Being granted or refused status

When you apply for limited leave to remain, your application may be granted or refused.

Being granted status

If you succeed in your application, you may be granted limited leave to remain for 30 months (2.5 years). You will also receive your biometric residence permit.

Being granted legal status means you can work, study, open a bank account, rent accommodation and travel.

Most of the time, limited leave includes the condition you have no recourse to public funds. This means you be unable to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance paid by the state. These include:

  •  income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  •  income support
  •  child tax credit
  •  universal credit
  •  working tax credit
  •  child benefit
  •  housing benefit
  •  council tax benefit
  •  severe disablement allowance
  •  carer’s allowance
  •  disability living allowance
  •  an allocation of local authority housing
  •  local authority homelessness assistance

A full list of what is meant by 'public funds' is available on the Home Office website.

If you have been left penniless, your lawyer may be able to argue that ‘no recourse to public funds’ should be removed from your leave. You must prove you are or will be destitute because you’re ineligible for any public funds. Your lawyer will be able to support you with this.

Limited leave is temporary. If you’re granted it, you will be on a 10-year route to settlement. This means you must keep applying for this temporary status every 2.5 years. After 10 years you can apply for permanent status, also called settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This means that before your existing leave expires, you must apply again. Please note, every time you apply to  renew your status you must pay the application fee and NHS charge.

You must plan for this, save up for your application fees and apply on time.

Even if you are on the 10-year route to settlement, it is possible to fall out of status. Mistakes include:

  • not using the correct application form
  • not paying the correct application fee
  • not paying the NHS surcharge
  • errors made on the application form
  • not supplying enough evidence 
  • allowing your residence permit to run out before you apply for a new one

If you become undocumented, you may have to restart the 10-year process.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, always check everything on the application several times over. You should also start saving for the next round of LLR as soon as you have sent your application. 

What happens if your application for leave is refused?


If your application is refused and you have been given right to appeal within the UK, this will be stated in the Home Office decision letter. This means you can challenge their decision around your right to stay through a tribunal court. You will have 14 days in which to appeal. This period starts from the date stated on the Home Office letter – not the date you received the letter. It is vital that your lawyer helps you to take immediate action and talks you through the process step by step. If you challenge a Home Office decision after more than 14 days, your case may not be heard in court. 

Please note, that not all applications will have the right to appeal. Some may only have the right to appeal from outside of the UK (this means you must leave the UK before you appeal). If you do not have the right to appeal you can ask for an administrative review of your case.

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