After living in London for just under 5 years I finally qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). I have been preparing for this since I first arrived! Saving all my bills, contract, payslips and whatever other documentation I thought would be useful for the application. Yes, I am a little intense thinking about this before I had even lived here for a couple of years.

One of the most confusing things about applying for visas is the evidence. What on earth do they expect you to provide!? As it’s such a stressful process I wanted to make sure I could share the information and steps I took to get my Indefinite Leave to Remain.  

I hope this article gives you an idea of the ILR experience or evidence you are expected to produce. If you have any questions about the process or my evidence let me know in the comment section! Good Luck and I hope your application goes smoothly. 

Disclaimer: This is based on my experience and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure. Go to GOV UK to check if there have been any changes to the visa rule & fees.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa Criteria for Ancestry Route

The criteria for the IRL is:

  • you’ve been living and working in the UK for 5 years with a UK Ancestry visa
  • you’ve spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months of the last 5 years (known as ‘continuous residence’) – if you have then you will need to apply for an extension until you qualify.

If you’re 18 to 64 years old when you apply, you must also:

Before You Start Applying

The earliest you can apply is in your final 28 days before your visa ends. For example; my visa expired on the 10th of September 2018 so the start of the 28 days would be the 13th of August. Therefore the 13th of August is the first day I was allowed to apply.

The application itself can be started way more in advance. I think it’s 70 days in advance that the website allows you to prepare the application before you need to re-do the application.

Make sure you complete your Life in the UK test before your application as well. There are no expiry dates on this so you can complete it any time you are ready.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa Financial Requirements

There is no listed financial requirements for the UK Ancestry route i.e. that you need savings in your account or give proof of income (just to clarify proof of incomes means that you need to prove you earn over a certain amount). There is a statement that you need to show that you can support yourself which I did by showing my savings accounts and various other documents (more in the documents section below).

For example, on Tier 2 ILR you will need to prove that you are on the jobs shortage list and you meant the minimum salary requirements.

Visa Cost

The cost for ILR in 2018 is £2,389 to apply by post and £2,999 to apply in person (premium service) and this cost is per person. For the latest fees check GOV.UK settle in the UK page. The fees generally change April each year (the end of the tax year).

You can pay the fees by debit or credit card. I paid the fee on my credit card, one to get the air miles and second I got to show that I had more savings.

Applying Yourself or Using a Company For Your ILR?

I applied by myself this time around instead of using of a company. This time around I put a lot more research into what I needed to do to evidence the visa and information I would need. I was confident that I would be successful.

When I was at the Home Office there were a lot of applicants using companies so there will be plenty of places offering this service if you wish to choose this option. If you have a complicated application it’s a less riskier option to go with.

Application Process 

UK Visas has launched a new beta site for Settlement Visa, to apply use this link. You can start the application in advance and will allow you time to complete the form.

With the new process, appointments will be available up to 28 days in advance. says on the initial Set(O) application page “Do not apply any sooner than 28 days before you complete your qualifying period.” A recommendation from UKVCAS is that you book your appointment within 5 days of submitting your applications. You will be reminded in 15 days if you have not done so.

As everyone needs to enrol their biometrics with their visa application you will need to book an appointment.

Submitting Your Application

At the end of the application process you will be provided with three options to submit your application, only two are a viable option which is:

For this application I decided to go with the premium service (this is now super priority) instead of posting the application. When I was reading about the troubles others had with keeping jobs whilst waiting for their visa to be approved it sparked concerns. I didn’t want to go through the same troubles so I paid the extra for the ease.

Additionally not having my passport up to 6 months means that I won’t be able to travel so if something happened at home I wouldn’t be able to go. Plus not having an international holiday for 6 months!? That would be a struggle for me. (Please note this is no longer the case, it shouldn’t take longer than 8 weeks).

The online application process will give you five documents you will need to bring as well: 

  • Copy of the payment
  • Checklist (explained below)
  • Bio-metric enrolment
  • Verification checks (explained below)
  • And the application.

Evidence Required for Indefinite Leave to Remain Application

UK Visas new beta site now provides a handy checklist. In the below sections I have included what I provide and what the immigration asked for so you can see the comparison.

