Indefinite Leave to Remain

Permission to settle or permanent residence in the UK is often known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This can lead to UK Citizenship. ILR can be essentially granted on the basis of a current visa or on the basis of relationships with settled persons or British citizens such as being a family member, or on the basis of long residence.

Staying in the UK Permanently

All visa categories do not lead to ILR (e.g. visit visa or Tier 2 Inter-Company Transfer), but there are a number oft-used categories that do lead to ILR and this includes spousal/unmarried partner visas (after 2 years if visa issued before 9th July 2012 or otherwise 5) and other visa categories such as:

  • EU nationals (after 5 years)
  • Tier 1 visa / Tier 2 (General) Migrant Worker (after 5 years)
  • Long residence (after 10 years lawful legal residency in the UK or 20 years unlawful)

ILR Requirements

ILR application cannot be submitted more than 28 days before the end of your qualifying period. There are particular requirements that must be met for eligibility such as successfully completing the Life in The UK Test. There is a now a new requirement to complete an English language test, with an approved body.

You cannot stay outside the UK for more than 2 years having been granted to ILR. However, if you do, you will be required to apply for a returning resident visa if you plan to settle in the UK. You must show evidence that you were permanently settled in the UK before you left.

Other Settlement Routes

We also advise prospective applicants who are seeking to settle having completed the qualifying period as a refugee or under humanitarian protection. In such circumstances you can include your dependants or they can apply to join you from abroad under family reunion provisions if you have leave to remain.

Marriage Applications

The most common settlement applications are perhaps marital applications. Some enter the UK on fiancé visas and marry in the UK, others marry abroad and then seek to bring their spouses over into the UK. You must be able to satisfy the financial eligibility criteria, the ability to accommodate and the fact that you have a 'genuine subsisting marriage.' We specialise in UK Marriage Spouse Visa applications and can advise you accordingly.

Contact Merchiston’s Specialist Immigration Lawyers

Our specialist immigration lawyers can guide you and your family through the process of applying to stay in the UK. Contact us today to see how we can help. Call 0203 540 6340 to speak to one of our expert solicitors. Alternatively, please email us on or complete our online enquiry form.


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