Immigration Specialists London

Indefinite Leave to Remain 2024: Achieving Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status in the UK is a pivotal step towards permanent residency, paving the way for eventual British citizenship. This comprehensive guide elucidates the ILR process, detailing the rigorous eligibility criteria, the critical 180-day absence rule, and other essential requirements for 2024. We provide a step-by-step approach to the application process, cover key forms, and discuss life post-ILR approval. Designed to offer clarity and guidance, this guide answers frequently asked questions and aids those on their journey to secure ILR status in the UK.

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Indefinite Leave to Remain Requirements

1. Overview of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK provides individuals with the freedom to live, work, and study in the country without the limitations imposed by temporary visas. This comprehensive overview details the rights, restrictions, and key comparisons with other statuses like Further Leave to Remain, British Citizenship, Permanent Residence, and the Right of Abode.

ILR grants significant freedoms but also comes with specific restrictions and conditions that holders need to be aware of.

Rights with ILRILR holders can work, study, and access public benefits in the UK. They can also sponsor family members to join them.
Restrictions of ILRDoes not include voting rights or eligibility for a British passport. ILR may be revoked for extended absences from the UK (over two years) or due to criminal convictions.
Overview of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Further Leave to Remain vs. Indefinite Leave to Remain

Understanding the distinction between Further Leave to Remain and ILR is crucial for those looking to extend their stay in the UK.

Further Leave to RemainIndefinite Leave to Remain
Offers an extension for those not yet eligible for ILR, allowing applicants to prolong their UK stay under specific visa categories.Grants permanent residency in the UK without the need to extend or renew status, subject to certain conditions.
Further Leave to Remain vs. Indefinite Leave to Remain

ILR vs. British Citizenship

While ILR and British citizenship both offer the ability to live and work in the UK freely, they differ in permanence, rights, and eligibility for naturalization.

ILRBritish Citizenship
Can be revoked for reasons such as extended absence from the UK or criminal activity.Permanent status that cannot be revoked under the same conditions as ILR.
A prerequisite for applying for British citizenship, typically after holding ILR for at least one year.Allows for voting rights and eligibility to apply for a British passport.
ILR vs. British Citizenship

ILR & Permanent Residence: Are They the Same?

The transition from Permanent Residence to ILR, especially for EU nationals, highlights the evolution of UK immigration policies.

Permanent ResidenceILR
Previously applied to EU nationals for unlimited stay in the UK, now largely replaced by EU Settled Status.Applies to non-EU nationals and some EU nationals post-Brexit, granting indefinite permission to live in the UK.
ILR & Permanent Residence: Are They the Same?

ILR vs. Right of Abode

Both ILR and the Right of Abode provide unrestricted living in the UK, but they cater to different groups with varying eligibility criteria.

ILRRight of Abode
Available to non-EU nationals and some EU nationals, allowing indefinite stay in the UK.Specifically for British citizens and some Commonwealth nationals, offering unrestricted right to live in the UK.
ILR vs. Right of Abode


ILR offers a pathway to permanent residency in the UK, with the possibility of progressing to British citizenship. It is essential for ILR holders to understand the conditions of their status to maintain their right to live in the UK indefinitely. By comparing ILR to other forms of leave and statuses, individuals can better navigate their options within the UK immigration system.

Indefinite Leave to Remain 2024
Unlock The Steps To Uk Settlement With Our Ilr Essentials Guide. Navigate The Indefinite Leave To Remain Process With Ease And Understand The Benefits It Brings!

2. Eligibility Criteria for ILR Application

The eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK encompass a range of requirements, from residency duration to legal and language proficiency standards. Here, we consolidate and clarify the prerequisites, including special considerations for different visa categories and other essential requirements.

ILR Application Eligibility Criteria and Considerations

Understanding the eligibility criteria for ILR involves recognizing the residency requirements based on visa type, proving English language proficiency, passing the Life in the UK test, and maintaining a clean legal record.

Residency Duration and Legal Requirements

The path to ILR depends on your current immigration status, with specific qualifying periods and conditions that must be met.

Immigration StatusQualifying Period
Partner of a British Citizen/Settled in the UK2 years for visas issued before 9 July 2012; otherwise, 5 or 10 years.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 VisasGenerally, after 5 years.
UK Ancestry and Retired Person VisasAfter 5 years.
Discretionary Leave to RemainAfter 6 years.
Long ResidenceAfter 10 years of continuous legal residency.
Returning ResidentImmediately, if returning within 2 years of departure.
Residency Duration and Legal Requirements

English Language Requirement and Life in the UK Test

Proficiency in English and knowledge of UK life are fundamental requirements for ILR applicants.

