Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) provides migrants to the UK with the right to live, study, and work here permanently without immigration restrictions.
Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your Indefinite Leave to Remain application.
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) means that a migrant to the UK has the right to live here permanently without immigration restrictions. If you plan to settle in the UK, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is for you. ILR will allow you and your family members to settle in the UK permanently without needing to apply for another visa to live, work, or study. You may also hear ILR referred to as settlement, permanent settlement, Settled Status (under the EU Settlement Scheme), and permanent residence. With ILR, your position in the UK, and that of your family, will be secure. Indefinite Leave to Remain is the ultimate aim for many who travel to the UK to live, work, or join family members, and it represents the last step before gaining British citizenship.
With ILR, you will be able to:
To be eligible for ILR, you must meet eligibility requirements, such as:
* In most cases, you will need to have held a valid UK visa for 5 years before you can apply for ILR. This applies to working visa holders, family visa holders, and several other visa categories (as explained in the next section). Entrepreneur, Innovator, and Investor visa holders may be able to secure ILR after 3 years. There is also a two-year route to ILR for those who have invested £10m or more in the UK. See below for more details on the qualifying periods for ILR.
As long as you meet these eligibility criteria, you will be able to make an application to settle in the UK. If your application is granted, you will be able to live and work in the UK without the need for a visa indefinitely. You will also have the opportunity to apply to become a British citizen after having ILR for 12 months, as explained below.
In most circumstances, ILR is only available to migrants to the UK who have been living in the UK for the required amount of time. This demonstrates to the Home Office that those who wish to settle here permanently are serious and committed to living in the UK and adhering to the requirements and conditions set.
Not all visas provide a route to ILR. Visa routes that qualify for UK ILR include the following:
The residency requirement before you can apply for ILR depends on the type of visa your hold. In general, a person must have held a qualifying visa for 2, 3, 5, or 10 years before they are eligible to apply for ILR, as follows:
In the vast majority of cases, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years on a qualifying visa. To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you must have been living in the UK on a valid visa continuously for this period. The following visas qualify for ILR after 5 years:
In some cases, you may have to show evidence of more than 5 years of residence if you have switched from a different visa type.
Depending on the type of visa you switched from and to, this may have ‘reset the clock’, meaning that you need to build up 5 years in the UK on your new visa (i.e. the time you have already been in the UK may not count towards ILR).
For some visas (e.g. Skilled Worker and Tier 2 routes), it may be possible to combine time in the UK on different visa types to meet the qualifying period of five years. If you are eligible and make a successful application, you will be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Another popular option for those who have been living in the UK for at least ten continuous years is the ILR long-residence route. Under the ten year long-residence route, it does not matter what type of visa you have held in order to qualify, as long as you have been living lawfully in the UK for this period of time.
Depending on the visa held, it may be possible to gain ILR after two or three years. Accelerated ILR is available to those on an:
Innovator and entrepreneur visa holders may be able to apply after three years if they can prove they have sufficiently grown their business. In the case of the Entrepreneur visa route, it is possible to apply for ILR after 3 years if you create at least 10 new full-time jobs or your business has a turnover of at least £5 million. Investor visa holders can apply after two or three years, depending on the level of investment made, as follows:
Global Talent visa holders can apply for ILR after 3 years if they have been endorsed by either:
If you are unsure which ILR route to choose, our team of specialist immigration solicitors can help you. Speak to one of our specialist ILR Solicitors today on 020 3744 2797.
In certain circumstances, the ILR requirements may be waived, or it may be possible to apply sooner. Spouse visa holders may be able to apply for ILR before the 5 year qualification period if their spouse or partner dies or if they were a victim of domestic violence. In addition, the English language requirement is waived for those over the age of 65, or with a long-term physical or mental condition, or those from one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Ireland (for citizenship only), Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
In addition, you may not need to pass the Life in the UK test if one of the following applies to you:
To apply for ILR, you must first ensure you are eligible as per the criteria laid out above. As long as you are eligible, you will need to complete the following steps to apply for ILR:
You must provide proof for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The list below lays out the Indefinite Leave to Remain documents likely to be required by UK Visas and Immigration:
You can expect to receive a decision on your ILR application within 6 months. It is also possible to pay an extra £800 for the ‘super-priority service’, in which case you will receive a decision within 1-2 working days2. Alternatively, you can use the ‘priority service’ at the cost of £500 for a decision within 5 working days.
