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Gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK is the ultimate aim for many who travel to the country to live, work or to join family members. The process allows you to solidify your position in the UK and means that you are no longer subject to the conditions of a visa. So how, might you ask, do you gain Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK? And what benefits does gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain give you in the long term? Well, in this article we look to give you a guide on the most popular methods of gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, the benefits of doing so and some other information that you may find useful in your path to gaining the ability to live in the UK while no longer being subject to immigration control.

Applying for your ILR

Eligibility Criteria

While the benefits of gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain are universal, the routes to eligibility are not. There are various visa routes that give the option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after a set period of time spent in the country. There are though some rules that apply across the board for those that are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. These requirements are laid out below:

  • You are of good character
  • You have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK and the English language
  • You have not spent more than 900 days outside of the UK in the five-year qualifying period
  • You have not spent 180 days or more outside of the UK in the 12 months prior to your application for ILR

The next logical question to be asked is how long does it take to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?

In the vast majority of cases you will need to wait until you have been in the UK for 5 years on a visa that allows you to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (Spouse Visa, Tier 1 Visas, Tier 2 General Visa etc.). There are exceptions to these; so below we have laid out the criteria per visa to make it easier to see which time period will apply to your situation.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa entitles holders to set up and run a business in the UK. The visa route gives the holder an initial right to stay for 3 years and 4 months. Before their initial period ends, the visa holder will need to apply to extend their visa for a further 2 years (or 3 years if you are switching to it from an alternative category). This extension will then allow the holder (as long as they match the eligibility criteria to do so) to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If they are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, they will become free of their visa conditions.

Tier 1 Investor Visa

The Tier 1 Investor Visa is a fantastic option for individuals with a high net worth to move to Britain in order to invest. The criteria for those on a Tier 1 Investor Visa, where it is relevant to gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain, will depend upon their level of investable assets. While you will require a minimum of £2m in order to gain the visa in the first place, this will only entitle you to an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. If you have a higher level of investable assets, you will be able to reduce the time needed to wait for Indefinite Leave to Remain from the usual 5 years (initial 3 years 4 months plus an extension). Below there are the two alternative shorter options for gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you have the level of funding required by either, then you can shorten your time from 5 years to the time specified.

  • apply to settle after 2 years if you invest £10 million
  • apply to settle after 3 years if you invest £5 million

For those who cannot hit the shorter options, you will need to extend your visa in order to hit your 5 year stay in the UK to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Tier 2 General Visa

The Tier 2 General Visa is by far the UK’s most popular visa route. This is likely due to the easier nature of the eligibility criteria. Like the vast majority of the visas on this list, the time needed in the UK to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain from a Tier 2 General Visa is 5 years. Your initial period will depend largely upon your work circumstances (your period is defined by your work), but you can receive an initial visa period of upto 5 years and 14 days. You can extend the Tier 2 General Visa, but only upto a maximum stay of 6 years in the UK. The extension can be used to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Spouse Visa

The Spouse Visa offers spouses or partners of British citizens and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain the opportunity to move to the UK to live and work. You will be given an initial period of 2.5 years which can be extended to get you to the 5 year mark required. There is also the option to settle at short notice on a Spouse Visa if you have the visa and one of the following happens:

If you are in this situation, you will need the help of immigration solicitors such as ourselves to help present your case in order to give you a swift and favourable conclusion.

Benefits Of Gaining Indefinite Leave To Remain

The main benefit of gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain is the option to stay in the UK free from visa restrictions. Another major benefit is that Indefinite Leave to Remain is a step on the way to British citizenship for those who desire it as a long term goal. Whatever your goal, our team of immigration specialists can help you to realise it. So for more information on Indefinite Leave to Remain or indeed any other immigration subject, please call today and our team will be more than happy to help get you started.


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Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers london that we would be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
The Home Office refused my Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application. This meant that my family and i would have to go back to Jordan and my business would close down. I needed a good immigration lawyer to put in a very strong appeal. I approached Reiss Edwards based on a friend's recommendation and they put together a very strong appeal. I read the grounds of appeal and I knew that this was a winner. A big thanks to Joe who worked tireless on my appeal.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter.

It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure.

To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me

A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative.

Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country.

The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed.

The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not.

At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months.

If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
Fantastic Solicitors!!!

My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.

We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa.

We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question.

The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife’s UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.

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I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.

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Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.

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I used Reiss Edwards’ immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.

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It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service.

I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice.

They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.

Kind regards
Nancy Jacquard

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