I find lots of threads asking whether the documents must be originals or copies can be supplied. As of the 5th of November, the Home Office now states “any evidence requested after this date can be originals or copies. However, if we require your passport it must be the original and not a copy.”

ILR documents
The stack of documents I provided to prove my ILR

Mandatory Documents

All bold sections is what the Home Office states as evidence you need to provide and then I have included what I did provide to meet their bold requirements.

The passport issued by Australia for Miss Katherine…

Ok, pretty easy this one! I just included my current passport.

Two passport photos for Miss Katherine …. On the back of your passport photograph, please provide your full name. There are rules about what your photograph should look like. To find out more about these rules, go to

Again another easy requirement, I included two passport photos of myself with my name written on the back.

The Home Office has announced, “If you submit your application on or after 5 November 2018 you will not be required to provide a passport photo as part of your application.”

Other Documents

Life in the UK Test pass notification.

Include your Life in the UK Test pass letter in the application.

Reasons for absences from the UK .        

I included a full list of absences, tally of days outside of the UK and both passports to prove my absences. I have created a Google Docs spreadsheet as an example but you can also use the template to calculate your reason for absences. 

If you are applying via Tier 2 IRL then you will need to include a letter from your workplace to support the absences.

Here is the example of my reason for absences in the application. I also provided the spreadsheet as I had over 30 lines worth of trips to enter.

Document(s) showing that you are able to work and intend to take or seek employment in the UK.

For this, I included all employment contracts, payslips, a letter from the HRMC, P60’s and a few P45’s.

Consent form for the Home Office to request verification checks on Miss Katherine for joint accounts or third party support.

The consent forms are included in the application documents. If you have joints accounts with your partner or anyone else then they will need to sign this. The sponsor will also be required to fill out a consent form. No joint accounts or sponsor then this isn’t required.

Declaration signed by Miss Katherine to confirm consent for the Home Office to request verification checks.

Again like the requirement above it just requires a form to be signed.

The Australia passport, identity card or official letter for Miss Katherine to prove the level of English language required.

Another easy one for me, I included my passport. Some nationalities will require to take an English test, the pass letter just needs to be included in the application. Find out more information by going to

Evidence of Miss Katherine immigration status in the UK.

For this I had my current visa and the documents I used to prove my Ancestry so my birth certificate, mums birth certificate and granddads. I didn’t expect them to needs this and I just added a precaution more than anything else. When I asked the officers at the premium service she said that I should include it so I suggest adding this evidence.

Employed Evidence:

  • If you are employed at the date of application, please provide a letter from your current employer which confirms they will continue in their current job with that employer.
  • Documents to show you are employed, such as recent wage slips.
  • If you are self-employed, please provide one of the following: business and/or company accounts official letter from a registered accountant which confirms self-employment official tax documentation.

Unemployed Evidence (plus gaps in working history):

  •  If you are unemployed at the date of application, please provide alternate evidence to show your employment record throughout the five year period in this category of leave, and of any attempts to make and find work. If you have been unemployed for long periods over the five years, you must provide reasons why you have failed to find work and evidence to show you have been looking for it. You must also provide evidence of how you can support yourself without a regular income.

I asked my work workplace to provide a letter stating that I worked there and I also provided my current workplace contract to support this requirement. I’ve not had any gaps in my work whilst in the UK a part from when I arrived in the UK and therefore didn’t include any other evidence.

Evidence of your finances. Bank statements, building society savings book(s), pay slips or other formal documents as evidence of your ability to maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependants without recourse to public funds. Note, we do not accept internet or cashpoint statements as evidence of finances. If you claim that a relative or friend is providing you with financial support, in addition to evidence of your own finances, you must provide bank statements or other documents of the kind described above as evidence of their financial resources. The documents showing the finances available to you and to any person supporting you should cover at least the last three months.

I asked my banks to provide one year of statements to support this evidence, HSBC provided this with ease and cover letter, however, Lloyds only provide 3 months (this is the minimum evidence) printed at the bank which they stamp to validate the statement.

I had four accounts I did this for plus I had a stack of old bank statements from 2013 until about 2015 which I included as additional evidence.

I actually forgot one of my bank statements, however, it was a small saving account so in the grand scheme of things I don’t think it would have added anything additional.

As payslips are key thing mentioned I included two jobs worth of history which equated to 4 years’ worth of payslips.

