Indefinite Leave To Remain   8 comments

{UPDATES: Finish this one and the British Citizenship and UK Passport posts await you.}

It has been difficult not to whinge about the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (that’s the UK version of Permanent Residence or ‘Green Card’ for you Americans out there).  Here is the gory saga, now that it is over.



We were eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain as of 14 January 2014 but it cost over £1000 each just when our (then) landlord decided to sell the house out from under us and some other large expenses came along. Part of the application suggests you should have sufficient finances to support yourself so, rather than rush into the first opportunity a few months later, we opted to wait until we had really solid banking to present.  This solid banking became even more important about three weeks into the process (see the fiasco that ensued on May 2, below). That sorted, I hit the application. For Settlement in the UK as a Tier 2 Visa holder, you are required to fill in form SET(O) at the end of which you could easily be persuaded that UK stands for ‘Unapologetically Kafka-esque.’ Here are some examples:




We easily passed the Life in the UK exam (which turned out not to be at all as I predicted, here).   As you can see clearly above, we are exempt from the ESOL requirements as citizens of an ostensibly English speaking country (at least it is on the list).  But, Note 1 doesn’t list that as a relevant qualification.  We broached this in the Documents Checklist on the penultimate page (page 75 of 76) of the application:




Omissions weren’t the only potentially confusing bits.  In somewhat strong language it is stated that sending the application to the wrong address will delay it and possibly invalidate it.  However, the only address provided (regardless the variations your particular application might contain) is this one:




Helpfully, Part 16 does not contain another address to confuse you.  Not so helpfully, Part 16 is where the address for ‘any other correspondence’ is supposed to be:




Fortunately, I didn’t do a lot of international travel the last 6 years, but the idea that my employer should be able to confirm the dates I was out of the country on my own annual leave takings was news also to my employer:




It was also helpful to my application that neither of us had any criminal convictions, civil judgements, or participation in genocide, war crimes or other crimes against humanity:




Had that been the case, ample room was allowed to explain our actions or, helpfully, we might continue our explanations on additional sheets of paper:


SET_O__genocide explanation box


The 76 page application, the supporting documents (including passports), and photocopies of all the supporting documents were finally ready to mail.


2015-04-09 application packets


Packaged securely …


2015-04-09 packed for posting


… and weighing in at 1.12 kg (2 pounds 7½ ounces) it was shipped.


2015-04-09 postal receipt


Timeline: 09 April 2015 09:27 Posted the SET(O) application and supporting documents

10 April 2015 07:40 Received by UKVI in Durham:




14 April 2015 Fees siphoned out of bank account:


2015-04-14 Fees taken


18 April 2015 Received acknowledgement of application dated 14 April 2015 from Home Office via post. Suggests no outside-the-UK travel plans for up to 6 months or until passports and BRPs returned. (Email version subsequently received 21 April 2015.)

30 April 2015 missed delivery of document, rescheduled for Saturday 02 May 2015.





2015-05-02 increased ILR fees


02 May 2015 The document arrives at 12:30 pointing out that the fees increased from £2186 to £3000 on 06 April, and if I didn’t want to consider the first 2186 quid a donation to the Home Office I needed to pony up an additional £814 by 07 May. Posted the updated payment at 3 pm.  Also posted the bits of the NEW application that were different from the old application (a newly inserted Section 11 that asks for passport number, nationality, and issuing authority and a slightly less ambiguous Section 4) to the address listed for additional materials (which also now exists in the updated notes regarding the application…improvements but perhaps not worthy the £814 increase).  Modest cost of post: £1.73 each for 1st Class Signed For service.





2015-05-02 increased ILR fees pay up deadbeat


06 May 2015 10:40 am Document signing over additional fees arrives at Sheffield office, one day ahead of deadline.

07 May 2015 08:34 am Application updates (and letter asking if we should send the entire 80 page NEW application along) arrives at Liverpool office.


2015-05-07 tracking updates


07 May 2015 (late) Additional fees debited from account.

23 May 2015 Received ‘Invitation to Enrol Biometrics’ dated 20 May 2015 with 15 working days to do so (deadline 11 June).

27 May 2015 Enrolled Biometrics at Post Office in Gloucester.  Rail tickets were £9 apiece and the Biometrics fees £19.20 each (£56.40 more expense).


2015-05-27 tickets to Gloucester for biometrics


This was our second experience with the Biometric Residence Permit enrollment (although as part of the original work permit we also had to have an iris scan and fingerprints done). This was also the second time the Post Office tried to tell us it couldn’t be done on the day we arrived despite this being time sensitive and there being no notice that they had any trouble with the machines (which, it turned out the first time in Bristol, they weren’t unless you count not wanting to use the machine).

We walked into the PO in Gloucester at 10:30 am and, following the instructions in the BRP instructional video on the Post Office website, skipped the service queue and went directly to the BRP booth and asked the woman there what the next step should be. “You need to join the service queue for that.” Of course.

A few minutes along, she emerged to tell us that the colleague that does those would not be in until 1:30 so we would need to come back then. Sightseeing and exercise bike shopping had been pushed forward, but eventually the clock ticked over to 1:32 and we rejoined the queue and eventually got to a window.

“We are here to register our biometrics,” I said to the teller and when she looked confused and didn’t respond I showed the registration letter and nodded toward the booth.

“It doesn’t work.”
“We were here at 10:30 and told to return at 1:30.”
Yelling over to her other colleagues, she asked, “are we doing biometrics?”
“I don’t think so. They will have to come back,” came a response.

Our teller muttered to them (but in front of us), “we should just put a sign on the door saying it’s broken.” Bear in mind that the next nearest ones are in Bristol, Oxford, Hereford, and Cardiff.

“This is an advertised service, and I’ve taken the day off work and travelled an hour to get here,” I started ranting when the first lady we dealt with emerged and told us to go over to the booth.

Which then did not work.

Every time the operator scanned my barcode she got an error locking her out of the system. She rebooted and said it would take ten minutes. “Is there something else you need to do in town in the meantime?”
“We were here at 10:30 to do this. We’ve done everything in town there is to do.”

Ten minutes passed and the same thing recurred, so she called tech support who remote accessed the system for twenty minutes then rebooted it again. While on the phone to tech support, our operator asked First Lady if this had been working before.

“Yes, I enrolled biometrics several times just this morning.” She didn’t add, although it should be inferred, “then I told these people to fuck off till half one.”

The support reboot finally took and we were finished a little before 2:30.

2015-05-27 Biometrics done


03 June 2015 ‘Missed’ delivery from DX, the contractor that the Home Office uses to deliver the Biometric Residence Permits.  DX has a reputation for not actually attempting the initial delivery and instead just sending the ‘missed’ note so you have to schedule another time…they consider this more cost-effective, I understand.

A little later on 03 June 2015 Royal Mail delivery of our passports, supporting documents, and a letter stating that the BRPs are on their way:


ILR letter


04 June 2015 BRPs delivered.  We can travel, once more (in fact I’m off to Maastricht to celebrate a friend’s new job, shortly).  We’re in, after only 7 weeks and a day — compared to the 6 month target — at the bargain price of £3070.86 (a little over $4700).  Now, I can claim benefits (welfare, housing, etc), change jobs, and disparage non-permanent migrants.  This is a very happy occasion…we are home.


2015-06-01 IndefLeave

Posted June 4, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in work

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8 responses to “Indefinite Leave To Remain

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  1. Congratulations and wow! I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been. Good for you guys!


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  4. An “Aromire Laja” leaves this note:
    comment from someone I cannot verify anything about


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