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Leave to remain and citizenship

Applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

Indefinite leave to remain gives you permission to stay in the UK permanently. If you have lived in the UK for 5 years with refugee status, you might be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

You will need to apply for ILR during the 28 day period before your existing leave expires. It is important not to apply for ILR too early or your application might be sent back.

If you were granted a different type of leave (for example, discretionary leave), you should get immigration advice. This is because the rules and application form for ILR are different depending on your status.

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain on the government website.

Make sure you get advice from an approved immigration adviser. A solicitor will charge you for help with this.

Once you have completed your application you should:

  • make a copy of the application form and associated documents
  • send the application by registered post

There is also a route through European law for family members of EEA nationals to get permanent residence in the UK after 5 years.

British citizenship

If you would like to officially become a British citizen, you can apply to the Home Office for citizenship. There are certain things you have to prove to the Home Office to be allowed to apply for citizenship. This includes passing a 'life in the UK' test, and proving you have an approved English qualification. You can find out more about becoming a British citizen on the government website.

The application can be expensive, and your application could fail if the forms are not filled out correctly. You should get immigration advice to make sure you have completed the forms correctly.

If your application is successful, you will be able to attend a citizenship ceremony in Middlesbrough. You will receive your certificate of naturalisation at the ceremony. After this, you can apply for a British passport, which is usually processed within approximately 6 weeks.