My support evidence wasn’t perfect as I only found my first jobs payslips at the last minutes so didn’t include these. Ideally these should have been included, however, I did have an HRMC letter that supports that I worked between this time and the company that it was with. My new job hadn’t issued a payslip yet so the supporting letter and contract was the only thing I had the support that job.

Psstt… to get an HRMC letter is really easy just 0300 200 3300, ask for 5 years’ worth of employment history to be sent to you in a letter and you will get something like this.

If you have received a new passport since your last leave to remain application, and your visa is in your old passport, you must include both passports. If you do not provide any of these documents, we may not be able to make a decision on your application. Please note that we may occasionally ask you to provide other documents in addition to those listed.

I didn’t have all my previous passports so I just included one which was my passport valid from 2008 until 2018.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa Processing Time

The processing time has changed with the new UKVAS service, you should expect a decisions within the following timelines:

  • Standard service – get a decision within 6 months
  • Priority service – get a decision in 10 days
  • Super priority – get a decision in 24 hours.

Depending on the service you choose you should get an email from Home Office on that your application was approved or denied. If approved then you will receive by post your BRP and approval letter.

Decision Time

Once a decision has been made on your application you will be sent a letter stating whether you were approved or not approved.

As it is now emailed/posted to you I am not sure whether the caseworker is meant to tell you the reasons why you are unsuccessful. You could call the UKVI Support Centre to find out more information.

Fingers crossed that it is a positive answer!!!

Approval Letter
Example of the ILR approval letter the Home Offices gives you

Receiving Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

The letter advising you that your application is approved will state that a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) has been ordered and sent to your address. If you completed the application yourself then it will be sent to your home, otherwise, it will be sent to the agency you used.

The BRP card should arrive in 10 working days, there are details in the letter of what to do if your BRP doesn’t arrive. The letter will also include handy information about your BRP, what happens if it gets lost etc.

The Home Office has a courier company that they assign to deliver the BRP  from Monday to Friday between 9 am to 5 pm. I am not sure you if you can track when your BRP card arrives via the visa website I got locked out!

If the courier company fails to deliver it to you the first time, they will send a letter with an ID you can use to re-book the delivery. It’s then a simple case of showing them some ID and signing for the package.

Biometric Residency Permit
Here’s what the Biometric Residence Permit looks like. The photo is so much better than my passport photo!

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Has an Expiry Dates

I had no idea that BRP had expiry dates until my card arrived! Turns out every 5ish years you will need to renew your BRP. I have read that others got 10 years on theirs my mine is weird 5 years 5 months until I need to renew it. You won’t need to reapply if you decide to progress down the citizenship path.

My Application Explained

Hope that helps with your application! Good luck!!!

This Post Has 65 Comments

  1. Loved your detailed explanation. Thanks. super useful.

  2. Hello Katherine,
    Do you know how to explain this meaning?
    Where Appendix FM-SE requires the applicant to provide specified evidence relating to
    a period which ends with the date of application, that evidence must be dated no earlier
    than 28 days before the date of application.
    So if I am going to apply on 3 of December and I need to get the letter from my employer when should it be dated, can you help please?

    1. Hi Valeria, if I have understood the requirement correctly then as long as the letter is dated between the 6th of November and the 3rd of December the letter will be in the period (as that’s 28 days).
      Cheers, Kat

  3. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Hello Kat,

    Did you have your NI number on the back of the BRP card? My Tier 2 one did but the ILR one I got recently doesn’t, so I was wondering if that was a mistake.

    Best Regards,


    1. Hi Arka, when I get a chance I will check ?. Kat

    2. Hi Arka, I checked and mine only has my date and birthplace, sex and nationality. Cheers Kat

  5. Hello! Clear and helpful. Thanks
    I have been in and out of the country and I’m struggling to reconcile my passport. You spoke of
    Google Docs spreadsheet
    to document your absences.
    Any chance you could email the template for me to see?
    I’d appreciate that.

  6. Hi Kath – can I please ask you regarding the ’45 business days’ you mention (ie. 9 weeks). My visa expires 13 February 2019, if you were me, what date would you submit my ILR application? The confusion for me lies in the 28 day rule, which means I can apply from 16th January. I will be paying for the premium service. To summarise, my key date us 13 February 2019…. but I am unsure when to send in my online application, which is complete and ready to go. Thanks, Mick

    1. Hi Michael,
      Basically fill out your form which can be drafted up to 70 days in advance. Once completed and you enter the 45 days in advance of your first eligible date so the 16th Jan you can choose one of three options for submission of the application, premium service and super premium. Once you choose premium service it’ll then go to an appointments page. By starting from your first eligible date it means you can keep trying each day until you get an appointment. Choose an appointment in the 28 days so from the 16th Jan to the 13th Feb. Pay the fees and then it’ll give you about 7 documents you’ll need for your appointment. After that it’s just waiting for the day 😊
      Hope that makes sense.

  7. Hi;

    Thanks for this very useful info. I am about to apply for an ILR but I am chasing my employer to cover this cost. Have you tried asking your employer to cover this cost. My employer has been sponsoring me for the last 5 years on tier 2 visa. So, if they not cover the cost, they may lose me. I wonder whether it is common for employers to pay the fee for ILR?

    1. Hi Jackie, no I didn’t ask my
      employer as I wanted to be here independently and I moved here on ancestry instead of tier 2. My view of asking is the worst that can happen is they say no so it’s really up too you. Cheers, Kat

  8. Hi Kat!

    Loved this – super helpful to have someone explain it in human speak rather than some of the complex jargon online. I’m from Perth too, and will be applying for this before my Ancestry visa expires in March! I wondered if I’d be able to take you out for a coffee sometime in Feb to chat over my (hopefully completed!) form and documents, just to see if I had missed anything before sending it all off? I won’t be able to afford the premium service and it’d be great to see if the application process has changed online since you did yours.

    Thanks heaps and happy holidays!


    1. Hi Tashi,
      Nice to hear from another Perthian! More than happy to have a coffee, I will drop you an email.

  9. thanks Kat for sharing. I’m also applying under UK Ancestry and your summary has kept me sane!

    There are 2 questions I wanted to see how you responded:
    1. “What evidence will you provide to support the reasons for all absences from the UK and Crown Dependencies?”. Under Ancestry Visa, which option did you select? I thought ‘Other’ or did you get your employer to write a letter?
    2. For the list of trips out of the UK, did you enter each manually into the on-line form, or is there a way to upload your Google Docs spreadsheet?

    Thank you again!


    1. Hi Greg,
      Please see below the answers to your questions:

      1. “What evidence will you provide to support the reasons for all absences from the UK and Crown Dependencies?”. I selected other and then added the following statement in the “provide details” section: Passport documenting stamps & visas.
      2. For the list of trips out of the UK, did you enter each manually into the on-line form, or is there a way to upload your Google Docs spreadsheet? For mine I put in 30 lines worth of trips in the applications in the order of latest to oldest. Then added the spreadsheet as additional information/ support. As the requirement is to ensure that you’ve not been out of the country each year for more than 180 days.

      Hope that helps.

      1. thanks Kat, really appreciate your help on this!

  10. Hi
    Thank you a lit
    I have a question.
    I came into the UK in Feb 2014.
    My current TIER 2 leave enxpires 6 august 2019
    Am so confused on when to apply for ILR as it states that it must not be more than 28 days before the end of your current leave expires.

    1. Hi Udoka,
      It’s very unusual for UK Visas to be 5 years and 6 months, they are normally issued for Tier 2 at exactly 3 years and 5 years. When did you Tier 2 visa start? If it started the 6th August then you can only apply 28 days before the 6th of August.

  11. Hi Kat,
    I am applying for ILR the partner of a citizen route. My visa expires on the 4th of feb. I have completed my form online (setm) but unable to get a premium appointnent on d old service

    Will u advise using the new service? I’m ready to pay now but not sure of the new service esp with the 28days rule. Can I book in advance?

    Also with the new service do u need to upload ur docs

    1. Hi Jo,

      The premium same-day appointments no longer exist and has been replaced with the UKVCAS router. The three choices will be provided with are:

    2. Standard service – get a decision within 8 weeks
    3. Priority service – get a decision in 10 days
    4. Super-priority – get a decision in 24 hours – this is meant to be the replacement of the same day appointment but you get a decision within 24 hours instead of on the day – I’ve updated the article to reflect this
    5. Appointments should be available up to 28 days in advance, the UKVCAS recommends booking an appointment within 5 days of submitting your application.

