What Happens If My ILR is Refused?

Imagine you’ve been living in the UK for years, building a life, a career, and connections. You apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), hoping this will be your final step toward making the UK your permanent home. But what if your ILR application has been refused? 

This is a question many of our clients ask us when we start their application process. This guide will walk you through the reasons your ILR application might be refused and explain the steps you can take if it is.

Common Reasons for Being Refused Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK – ILR Refusal Reasons

Your ILR application can be denied for a variety of reasons depending on the immigration status of an individual. Let’s explore some of the general grounds for refusal.

1. Refusal Due to Incomplete 10-Year Lawful Stay

If the individual concerned is applying under the 10-year continuous lawful residence rule in paragraph 276 (I) (b) of the UK immigration rules, but they may not have been in the UK lawfully for 10 years, then this will be an issue for an ILR application. During this period, this person may have been an overstayer here even for one day in the past, and although they may have had their visa extended during the 10-year period when it comes to ILR, they may be refused.

The right of appeal based on human rights breaches under Article 8 of the ECHR as to private and or family life could be put forward.

Furthermore, the Home Office has a set of guidance notes for caseworkers, and these form policy considerations they take into account to make decisions about minor breaches of the rules are not considered serious enough at times to prevent the grant of ILR. These guidance notes could be used in the individual’s favour to try to overturn the decision before the tribunal.

2. Refusal Based on Relationship or Marital Status

The Home Office can also refuse the application on the basis, for example, that you have not lived with your partner or spouse for a 5-year period, or the British or settled partner/ spouse alleges that the other you only wanted to get married or live together because of immigration issues and no other reason. In the latter case, it is difficult to see how the individual could succeed on appeal when the support of the UK spouse/partner would be required.

3. English Language Test and Life in the UK Test Failures

There could be a refusal of ILR on the basis that the person concerned had not passed the English language test at all or to the standard required. The burden would be on the person affected by the decision to show otherwise on appeal. The standard of proof would be on the civil balance of probabilities. The same happens if the person concerned has failed the Life in the UK Test.

4. Non-Compliance with Tier 2 Immigration Rules

On the other hand, there may be a refusal of ILR because the person has not worked in accordance with the Tier 2 / Skilled Worker immigration rules for a 5-year period. If there is a human rights element to it, there will be a right of appeal to remain in the uk.

5. Allegations of Fraud or Misconduct

ILR could also be refused on the basis that the person concerned cheated and did not take the English language test themselves but used a proxy to take the test or because the individual concerned had inflated their earnings or had not shown the correct amount of tax paid when applying for such settled status as a self-employed highly skilled migrant under the previous HSMP programme, but the burden here would be on the SSHD (Home Office) to show bad conduct. The individual concerned can then argue that there is an innocent explanation for this matter.

6. Character and Criminal Records

ILR can also be refused on the basis that the individual concerned is a person of bad character because of criminal convictions, and again, the Home Office would have the burden of proving, but this allegation can be rebutted by the individual using human rights considerations to base their appeal.

7. Breach of Relationship or Care Duties

Refusals of ILR based on breaches of appendix FM, as regards a relationship as husband and wife, or on the basis of being a carer for a British child or one, settled here and having lived in the UK for the last 7 years, are matters that will raise human rights elements on appeal.

8. Incorrect Form Submission

There may also be a refusal of ILR because the wrong form was completed. For example, instead of completing the online form SET (M), the SET (O) settlement form May have been used based on marriage to a British citizen or settled individual, but the home office fees are the same, and the cover letter would have made the purpose of the application clear. 

In these circumstances, whilst using the wrong form is obviously not to be encouraged; nevertheless, it should not be fatal on appeal and provided there were no fee difference issues, and the intention and purpose of the application was made clear in the cover letter, on appeal the application should succeed.

