Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) confirms your right to live in the UK permanently, without any time limit and free from immigration control. Indefinite Leave to Remain is also sometimes understood as Settlement or Permanent Residence. In most cases, obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain is necessary to be eligible for British Citizenship.

How can you obtain Indefinite Leave To Remain?

To be eligible for Indefinite Leave To Remain, you must first be in the UK on a category that leads to settlement, the period of your route to settlement depends on the category that your settlement plan falls under. Routes toward Indefinite Leave To Remain can span between just 2 years and a decade depending on your situation. Here are the different categories:

2 years’ route towards obtaining ILR:

This route is only available to investors who are planning on putting £10 million or more into the UK economy, this is the option that best suits business people who want to improve the UK’s economy and plan on doing so while based in the country

3 years’ route towards obtaining ILR:

A 3-year route is available to those who seek to partake in and help improve the UK, this includes investors who will be putting £5 million or more into UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The three-year route is also available to entrepreneurs who intend on building businesses that can employ up to 10 people on a full-time basis and run a business with an income (or a net increase income) of at least £5 million. Those under the Innovator Visa and certain Global Talent Visa routes may also qualify.

5 years’ route towards obtaining ILR / PR:

Again, this route is available to investors and entrepreneurs, this time investors who intend on putting at least £2 million into the UK economy and entrepreneurs who will be creating 2 full-time jobs alongside meeting all the requirements while on the respective visa plan. Those under a Skilled Worker Visa, Global Talent Visa, Sole Representatives of an Overseas Business and pre-settled individuals may also qualify.

For those who are planning on coming to the UK to work there are Tier 1 General / Highly-Skilled Migrant Visas as well as Tier 2 General Visas available which offer 5-year paths to Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There are also a number of paths to ILR that can be taken through families that offer a 5-year route, such as visas that cover a legitimate spouse, civil partner, fiancé, proposed civil partner or even unmarried partner of a permanent UK resident. There are also options for parents and those who are of British ancestry.

We can also help those seeking Asylum in the UK work towards a 5-year route that will grant an eventual Indefinite Leave to Remain.

6 years’ route towards obtaining ILR:

There is a 6-year Discretionary Leave to Remain option for those who meet exceptional circumstances, there is government guidance on this matter and it is advisable to work alongside a law team for those considering this path as a strong case will have to be put forth.

10 years’ route towards obtaining ILR:

Parents and partners (as covered in the 5-year route) can also opt for a 10-year route towards Indefinite Leave to Remain in certain cases. Again, a strong case will be needed for a 10-year route so it is advisable to take on legal professional advice.

There is also an option available for those who have legally resided in the UK for 10 years as well as those who have accumulated at least 20 years of residence in the UK (this includes periods of unlawful stay). You may be able to gain a visa that will allow for an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK based on your Private Life.

ILR requirements

Once you complete your continuous period of lawful residence in the UK, you do not automatically qualify for ILR. You must submit an application along with your evidence of eligibility. Evidence of eligibility for Indefinite Leave To Remain includes:

  • Continue fulfilling the relevant requirements of your current visa route
  • Continuous lawful residence in the UK for the required qualify period
  • Demonstrate knowledge of language and life in the UK (unless exempt)
  • Pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Meet the English language test or qualification requirements

Other specific ILR requirements will depend on which route applies to your situation.

When can I apply for ILR?

The general rule of thumb is that you can usually apply for ILR upon completion of your residential period before your visa expires or within 28 days before the completion of your residential period, whichever is sooner.

If you require any help with your application please contact us and a member of our team will get in touch to discuss your case.

Life in the UK Test

You will need to show that your Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KOLL) by taking the Life in the UK Test (LUK) and producing an English test certificate or qualification above the CEFR Level B1. Once you have passed the test, you do not need to retake it to qualify for British Citizenship.

If you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 you are exempt from this requirement.

How can QC Immigration help with your ILR application?

Our team of lawyers are experts in immigration law and have a wealth of experience in similar cases. A strong case is crucial to ensure the best chances of obtaining ILR and our team has a strong track record of successful applications.

For more information on our services or start your case, you can contact us by email at or book a consultation.

You may also want to read the following information:


How do I know what route offers me the best chance to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Obtaining ILR is a different process for everybody and finding the route that best suits you is key to your success. In order to make sure you put forth the right application with all of the essential information on it, you should consult with a team of legal professionals who can help advise you on your best options and allow you to put forward the best possible case for an Indefinite Leave to Remain.

I have lost my Indefinite Leave to Remain, how can I get back into the UK?

If you have lost your Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must apply for a Returning Resident Visa before attempting to enter the UK.

The path to ILR that I have chosen has been rejected, what next?

If your visa application has been refused you must act swiftly. The Home Office may reconsider but you will need a strong case if you want to convince them to overturn their decision. You may be given the option to submit an appeal or administrative review. It is essential that every argument has been considered and every relevant piece of evidence has been filed to give you the best chance possible, because of this it is recommended that you work with a team of lawyers.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

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I would like to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us in the past few years! I am now finished with the whole process and had my UK Citizenship ceremony. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Entry Clearance Settlement (Spouse) visa client – Canadian

Thank you for all your help. I got the visa this morning and look forward to going on holiday. See you again in 30 months for the next visa.

PEO same-day service (Spouse leave to remain) client – Thai

We are so glad that our friend recommended you to help with our ILR application and we have no doubt it may have been a different story if we were applying without your support! We appreciate your professional approach and knowledge on immigration matters and wish your business well in the future (we are sure you will be very successful). Have no doubt we will be using your services for our application for Citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (Spouse) client – Russian

The QC Immigration team has proved an absolute star on the immigration front and my son’s fiancée is now happily settled, thank you again.

Partner (Fiancée) Settlement Visa – Brazilian

Many thanks for all your work on our application, especially since I contacted you on short notice! I contacted you on Sept 22nd and we signed up with you on/around Sept 27th! So we pulled this all together a little over 3 weeks.

Premium Service (Fiancée) Partner visa client – American

You have exceeded our expectations by saving us so much time and money when organising this! Thank you for also co-operating with our investment manager and accountant to ensure everything ran smoothly.

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Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client - Dutch

EEA Permanent Residence client – Belgian

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch