Blogs > Visas / Life in the UK

How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

  • September 11, 2019

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

ILR will grant you the right to live and work in the UK free from immigration restrictions. To apply for ILR, you will need to submit a series of documents and evidence supporting your eligibility to the Home Office.

The application process can be a complex one and so it is important you have all the required documentation before applying to prevent you from losing a fee.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

As a doctor working in the UK, you will be on a Tier 2 (General) visa or a Tier 2 dependent visa, this means you will need to have lived in the UK for 5 years before you can apply. You should note that if you have had excessive absences from the UK then you may be un-eligible to apply. You should check this information with a specialist immigration lawyer.

In addition to your residence, you will also need to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK. This means that you will need to pass the Life in the UK test and provide evidence of a UK degree that was taught or researched in English or obtain an approved English speaking and listening qualification.

Step 2: Compile your supporting documentation

  • Passport
  • BRP
  • Police registration certificate where you have been required to register with the police after arriving in the UK
  • Evidence of your finances
  • Your pass certificate for the life in the UK test
  • Your pass certificate for your English language qualification OR evidence of your degree taught in English
  • Evidence of any absences from the UK, for example a letter from your HR department confirming your annual leave
  • Any other supporting evidence relevant to your specific visa category
  • Two coloured passport photographs

You should note that all documents should be originals.

Step 3: Pay your fee

A single ILR application fee is £2389. If you opt for the premium service, it will cost you £2999.

Please note, you will also need to pay for the Life in the UK test which costs £50 and you must book your test online at least 3 days in advance of applying for ILR.

There is also a fee of £19.20 to enrol your biometric information at a Post Office branch or UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centre.

Step 4: Submit your biometric information

After you have made your application you will be asked to provide your fingerprint, a digital photo of your face and your signature. This is known as your biometric information. Your permit will then automatically be issued to you.

Your permit will allow you to confirm your right to work or study in the UK and confirm your right to any public services or benefits you are entitled to.

When can I apply for ILR?

Applications for ILR are extremely sensitive, it is vital you apply before your current leave expires and whilst you are still in the UK. If your application is made 28 days before the end of your current leave it may be refused. You will then need to re-submit a second application and make a second fee.

Do not stay beyond the expiry of your visa or you will be at risk of the removal from the UK, refusal of further leave or even criminal prosecution.

What is the length of the ILR processing time?

It can take up to 6 months to be informed if your application has been successful, so, it is important to be patient. If you would prefer to have the decision made more quickly, you can apply for the premium service.

If you are an international doctor planning to apply for ILR, we highly recommend contacting an immigration lawyer to provide you with guidance and support.

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today.

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

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Morris, A. (2019). How to Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK - DavidsonMorris - Immigration Solicitors. [online] DavidsonMorris - Immigration Solicitors. Available at:


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