      At the appointment the process will be:

    6. show your appointment confirmation (you will get this as an email containing a QR code) and ID documents to confirm your appointment
    7. enrol your biometric information (fingerprints, photograph) and digital signature
    8. submit your supporting evidence (unless you choose to self-upload this)
    9. show your passport or travel document and have your identity checked
    10. speak to a member of staff who will check that your biometric information has been successfully enrolled and your passport and supporting evidence has scanned correctly
    11. Afterwards you are supposed to get an email confirming your biometric was enrolled but there are currently issues with people not receiving this at the moment.

      Later, depending on the service you choose you should get an email from Home Office on that your application was approved or denied. If approved then you will receive by post your BRP and approval letter.

      Yes you should upload all your documents beforehand and take the originals to the appointment.
      Cheers Kat

  12. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for your reply. I am freaking out now. I have applied for the ILR on the 31st of Jan, visa expires 4th Feb but chose an apt within the 28days frame which is 14th of Jan. MY fear is I submitted the application before the 28days rule. was I right? i thought since the actual apt is within the 28days rule then it’s fine. Is this correct or should I withdraw the application.

    1. Hi Jo,
      That’s perfectly fine. Don’t withdraw the application! I submitted my application 45 days in advance before my 28 days started. When you submit the application doesn’t have an impact on the visa process. As an FYI if you withdraw the application you don’t get refunded the visa cost which is a lot of money to lose!
      Cheers, Kat

      1. Thanks Kat. You are a star
        I feel rest assured now.
        Your blog has been super helpful.
        Have a great New year.

  13. Hi Kat,
    Thanks for the detailed information. its helpful
    When I am filling my ILR application I encountered a question
    Since you first entered the UK, have you had any absences from the UK?
    Yes was my answer.
    Then the application prompted me with the following questions
    ‘Which countries did you visit or travel through when absent from the UK and Crown Dependencies?’
    ‘When did you leave the UK and Crown Dependencies? (Required)’
    ‘When did you return to the UK and Crown Dependencies? (Required)’
    ‘What was the reason for this time spent outside the UK and Crown Dependencies?’
    I visited 3-4 countries including my home country, and i got confused what dates I need to give, I went on vacataions and there are short in days though.
    Those questions are too confusing as it is absolutely natuaral for an immigrant to be in vacation outside UK in their 5 year period.
    Please help me with appropriate answer

    1. Hi Venu,

      I have just updated the post with a picture from my application showing my answers which should help. This needs to be done for every country you have visited, for example:

      ‘Which countries did you visit or travel through when absent from the UK and Crown Dependencies?’ Romania
      ‘When did you leave the UK and Crown Dependencies? (Required)’ 8th June 2018
      ‘When did you return to the UK and Crown Dependencies? (Required)’ 11 June 2018
      ‘What was the reason for this time spent outside the UK and Crown Dependencies?’ Holiday

      Please note that these all correspond with the stamps in my passports (I switched passport during my visa).
      Hope that helps, Kat

      1. Hi Kat,
        A small suggestion regarding ‘visit or travel through when absent from the UK and crown dependencies’.
        I first entered to UK on a dependent visa in 2011 and was on that visa for 3 years and after that I moved to Tier 2 general and now when applying for ILR, do you think I need to mention my vacation dates from 2011 to 2014. I mentioned vacation dates of my Tier 2 general tenure but is confused on dependent visa tenure

        1. Hi Venu,
          The requirement for the Set-o application to show that you have been living here continuously for 5 years. I would say that you need to prove 5 years worth of living in the country but I’ve not swapped visas during my time living in the UK so it might be best checking with UKVI. Here is the UK document that explains

  14. Hi Kat, this is an amazing resource thank you so much!

    May I ask if you know of anyone who has successfully applied for ILR on the long residence (10 years) route? I’m wondering what evidence I’ll be expected to provide, and whether it differs by route.