9. Other Reasons for ILR Refusal

Here are some more common reasons for the refusal of ILR:

  • You are convicted of a criminal or immigration offence
  • You are subject to a deportation order
  • You have broken the law numerous times during your stay in the UK
  • You have not followed the conditions of your stay
  • You do not meet specific income threshold requirements
  • You have not paid for the NHS surcharge, or
  • There is a debt due to the NHS by the individual,
  • You have been banned by the UN or EU from travel
  • You have not paid court costs ordered against them due to an unsuccessful previous Judicial review application

The above are some of the obvious reasons why an application for ILR could fail. Still, if there are human rights considerations, then there will be a right of appeal to the tribunal to debate these issues before independent judges.

What to Do If Your Indefinite Leave to Remain Application is Refused

Upon receiving a refusal letter from UK immigration, your first step should be a thorough review to understand the reasons behind why ILR refused. It will outline the specific reasons for refusal. The letter will also outline what options you can pursue to overturn the decision.

Understanding these reasons can guide you in choosing the best course of action for your indefinite leave to remain application, whether you decide to submit an appeal, resubmit your application form, or explore other options.

1. Administrative Review

If you believe that the application for indefinite leave to remain is refused because of a mistake, you may submit an administrative review within 14 days if you are within the UK or 28 days if you are outside the UK. This process costs £80 and involves a thorough review of your application to identify any errors that could have led to its refusal.

Note that the administrative review is a complex process and might result in a refusal again if not done correctly. Consequently, it is advised to have an experienced immigration lawyer help you navigate this step.

2. Appeal the Decision

In some situations, you might be given the right to appeal the ILR refusal. Please note you can only do that if a refusal letter indicates that you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process allows you to challenge the Home Office’s decision on the grounds that it violates your human rights or other legal standings.

Typically, the deadline for filing an appeal is inflexible. If you are currently in the UK, you have a 14-day from the date of getting the decision letter to submit your appeal. For applicants who are abroad, when the decision is made, the deadline for appeal submission is extended to 28 days. Be sure to get in touch with an immigration lawyer to help you navigate the process for the best outcome. 

3. Re-apply ILR Application

If the refusal letter from the Home Office points out errors on your ILR application form, such as incorrectly filled sections or missed fields, you may decide to resubmit your application. Before doing so, consult your immigration lawyer to review your new application and ensure that you have fulfilled all ILR requirements. 

4. Judicial Review

If you disagree with a decision from the Home Office and think it might be legally wrong, you have the option to request a judicial review. But be aware of the fact that it is not a brief or straightforward procedure. It’s often considered a last resort and is only allowed if the court permits.

Given that judicial review delicateness, getting legal advice from an expert solicitor is recommended to determine if it’s the right move for you.

How Gulbenkian Andonian Can Help With ILR Refusal?

Has your ILR application been refused by the Home Office, leaving you uncertain about your status in the UK? At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we excel in turning such complexities into smooth navigation.

Our seasoned immigration lawyers can dissect the reason for the refusal, be it an error on the application, issues with your tax payments, or absences from the UK. Whether you need to submit a new application or need help with an appeal, we are well-equipped to guide you through the complexities of UK immigration law.

From appealing the refusal within 14 calendar days to advising on an administrative or judicial review, we’ve got you covered. Your dream of settling in the UK shouldn’t be shattered by a refused ILR application.

Don’t leave your future to luck; contact our expert team immediately for a consultation.


The success rate for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) applications varies based on several factors, including how well common reasons for refusal are addressed. ILR application success and failure rates are not publicly available.

If you already get ILR, divorce will not affect your status. However, if the marriage ends before your current visa expires or before you obtain ILR, your existing permission to stay in the UK may be cancelled. 

If your ILR application is refused by the Home Office, the application fee is generally not refundable. 

Possessing a CCJ won’t result in an automatic refusal of your ILR application, but it may introduce delays in the process. The Home Office might request additional details regarding your financial standing and the reasons behind the CCJ. You may have to settle outstanding debt to acquire approval for the application.

The ILR application can take up to 6 months. However, note that delays can occur for many reasons, such as application quality or completeness or high application volumes at the Home Office.

The Home Office conducts multiple checks, including criminal background and immigration history. Any convicted offence might result in the automatic refusal of your ILR application.

Yes, if you are found in violation of UK immigration law, your ILR status could be revoked. It is crucial to stay eligible for ILR by maintaining good legal and social conduct within the UK.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.

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