Absences from the UK for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can refer to two different scenarios. The first one regarding the rules for continuous periods in the UK when you are applying for ILR, and the second regarding absences from the UK once you have obtained ILR. Below we explore both topics.

Continuous lawful period in the UK

One of the key requirements for ILR is to have completed a period of continuous and lawful stay in the UK. Typically, this is a period of 5 years, but certain routes may be eligible for accelerated settlement (2 or 3 years).

In this case, ‘lawfully’ means that you cannot have stayed in the UK without valid leave to enter or remain, or a valid UK Visa.

While the period of stay must be ‘continuous’, there are some absences from the country which will not break this requirement. This is known as the ‘180 days rule’, meaning you may leave the country for a maximum of 180 days in a consecutive 12-month period.

Only whole days are counted for absences, so leaving for less than 24 hours will not be considered a full day.

If you are absent from the UK for more than 180 days, you may be required to justify that you had a compelling reason to do so, or you will have to wait longer until you accumulate the desired amount of continuous lawful stay.

Absences from the UK once you have ILR

Once you have been granted ILR, there are rules you must follow if you do not want to risk losing this status.

You may be away from the UK for a maximum period of 2 continuous years before you may lose your ILR status. If this is the case, you will need to renew your ILR through a Returning Resident Visa.

If you have obtained ILR through the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be absent for a maximum of 5 years (4 years if you are a Swiss citizen). If you lose your status, you will need to apply for a visa to return to the UK.

Need help?

If you need assistance navigating all the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain, please get in touch. Our experienced team of lawyers will be able to guide you with unparalleled professionalism to give your case the best chance of success.

Need more information?

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

Get In Touch


What do our users say

Thank you very much for your contribution and good job you have done for me and my family. Today, I feel that thanking you is not enough. You will remain in our hearts and we will always have this deepest and sincere regard for you, as you have always shown your kindness and your work have been appreciated by the whole family.

Long Residence Settlement (10 years) client – Mauritian

Qiyin is an extremely diligent and thorough immigration lawyer. She took the time to fully understand my case and application for the highly skilled migrant program. She was very careful to consider both the short and longer term issues related to my application and provided very balanced and frank advice. My highly skilled migrant visa was successfully renewed thanks to her advice and help. I highly recommend her.

Tier 1 (General) visa client – Singaporean

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.

Tier 1 Investor (Super Premium Service) client – Chinese

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