Immigration Applications - What You Need To Know
The UK is likely to be the place where you've found your friends, developed your career and grown a family. Living without the right to reside permanently can feel as though you're in a constant state of limbo, forever with the niggling doubts about your immigration status.
Settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can finally give you the freedom to live with the full security and peace of mind that you're free of immigration controls.
Why Do We Want to Help?
Immigration law is a set of rules and regulations – but these complex rules have the capacity to completely upturn a person's everyday life. The UK's immigration system can be almost impossible to navigate alone – and we want to help break these complex rules down for you to help you get the result you need.
We want to make sure you secure indefinite leave to remain, free of any stress and uncertainty.
With ILR applications, it's really important that you get your application right first time. We help with every step of the process; from advising on your initial chances of success, to supporting your application and any appeals if necessary.
Our Immigration Law team are leading experts in ILR applications; we know that you need clear advice and straightforward solutions.
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
If you live in the UK but are subject to immigration controls you may be able to apply to reside permanently if you satisfy certain conditions. This is called Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Settlement.
If your application for ILR fulfils the criteria and is successful, you will no longer have to live in accordance with immigration restrictions; you are free to stay in the UK indefinitely.
Reasons to Seek Legal Help With Your Application
- The Requirements are Strict
You need to be well informed when making an application to ensure it is watertight. If you risk getting your application wrong, you risk losing not only the money it costs to apply, but your opportunity to get ILR. Specialist legal advice is one way of getting a clear answer on your eligibility.
- The Process Can be Confusing
There are many different routes to gaining ILR and the decision can depend entirely on your individual situation. The system is very complex and getting your head around this by yourself can be incredibly difficult. Simpson Millar's Immigration solicitors will guide you through the process step-by-step, breaking down any legal jargon so you are fully informed.
- Expert Advice Saves You Time and Stress
Professional help can make sure you don't face any unnecessary delays processing your application and prevent any mistakes that could be costly further on down the line. We'll make sure you know exactly where you stand and help your application run as smoothly as possible.
Funding Legal Help for Your Settlement Application
When you're already facing the pressures of impending visa deadlines and application fees, finding the money to pay for legal help can be the last thing you want to think about.
With immigration issues, it can feel that application fees crop up left, right and centre. At Simpson Millar, we make sure that our legal fees are completely clear and transparent – we don't hide our costs and you'll be made fully aware of our pricing structures – giving you one less thing to worry about.
Our Immigration Law Experts Offer:
- Fixed Fees – We offer a number of fixed fee packages that can meet your needs. You'll have complete certainty over your legal costs from the outset.
- Bespoke Payment Options – Our specialists can tailor the service you require exactly to your needs. For some people, fixed fee options aren't suitable for the complexity of the circumstances. In these situations we can offer bespoke services or hourly rates.
We want to make sure that you can access the help you need, without uncertainty over fees making worse an already stressful time.
How the Application Process Works
Applying for settlement can be complicated; you need to meet deadlines, make payments, and fulfil a certain criteria. We specialise in Indefinite Leave to Remain applications and know this process inside-out. Whilst we would walk you through your individual application in detail, here is some information about how it works.
Passing a Life in the UK Test
Before you are able to make your application for ILR you must have passed the following tests:
This requirement only applies to people who are applying for settlement and between the ages of 18 and 65. There are other exceptions in certain cases, domestic violence victims, adult dependant relatives and bereaved spouses are exempt categories to name a few.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
It's important to be aware early on that any settlement application is subject to conditions; your application can be rejected if you've previously breached immigration laws, have unspent convictions, if you've spent too much time outside the UK or have included false information in your application.
The date at which you need to apply for ILR depends on the type of visa you have and when it expires.
Keeping in Line With Expiry Dates
Applications must be made before your current visa expires, you could be classed as an over stayer if not, and have your application refused because of this. It is advisable to seek legal help and start preparing your application well in advance of this date.
Your Visa and When You Can Apply
There are 2 main routes to settlement:
- 5 years residence
- Long residence (10 years)
If You've Been in the UK for 5 Years
After 5 years residence in the UK, some Family Migrants and Points Based System Migrants and their dependents can apply to settle permanently. If you have received International Protection as Refugees or Humanitarian Protection, you can also apply to settle after 5 years residence.