    For example, I’m not sure if I’ll need the letter from my employer showing my continued employment with them. And as you mentioned, if applying under the 5 year route, the applicant needs a letter from employer confirming the absences – but not under the UK ancestry route.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jane,
      I have known people that have completed the EU residency but not the 10 years one. Looking at the requirements and documents you need to provide it looks very similar to the 5-year visa but 10 years worth of evidence instead. The evidence is dependant on the visa you arrived in the UK. As you may be aware Tier 2 is sponsorship via the employers so there are lots of requirements that the employer (sponsor) requires to support which ensures you’ve adhered to that visa requirements to qualify for ILR.
      Cheers, Kat

  15. Hi Kat….. stumbled across this gr8 little site of yours and hoping you may be able to answer a couple of questions. I have been living in the UK since early 2005 and have simply renewed my ancestral visa a number of times in order to continue living and working here. My residence permit is about to expire on 12 Feb. With this in mind, and that i am now married to a British citizen with a child, do you think I could go the indefinite leave to remain route…or have i left things a little late in terms of preparing for this? I gather most people don’t extend their ancestry visas again and again like i did! I also wonder whether questions in the application relate to a five year period only? Hope this makes sense and any any feedback most appreciated. Paul

    1. Hi Paul,
      If you have been living here continuously on Ancestry visa and not left the country more than 180 days in the 5-10 years then you would qualify. There is another visa called long residence which is the other one you could potentially apply for. I don’t know enough to say which is the right one you should apply for or whether you have to do the long resident as you’ve lived here so long. However, when I complete the questionnaire here it says IRL – 5 years route so therefore I would go with what the questionnaire recommends.
      Personally, I would rather get IRL or long resident than renew my Ancestry mainly due to the cost. It’s around £1,800 to renew ancestry with the NHS fees and £2,389 to get ILR (normal service). I am not sure which country you are from but if it’s like Canada or Australia where you don’t need to take the English test then that would help. It would just be a matter of doing life in the UK test and getting all the evidence together. It’s tight but not unachievable.
      Either way, the difference in providing evidence with the visas is that you would either provide 5 years worth of evidence. As you have lived here longer I would provide all previous visas but re evidence like bank statements and payslips, it should only be for the 5 years but that is my view.
      You could also get an HRMC letter it is really easy just 0300 200 3300, ask for how many years’ you lived here worth of employment history to be sent to you in a letter. Other than that I would provide evidence inside the 5 years.
      All they are really ensuring is that you pay taxes, don’t use public funds, have been here continuously and work in the UK.
      Cheers, Kat

  16. Kat…. thankyou so much 4 your quick feedback…it’s really appreciated….if u lived near cambridge i would definately buy you a coffee or ‘high five’ you. Paul

    1. Thanks Paul :). In the meantime, we can virtual high five! Good luck with your application.

      1. Hi kat…ive decided to go the long settlement (10+ yrs route)… i’ve filled in most of my application now but wondered if u might b able 2 please clarify some questions i still have?
        Firstly.. right at the end of my application i get to choose from ‘the existing’ or ‘new service’… Am i right in assuming if i go ‘existing service’ i simply pay my fee and post everything off without having to book any visit to any office in person? Secondly, i have a residence permit which is sbout to expire 13/2/19. Am i right in assuming this is what they want me to send them (the ‘biometric residence permit’) or do i need to get a new one first that isn’t due to expire and then send this? Is there a problem simply posting my application as this still seems to be an option?…? i’m not too bothered by the potential time it might take for an answer! Many thanks again in advance! Paul

        1. Hi Paul,
          The “existing service” no longer exists so it’s the new service. You will need to upload all your documents and attend a biometric enrollment appointment. Even though this says premium service it’s basically the same process for everyone the timelines just change

          1. Thnx again 4 this gr8 info Kat…. i just wonder why they still provide applicants with an option to click on ‘existing service’ or ‘new service’ when we only have the ‘new service’ at our disposal! I haven’t yet paid the fee nor booked my interview yet as I’ve got my life in the uk test this weekend and just want to pass this first. Could u please tell me is it easy to get an appointment…. my visa expires 13 feb so i gather i definstely need to get a date ideally well before then?! Also do you need to take with you sny passport photo/s for they take my fingerprints and my photo there?? Finally, which part of the online application allows us to upload docs? Sorry for these extra questions but can”t find answers and think u might know? Paul

          2. Hi Paul,
            I guess either someone has missed it off their release cycle or it’s a low priority feature to be fixed. I have been speaking to a lady currently going through the process she booked on Saturday and got an appointment on 28th Jan but her visa expires on the 21st of Jan. She called both the Sopra and UKVI, they said that as long as you pay and submit within your 28 days then having a biometric enrollment appointment after the visa end is fine. However, they would not confirm this in writing. It seems you can get an appointment within 2 weeks but on my post about appointments if you read Dean’s comment he went through a drama getting one. I guess it’s still pot luck whether you get one.
            You don’t need to take passport photos anymore, this is completed at the appointment.
            The uploading of documents didn’t exist when I was completing my application but it will be after you’ve completed the form.

