Welcome to First Migration. First Migration is a private OISC registered company (F200700083) which is not the official government body and is not affiliated with it. As a private company we specialise in guaranteeing both our individual and corporate clients UK visas are approved first time without exception. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can so by visiting the official UKBA website.
Settlement / ILR
- Everything you could want to know about ILR all in one place
- We guarantee your ILR approval and all fees for your ultimate peace of mind
- Why go anywhere else when you can use the UK's leading ILR specialists
New! Premium Checking Service - call us now!
To try and help our clients cope with the very high increase in the UKBA government fee, First Migration is pleased to announce that we have launched our new Premium Checking service. This service includes us securing you a Premium appointment and checking your application for a heavily discounted fee. Why not call us today for more details or click on the “Our Services” tab on the top toolbar?
News: ILR went Biometric from 29th February 2012!
From 29th February 2012 the UK Border Agency has included ILR visas in the new Biometric system which means that all clients will now have to have their digital fingerprints and photograph taken by UKBA officials before they will grant the visa. Please also note that the new visas will be in the form of an ID card and no paper visa will be issued in the passport anymore.
Clients that wish to apply for their ILR visa after this date should also be warned that due to the massive increase in the number of people that will need their Biometrics taken, the number of Premium appointments at the Public Enquiry Office (PEO) will be drastically reduced. As there are a very limited number of appointments released by the UKBA, we recommend that you call us ASAP on 0203 178 2048.
Changes to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) rules on 6th April 2011...
From 6th April 2011, the UK Border Agency has changed the immigration rules for anyone applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa (aka Permanent Residency).
There have been two types of changes:
Changes that affect all applicants that are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain;
Changes that affect only those on a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Work Permit applying for ILR
Changes affecting all applicants
The following two changes affect everyone:
Criminal Convictions/Traffic Offenses/County Court Judgements (updated April 2013): In December 2012, the UK Border Agency amended the immigration rules for the hundredth time since 2010 in their concerted effort to stop migrants in the UK attaining Indefinite Leave to Remain. This particular change to the immigration rules saw the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) being removed and substantial case worker guidance being issued stating whether different issues clients face no longer enable them to qualify for ILR. Migrants in the UK MUST now always declare any legal issues they may have had whenever applying for any UK visa. The UKBA case workers will now always take into consideration any issues you have had with regard to the law (both civil and criminal) when deciding on whether to grant ILR or British Citizenship.
The new internal policy guidance covers issues such as all traffic offenses, Police cautions, County Court Judgements, fines in court and those applicants that have any sort of criminal record. The sheer breadth of the policy guidance means that it is not possible to cover every situation on this webpage but all clients should be aware that even traffic offenses may mean that you cannot qualify for a period from 1 year to 3 years from the date of conviction/judgement.
Rest assured that all of our immigration consultants have learned and fully understood all the changes and can assess your specific situation in one phone call. Should you have any concerns about any issues you have had in the UK, please call us on 0203 178 2048 and we can help you to plan ahead to resolve these issues.
Your wife or husband must have spent 2 years (or 5 years if they applied for their visa after 9th July 2012) living in the UK with you before they now qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain – before the changes we just had to declare any dependents and they would be granted ILR with the main applicant regardless of their length of time in the UK. We now have to prove that your husband or wife (dependent) has been living at the same address as you (the main applicant) for no less than 2 years (or 5 years) before they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This rule can be quite complicated and confusing so feel free to give us a call and we can explain what you would need to do if your spouse has been here for less than 2 (or 5) years before you apply for ILR – 0203 178 2048.
Changes affecting clients applying for ILR who are currently on a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Work Permit visa
From 6th April 2011, the UK Border Agency has also specifically changed the process for any Tier 1, Tier 2 or Work Permit visa holder’s applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Changes affecting Tier 1 visa holders:
As an overview, any Tier 1 (General) clients applying for ILR will now have to satisfy the same points requirement they needed to qualify for their Tier 1 extension (i.e. 75 points if you got your first HSMP/Tier 1 visa before 6th April 2010 or 80 points if after). Effectively, they have combined your Tier 1 extension (yes, another one!) with the ILR process so you MUST make sure that your earnings are high enough in the last 12 months to now qualify for ILR!
Why not visist the Tier 1 (General) section of our website so you can work out how high your earnings will need to be and if you are not sure, why not call us on 0203 178 2048.
Changes affecting Tier 2/Work Permit visa holders:
Tier 2 visa holders now have to show that their earnings are as high as the minimum salary requirement under the UK Border Agency's "Codes of Practice for Tier 2 Sponsored Workers" (which can be found on their website). For example, this means that if you are working as a Marketing Manager and the minimum salary according to the UKBA is £40,000 per annum, your earnings will have to be £40,000 per annum for you to qualify for ILR.