If You've Been in the UK for 10 Years
If you have spent 10 years continuous, lawful residence in the UK under any combination of visa categories, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
It is important to seek legal help before you put your application in; our Immigration Solicitors advise applicants from the outset of the chances of success and offer support on how an application can be best prepared.
We also work with you to figure out the course of action that's most suitable for your situation; if you aren't ready to apply for ILR we can provide support with any alternative options available to you.
Do Need to Extend Your Visa Instead?
Settlement is often seen as the final hurdle and the ultimate aim for many people. Under certain visas, you have no choice but to move onto another visa category or spend longer in the UK before you can apply for ILR, but some hopeful applicants who feel they satisfy the rules can still find themselves tripped up during the process. In these situations it can be more appropriate to extend a visa.
Reasons for this can include:
- Enough time hasn't passed following a criminal conviction – If you have received a criminal conviction this can be a ground for refusing ILR. People are often caught out because a time period even applies with very minor offences, such as speeding or being caught using a mobile whilst driving; in these situations you must wait for 3 years to pass to apply for ILR.
- You need your passport – You must surrender your passport whilst your application is being processed, as this can sometimes take as long as 6 months, it may not be convenient to apply for ILR at this time. You may be eligible apply for a same day decision but there can be a waiting list to book this in, this is also not available for all application types.
- You haven't passed the language and life in the UK tests – You must sit and pass these tests otherwise your application will be rejected. Whilst it's best to be prepared, the English language providers change regularly so it is not worth sitting these tests until you're ready to apply.
Planning ahead and seeking legal advice before you put in application can prevent you applying for ILR when there are stumbling blocks ahead of you.
Our Immigration Law team will consider all your circumstances and can you let you know whether you have the chance of a successful ILR application, or whether you need to extend your visa and plan ILR at a later date.
How Long Does An ILR Application Take?
Waiting to hear about whether your ILR application has been successful can be nerve wracking. It can take up to 6 months for the Home Office to process your application, during which time you'll need to surrender your passport. Your application may be processed sooner, but there may also be delays, for example if you need to attend an interview or if documents need to be verified.
You can apply for a same day decision by visiting a visa premium service centre - this costs an extra £500 and you must book an appointment in advance. You can find out more about this service here: https://www.gov.uk/ukvi-premium-service-centres/book-an-appointment.
If Your Application Has Been Refused
Your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain could be refused if it's found that;
- The Home Office has made a case working error,
- You do not meet the immigration rules,
- You have made false representations or submitted false documents,
- You are subject to a deportation order,
- You have been convicted of an offence.
If your application has been refused, you will receive written notice explaining the reason for refusal and whether you have the right to appeal the decision. There is the chance you may be given no right of appeal, or only limited rights.
Having your application refused can be shocking and it can throw you into a state of confusion about your future and how you can resolve this situation.
We have proven expertise in supporting our clients with appeals; we work efficiently to have unfair refusals withdrawn and to fight cases tirelessly should they need to reach the Immigration Tribunal.
Can You Lose Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Once you have been granted ILR, you do have the right to reside permanently in the UK. But, this doesn't mean that your ILR can't be revoked. In certain limited situations your status can be lost. This includes:
- If you have left the UK for over 2 years – Your status may be lost in this case, but it is possible to reapply,
- If it's later found that you obtained leave through deception,
- You have committed an offence that could lead to deportation.
Rights of appeal if your ILR has been revoked can be limited. If the status of your ILR is in question, it's vital that you seek immediate legal help to resolve this situation.
People We Have Helped
Below are some examples of clients we have helped with Indefinite Leave to Remain and Permanent Residence applications and appeals:
Securing ILR Despite Difficulties Meeting Financial Requirements
We supported a family where the husband was British and the wife was from Iraq, they have 4 children together who are all British citizens.
The wife had a very complicated immigration history and they had difficulties meeting the financial requirements under the Immigration Rules.
We advised on her current financial situation, the documents she would need to provide and when her application for indefinite leave would need to be made. We went on to prepare the application along with strongly worded legal representations.
With the benefit of our informed professional help, her application was successful and Indefinite Leave to Remain was granted. After this she also came back to us to help her secure naturalisation as a British Citizen.