The current Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee (ILR application fee) is £2,389 per person. This cost is the same whether you are the main applicant or a dependant family member. In addition, there is a fee of £19.20 to have your biometrics processed at a UKVCAS office.
The ILR 180 day rule (also referred to as the continuous residence requirement) states that applicants must not have spent 180 days or more outside of the UK in any 12-month period prior to submitting their ILR application. The intention of this rule is to ensure that only genuine migrants who are committed to remaining in the UK will be able to gain settlement here.
Yes, ILR can be revoked if you spend 2 or more years outside of the country. If you leave the UK for more than this time and wish to return, you will need to apply for a Returning Resident Visa before returning to the UK.
Your dependant family members (i.e. your spouse/partner and child) will also be able to apply for ILR. Dependants include:
They will also need to meet the continuous residence period, English language test, and life in the UK Test requirements. In addition, proof of more funds will be required for each dependant partner and child, as follows:
In most cases, because family members will have gained their visa at the same time as the main visa holder, and this would have been granted for the same amount of time, they can apply for ILR at the same time. If they came to the UK later, they might need to wait until they reach the ILR qualifying time.
If your family member is not eligible for a ILR as a dependant, it is possible they may be able to settle in the UK through another route, including the EU Settlement Scheme, family visa, or the 10 year long residency route.
Applying for ILR for a dependant family member can be a complex and time-consuming process. Our team of specialist ILR solicitors can advise on the best route to ILR for your dependant family members. Speak to one of our immigration solicitors today on 020 3744 2797.
It is possible to apply for British citizenship after holding ILR status in the UK for 12 months or more. Also, a spouse visa holder can immediately apply to naturalise as a British Citizen once granted ILR.
The benefits of citizenship are that you will be able to apply for a British passport, which means you can travel in and out of the UK with complete freedom. In addition, you can leave the country for as long as you wish without having your citizenship revoked. Furthermore, you can vote in national and local elections if you wish.
To gain citizenship, applicants must:
If you receive a refusal of your ILR application (or your dependant family member receives a refusal), please be assured that with the correct advice, in most cases, you will be able to secure settlement in the UK. Firstly, you can appeal a refused Indefinite leave to remain application if you have been able to establish Human Rights grounds for your application. An immigration Solicitor will be able to advise if this is the case for your application. Most applications for ILR are not made on the basis of human rights, however, and hence cannot be appealed. There are other options available, however. An ILR refusal can be challenged by way of:
In some cases, it may be preferable to submit a fresh application for ILR.
There are several possible reasons for the refusal of an ILR application. ILR applications may be refused on the grounds of:
At Reiss Edwards, we understand how distressing and worrying a refusal of your ILR application (or a refusal of a dependant family member’s ILR application) can be. We have considerable experience in overturning ILR refusals and providing the best chance of a successful outcome. Speak to one of our specialist ILR Solicitors today on 020 3744 2797.
At Reiss Edwards, our specialist team of ILR immigration solicitors understand the complete process of ILR applications and the decision-making considerations and rules used by Home Office caseworkers. At the outset, we will take the time to understand your unique circumstances and those of your dependants to ensure that the approach taken gives you the optimal chance of receiving a timely positive decision on your ILR application.
We will ensure that all possible information and Indefinite Leave to Remain documents are provided, and any potential questions which may arise are already answered and evidenced. This is an approach we have refined over time to make the ILR application process as efficient and effective as possible. Our immigration lawyers will also go above and beyond to ensure your application is fully complete and accurate prior to submission.
Speak to one of our specialist ILR Solicitors today on 020 3744 2797.
1 GOV.UK: ILR application form
2 GOV.UK: ILR application decision timeline
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