Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the expression confirming that there is no time limit to the period you can stay in the UK. If you have the immigration status of ILR, the Home Office considers you settled in the UK.
When people obtain ILR, they can live, work and study in the UK without restriction. You may also leave and enter the UK without limitation.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is also sometimes known as Permanent Residence or Settlement. It is a stepping stone to British Citizenship.
Table of contents
How to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain
One can obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain in several ways. However, it is important to note that each one of the routes has its unique criteria. You may have to meet specific salary or financial requirements to qualify under your immigration route. We therefore highly recommend that you keep regular contact with your Breytenbachs consultant. We will do a ‘health check’ on your immigration status to ensure that nothing compromises your route to ILR and British citizenship.
Immigration Routes leading to Indefinite Leave to Remain
Below are some UK immigration routes that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain. Note that it is not an exhaustive list.
- UK Ancestral Visa – completing five years on the UK Ancestry route.
- Skilled Worker Visa, Tier 2 Work Permit, International Sportsperson Visa, and Health and Care Worker Visa – completing five years in one of these work visa categories.
- Innovator Visa – Under some circumstances, it is possible to apply for ILR after only three years. However, the normal route to ILR via the Innovator Visa is five years.
- Global Talent Visa – Under some specific circumstances, one can apply for ILR after only three years. Normally the route to ILR takes five years.
- Scale-up Worker Visa – completing five years as a scale-up worker.
- Representative of an Overseas business – completing five years in the UK as the representative of an overseas business.
- Turkish Worker or Businessperson Visa – completing five years in this immigration route.
- Settlement Visa or Spouse Visa – completing five years as the Spouse, Partner, or Unmarried Partner of a British citizen or person settled in the UK.
- Family in the UK- you may be able to apply if you have a parent or child or another relative in the UK who is a British citizen or who is settled in the UK. The criteria and how you apply will depend on your visa and how your family member is settled.
- Victims of Domestic Violence – Victims of domestic violence can apply for ILR under specific circumstances.
- Bereaved Partners – If your partner was a British citizen or settled in the UK, it is possible to apply for ILR as a bereaved partner.
- Long residence stays – legally completing ten years in the UK on immigration routes that would not normally lead to ILR.
Continuous Residence as a Criteria for ILR
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 be able to provide reasons and evidence for any absences from the UK in most categories.
If you cannot fulfil the continuous residence criteria, you will not qualify for ILR.
Breytenbachs recommend that you keep a record of your absences from the UK. The records will ensure that you do not unwittingly jeopardise your qualifying period for ILR.
Knowledge of Language and Life as Criteria for ILR
Most ILR applicants must pass the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test (KoLL).
You have to fulfil this requirement by completing 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 or older than 65 years do not need to fulfil the KOLL requirement. The Home Office also has the discretion to exempt applicants from this requirement, depending on their circumstances.
Losing your Indefinite Leave to Remain
Persons who leave the UK for longer than two years will normally be deemed no longer present and settled in the UK. This absence from the UK might lead to one’s Indefinite Leave to Remain being revoked. However, should you lose your ILR in this way, applying for a Returning Resident visa should be possible.
It is also possible to lose one’s ILR should one commit a serious offence leading to deportation from the UK.
How can Breytenbachs help you with your ILR application?
There can be several complexities in an Indefinite Leave to Remain application. Fortunately, our highly trained and experienced consultants will be able to guide you through the process.
We recommend that you stay in touch with your Breytenbachs consultant throughout your qualifying period for ILR. Your Breytenbachs consultant will check your immigration status to ensure that nothing compromises your route to ILR.
We will start the application process for your ILR status three months before the expiry of your current visa.
For more information on ILR or if you would like to discuss your case, please email us at [email protected] Alternatively, visit the contact us page on our website to arrange a consultation.