You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) if you have:
- protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection)
- Discretionary Leave
Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It’s also called ‘settlement’. It gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can use it to apply for British citizenship.
Your family members may also be able to apply.
Partners and children in the UK
If they’re already in the UK as your dependant, they can apply to stay in the UK with you if they’re eligible. This includes children born in the UK.
If your application is successful, your family members will usually have permission to stay in the UK for the same length of time as you.
Partners and children outside the UK
Your family members may be able to apply to be reunited with you in the UK if your family was formed before you fled your country.
If you formed your family after you left, they must first apply for a visa to join you in the UK. This also applies if they’re not eligible to apply as your partner or child.
If you care for an adult relative
Your adult dependent relative can apply if all the following are true:
- they’re over 18
- they have a family visa as an adult dependent relative
- you have protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection)
They must apply separately - you cannot include them on your application.
Make your applications at the same time. Your adult dependent relative’s visa will expire if you’re granted ILR.
There’s no fee if you have protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection). This will also apply to your partner or child.
If you have Discretionary Leave it costs £2,885 for you and each other person you include in your application. You’ll each need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken - there’s no fee for this.
Getting a decision
You’ll usually get a decision within 6 months.
If you have Discretionary Leave and you paid to use the ‘super priority service’, you’ll get a decision within 2 working days. Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.
You cannot use the ‘super priority service’ if you have protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection).
You must not travel outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.
You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example:
- if your supporting documents need to be verified
- if you need to attend an interview
- because of your personal circumstances, for example if you have a criminal conviction
If your application is approved
You can do the following:
- run a business
- use public services, such as healthcare and schools
- apply for public funds (benefits) and pensions
- apply for British citizenship, usually after a minimum of 12 months
Travelling outside the UK
You can travel outside the UK using a Home Office travel document.
You can lose your indefinite leave to remain if you:
- travel back to the country you sought asylum from
- stay outside the UK for more than 2 years - you may need to apply before you can return to the UK
If your application for indefinite leave to remain is refused
If your application is refused and you still need protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection) or Discretionary Leave, you might still be able to stay in the UK. Your decision letter will explain what you’ve been offered instead of indefinite leave to remain.