You can apply for Settlement / ILR as a bereaved partner, if your British citizen / settled partner dies whilst you are in the UK on spouse / partner visa.

Page Contents

  1. Overview
  2. ILR Requirements & Eligibility
  3. Indefinite Leave to Remain Document Checklist
  4. ILR Application Super Priority Service (UKVCAS)
  5. ILR Application Processing Time
  6. Our Fee for ILR Application
  7. Do You Need Legal Help?


If your partner dies and you have not yet become settled; there is a route for migrants in these circumstances to apply for indefinite leave to remain. Only those with leave to remain in the UK as a partner of a British national or a settled person are eligible to apply. Those in the UK as fiancés or proposed civil partners are not eligible. There are also different rules for those who are partners of EEA nationals.

The applicant must be in the UK. If the couple are overseas on holiday when the British/settled partner dies, this may cause difficulty. In theory a potential applicant could be refused entry as they would no longer meet the requirement of being in a relationship with their partner. It would be a harsh and unsympathetic decision, but legally sound.

A valid application is made using form SET(O) available at the Home Office website. It is also a requirement to submit a valid passport and pay the application fee.

You can apply to settle in the UK if your partner has died, and you and your partner were still living together and intending to live permanently together at the time of their death.

There is no requirement to have leave to remain at the date of the application. In other words, the bereaved partner can apply even if their visa has technically expired and they have become an "overstayer". This recognises that those who have lost a loved one have more important things to think about than their immigration status. The Home Office guidance on the rules states that any period of overstaying must only relate to a period of bereavement.

We are expert in dealing with all types of ILR applications. We will carry out all the work on the application until the decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.

Please contact our UK immigration lawyer to fully assess your eligibility for ILR by considering all the relevant information so that we can advise you on the chances of success in your application in particular if you have any exceptional circumstances or any adverse personal or immigration history.

ILR Requirements & Eligibility

There are certain requirements which must be fulfilled for someone to become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The most fundamental requirements are:

You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements. Please contact us for initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

What is 'Continuous Residence' in the UK for ILR?

The continuous lawful residence in the UK  is a main requirment of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications. Continuous residence means the time you've spent in the UK without gaps.

ILR applicants are required not to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months during the ILR qualifying period. Such restriction of 180 days does not apply to ILR applications as family members of British Citizens and settled persons.

'English Language' Requirement for ILR Applications

If you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain to settle in the UK and you’re 18 or over then you might need to prove your knowledge of the English language.

ILR applicants from non-English speaking countries need to prove their knowledge of English by passing a secure English language test (SELT) taken through a Home Office approved English language test centre.

You can prove your knowledge of the English language by having either an English qualification at B1, B2, C1, or C2 level or a degree taught in English.

You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are aged 65 or over or unable to, because of a long-term physical or mental condition.

Your ILR application will be refused if you send the wrong English language qualifications.

'Life in the UK Test' Requirement for ILR Applications

The Life in the UK test is a compulsory requirement for the Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

The main object of the Life in the UK test is to prove that the applicant has adequate knowledge of British life such as British values, history, traditions and everyday life.

Life in the UK test is a computer-based multiple-choice question test based on the Life in the UK handbook.

You will have 45 minutes in total to answer 24 multiple-choice questions and You must score 75% or more to pass the test.

You have to pass the Life in the UK test in order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) unless you:

  • are under 18
  • are 65 or over
  • have passed it before
  • have a long-term physical or mental condition

The 'Suitability' Requirement of ILR Applications

Your application should not fall for refusal on the general grounds of refusal and many other factors may form part of the assessment of your ILR application.

These factors may include your personal history, grounds of public interest as to why it would be undesirable to grant you ILR, your immigration history as you must not have breached the conditions attached to your leave, any period of overstay unless paragraph 39E is applicable and any other adverse factors indicating you are not a person of good character.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Document Checklist

In the support of your ILR application, you need to provide various supporting documents depending upon the type of ILR application and your circumstances.

Below is a standard checklist of the required documents to support the Indefinite Leave to Remain application:

  • A current Passport, valid Photo ID or valid Travel document;
  • BRP Card (if issued to you);
  • Table of absences from the UK;
  • Proof of knowledge of the English language;
  • Proof of passing the Life in the UK test;
  • Proof of adequate accommodation.

You must also provide all the other supporting documents as per your circumstances & type of ILR application. Please contact us for initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

ILR Application Super Priority Service (UKVCAS)

You can get a faster decision by the end of the next working day on your ILR application by using Super Priority Service (if you’re eligible).

The Super Priority Service for ILR Applications is an added value service and is payable in addition to the Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee.

Following is the step by step process for submitting an application through new UKVCAS Super Priority Service of the Home Office UKVI offered through Sopra Steria, a new commercial partner of the Home Office, UKVI:

  • Application form is completed online and submitted online;
  • Application fee is paid online and an appointment is booked online for the Super Priority Service;
  • The relevant documentary evidence in support of the application is uploaded online;
  • The applicant enrols his/her biometrics at the UKVCAS application centre;
  • The applicant then leaves the UKVCAS application centre to get a decision on the application within 24 hours i.e. normally very next working day.

ILR Application Processing Time

The general processing time for a UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application is 3 to 6 months. The processing time of the ILR application starts from the date you enrol your biometrics and attend your appointment.

Sometimes it may take longer for the Home Office to decide your application due to the complexity of the matter or if there are further enquiries to be made.

Our Fee for ILR Application

If you need help with your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) / Settlement application, please feel free to contact our highly experienced UK immigration lawyer for legal assistance with your application.

Our fixed fee

We charge a fixed fee starting from £1000 for our professional legal services in relation to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application. The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the matter.

Do you need legal help?

Contact Rex Law Chambers, if you have any questions or need legal help with any UK immigration law related matter. At Rex Law Chambers, we specialise in a wide range of UK visas and nationality applications and our principal immigration lawyer has wealth of experience and expert knowledge to deal with all types of UK visas and immigration applications. He has successfully handled many complex and high-profile cases and also represented clients in their immigration matters.

We can provide one-off FREE general legal advice via live chat or our "Enquiry Form". The FREE advice does not cover the advice in relation to complex legal issues or advice about documents to be submitted in support of the application. If you would like to to get detailed legal advice then please schedule an in-person, Zoom, Skype or phone consultation by using our "Appointment Request Form".

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