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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is also commonly referred to as “Permanent Residence.” If you are a foreign national, and you are granted indefinite leave to remain, you will have permission to live and work in the UK without restriction.

Visa categories that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain include:

  • Spouse visa / Unmarried partner visa (after 2 years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012)
  • Tier 1 visa / UK work permit (after 5 years)
  • UK ancestry visa (after 5 years)
  • EU nationals and dependents (after 5 years)
  • Long residence (after 10 years of legal residency in the UK)

ILR Qualification Criteria

To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You must complete 5 years of continuous residence in the UK and adhere to certain income requirements
  • Keep a detailed record of any absences from the UK over the last 5 years, as any lengthy absences may impact your application
  • You must demonstrate a good knowledge of language and life in the UK, by way of the Life in the UK’ test – a compulsory 45-minute test devised for foreign nationals seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK or naturalization as a British citizen

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How long is Indefinite Leave to Remain valid for?

There is no time limit on Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, however, it is important to note that you should not spend periods of more than two years outside the UK as this may lead to the loss of ILR.

Indefinite Leave to Remain and the pathway to British Citizenship

You may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship 1 year after being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Loss of Indefinite Leave to Remain

There are a number of circumstances that may cause you to lose your Indefinite Leave To Remain status. For example, if you leave the UK and are granted leave to return but not for an indefinite period, This may occur because you mistakenly seek to enter as a visitor, or the immigration officer believes that you do not intend to reside in the UK.

Indefinite Leave To Remain may also be revoked if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.

You may also lose ILR status by leaving the UK for a period of more than two years, however, in some circumstances, you may be able to reapply. Please note that British Overseas citizens, British subjects and British protected persons do not lose their Indefinite Leave To Remain status no matter how long they stay outside the UK.