

    What if I don’t have documentary evidence of ILR?

    If you don’t have a Biometric Residence Permit when you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will need to apply for one as part of your application. You will need to usually pay £19.20 and either attend an appointment at a visa centre or apply online.

    If you have made an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, but don’t have a BRP, you can make a No Time Limit application (NTL) to transfer your status to your BRP. There is no time limit on making this application. You could need to do so in instances such as:

    • Your passport has been lost, stolen, or expired
    • You have changed your identity
    • The applicant has had ILR status from before 1973 and therefore do not have any documentary evidence

    An identity change may include a change of name or gender for example and will need to be supported with documentary evidence.

    It is open to anyone who has continuing Indefinite Leave to Remain and have not lost their status, except for European nationals who have received settled or pre-settled status.

    Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      Making a ‘No Time Limit’ application to your Biometric Residence Permit

      To make an NTL application, you will need to fill out the relevant forms and pay a fee. It is not legally required for you to make this application, however it does come with certain benefits:

      • More security as it is linked to fingerprints and not as vulnerable to being used by another person
      • Evidence of right to work, study and live in the UK
      • Evidence to apply for benefits
      • Enables the holder to travel outside the UK without as heavy immigration restrictions

      You can make applications for any dependents, including partners and children, on your application at the same time. You are able to make the application for NTL online. You will need to provide documents that confirm your identity and some form of evidence of your ILR status.

      If you do not have enough evidence, the Home Office’s own guidance states the official must search all available databases for information to confirm your identity and your immigration status including their central reference system, Home Office files, and application forms. Be prepared for them to apply more scrutiny to your case.

      What happens if my application for NTL is refused? 

      Again, it is really important to note that it is not mandatory to make an application for NTL. However, if you have made an application, it can be refused on the basis of:

      • Not enough other evidence of indefinite leave
      • False documents or details have been submitted
      • A change of identity cannot be confirmed to be genuine or being used for all identification purposes, for example, identity could be recorded differently on other documents
      • Indefinite Leave to Remain status has been lost or has lapsed

      In these instances, similarly to if your application is accepted, you will receive your notification by post.

      You will have no right to appeal if your application is refused.

      How can the Immigration Advice Service help 

      For guidance and advice on whether to make a No Time Limit application to confirm your Indefinite Leave to Remain status, you can entrust your case to our professional and highly qualified team of immigration specialists.

      Contact us for more information on 0333 305 9375 or fill out our contact form at the top of the page and a team member will be in touch. We will be able to match you with a lawyer that is the most suitable for your case.


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