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Immigration category
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Asylum, Refugees, Humanitarian Protection
Detention and Bail
Judicial Reviews
Victims of Domestic Violence
Visa Extensions
Naturalization & Registration (Citizenship)
Entry Clearance Applications
Fiance(e) Visas/Visas for Marriage
UK Spouse Visa
Unmarried Partners
Dependants of Migrants
Parents & Grandparents over 65
EU&EEA Nationals & Family Members
Retained Right of Residence (EEA Law)
Tier 1 (General) Migrant Visa Extensions
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant Visas
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa
Representative of an Overseas Company Visa
Tier1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant Visas
Tier 2 General Skilled Worker
Tier 2 Ministers of Religion
Tier 2 Sports People Visas
Tier 4 (Student) Visas
Overseas Government Representatives Visas
Tier 5 (Creative & Sporting) Visas
UK Ancestry Visas
Visitor Type Visas
ECCA-Turkey Agreement
Translation Certification
Visa consideration times
Sponsorship Licences-Tier2/4/5


Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) means you are free from immigration control. There are no restrictions on your work or length of your stay. To qualify for indefinite leave to remain you must have been in the UK for a certain length of time. This differs depending on your current visa status. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residency depends on the status of your stay in the UK to date and consequently how long you need to have been here to qualify.

This UK visa has no immigration related restrictions on the type of work or business a person on this visa class may undertake in the UK. Indefinite Leave to Remain can be granted to people who have previously held a UK visa in a category leading to settlement. UK visa categories that lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain include:

Status (type of your current visa)

Qualifying period for Settlement

Spouse of a Settled person or a UK citizen; Investors (depending on investment)

5 years


Investors (depending on investment) & Entrepreneurs (depending on turnover      or creation of jobs places)

Ancestry, Work Permit, Tier 1 & 2, Sole Representative

3 years


5 years

EEA nationals and their family members

5 years

Refugee & Humanitarian Protection (if granted on or after 30 August 2005)

5 years

Long Residence (lawful)

10 years

Long Residence (unlawful)

20+10 years

Permanent residence removes any immigration based restrictions. After one year of permanent residence you can apply for naturalization.  

The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa class offers the applicant UK permanent residency (also commonly known as Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK). 

Settlement under the current Immigration Rules

Can I leave the UK if I have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

There are a number of Home Office requirements that need to be met to keep your Indefinite Leave to Remain status. For example you are not allowed to spend more than 2 years outside the UK and you should consider the UK as your home. If you do not meet these requirements your Indefinite Leave to Remain status may be withdrawn.  

A person with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK may be eligible to apply for naturalization as a British citizen. 

How do I qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement)?

An Indefinite Leave to Remain applicant must have settled status in the UK. This usually means that you have been resident in the UK on the same visa class for at least five years (excluding student visas).

The only exception to this are periods of exceptionally Long Term UK Residency (10 years legal UK residency or 20+10 years as a combination of illegal and legal UK residency).

You and your spouse now also need to take and pass "Life in the UK" test. This test is obligatory since the 2nd April 2007. It will confirm that you and members of your family can speak English as well as know the life and history of the UK. This is a similar test that was previously required for naturalization applications only. You can now use the results of your test for naturalization applications, that is, you do not have to take the test again when you will be applying for naturalization as a British Citizen.  

Ways to obtain your Settlement visa


You can have your Settlement application lodged by post with consideration times being from a few weeks to a few months or via the so-called same day service/fast track visa service, when your visa application may be considered within a few hours on the day of your application.

The above options are not exhaustive as we treat every client's case individually. Please do not hesitate to book a phone, Skype or office consultation with us for a professional immigration advice and possible further representation before the UK Border Agency or the First Tier or Upper Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (FTT/UTT IAC). 

You can contact this office to book your initial phone or Skype consultation by phone +44(0)1938 590 943 or by Skype:  immigration_lawyer

Authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Immigration Services Commissioner.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

Member of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association.

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