Successful ILR Application for Individual with Humanitarian Protection
Our client was a Zimbabwean national who had been living in the UK for many, many years. He had quite a complex immigration history, and after living in the UK with humanitarian protection he wished to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
We provided advice on his circumstances and went on to help with his application – his application was successful and we later went on to support him with an application for British Citizenship.
Support Following a Permanent Residency Application Refusal
We recently helped a family member of a European national living in the UK; our client was an Iraqi national who had lived in the UK a number of years before marrying an EEA national.
As a family member of an EEA national, he was able to apply for Permanent Residence having now lived in the UK for 5 years with his wife. He applied, but this was refused. Permanent Residence follows the same process as an Indefinite Leave to Remain application, however applies to EEA nationals.
The reason given was that they had not provided enough evidence to show his EEA national wife had resided in the UK for the 5 year period in accordance with the rules; they also weren't satisfied with information given on temporary incapacitation during the time span. This case was complicated and he came to see us to help him with an appeal against the Home Office refusal.
With our support, his case didn't even need to go to appeal – we convinced the Home Office to withdraw the refusal and to grant Permanent Residence.
Picking the right solicitor to work with you is important; immigration law is incredibly complex and subject to change and having the right person to support your case makes a world of difference.
Emma Brooksbank is Partner and Head of Immigration at Simpson Millar. Emma is known for her expertise in handling Indefinite Leave to Remain applications and successfully supports individuals with highly complex immigration issues.
Emma's clients describe their experience of working with her:
"Emma represented me to successfully obtain both my Limited Leave and Indefinite Leave to Remain. The first stage was a very long drawn out case which Emma helped me to fight. She went out of her way to ensure that I was always kept up to date on any changes to case and chased up the Home Office on many occasions.
Given the complexity of the case, Emma always provided me with helpful advice that was easy to understand and she assisted me in choosing the best avenue to take. Emma was always very empathetic and approachable. When she first took on my case I was still based in Leeds but I later moved to Manchester and continued to use her services. Her expertise and understanding of immigration law gave me confidence for a positive outcome. I was happy to travel between the 2 cities for follow-up appointments etc. because I knew that my case was in very capable hands.
I would HIGHLY recommend Emma to anyone that requires representation including my friends and family. Thank you Emma for all your hard work, without you I wouldn't be in the better position that I find myself in."
"I was very satisfied with the service that Emma provided. We had very good communication about my case, which was what I expected. It had achieved the outcome that I was hoping as well.
Emma had told me very clearly what I needed to consider and know at different stages. It made me understand what was going on, what I needed to do and how long about I needed to wait.
I very much appreciated the professionalism of Emma. She was very patient, considerate and supportive to deal with my questions and worries during the time of handling my case. As a client who didn't have any knowledge about immigration law and procedures, it was very important as it's like a leading stick to show me the direction. On the other hand, her sense of responsibility was impressed me a lot. I could even get her reply by email out of office hour.
I definitely will recommend to others who I know and need the service."
By choosing Simpson Millar to support your application, we help to make what is usually a difficult process far more straightforward and easy to understand. We follow a clear process so that you know exactly where you stand and are fully informed throughout.
After getting in touch with us, we'll meet you for an initial discussion about your immigration history and how we can help you get the outcome you want.
- We have offices nationwide that you can visit, we can arrange a home visit, or you can correspond with us via telephone or email; whichever you are most comfortable with
- We'll then draft a letter of advice which sets out your options and how we can help you
- In preparation for your application, we will help you to get your documents in order and advise on whether further information is needed
- We will draft a strongly worded letter of representation to support your application
- We submit your ILR application and will continue to fully manage your case and any difficulties that may arise until a decision is reached.
Get in Touch With Simpson Millar's Immigration Experts
Our Immigration Team at Simpson Millar is committed to achieving positive results for our clients. Having represented many individuals with complicated immigration issues, we know the difficulties and stress caused by uncertainties over your right to live permanently in the UK.
By supporting Indefinite Leave to Remain applications, we are able to help people like you finally achieve peace of mind over your immigration status.
If you are hoping to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, our specialists will guide you through your options to help you get the outcome you need; we provide clear, straightforward advice and expert representation to support your application.
We can speak your language and offer all our Immigration Services in Polish, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi and French.
Contact our solicitors now to get the immigration advice you need. Complete our no obligation online enquiry
form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on freephone: 0808 129 3320.