What is Further Leave to Remain?

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What is Further Leave to Remain?

If you are a non-British national living in the UK, most likely you’re on a visa or leave to remain. Unfortunately, your visa has a limited validity, and the same case applies to limited leave to remain. This means that you need to find a way of getting an extension of your allowed to stay in the country from the Home Office if you want to live in the country beyond the validity of your visa or limited leave to remain.

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Otherwise, you might be regarded as an overstayer if you’re in the country on an expired visa or be considered an illegal immigrant if you’re still in the country while your limited leave to remain has lapsed. On that note, you can apply for further leave to remain, which is basically the permission given by the Home Office to non-UK citizens to enter and live in the country for a specified period. 

Further Leave to Remain Application

The further leave to remain application can be made through one of the following ways, depending on your circumstances:

  • Further leave to remain ‘M’ category also known as FLR (M)-this is based on marriage
  • Further leave to remain ‘F’ and ‘P’, alias FLR (FP)-this is based on family and private life.

FLR (M)

FLR (M) form can be used by an applicant who is looking to extend their stay in the UK on the basis of being a partner or a spouse to a British or a person with UK Settled Status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection. So, you may be expected to have a valid UK spouse visa for your FLR (M) application to be successful. 

Leave granted under FLR (M) application is valid for 2.5 years. After a continuous stay for a period of at least five years under this leave, an immigrant can apply for an indefinite leave of remain (ILR), which offers permanent residency. This is normally called the 5-year route to ILR.

The FLR (M) applicants must show the Home Office that they meet the set requirements in their respective category, for instance:

  • Documentation to prove your identity.
  • Show when you started living in the UK. 
  • Proof of relationship to the British sponsor (partner or spouse). 
  • Financial requirement
  • Accommodation requirements.
  • English language requirements.

In a nutshell, leave granted under FLR (M) application is normally given within the respective UK immigration rules. 

FLR (FP) – The Catchall Form – If You do not come under any other Specific Category.

If you don’t meet the requirements for FLR (M), for example, you may be in the UK as an overstayer, or maybe here illegally, you can try getting further leave to remain through the FLR (FP) form. When you fill in the FLR (FP) form, you’ll be applying for a UK stay extension based on family or private life. 

This application form is meant to be filled in by the UK immigrants who do not meet the requirements for the FLR (M) but qualify for an exception under Appendix FM  of the UK immigration laws.

Further Leave to Remain under Family Life.

Family life includes applications made as a spouse of a person who is settled in the UK or for a guardian of a British child. Appendix FM of the UK immigration law has the rules to be followed by those wishing to apply for further leave to remain under family life. 

For example, it may be deemed irrational to have a person who is married to a British citizen with whom they have a child together leave the country because their leave to remain has expired. The non-British spouse can apply to have their leave extended through FLR (FP). Further leave to remain under family life gives such a person an opportunity to extend their stay in the country for 30 months. It would be up to the discretion of the Home Office, however, to grant such permission. He could be advised to leave and make an application from abroad. He may be given a right of appeal as this would be a human rights issue where you can argue your case before an immigration judge.

Additionally, if you divorced your British spouse but still have access to the child you have together, or due to your financial status, you may not qualify for a UK spouse visa. However, you can apply for leave outside the rules on the basis of family life through FLR (FP). This is because your child forms part of your family life.

Further Leave to Remain Under Private Life.

Further leave to remain under private life application is solely considered under the merits of the applicant’s circumstances, other than a dependent, spouse or spouse-like relationship.

If you’ve stayed in the UK for considerably many years (illegally or legally and legally), you can apply to extend your stay in the country legally through FLR (FP) as long as you meet paragraphs 276ADE(1) and 276ADE(2) of the UK immigration Rules Part 7. 

For instance, you must fulfil one of the following conditions to qualify for further leave to remain on the basis of private life:

  1. A minimum of 20 years of continuous illegal (or a combination of legal and illegal) stay in the UK if 18 or over. 
  2. At the very least, seven years of continuous illegal (or a combination of legal and illegal) for a child under the age of 18 years who has lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years;
  3. Having lived in the UK for at least half of your age continuously if you’re aged between 18 and 24.

If the Home Office finds your FLR (FP) application (either on private life or family life) compliant with the necessary requirements, you’ll be allowed to live in the UK for additional 2.5 years (30 months). You’ll enjoy the rights accorded to the immigrants on leave to remain, such as the right to work, study and live in the country within the leave period.

FLR (FP) is a gateway to indefinite leave to remain. However, this is a 10-year route to ILR, meaning that you have to live in the UK for ten continuous years on a visa gained through FLR (FP) for your ILR application to be successful. 

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What’s the difference between FLR (FP) and FLR (M)

Both FLR (FP) and FLR (M) are application forms that are used by UK immigrants without settled status or indefinite leave to remain to apply for the extension of their stay in the country as legal immigrants. 

However, the two forms differ in two key ways. First, the leave given through FLR (M) is granted within the UK rules and is based on marriage, all based on unmarried couples or civil partners, while FLR (FP) requirements are outside the rules. 

Secondly, two successful FLR (M) applications can be enough for one to qualify for indefinite leave to remain upon staying in the UK continuously for the two granted leave periods (5 years). On the other hand, FLR (FP) applications constitute a 10-year route to ILR. If you have been in the UK on an irregular basis but otherwise comply with the immigration rules, as a punishment for being here, for example, as an overstayer, he may be given discretionary leave to remain but told that you must renew your status and that this category for a ten year period before applying for ILR. This means that one has to have made at least four FLR (FP) applications to accumulate ten years of continuous stay in the UK for them to stand a chance to qualify for indefinite leave to remain. 

Contemplating which route is the best for your application for further leave to remain in the UK can be a daunting task. Therefore, we recommend that you seek legal advice from a legal expert to identify the option that suits you best, based on your specific circumstances. On that note, our immigration solicitors can offer you any guidance you need on your further leave to remain application. 

Whether you need help with identifying the best option for you between FLR (FP) and FLR (M) application, getting the necessary support documents or filing in either of the forms, you can count on us for the best results. Contact us now for timely help.

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    Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.