Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the expression confirming that there is no time limit to the period you can stay in the UK.
When a person obtains ILR, they have the right to live and work in the UK, without any restriction. You may also leave and enter the UK, without restriction.
Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence is granted on the basis that a person is settled in the UK.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is the stepping stone to British Citizenship.
How to qualify
One can obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain in a number of ways. We list, below, some of the circumstances, but it is not an exhaustive list.
- UK Ancestral Visa – completing five years on this immigration route.
- Marriage to a British Citizen – completing five years as the holder of the spouse visa.
- Marriage to an EU National – completing five years as the spouse of an EU national. Under the EEA routes, applicants are taken to have obtained Permanent Residence, which is tantamount to having received Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur – depending on the level of business activity, the applicant may qualify for ILR after 3 or 5 years.
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent – applicants endorsed under exceptional promise criteria will qualify after 5 years. Applicants endorsed under exceptional talent criteria will qualify after 3 years.
- Tier 1 Investor – depending on the level of investment, the applicant may qualify for after 2, 3 or 5 years.
- Tier 2 (General) – completing five years in this immigration route and able to fulfill the minimum income threshold criteria.
- Long residence stays – if you have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years.
There are certain categories that unfortunately do not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain. This inter alia include Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer, Tier 4 Student and Tier 5 categories.
Indefinite Leave to Remain and Continuous Residence
You cannot be absent from the UK for more than 180 days per any rolling 12-month period, in your qualification period for ILR.
You must also be able to provide reasons for any absences from the UK. In most categories, you will also need to provide evidence of the absence.
Should you not be able to fulfill the continuous residence criteria, you will not qualify for ILR.
Knowledge of Language and Life
Most ILR applicants are required to pass the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test (KoLL).
To fulfill this requirement, you have two fulfill two tests, unless exempt:
- To pass the Life in the UK test; and
- To have an English speaking and listening qualification at the B1 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
ILR applicants who are under the age of 18 years, or older than 65 years, do not need to fulfill the KOLL requirement. The Home Office also has the discretion to exempt applicants from this requirement, dependent on their circumstances.
Losing your Indefinite Leave to Remain
Persons who leave the UK for periods longer than 2 years, will normally be deemed as no longer present and settled in the UK. This might lead to one’s Indefinite Leave to Remain being revoked.
It is possible to lose one’s ILR should you commit an offence serious enough to have you deported from the UK.
How to apply for ILR
There can be a number of complexities in an Indefinite Leave to Remain application. However, our highly trained and experienced consultants will be able to guide you through the process.
We recommend that you contact us 3 months before the expiry of your current visa.
What happens after I obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain?
After you have obtained ILR, you can apply for British Citizenship.
To apply for British citizenship applicant’s usually need to have held their ILR status for a period of 12 months.
Applicants who are married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen do not need to meet this 12 month qualifying period. They can become eligible for citizenship as soon as their ILR status is endorsed by the Home Office.