Indefinite Leave to Remain For Australians

If you’re looking to settle in the UK permanently, Indefinite Leave To Remain (often abbreviated to ILR) is the immigration status to aim for, allowing no restrictions for those afforded it. For many migrants moving to the UK, obtaining Indefinite Leave To Remain is their goal. Here, we cover off the basis on how this works for those who hold Australian citizenship.

Total Law help Australians move to the UK by offering legal guidance and advice throughout the whole process. Call our office today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to speak with a specialist immigration solicitor and start navigating your way to British citizenship and Indefinite Leave To Remain.

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    What is Indefinite Leave to Remain In The UK?

    Indefinite Leave To Remain is considered the final legal status of a migrant to the UK – permitting permanent settle status in the country with a clear pathway to British citizenship and no immigration restrictions. Indefinite Leave To Remain usually extends to immediate family members of a migrant where they have already been living legally with them in the UK.

    Once an individual has been granted Indefinite Leave To Remain, they may live, study and work within the UK as well as access the NHS (National Health Service) free at point-of-entry and public funds such as benefits.

    There will be no travel restrictions on the individual providing they are not leaving the country for long periods of time, and after one year of being permitted Indefinite Leave To Remain, they may apply to become a British citizen.

    As both the UK and Australia allow dual citizenship, an Australian migrant with Indefinite Leave To Remain status may become a British citizen without revoking their existing nationality.

    For migrants who wish to settle permanently in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, Indefinite Leave To Remain is usually their goal as it permits restriction-free life and almost always results in citizenship being granted.

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    UK Indefinite Leave to Remain Requirements And Eligibility

    The exact requirements for an individual to qualify for Indefinite Leave To Remain differ depending on the immigration route the applicant is taking, as well as what kind of visa for legal residence in the UK they already hold. However, the following can be considered general eligibility criteria for all:

    • To have held lawful residence in the UK for a certain period of time (usually two, three or five years)
    • To have committed no breach of immigration laws while in the UK
    • To hold no criminal record
    • To have spent no longer than 180 days in a 12-month period out of the country during the ‘qualifying period’ (that is, the period in which the applicant has been living in the UK)
    • To hold written, spoken, listening and speaking British English skills to a B1 level on the Common European Framework of Languages
    • To pass a ‘Life In The UK’ test – an examination on British history, traditions and culture

    There are some exemptions to Indefinite Leave To Remain, whereby the individual will not need to undergo the standard application process. This includes:

    • Those eligible for British citizenship by descent
    • Dependents aged under 18 who have a parent, carer or guardian who is a British citizen or who hold settled status
    • Dependents aged over 18 who are reliant on the long-term care of a family member who is a British citizen or who hold settled status
    • Refugees who have resettled in the UK under the Gateway Protection Program

    The Different Routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain

    The initial eligibility requirement to obtain ILR status is to be legally living in the UK already. This must be under an appropriate visa that allows for the individual to go on to apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain. As of February 2024, visas which offer the route to ILR are:

    • Spousal Visa or Unmarried Partner Visa
    • Family Visa or Ancestry Visa
    • Global Talent Visa
    • Tier 1 Investor Visa
    • Innovator Visa
    • Start-Up Visa
    • Skilled Worker Visa
    • T2 Sportsperson Visa
    • T2 Minister of Religion Visa
    • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
    • Retired Person Visa
    • Long Residence Visa
    • Returning Resident status

    An individual who has served with the British Armed Forces may apply for ILR status without one of the above visas.

    There are separate application routes for Indefinite Leave To Remain for those who have lived in the UK for 10 years or more, those who have a British citizen spouse who has passed away or those who have a spouse that holds British citizenship but has had to leave the household due to domestic abuse.

    As Commonwealth residents, Australian citizens may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain without holding a current and valid visa if they have:

    • A parent who held British citizenship at the time of their birth or adoption
    • A partner to whom they are legally married who holds ‘right of abode’ in the UK

    Indefinite Leave To Remain Application Fees

    There are several fees payable during the application process for Indefinite Leave To Remain. The ILR status application fee is £2,389 as of February 2024. This fee applies to all family members covered by the application.