  17. Hi Kat, just wanted to say a huge thank you for posting this. The process has changed slightly with the new system, but your explanations and tips were helpful in answering my main questions. It was far less daunting to read your article than the muddled forums… I referred to your post continuously and was granted my ILR this week. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Jen, I am glad it was useful. If you have any notes on the new process I would love to see them! Cheers, Kat

  18. Hi there, do you know if I want to go with just the standard service of 8 weeks until a decision is made, does this mean I can apply for IRL earlier than if I went for the quickest option? Fees apparently go up every April, right when I would be at the earliest time I could apply before Visa expires…trying to look for a way around this!

    1. Hi Ursula,
      No, you need to be within the qualifying period to apply no matter the service. It says specifically on the website “Do not apply any sooner than 28 days before you complete your qualifying period.”
      Cheers, Kat

  19. Hi Kat, I’m still feeling a little confused on when I can actually submit my application (from first time AV to ILR)…from reading your post, it says to qualify, must have been living and working in the UK for 5 years, and Gov. website says can apply no sooner than 28 days prior to this qualifying period. Then you’ve stated…the earliest you can apply is in your final 28 days before your visa ends. I arrived in the UK about a month after my Visa was granted – are you able to clarify whether I can submit 28 days prior to Visa expiry or prior to being here 5 years? Apparently there used to be a 3-month exception – ie: if arrived within 3 months of Visa issue can apply 28 days prior to Visa expiry date, but not sure if still applies (hope all makes sense!)

    1. Hi Andy,
      Sorry it came across confusing. The Ancestry is a 5-years visa so the 28 days should be within your 5 years and before your visa expiry date. So mine was the 10 Sept 2013 to the 10th Sept 2018 however I didn’t arrive in the country until the 18th of October. You can see in my example spreadsheet how I included these days not being in the country. It just included as calculation of absences out of the UK (that’s what I did) and you are allowed 180 days in a rolling year. I’ve never heard of the 3-month exception, you either apply for an extension on your ancestry or apply for IRL before your current visa expires.

  20. Hi Kat,
    Thanks for the really helpful write-up. Apologies if I’m missing something obvious – you refer in your post to a checklist of required evidenciary documents on the .gov website but I can’t see that anywhere at all, nor can I find any guidance documents. Could you possibly give me the links?

      1. Thanks so much for replying, Kat. So you’re saying there’s not actually a checklist of required evidence/supporting documents on the website which one can consult ahead of submitting the application? You just have to make a judgement call about what you need to provide? Sorry if I’m misunderstanding!

        1. Hi Bea,
          There is no pre-checklist available on the site, it’s only provided once you’ve completed your application. If you are applying for ILR via Ancestry then I doubt your checklist will be different to mine apart from it inserting your name in the checklist. Everything in bold is word for word what was on the checklist excluding my full name.

  21. Kat,
    Fantastic blog – super helpful!! Quick question, did you need to provide documents showing where you have lived in the UK for the Indefinite Leave application? Look forward to hearing back.

    1. Hi Nicki,
      I didn’t provide any proof of address like bills, just P60, payslips, bank statements etc that had my address on them. Funnily enough, I had saved 5 years worth of bill just in case they wanted this information.

  22. Hi Kat,
    What a fantastic blog – super helpful!!
    Quick question, did you need to submit a history of where you have lived for your indefinite leave visas?
    Look forward to hearing back.

  23. Hello! This is so helpfull!!

    Firstly – where have you seen that the application might only take 8 weeks? the website says up to 6 months.
    Secondly – how did you add trips where you went to multiple countries?


