Immigration – Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, also known as settlement, there is no time limit on your ability to stay in the UK.

What criteria must you meet to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

The criteria to be met to qualify for ILR depends on the type of visa category or categories which you have held during the 2, 3 or 5 continuous leave requirement for ILR.

In addition to visa category specific requirements, there are also uniform requirements as follows:

  • You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal and must not be an illegal entrant
  • You must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws
  • You must have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language
  • You must have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK and have passed the ‘Life in the UK Test’ (you have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions about British traditions and customs and must score at least 75% to pass the test)

Is there a specific period of time which you must have been in the UK to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

The continuous period which you must have been in the UK to qualify for ILR can be either 2, 3 or 5 years and depends on the type of visa category or categories which you are applying under.

You must have spent a continuous period of 2 years lawfully in the UK to qualify for ILR based on Tier 1 (Investor) status (if you have invested at least £10 million in the UK).

You must have spent a continuous period of 3 years lawfully in the UK to qualify for ILR based on Tier 1 (Investor) status (if you have invested at least £5 million in the UK) or based on Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) status (for “exceptional talent” endorsed individuals) or based on Innovator status.

You must have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK to qualify for ILR based on Tier 1 (Investor) status (if you have invested at least £2 million in the UK) or based on Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) status (for “exceptional promise” endorsed individuals), Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) or Representative of an Overseas Business status.

Are there absence requirements for applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

You must have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days during any 12-month period in the continuous 2, 3 or 5 year period. Discretion is rarely exercised in relation to excessive absences.

How long is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status valid for?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is by its very definition, valid indefinitely.

However, if you stay outside of the UK for 2 or more years at a time your ILR will lapse and you will need to apply for a ‘Returning Resident’ visa before coming back to live in the UK.

What are the benefits of having Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for the UK?

You are free to work in the UK in any business, profession or employment, including self-employment. You are also free to study in the UK and generally, healthcare is available free.

How can Setfords help you?

For further information please get in touch below.

Discuss your Indefinite Leave to Remain application with our Immigration Experts now

Nicola Anne Wilkins

Consultant Solicitor – UK Immigration Law


Direct dial: 020 8103 2006
Head office: 0330 058 4012 then dial ext 2752
Email: nwilkins@setfords.co.uk
Form: Complete form now
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Quotes from previous clients

“Nicola assisted me with my Indefinite Leave to Remain application for the UK and provided a full service from start to finish. Nicola not only assisted with my application but additionally partnered with my employer to ensure that all paperwork was accurate and provided in a timely manner. I was so impressed with Nicola’s professionalism that I will be using Nicola’s services for my British citizenship application when I am eligible”.

“Nicola advised on and prepared the Indefinite Leave to Remain applications for the UK for myself and my family members. Nicola displayed an excellent understanding of the process and a very high level of professionalism at all times. She considered every detail of the applications and ensured that all aspects of the applications were meticulously covered. She additionally ensured that all documentation was in strict compliance with the Home Office’s requirements. The process was completed seamlessly and successfully and our applications were approved in a very timely manner. I recommend Nicola’s immigration legal services without hesitation”.