Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Once you have passed the Life in the UK test, you can start the process of completing your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Which form do I need?

The forms on which you have to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK can be found on the UKBA website. This page will lead you through a series of questions about your immigration status and will tell you which form you need.

The two main forms are listed below. Each form has a set of guidance notes. Make sure you read these while completing your form. They contain detailed instructions on how to successfully complete your application.

I have passed the Life in the UK test

If you have been required to take the Life in the UK Test it is likely that you will only need to use one of two possible forms.
  1. SET(M) - If you are applying as a spouse, civil partner, same sex or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK
  2. SET(O) – For most other applications
If you want to download the forms from the UKBA website then you will need Adobe Reader. You can get this for free by using the link on the right of this page. image

Form and guide SET(M)

Form SET(M) has the full title of Application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as the partner of a person present and settled in the UK. You can find guidance and answers to common questions about completing the form on the Completing application form SET(M) page of the UKBA website. Direct links to the form and the guidance document are below:
Form and guide SET(O)

Form SET(O) has the full, but not very helpful, title of Application for indefinite leave to remain in one of the categories listed below. The categories are listed below, for your information.

You can find guidance and answers to common questions about completing the form on the Completing application form SET(O) page of the UKBA website. Direct links to the form and the guidance document are below:You should use this form to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you are applying as any of the following:
  • a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa holder under the points-based system (This excludes applications made from the Post-study work category of Tier 1)
  • work permit holder or a Highly Skilled Migrant
  • innovator
  • businessperson
  • investor
  • self-employed lawyer
  • writer, composer or artist
  • ex-HM forces
  • bereaved partner
  • PBS dependant
  • not covered by other application forms

If you have been given temporary permission to remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or person settled here, and your partner has died, you can apply for settlement as a bereaved partner. You can make your application using form SET(O) immediately after your partner's death - you do not need to wait until you have been here for a certain length of time.

If you are in the UK for other purposes or reasons not covered by other application forms (excluding asylum), you should use the GOV.uk site to check what kind of application you should make. This includes applications for reasons of long residence in the UK, if you have been living continously in the UK for 10 years (or 14 years in some cases).

Waiting times

Note that these are not official statistics or agreed response times, and must be used as guidance only.

The Home Office advises that you should not to make any non-urgent travel arrangements until your passport(s) or travel document(s) have been returned.

Postal Applications: 95% of postal applications are decided within six months.

Applications made in person: 90% of applications made in person at a public enquiry office are decided on the same day.

Returning residents

Once you have been granted permanent residence (ILR) you may stay in the UK indefinitely so long as they do not leave the country for extended periods. The law states that you should not leave the UK for a period of over two years.

There is a risk that you may lose your permanent residence permit if you are absent from the UK for more than two years.

If you have been away for more than two years, then you must obtain entry clearance before attempting to enter the UK. If you don’t do this then there is a risk that you will be denied entry to the UK. You can apply for entry clearance at any British diplomatic post.

You may still be able to return to the United Kingdom to live if, for example, you have strong family ties here or have lived here most of your life.

You can find more information on the Returning residents page of the UKBA website.
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