What Indefinite Leave to Remain means

Those with indefinite leave to remain can work and live in the UK permanently and without restrictions. ILR is also referred to as ‘settlement’ or ‘permanent settlement’. ILR lasts as long as the person lives in the UK and does not commit a serious criminal offence. The holder can leave and re-enter the UK any number of times, as long as they are not outside the UK, British Isles or Ireland for a continuous period of 2 years or longer.

Applying for ILR is an important life event. It does not happen automatically: you only get it if you apply and ILR is granted by the Home Office. If you leave the UK before applying for ILR you might cease to qualify. You should, therefore, apply as soon as you qualify (more detail below).

Advantages of ILR

Once you have ILR, you are no longer subject to conditions on your visa. You do not need to register with the police, observe reporting restrictions or tell the Home Office when you change your address. You would be eligible for access to public funds, services such as the NHS, housing and other social benefits on the same basis as a British citizen. You can be employed by anyone, self-employed, unemployed or run a business in the UK.

If you remain resident in the UK for 12 months after receiving ILR then you would normally be eligible for British citizenship through naturalisation. If you are legally married to a British citizen, then you would be eligible to apply for naturalisation immediately after you get ILR, even if your relationship has broken down and you are living apart.

What Passportia does

Our advisors are very experienced in ILR applications for people in all visa categories. They understand the detailed requirements for getting ILR and will help you to present the best possible application. If there are issues that might stand in the way, we will help you overcome them. These could include issues such as:

  • missing paperwork
  • lack of income or employment records
  • breakdown of family relationships
  • past breaches of immigration control
  • criminal record
  • excess absences from the UK
  • overstaying
  • identity issues
  • using public funds

We will agree to a fixed fee at the start of your case and advise you on how long it is likely to take so that you are aware of the time and cost up front. We will also inform you of the documents you are going to need. We will always confirm our advice and instructions in writing. You will receive regular updates while your case is progressing and you will always be able to contact your advisor to check on the progress, or if you have queries or concerns.

Do I qualify for ILR?

A person must have been resident in the UK (or the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) under a category of visa or leave that leads to settlement. Most routes under the immigration rules that lead to a settlement, do so in 5 years. Some important UK visa categories that do not lead to settlement are:

  • Visitors
  • Students / Tier 4 Tier 2
  • Intra-Company Transfer
  • Tier 5 Temporary Worker
  • 10 years of legal residence in the UK.

EEA nationals and their family members can qualify for permanent residence in a different way, in most cases after they have been living in the UK for 5 years.

If not exempt, you would normally need to have passed the Life in the UK test and an English language test.

Exemptions from both Life in the UK and English Language Requirements

People in certain situations are exempt from the two tests. These are:

  • Persons younger than 18 or older than 65 on the date of application
  • Following 6 years discretionary leave under the pre-July 2012 route
  • Following 5 years leave with refugee or HP status (SET (Protection Route))
  • EEA nationals, or family members of EEA nationals
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Following 4 years leave to remain with exceptional leave to remain
  • Bereaved partner
  • Turkish businessperson
  • Certain dependent relatives
  • Retired person of independent means
  • Dependent children of migrants in other routes under the immigration rules
  • Discharged members of HM Forces and their partners.

A person with a mental or physical condition may be granted exemption from the tests by a Home Office caseworker if medical evidence is supplied from an independent source, e.g. an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.

Exemptions from the English language Requirement

If you are required to pass an English language test, you will automatically satisfy this requirement if you are a national of a country that is deemed to be majority English-speaking.

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Passportia did a first-class job in getting British citizenship for my 2 adopted children in Sri Lanka. Their excellent preparation and credibility with the Home Office made all the difference. I can't recommend them highly enough. Thank you Passportia.

J.A. - Sri Lanka