English Language ProficiencyB1 level on the CEFR or a recognized degree taught in English. Exemptions apply for certain English-speaking country nationals.
Life in the UK TestMandatory for applicants aged 18-64, covering UK history, politics, and culture.
English Language Requirement and Life in the UK Test

Criminal Records, Transitioning Visas, and EU Citizens

Applicants must navigate legal considerations, transition from spouse visas, and, for EU citizens, align with post-Brexit regulations.

Criminal RecordsUnspent convictions can affect ILR outcomes.
From Spouse Visa to ILREligible after two grants of leave, meeting all necessary criteria including income thresholds.
EU CitizensPost-1 January 2021 arrivals follow standard ILR routes; pre-2021 arrivals should secure status under the EU settlement scheme.
Criminal Records, Transitioning Visas, and EU Citizens

Special Considerations

Certain life events, like divorce, necessitate a reevaluation of immigration status and potential new application routes.

EventImpact on ILR Status
DivorceRequires notification to the Home Office and may prompt the need for an alternative immigration route.
Absences from the UKApplicants should not exceed 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period during the qualifying residency.
Special Considerations

Conclusion: ILR Requirements

Eligibility for ILR is based on a combination of residency duration specific to your visa, English language proficiency, a clear criminal record, and successful completion of the Life in the UK test. Additionally, life changes such as divorce may affect your eligibility and require consultation with an immigration specialist. Understanding these requirements and preparing accordingly is crucial for a successful ILR application.

3. Deciphering ILR’s 180-Day Absence Rule

Understanding the 180-day absence rule for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications is crucial, especially after the changes implemented on 11 January 2018. This guide clarifies how absences are calculated, its implications for frequent travelers, and the impact on Points-Based System (PBS) dependents.

Deciphering ILR’s 180-Day Absence Rule: Clarifications and Implications

The 180-day absence rule underwent significant changes in 2018, affecting how absences from the UK impact ILR eligibility.

Changes in the ILR 180-Day Rule

Before 11 January 2018After 11 January 2018
Absences assessed in five consecutive 12-month periods, starting from the date of entry clearance or leave to remain.Absences now evaluated on a rolling 12-month basis throughout the qualifying period, with over 180 days of absence in any 12-month period potentially resetting the residency clock.
Changes in the 180-Day ILR Rule

Implications for Frequent Travelers

For those often abroad, especially skilled worker visa holders, managing travel is essential to maintain eligibility for ILR.

Minimize Non-Essential TravelLimit leisure trips to avoid accumulating excessive absences.
Postpone Non-Urgent TripsDelay travel plans until after securing ILR to ensure compliance with absence rules.
Maintain Travel RecordsKeep detailed records of all travel, including dates and destinations, for ILR application accuracy.
Extended Absences Post-ILRRemember that staying outside the UK for more than two consecutive years may jeopardize ILR status.
Implications for Frequent Travelers

Document Requirements for ILR Application

Applicants should prepare to submit supporting documents alongside their ILR application form, including original copies that verify compliance with the absence rule.

PBS Dependents and the 180-Day Rule

The absence rule applies to PBS dependents, with specific considerations and exemptions.

PBS DependentsRule Application
Applies to spouses and unmarried partners of PBS visa holders, considering absences during visa permissions granted post-11 January 2018.Children are exempt from the 180-day absence rule.
PBS Dependents and the 180-Day Rule

Conclusion: ILR 180 Day Rule

Navigating the 180-day absence rule requires careful planning and documentation, especially for those frequently traveling outside the UK. By understanding the changes made in 2018 and adhering to the guidelines, applicants can maintain their eligibility for ILR, paving the way for a successful application. Keeping accurate travel records and minimizing non-essential travel are key strategies for aligning with the absence requirements, ensuring that the path to ILR remains clear and attainable.

4. ILR Application: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK involves a structured process, from completing the application form to submitting it alongside the necessary supporting documents. This step-by-step guide outlines the ILR application process, including the timing, fees, processing duration, premium processing options, and the key forms required for application.

ILR Application: A Step-by-Step Guide and Key Considerations

The process for applying for ILR is outlined below, detailing each step involved and the considerations applicants must take into account.

Application Process and Supporting Documents

Step in Application ProcessSupporting Documents Required
Complete the application form and book a UKVCAS appointment for biometrics. Pay the application fee and ensure compliance with the Life in the UK test and English language proficiency requirements.Current and previous passports, birth/adoption certificates, records of time outside the UK, police registration certificates (if required), immigration history, financial statements, and certificates for the Life in the UK and English language tests.
Application Process and Supporting Documents

Timing, Fees, and Processing Duration

Application Timing and FeesProcessing Duration and Premium Options
Apply 28 days before completing the qualifying residency period. The ILR application fee is £2389 per applicant, including dependents.Standard processing within six months. Priority Processing (£500 extra) for a decision within 5 working days, and Super Priority Processing (£1000 extra) for a next working day decision.
Timing, Fees, and Processing Duration

Key Application Forms for ILR

Different categories and circumstances require specific forms for ILR application, each catering to various applicant types.

