Leave To Remain

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Leave to Remain in the UK explained

Leave to Remain is the status which is granted to someone who would not otherwise have the right to stay and/or work or study in the UK. It can be limited, discretionary or indefinite.

Limited Leave to Remain

Limited Leave to Remain is granted by application. Once you reach the end of the time permitted by the visa, you must either leave the country or apply for an extension. Renewal is generally required every 30 months.

Limited leave usually means that access to benefits such as payments and healthcare is prohibited, referred to as limited leave to remain with no recourse to public funds. In exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may remove this restriction, but usually you are expected to support yourself and any dependants without help. Other restrictions may also be imposed, for example in respect of work or study.

Discretionary Leave to Remain

The Secretary of State for the Home Office has the power to grant someone Discretionary Leave to Remain. This is given on compassionate grounds and in exceptional circumstances only. Application must be made from within the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as settlement or permanent residence, gives the holder the right to live and work in the UK without time limit, provided they do not commit a serious criminal offence. The holder is also usually entitled to access public funds, such as housing and social benefits, and may use the NHS.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

There are a number of ways in which you can be eligible for ILR, depending on the length of time you have been in the UK, the type of visa you hold, whether your spouse is from the UK and other criteria.

Applying can be complicated and you will need to provide documents to accompany your application form. These will usually include proof of identification, such as your passport or travel documents, your Biometric Residence Permit, bank statements, payslips, your employment contract, a letter from your employer confirming that you are still required in your position, any tenancy agreement or mortgage statement you may have, and utility and Council Tax bills.

It is important to understand which route to ILR you are following and to include the right documents, otherwise, your application may be rejected. Obtaining help from an experienced immigration lawyer who has handled many cases will ensure you have the best chance of success.

If you have made an application for ILR which has been rejected with no right to appeal, then you may be able to seek a judicial review of the decision. If this applies to you, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible as there are time restrictions.

You must have been granted ILR before you can apply for British citizenship. British citizenship can be applied for 12 months after ILR status is received, provided you have been resident in the UK during that time.

Yomi Oni-Williams has extensive experience in assisting clients to apply of various categories of Leave to Remain, ILR and British citizenship. If you would like our help in submitting a successful application, feel free to contact us to discuss.

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