You must check whether your gross earnings are high enough according to the UKBA's list. If they are not, you will not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you currently hold a Tier 1 General, Tier 2 or Work Permit visa and would like more information, please call us on 0203 178 2048.
Overview of Indefinite Leave to Remain (Permanent Residency)
What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is also known as "Permanent Residence" and almost all migrants in the UK aim for this visa status. With every type of visa, you are given a limited amount of time that you can lawfully remain in the UK. When your visa expires you will need to either extend your existing visa, switch to another visa or return to your home country. ILR allows a person after a set period of time (depending on the visa they are on – see table below) to make an application to remain in the UK indefinitely. The main benefits of ILR apart from ensuring that a person does not have to return home when their visa expires are as follows:
- No more immigration related restrictions on the business or work that you may do within the UK
- No time limits on the length of your stay in your UK
- You will not have to apply for anymore visa extensions
To qualify for ILR (also known as Permanent Residence), you will need to remain in the UK on your specific visa for a set amount of time. The number of years needed on a visa to qualify varies between the different visa categories as follows*:
Type of visa Time needed to gain Permanent Residency
Marriage/Spouse Visa 2 Years
Unmarried Partner Visa 2 Years
Tier 1 General 5 Years
Tier 1 Entrepreneur 5 years
Tier 1 Investor 5 years
Work Permit 5 Years
Ancestry Visa 5 Years
Writers, Composers and Artist Visa 5 Years
Lawful Stay on any Visa 10 Years
Unlawful stay or a combination of lawful and unlawful stay 14 Years
*Please note that you can technically apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 4 years and 11 months if you are on a Work Permit, a Tier 1 Visa (excluding Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa) or an Ancestry Visa. Likewise, if you are on a Marriage (Spouse) or Unmarried Partner Visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 1 year and 11 months. For those clients applying under the 10 Year Long Residence Rule, you can apply up to 28 days before you have stayed in the UK continuously for 10 years. This is possible as you have the right under the immigration rules to apply up to 28 days before your visa expires.
As well as having spent sufficient time in the UK, applicants will also need to have:
- Passed the life in the UK test (you are exempt if you qualify under the HSMP judicial review)
- Be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents
- Have suitable accommodation for yourself and any dependents
- Have a job that brings you in suitable regular income
How much time can you spend outside the UK?
On 13th December 2012, the UK Border Agency released a policy document in an attempt to clarify their policy regarding how much time you can spend outside if you are applying for ILR after 5 years in the UK (HSMP/Tier 1/Work Permit/Tier 2/Ancestry etc). The policy document states that you can spend up to 180 days outside the UK within a 12 month period and the 12 month periods are calculated back from the date you submit the ILR application.
Do not be fooled by this apparently drastic change in their policy. If you do the maths and take 179 days and multiply it by 5 you get 895 days. So theoretically you are now allowed away from the UK for 895 days in the 5 year period. Now considering that applicants were being refused if they spent more than 180 days outside the UK since 2009 (and we have helped thousands of applicants to get around this issue), we can assure you that this policy change is not as straightforward as it may appear. If you try and apply for your ILR having spent almost half your 5 year period outside the UK and you do not have some pretty good evidence to justify why you can expect your application to be refused.
So based on the few hundred ILR applications (and we only receive visa approvals as you know) we have submitted since December 2012, what amount of time can you spend outside the UK? Well for a start you no longer have to worry about the old 90 day rule which stated that you could not leave the UK for more than 90 days in one trip but keep it in mind and try to keep your individual trips below this number if possible. If we had a pound (a British pound in case you are wondering) every time the UKBA changed this policy we would not be able to assist you as everyone at First Migration would be living on a beach somewhere. In other words, the rules may have relaxed somewhat but they could change again at any time. As evidence of this fact and as a simplistic overview of changes, always remember that before 2009 you could leave for up to 450 days in total and not for more than 90 days in one go. From December 2009 to December 2012, the total allowed outside was secretly reduced to 180 days and now it has theoretically jumped to 895 days?!? You see what we mean?
Regards the total number of days outside the UK, try to keep your personal travel around a month a year if possible and you can take as many business trips as you need to but collect documentary evidence to prove the trips were for business. For example, get a letter from your employer confirming all the trips you have taken on their behalf so that we can effectively argue your case through and guarantee your ILR approval. Should you place your faith in First Migration, we will provide you with a perfectly worded letter template to make your life easier.
Oh and when calculating the number of days outside the UK always remember that you do not include the day you flew out of the UK and the day you returned in the total number of days. Under the immigration rules, a day outside is 24 hours and not a second less!