    Furthermore, it costs £19.20 to register biometric information. If applicants request an expedited processing service (known as ‘priority service’), a further £500 can be paid for a turnaround of 5 working days, or £800 for 1 working day.

    These fees do not include any associated costs such as copying or printing relevant documents or travel to an immigration office, and are considered entirely separate to the costs of visas.

    Applying for Indefinite Leave To Remain is expensive and if not completed correctly, the application will be rejected with no refund. It is always recommended therefore, that applicants seek specialist advice to help them progress through the process. Call Total Law today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak to expert immigration lawyers.

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      UK Indefinite Leave To Remain Application Process

      The application process for Indefinite Leave To Remain status varies slightly dependent on the route being taken, but the following can be considered a general outline for all:

      1. Complete the relevant application form

      The GOV.UK website has two forms online for ILR status applications: Form Set (M) for those applying as a partner of a British citizen or parent of a child with settled status, and Form Set (O) for all other applications. This form must be completed wholly and copies of any supporting documentation required submitted virtually.

      2. Pay the application fee and biometric resident permit fee

      The application fees must be paid at this point. It is clearance of these funds that will initiate the processing of the application.

      3. Book an appointment at a UKVCAS office

      At this point, the applicant may book an appointment at their nearest UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services office. It is at this appointment their biometric information will be provided (usually fingerprints and a photo) and documentary evidence can be provided physically.

      4. Receive a UKVI interview invitation

      In some circumstances, the applicant will be invited by the UK Visa service for a further interview. This may be random.

      5. Respond to any further information requests

      If the applicant is contacted by UKVI for any further information, they should respond in a timely manner.

      6. Await decision

      Once a decision has been reached, UKVI will contact the applicant with their decision in writing.

      If you need help with any part of the application process to obtain ILR status, Total Law’s team of solicitors can help. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

      UK Indefinite Leave To Remain Application Processing Time

      Priority services are available for those who wish their application for Indefinite Leave To Remain to be processed quickly, but there is a significant premium to pay for such services.

      While there is no set SLA for applications to be processed, it takes on average six months for applications to progress from the UKVCAS appointment to approval or rejection.


      How Can Total Law Help?

      Indefinite Leave To Remain is not an easy nor cheap immigration status to obtain and it is always recommended that applicants seek legal advice to help guide them through the process. To be granted settled status in the UK is a great route to then acquire British citizenship and so those looking to permanently reside in the country should find the most appropriate path possible to apply.

      Total Law is a team of British immigration lawyers based in the UK who specialise in guiding individuals through the process of applying to live, work, study and settle. Offering guidance from start to finish through every step of the process, our lawyers help Australian and other Commonwealth citizens begin their journey to the UK daily.

      Call our team now on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, for a jargon-free discussion on your circumstances with no obligation to proceed. No matter how niche your application, we can help!

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Australia remains a Commonwealth state and so if an Australian national obtains British nationality and continues as a dual citizen, they will not lose this status. However, as Britain is technically a Commonwealth state albeit not a member one, British citizens already count as a qualifying Commonwealth citizen.

                The UK fully recognises same-sex marriage and provided that a couple are legally married in the country where the ceremony took place, and are able to provide evidence as such, this will be considered a genuine relationship for the purposes of a spousal visa or family member visa.

                Most visas don’t allow for their holders to access state benefits or public funds. However, once an individual has been granted Indefinite Leave To Remain, they reserve the right to public funds as required whenever they are eligible.

                The High Commission of Australia is the primary diplomatic mission of Australia in the UK. It’s located in Australia House, Strand, London WC2B 4LA. Australian citizens are always welcomed but in most circumstances you will require an appointment.

                Settled status is simply another term for the immigration status that allows permanent leave to remain in the UK.

                Not all applications for Indefinite Leave To Remain are accepted. Where an applicant is eligible on all criteria they must take care not to leave the UK for too long a time during the ‘qualifying period’.

                One of the most common reasons for applications to be declined is that an individual has travelled out of the country for more than 180 days in a one-year period. You will not be granted indefinite leave is this ‘180 day’ rule is breached.