Form SET (O)Form SET (M)
For work, business, and other specific grounds including Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa holders, PBS dependents, overseas business representatives, UK Ancestry, retired persons, and bereaved partners.Tailored for family members of British citizens or those settled in the UK, including partners, parents, or children seeking ILR.
Key Application Forms for ILR

Conclusion: ILR Application Process

Navigating the ILR application process requires careful preparation, from choosing the correct form to gathering all necessary supporting documents and understanding the fee structure and processing times. Applicants should also consider premium processing options if a quicker decision is needed. Following this structured approach and meeting all eligibility criteria enhance the likelihood of a successful ILR application, paving the way for permanent residency in the UK.

5. Life After ILR Approval: What to Expect

After receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) approval, various new privileges and responsibilities come into effect, marking significant changes in one’s rights within the UK. This guide outlines what to expect post-ILR approval, from status privileges and the pathway to British citizenship to employment rights and conditions under which ILR may be lost.

Life After ILR Approval: Expectations and Responsibilities

Post-ILR approval, individuals can enjoy a range of benefits, alongside certain conditions to maintain their status.

Status Privileges and Pathway to British Citizenship

PrivilegesPathway to Citizenship
ILR allows individuals to live, work, or study in the UK indefinitely, without time constraints.Holding ILR is a prerequisite for applying for British citizenship through naturalisation. After obtaining citizenship, one can acquire a British passport.
Status Privileges and Pathway to British Citizenship

Proving ILR Status and Employment Rights

Proof of ILR status facilitates travel and employment, while ILR itself grants extensive work rights.

Proving ILR StatusEmployment Rights
Common proofs include a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), a passport with ILR, ILE, or NTL stamp, or a letter from the Home Office. An NTL application is recommended if proof is lacking.ILR recipients have indefinite work authorization in the UK, removing the need for separate work permits and lifting previous work-related restrictions.
Proving ILR Status and Employment Rights

Family Matters and ILR Revocation Conditions

The birth of children during ILR status and the conditions under which ILR may be lost are crucial considerations.

Children Born in the UKLosing ILR Status
Children born in the UK to parents holding ILR will automatically gain British citizenship.ILR can be lost after an absence from the UK for over two years, or due to revocation for serious offences or national security concerns. A Resident Return visa is required for re-entry after significant absence.
Family Matters and ILR Revocation Conditions

Conclusion: Life After ILR Application Approval

Achieving ILR status significantly alters an individual’s life in the UK, offering numerous freedoms and a clear path towards British citizenship. It is vital, however, to understand the responsibilities that come with ILR, including maintaining proof of status, understanding employment rights, and the conditions under which ILR might be revoked. By adhering to these guidelines, ILR holders can fully embrace the benefits of their new status while ensuring compliance with UK immigration laws.

6. ILR Requirements: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When is one eligible to apply for ILR?

    Eligibility for ILR requires satisfying a specific period of continuous lawful residence in the UK, with considerations for the permissible length of absences. You may submit your application 28 days prior to completing this residency requirement. If your UK entry was delayed by up to 3 months post-visa issuance, you’re allowed to apply 28 days before the visa’s issue date instead.

  2. As a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa holder, when can I apply for ILR?

    Individuals on Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visas can seek ILR after five years of continuous residence in the UK, maintaining their visa conditions throughout.

  3. How do past criminal convictions affect my ILR application?

    Criminal convictions can impact your ILR eligibility, with the decision influenced by the nature and seriousness of the offense. Applicants should review the rehabilitation period of their convictions, as this determines when they’re deemed ‘spent’, before applying.

  4. Can EEA nationals with 5 years of UK residence apply for ILR?

    EEA nationals were required to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme by December 2020 to regularize their UK residence status.

  5. Is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) necessary for ILR proof?

    Upon obtaining ILR, individuals are issued a BRP as official documentation of their status in the UK. For those seeking re-entry after a two-year absence, the BRP is essential to demonstrate previous ILR status.

  6. Are ILR holders eligible for public benefits?

    Individuals with ILR, or settled status, are granted full access to public benefits available in the UK, akin to British citizens.

  7. What options do I have if I am not eligible for ILR to extend my stay in the UK?

    Those not meeting ILR eligibility may consider applying for ‘further leave to remain’, allowing visa extension under current terms. It’s crucial to apply before the current visa expires to avoid legal complications.

  8. Can ILR status expire or be revoked?

    While ILR is typically permanent, it can be forfeited through extended absences from the UK exceeding two years, or due to serious legal infractions. Regaining ILR may necessitate applying for a Resident Return visa.

The FAQs aim to clarify eligibility criteria, application timelines, and the consequences of criminal convictions and long absences on ILR status, while also addressing the rights and next steps for those who may not yet qualify for ILR. Learn more about ILR eligibility on the UK government website.