Both Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship can be acquired to obtain the right to permanently reside in the UK without restrictions. However, they are two different statuses, which do not give you the same rights. Our team of experts detail the differences between ILR and British Citizenship.

Are ILR and Citizenship the same?

While having ILR will allow you to remain in the UK, it does not, however, change your nationality. You may permanently reside in the UK as an EU citizen, for example, as long as you have ILR. While you may work or study in the country, you will not have exactly the same right as a British citizen. These rights include:

  • Applying for a British passport
  • Voting outside of local elections
  • Holding public office

You may also lose ILR if you are absent from the UK for over 2 years (5 years if you have the Settled Status), whereas British citizens may leave the country for any length of time.

Do you need ILR to apply for British Citizenship?

While there are several routes to obtaining British nationality, Indefinite Leave to Remain is a requirement for obtaining citizenship by naturalisation or marriage. Typically, individuals look at obtaining ILR to remain in the country, then consider applying for citizenship if they wish to.

You can find more information about requirements on our British Citizenship page.

Contact us

We can help with Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship. Our team has decades of experience navigating UK immigration laws and working cases all over the world, so we know how to present strong cases which have greater chances of success. Contact us for assistance or book a consultation.

Need more information?

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

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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