    1. Hi Michael,
      I actually got it from the website but it seems to have changed again. You can read about the different timeframes here: and the changes in the services here
      I just added the dates when I entered those countries individually so, for example, I went to Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania etc and added the dates I entered and left the countries as separate lines. You can see some examples of this in the spreadsheet If you look at China/South Korea or Croatia/ Serbia.

  24. Hey Kat
    Thanks so so much for this- so kind of you to give the template!!
    Maybe obvious- but I don’t have to go home to australia apply for my BRP do I? I can go from ancestry to indefinite within the uk? Thanks, Brodie

    1. Hi Brodie,
      Nope, no need to go to Aus you can apply for IRL in the UK :).

  25. Hi! This is so handy – thank you!

    For the reasons of absence, i’m not able to enter more than one country. How did you go about entering multi-country trips?


    1. Hi Mike,
      You add one then press next and it should keep asking you the same question until you have completed 30 lines worth.

  26. Hi Kat, what about when you went to multiple countries in the same trip? Which one do you enter as it only allows for the one? Or do you enter both as separate entires with the same UK exit and entry dates? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mike,
      In my applications they all have their own lines for example:
      Bulgaria, Sofia 23-Mar-18 25-Mar-18 2.00 Holiday
      Macedonia, Skopje 25-Mar-18 27-Mar-18 2.00 Holiday
      Albania, Tirana 27-Mar-18 29-Mar-18 2.00 Holiday
      Montenegro, Kotor 29-Mar-18 30-Mar-18 1.00 Holiday

      I ran out of lines after 30 so I included a spreadsheet like this to cover the remaining lines.

      The dates are based on when I entered and exited those countries, not based on my entry and exit dates in the UK.


      1. Hi Kat,

        Thanks so much for your post – it has helped a lot with the application process!!

        I just got to the point where I have more than 30 trips to add to the application and have been trying to find out what to do (and stressing a bit) – so glad I saw your last answer about running out of entries at 30 (this does seem a bit dumb to me as 6 trips/year is not a crazy amount…). So it was fine for you to put in the excel spreadsheet in the application and just note which entries you were able to put in the online form and which were not (>30)?

        Thanks again,


        1. Hi Laura,
          I just put the latest trips until I ran out of line and provided the spreadsheet repeating the information. I didn’t say anything on my application that I did this, just added the spreadsheet in my evidence but you could add that in the question that asks what evidence are you going to provide.

  27. Hi Kat. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and process. It’s very useful. I have a question that I want to get your thoughts on –
    So, I’m applying ILR from Tier 2 (General), and my first Tier 2 Leave to Remain started on early Feb 14. Before then, I was already living in the UK but under a Tier 1 (Post Study) work visa, which sadly doesn’t qualify counting towards the 5 years…
    In the application form, it asks “When did you first enter the UK? (This is the date you entered the UK when the period of stay you are basing this application on started.)” – so I’m now a bit unsure whether I should just put my Tier 2 Leave to Remain start date, or I should put my actual original entry date to the UK? Or maybe even the latest entry date around the start of my Tier 2??
    I’m leaning to first option, what is your thought?


    1. Hi Yuan,
      As I understand the date is when you first entered on your Tier 1, I can’t remember if there is a section to enter all the previous visa but if there is you would record your Tier 1 there.

  28. Hi Kat,
    This was very useful. I just applied (today) online for my ILR (5 year route) and I went for the existing service option, and booked the priority service (extra £610, but not the super priority). I have been given an appointment in Sheffield for next Tuesday. I’m totally confused now as i’m not sure which services are now closed and which centers are open! My application was submitted and i got the Biometric letter, checklist, confirmation of payment, etc etc. Should I go ahead to the appointment with all the supporting documents? What should I expect at the appointment? I’m so confused and anxious that I might have done the wrong thing and have just parted with £2999. I’m not even sure that I’m making sense:(

    1. Hi Shelia,
      Both priority service and super priority service cost the same amount. If you read it states that UKVI’s PSCs closed on 29 November 2018. If you are applying online for leave based on family life, including spouses and partners of settled persons, or private life, you will have the choice to use one of the following services from 29 November 2018 until further notice… which goes into what the new service provides.

      Therefore it should be with UKVCAS which will require you to upload your documents beforehand otherwise you will be charged a fee.

      With the new service, you get a decision within 24 hours and not on the day. You can always call UKVI to confirm if their timelines have been delayed.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu