Indefinite Leave to Remain

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

A permanent new life in the UK relies on achieving permission to stay without restrictions.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – also called “settlement status” – allows you to live, work and study in the UK, freely and without limits.Overseas citizens normally need to have been living in the UK for some time already, and know the right route to take to achieve this legal status. 

So if your goal is to seek indefinite leave to remain in the UK, let us help you get it right.

Key information

…you could obtain ILR as long as you already hold a work visa.

  • Generally you must have lived here for 5 years
  • You must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period
  • If you have a Tier 1 visa, you may qualify after 2 or 3 years
  • If you have an Innovator or Global Talent visa it can be 3 years

You may also need to meet salary or financial requirements depending on your visa.

…you could obtain ILR through a variety of ways as long as you:

  • Have a partner, parent, child or other relative settled in the UK
  • If your partner has died
  • Your relationship ended because of domestic violence


How you apply depends on your visa and family connection.

…you can apply for ILR through your “long residence” status.  You must:

  • Have lived here for 10 years or more 
  • Been in the UK legally during this period
  • Not had any gaps in residency
  • Not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period

If you’ve not achieved 10 years living here, you could apply for further “leave to remain”.

…you can apply for ILR by virtue of your nationality.  You must:

  • Have been living in the UK for 5 years on an Ancestry Visa
  • Can prove you have the right of abode in the UK
  • Not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period

You may also be eligible for citizenship instead under the Windrush scheme.  We can help you work out the best route for you.

…you could also obtain ILR in other situations.  If you:

  • Are a refugee, have humanitarian protection or discretionary leave
  • Are returning to the UK and have previously had ILR
  • Served in the armed forces

Drop us an email to explain your unique situation and we’ll help you work out the best way to apply.

Get in touch

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