What is Discretionary Leave to Remain and How to Apply for it in the UK

What is Discretionary Leave to Remain and How to Apply for it in the UK

Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) is a form of immigration status that can be granted by the UK Home Office to those who have an eligible claim for it. This post will provide an overview of DLR and what it entails, as well as how to apply for it.

We’ll cover the requirements and eligibility criteria for applying for DLR, the application process, and the associated costs. We’ll also discuss how to ensure your application is successful and the potential implications of having DLR.

Eligibility for DLR

DLR is a form of immigration status granted to individuals who do not qualify for any other form of leave but may be permitted to remain in the UK due to exceptional or compassionate circumstances.

Categories of individuals eligible for DLR:

There are several categories of individuals who may be eligible for DLR in the UK:

Failed asylum seekers:

Individuals who have been refused asylum but cannot return to their home country due to the risk of persecution, war, or other exceptional circumstances may be eligible for DLR.

Victims of trafficking or domestic violence:

Victims of human trafficking or domestic violence may be eligible for DLR if they cannot return to their home country due to the risk of persecution or harm.

Individuals with medical conditions:

Individuals with serious medical conditions may be eligible for DLR if they cannot return to their home country due to a lack of medical facilities or access to treatment.

Other exceptional circumstances:

Individuals who do not fit into the above categories but have exceptional or compassionate circumstances may also be eligible for DLR.

It is important to note that DLR is discretionary and is granted on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual circumstances and the applicant’s best interests.

In the next section, we will discuss the application process for DLR in the UK.

Application Process

The application process for DLR in the UK can be a complex and daunting experience. Here’s what you need to know:

Submitting the Application:

You must complete and submit the application form to apply for DLR. The application process may vary depending on the individual circumstances, but here are the basic steps you need to take:

  • Download and complete the application form
  • Gather all the necessary documents
  • Submit your application online or via post
  • Attend biometric appointment (if required)

When submitting your DLR application, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Biometric residence permit (if you have one)
  • Evidence of how you meet the eligibility criteria
  • Evidence of your financial circumstances (if required)
  • Other supporting documents (depending on individual circumstances)

There is a fee to apply for DLR, which can be found on the UK government website. You may sometimes be eligible for a fee waiver or reduction.

Extension of Temporary Stay

CategoryNumber of Extensions Granted in 2021Percentage Change
Work Extensions190,756+92%
– Skilled Workers140,950+69%
– Other Work Visas40,909
— Graduate Category28,700
— High-Value Category2,049
Family-Related Grants134,981+62%
– Family: Partner70,000+76%
– Family Life63,647+47%
Study-Related Grants35,332+16%
Other Grants36,971+190%
– BN(O) Route21,096

Consideration by the Home Office:

After you have submitted your application, it will be considered by the Home Office. This process can take several months, so patience’s important.

Factors Influencing the Decision:

The decision to grant DLR is at the discretion of the Home Office. The following factors may be considered:

  • Whether you meet the eligibility criteria
    • Your immigration history and circumstances
    • Whether you have strong ties to the UK
    • Any compelling or compassionate circumstances

Length of Decision-Making Process:

The length of the decision-making process can vary depending on individual circumstances and the workload of the Home Office. It is not uncommon for the process to take several months or even up to a year. However, you may be able to request an expedited decision in certain circumstances.

Applying in the UK can be a complex process, but it is possible with the right guidance and support. Suppose you are unsure about the application process. In that case, it is always best to seek professional legal assistance to ensure your application is accurate and complete.

Rights and Restrictions

DLR in the UK grants certain rights to its holders, including:

  • The right to remain in the UK
    • The right to work
    • The right to access healthcare and education

Holders of DLR are allowed to work in the UK without needing an additional work permit.

Access to public funds:

DLR holders are entitled to some public funds, such as emergency healthcare, but they may be restricted from receiving other forms of support, such as social housing or unemployment benefits.

Settlement Stats UK

Category2021 GrantsChange from 2020Change from 2019
Settlement Overall106,192+24%+14%
Skilled Workers (formerly Tier 2)21,605+27%-6%
Other Reasons (e.g., long residence, discretionary leave)14,620+65%-6%
Asylum-related25,262-19%No change
Total Settlement Grants106,192+24%+14%

Restrictions and limitations:

There are several restrictions and limitations placed on DLR holders, including:

  • Limited travel rights
    • No automatic path to settlement
    • The possibility of having their leave revoked at any time

No automatic path to settlement:

DLR does not automatically lead to permanent settlement in the UK. However, applying may be possible

Limited travel rights:

You may have their travel rights limited and may need to obtain permission to travel outside the UK. Additionally, if they leave the UK for a certain period, they may lose their DLR status.

The possibility of having their leave revoked at any time:

One of the most significant restrictions is that it may be revoked if the individual no longer meets the eligibility requirements. This could be due to a change in circumstances, such as the individual being convicted of a criminal offense or if the Home Office determines that the individual no longer needs protection. If the document is revoked, the individual may be required to leave the UK.

It is essential to remain vigilant and comply with all UK immigration laws and regulations to avoid revoking their leave. They should also seek legal assistance if they experience any changes in their circumstances that may affect their status.

Overall, DLR provides some fundamental rights to individuals who cannot return to their home country due to the risk of harm. However, it also comes with restrictions and limitations that individuals should be aware of before applying. With proper legal assistance and support, individuals can navigate the DLR application process and maximize their chances of success.

Duration of Discretionary Leave to Remain

One of the most important aspects to consider when applying for Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) in the UK is the duration of the grant period. This section will discuss the initial grant period, extension and renewal process, consequences of DLR expiry, options for individuals with expired DLR, and potential implications for immigration status.