So to summarise, our clients do not have to worry about this issue as much now as they did before but your case still has to be argued and you must justify the trips you have taken with documentary evidence. We have tried to clarify everything above to the best of our ability but as everyone’s travel situation is different, we recommend that you call us (0203 178 2048) so we can give you proper, accurate advice about your specific situation.
So we have hopefully clarified the situation about the 5 year rule but what about the other routes to Indefinite Leave to remain? The rules are follows:
Applying after 2 years on a Spouse/Civil Partner visa:
Theoretically you should not leave for more than 36 days a year but due the nature of a Spouse/Civil Partner there is a degree of flexibility. Please call one of our consultants and they will be able to discuss this matter with you in greater detail - 0203 178 2048.
Applying after 10 years long residence:
You are allowed to be outside the UK for up to 540 days (18 Months) in the 10 years and must not have left the UK for more than 6 months (180 days) in one trip.
Now whatever you have read above does not apply to 10 year long residence applications. The rules are rigid and very little flexibility is shown so be warned. So if you wish to apply via this route to ILR, why not pick up the phone and give us a call to discuss your situation and let’s see how we can help you – 0203 178 2048.
On a final note and a top tip: We also recommend that you start to keep a diary of all the trips you take abroad as it may be difficult for you to remember all the times you have travelled over a five or ten year period. You will need this information when making your ILR application!
Please note that the above recommendations are only our guidelines and they can change at a moment’s notice but rest assured that we keep our website up to date with the latest information and more importantly pass on our practical experience based on securing thousands of ILR visa approvals.
If you would like one of our OISC registered ILR Experts to check your eligibility or you would like to proceed with an application, please submit a contact request at the top of this page or why not call us on +44 (0) 203 178 2048. We look forward to working with you to secure your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa.
Restrictions and Conditions
Should you successfully apply and be granted ILR then you must be aware of the following conditions:
You should not spend any more than 2 years at any one time outside of the UK.
You should consider the UK as your home and certainly maintain close ties.
Should you only spend short periods of time in the UK over a number of years then you could have your status on Indefinite Leave to Remain revoked by the UK Government.
Should you wish to spend more time away from the UK then perhaps you should consider Naturalisation and acquiring a British Passport. You must remain on ILR for a period of no less than 12 months before you are entitled to apply for Naturalisation.
To qualify for Naturalisation, you must not spend more than 90 days outside the UK in the 12 months before applying and for no more than 450 days in the 5 years before the application is submitted.
The Life in the UK Test
Any application for ILR needs to be supported by a life in the UK test result. The test requires applicants to have a basic knowledge of UK history, society and culture. If applicants are not fluent in English then they will need to attend English language (ESOL) and citizenship classes, which will help applicants to improve their English language skills and knowledge of life in the UK. You can register for the life in the UK test on the following link:
Have you been on more than one visa?
In our vast experience, many clients have been on more than one visa during their time in the UK. As a result, we are frequently asked whether you can put different visas together to obtain the number of years of lawful stay necessary to qualify for Permanent Residency.
There are circumstances where you can put more than one visa type together and some of the more common situations clients find themselves in are as follows:
- Work Permit/HSMP/Tier1 General – You can apply after 4 years and 11 months if you switched in country
- HSMP/Work Permit or Tier 1 General/Tier 2- Your journey to ILR began again when you switched to your Work Permit/Tier 2 visa
- 2 or more Work Permits or Tier 2 visas with different employers
- Student visa (Tier 4 visa)/HSMP or Tier 1 General – Under 10 year rule or 5 years on HSMP/Tier 1 General
- Student visa/IGS/HSMP/Tier 1 General – Under 10 year rule or 5 years on HSMP/Tier 1 General
First Migration and your ILR visa approval
Gaining ILR is an important step on the route to citizenship and is a substantial application. The rules and regulations governing the application are increasingly stringent, making it increasingly hard to obtain. First Migration can help you obtain ILR through our vast experience and OISC registered team. So what can you expect from us?
- A dedicated caseworker who will advise you on the exact documentation needed for your application.
- We offer sample letters and documents to ensure you get the right documents
- Feedback on all of your documents eligibility
- We complete the application form
- We write a covering letter both presenting and arguing why your case should be approved
- We represent your case to the Home Office and deal with all correspondence
In addition to this we also ensure:
- We offer no win, no fee on all applications
- Regular updates
- Your application is covered by our service guarantee
Overwhelmed by all the information and detail you need to be aware of? Why not call one of our expert consultants now and let them take all the stress and worry away from you! This is what we do on a daily basis hence why we have been so successful in ensuring every client gets their Indefinite Leave to Remain visa approved. Call us on 0203 178 2048.