Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Immigration Corner | Conditions for applying for ILR after death of a partner

Published:Tuesday | November 9, 2021 | 12:06 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a recent widow living in the United Kingdom (UK) and I would like to know if I would be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), since my partner has died. I am desperate for an answer.


Dear LB,

Persons may be eligible to apply for settlement, that is, indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, if their partner has died.

Indefinite leave to remain is how persons settle in the United Kingdom. It is also called ‘settlement’. It gives persons the right to live, work and study there for as long as they like, and apply for benefits if they are eligible. They can also use it to apply for British citizenship.

The person’s permission to be in the UK must have been based on being their partner as part of a family visa. A ‘partner’ is one of the following:

• Your spouse (husband or wife);

• Your civil partner;

• Someone you were living with in a relationship that’s like a marriage or civil partnership.


• Been a British citizen;

• Had indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom;

• Been from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, and had pre-settled status.


Persons can apply any time after their partner’s death. They do not have to wait until their current visa expires, but they must be in the United Kingdom when applying. The application fee is £2,389 and they will also need to pay £19.20 to have their biometric information, fingerprints, and a photograph taken.

If they have family members applying for settlement with the main applicant, they will need to pay the £2,389 application fee and the £19.20 biometric information fee for each person.

Persons should be aware that, if successful, they can lose their indefinite leave to remain if they stay outside the United Kingdom for more than two years at a time. They may need to make a new application before they can return to the United Kingdom.


Persons’ permission to be in the UK must be based on their relationship. That is, before their partner died, they must have got a family visa as their partner; not as their fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.

When the partner died, the applicant and partner must have been living together in the United Kingdom, or intended to live together permanently over there. Further, the partner must not have been living permanently in any another country. Persons do not need to take the Life in the UK Test or prove their English language skills.

Please note that if persons are not eligible because their partner has died, there are other ways to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Good luck.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, global vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: l