We applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain or SET (M) on September 9, 2012. You are allowed to apply for ILR 28 days before the expiration date of your FLR. I received my FLR on October 1, 2010 and it expired on October 1, 2012.
This was what I had to do to apply for ILR (things are changing all the time with immigration so these rules may have changed by the time you are reading this, but this is my experience):
1. Take and pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK test. I took my test on August 8th, 2012 and passed on the first try. You can take this test any time after you receive your FLR. I had to pay a £50 fee to take the test. I studied for about a month before taking it, it was relatively easy, a lot of memorization.
2. We submitted our application by post as it was about £400 cheaper, the fee for the postal application was £991. We had to include the following:
-6 letters in joint names spread over the past 2 years from UKBA approved sources (but were then asked for further documentation on January 12, 2013)
-6 months of bank statements and payslips
-My Biometric Resident Permit
-Pass Letter from KOL test
-Both our passports
-Two passport sized photos for myself and one of Dan
-The completed SET (M) form
3. After we submitted our application on September 10, 2012 we received acknowledgment on September 12, 2012.
4. I then received a letter requesting my biometrics be taken on October 20, 2012. I had to make an appointment at a post office with biometric taking facilities (Romsey was our closest) and took my UKBA letter in to get my photo taken, fingerprints scanned, and an electronic signature(this cost about £20).
5. We received a letter requesting extra documentation to prove “cohabitation after marriage” on January 9, 2013. We were asked for documentation for the first six months of 2011 and the last 6 months of 2012 from 5 different sources. This was posted January 22, 2013.
6. We finally received our approval on February 23, 2013. UKBA was completing 99% of applications in 6 months at this time. Our documentation was returned to us via recorded delivery along with a letter stating I would receive my biometrics resident permit within 7-10 days.
I don’t know if it was worth it or not in the end to save the money by applying via post. It was a very nerve-wracking wait, especially when we were asked to provide further documentation. I’m just glad it’s all over now (until I apply for citizenship!).