Brexit has caused uncertainty in respect to the status of EEA Nationals. At present the status is unclear until a deal has been done.

But one question is clear as to how a person obtains permanent status or the progress on how to become a British Citizen.

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain and Naturalisation?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or Permanent Residence, grants an applicant the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions, and entitles them to apply for naturalisation. Naturalisation is the process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It is only after being Naturalised can an individual apply for a British Passport.

There is no time limit on ILR in the UK but it is important to be aware that the status can be lost. For example, you should avoid spending periods of more than two years outside the UK as this may lead to the loss of ILR. It may also be revoked if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.

Postal applications for ILR can take up to six months to be processed and completed, during which time you will need to surrender your passport. Appointments are available for a same-day decision however this costs a premium.

Applicants will need to have ILR in the UK for 12 months before making an application for Naturalisation to become a British Citizen.

Life and Awareness Requirements

When an application for ILR is submitted, the Applicant must have sufficient knowledge of the English Language and sufficient knowledge about life in the UK. Applicants who are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 at the time of the application are exempt from this requirement.

Length of Time in the UK

Only Applicants who have already been in the UK for a certain amount of time and within a visa category which leads to settlement, can apply for ILR. For example, spousal visa, along with Tier 2 (General) visa holders would normally qualify to apply, whilst student and visitor visa holders would not.

In addition, some visa holders are normally eligible for ‘accelerated settlement’.

In order to be granted ILR there are some restrictions on how much time can be spent outside the UK during the period of the original visa. In addition, the applicant must be of good character.

Salary Requirements

For those Tier 2 (General) seeking to apply for residency, it is also worth noting that a £35,000 minimum earnings threshold applies. This is to increase in subsequent years.

What is the benefit of Indefinite Leave to Remain

This visa gives the holder free movement in and out of the UK with only limited restrictions on how much time can be spent outside the country. ILR holders may also be able to sponsor their non-British relatives to the UK. They may also ultimately be able to apply for UK nationality. They also have no restriction on the time or amount of work that can be carried out.

At Lupton Fawcett, we can represent you at any level of your UK residence and citizenship application. Unlike many other law firms or businesses we offer our services at a low fixed fee price which is highly competitive with many other places. We offer our clients two different services depending on their needs:

  • Preparing your full application or
  • Document Checking Service

Should you or anyone have any immigration issues, please contact Director, Arif Khalfe.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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