Initial grant period:

  • The initial grant period for DLR is usually 30 months (2.5 years).
    • In some exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may grant DLR for a shorter or longer period.

Extension and renewal process:

  • Individuals with DLR can apply to extend their leave to remain in the UK.
    • The application process for the extension and renewal of DLR is similar to the initial application process.
    • Submitting the application at least 28 days before the expiry of DLR is recommended.

Consequences of DLR expiry:

  • If DLR expires and an individual does not apply for an extension, they may become undocumented or overstayers.
    • It could result in removal from the UK or limited access to public services such as healthcare, education, and housing.

Options for individuals with expired DLR:

  • Individuals with expired DLR can apply for further leave to remain in the UK.
    • They can also apply for other forms of leave, such as humanitarian protection or family and private life.

Potential implications for immigration status:

  • The expiration of DLR can have significant implications on an individual’s immigration status.
    • It may affect their ability to apply for future visas or permanent residency in the UK.

It is crucial for individuals with DLR to plan ahead and take necessary steps to ensure their leave to remain in the UK is extended or renewed before it expires. It could also affect their ability to travel outside the UK and return without facing immigration issues. Seeking legal assistance and support from experienced immigration lawyers can help individuals understand their options and rights under UK immigration laws.

Citizenship Grants UK

YearTotal decisionsTotal grantsNaturalization (Residence and Marriage)ChildrenOtherRefusals and withdrawals
Change: latest 12 monthsN/A+59,607+43,229+14,529+1,849N/A
Percentage changeN/A+46%+45%+52%+27%N/A

Additionally, it is important to note that the Home Office can revoke or vary DLR anytime. Therefore, it is important to comply with the conditions of the grant and any other immigration rules and regulations to avoid potential legal issues.

Legal Assistance and Support

Suppose you are considering applying for DLR in the UK. In that case, seeking legal advice and support is important to ensure you have the best chance of a successful application. Here are some things to keep in mind Discretionary Leave:

Importance of seeking legal advice:

  • DLR applications can be complex and require a lot of evidence to be provided
    • Having a legal representative can ensure that you are aware of all your options and have the best possible case presented
    • A mistake or omission in your application can lead to a refusal and potentially harm your chances of future immigration applications

Organizations and resources for assistance:

  • Immigration law firms can provide professional and experienced assistance with your DLR application
    • Charities and organizations, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, may provide free legal advice and support for those with low income
    • The UK government website has information on immigration and how to find legal assistance if needed

Remember, seeking legal advice and support can make a huge difference in the outcome of your application. Finding a trusted and experienced legal representative to guide you through the process is important.

It is also important to remember that legal representation may come at a cost, so research and compare fees and services discretionary Leave before deciding. Some immigration law firms may offer a free consultation or operate on a no-win, no-fee basis. Additionally, some charities and organizations may provide assistance with funding for legal fees.

Aside from legal assistance, seeking support from community organizations and resources is also beneficial. There may be local groups or forums where you can connect with others who have gone through the DLR application process and can offer advice and guidance.

Asylum-Seekers Stats UK

Top Nationalities Claiming Asylum in the UK (Year Ending Sept 2022)
1. NationalityAlbania
Asylum Applications in EU+ Countries (Year Ending Sept 2021)
1. NationalitySyrian
2. NationalityAfghan
3. NationalityVenezuelan
4. NationalityColombian
5. NationalityPakistani
6. NationalityIraqi
7. NationalityTurkish
Asylum Applications in EU+ Countries (Year Ending Sept 2021)
1. CountryGermany
2. CountryFrance
3. CountrySpain
4. CountryItaly
5. CountryUnited Kingdom

Overall, seeking legal assistance and support can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty of the DLR application process. By working with a knowledgeable legal representative and utilizing available resources, you can increase your chances of a successful application and secure your right to remain in the UK.


Discretionary Leave to Remain in the UK is a valuable option for those who do not meet other forms of leave requirements. Suppose you believe that you may be eligible for DLR. In that case, seeking legal assistance to help with your application process is important. KQ Solicitors is a highly recommended law firm with experience in Discretionary Leave immigration law and can provide the support and guidance you need.

Remember that DLR does come with certain restrictions, but it can also lead to other opportunities in the future. By understanding your rights and responsibilities under this form of leave, you can make the most of your time in the UK.

If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with others who may benefit. Discretionary Leave Immigration law can be complex, but with the right resources and support, you can successfully navigate the system and achieve your goals.


Q: Who is eligible to apply for DLR in the UK?

A: Anyone who cannot return to their home country due to exceptional and compelling circumstances, such as a risk to their life or freedom, can apply.

Q: How long does it last?

A: The length varies depending on the circumstances of the applicant. In some cases, it can be granted for up to 30 months, while in others, it may be shorter.

Q: Can I work or study in the UK with DLR?

A: Yes, you can work and study in the UK. However, you may not be eligible for certain benefits or public funds.

Q: What is the application process?

A: The application process involves submitting a completed form and supporting documents. It is recommended that you seek legal assistance when submitting your application.

Q: What happens if my application is refused?

A: If your application is refused, you may have the right to appeal the decision. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to determine your options.

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Our Head Solicitor
Khurram Amir Qureshi

Khurram Amir Qureshi has been an advocate of Pakistan since 2004, a Solicitor of England and Wales since 2009, Solicitor of Ireland since 2015. He has extensive experience in family law, Immigration law, Personal injury cases, and Civil and Commercial litigation gaining over 13 years of continuous practice in England and Wales.

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