Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain UK (ILR) or ILR Visa UK is commonly known as ‘Permanent Residency’. Applicants who have lived legally in the UK and have a continuous residence for a certain length of time, they may be able to apply for permission to settle here. This is known as as 'Settlement Visa UK' or 'Indefinite Leave to Remain UK'. It is the last step for any non UK national/citizen, to fulfill, before becoming eligible to apply for a British Citizenship.


The 'qualifying period' for Settlement Visa UK depends on the current immigration status of the applicant:-

Current Immigration stutus or UK visa                  Qualifying Indefinite Leave to Remain UK period
Tier 2 General visaAfter 5 years
Tier 2 (ICT)After 5 years provided the initial grant is prior to 6th April 2010
Tier 2 (Sportsperson)After 5 years
2 (Minister of religion)After 5 years
Spouse, unmarried partner or civil partner of a British Citizen or a person settled in the UK visa After 5 years where the initial period of partner visa or spouse visa is granted after 9th July 2012
EEA Family Permit or Residence card as a family member of an EEA or Swiss nationalAfter 5 years
EU Settlement SchemeAfter 5 years
Ancestry visaAfter 5 years
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)After 3 or 5 years, depending on the business activity
Tier 1 (Investor) visa After 2, 3 or 5 years, depending on the level of investment
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa After 3 years
Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visaAfter 5 years
PBS visa dependantsAfter 5 years
Long residence or 10 Years ILR After 10 years lawful residence in the UK


Family Route leading to ILR UK

The applicants who have spent 2 years in UK (if initial spouse visa, unmarried partner or civil partner visa was applied prior to 9th July 2012) or for 5 years in UK (if the initial spouse visa, unmarried partner or civil partner visa was applied on or after 9th July 2012) as a partner of a British National or Settled person or as a PBS dependant are eligible for UK Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR Visa UK), except for EEA family members who need to spend 5 years.

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Long Residency

Applicants must have at least 10 years lawful residence in the UK to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK (ILR Visa UK). They need to show a strong connection with the UK.

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Work Route leading to ILR UK

This category is designed for applicants who have spent continuos residence of 5 years in the work categories including Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 (General), Ancestry visa etc and wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK

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EEA Permanent Residence

This category allows an EEA national who has spent at least 5 years as a qualified person in the UK.

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Eligibility Criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK

To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK, applicants must meet the relevant ‘qualifying period’ for the settlement visa UK. Applicant must complete continuous residence in the UK and adhere to certain income requirements (if applicable). They must demonstrate a good knowledge of language and life in the UK, by way of the Life in the UK Test, meet the English Language and Good Character requirement.

What are the required documents for an Indefinite leaving to Remain UK or ILR Visa UK?

The following are the required documents for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR Visa UK, although this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Proof of your identity;
  • Previous passports or travel documents that you have held during your stay in the UK;
  • Proof of your dependants, if any –marriage certificate, birth certificate;
  • Evidence of your relationship, i.e. either through marriage or civil partnership or living together in a relationship for at least 2 years;
  • Proof of your English language requirement;
  • Pass certificate for the life in the UK test;
  • Evidence of your finances to show that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and your dependants without any recourse to public funds;
  • Police registration certificate, if applicable.
  • Evidence of your accommodation;
  • Evidence in support of any absences from the UK, for example, a letter from your employer confirming your absences, annual leave, working pattern;
  • Any other supporting evidence relevant to your specific visa category (i.e Tier 1 category, Tier 2 General, Indefinite Leave to remain UK spouse, 10 years lawful residence; EEA PR, Ancestry);
  • The translation of any document that are not in English or Welsh.

In addition to these above documents, you will also require to provide following information at the time of submission of Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR Visa UK application:
  • Details of any previous immigration applications, if any.
  • Details of any civil or criminal offenses including traffic contravention, if any.
  • Details of any dependants, if any.
  • Details of all the absences from the UK, if any.


Which form do I need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK?

SET (M) – The SET (M) form is used when applying for ILR visa UK as a spouse, civil partner, same sex or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK or a British Citizen.

SET (O) – The SET (O) form is used by anyone else who is making an Indefinite Leave to Remain application via Tier 2 General visa, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Investor, PBS Dependant Visa, Ancestry Visa.

SET (LR) – The SET (LR) form is used by applicants applying under 10 years lawful residence.

EEA (PR) – The EEA (PR) is used by applicants wishing to apply for a document certifying permanent residence (if they are an EEA national) or permanent residence card (if they are a non-EEA national).

ILR absences in calculation of continuous residence

Under Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK requirement, absences for no more than 180 days’ are allowed in a consecutive 12-month period. Only whole days away from the UK will be counted towards the absence calculation. Part day absences, for example, less than 24 hours, are not counted. Therefore, if the applicant had a single absence during the 12 month period and arrived in the UK on day 181, the period would not exceed 180 days.

The period between entry clearance being issued and the applicant entering the UK may be counted toward the qualifying period for an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK. Any absences between the date of issue and entry to the UK are considered an allowable absence as long as they are within the 180 days allowable absence in the continuous 12-month period.

For Tier 1 category, Anucersty visa, PBS Dependants applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK, there is no requirement to give a reason for absences if they do not exceed 180 days in a consecutive 12 month period. For other categories including Tier 2 General absences must be consistent with, or connected to, the applicant’s sponsored or permitted employment or the permitted economic activity being carried out in the UK - for example, business trips or short secondments.

Short visits outside the UK on weekends or other non-working days must be counted towards the 180 day limit. Evidence in the form of a letter from the employer which sets out the reasons for the absences, including annual leave, should be provided. Where short visits outside the UK, on weekends or other non-working days have taken place, evidence from the employer should be provided to confirm the applicant’s normal working pattern and show the absences occurred during a non-working period.

If the absences are connected to other employment outside the UK, which demonstrates the UK employment is secondary, the continuous period requirement is broken and this may affect the applicant's application for settlement visa UK.

Returning residents

Once an applicant has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK, they may stay in the UK indefinitely so long as they do not leave the country for extended periods. The law states that they should not leave the UK for a period of over two years.

There is a risk that they may lose Indefinite Leave to Remain UK or ILR visa UK if they are absent from the UK for more than two years.

If they have been away for more than two years, then they must apply for a Returning Resident visa before attempting to enter the UK. If they do not apply as a Returning Resident visa, then there is a risk that they may be denied entry to the UK. To qualify for Returning Resident visa, they must:

  • Plan to return to live in the UK permanently
  • Have been settled in the UK before they last left
  • Not have been given public funds to help them leave the UK


Applicant may still be able to return to the United Kingdom to live if, for example, you have strong family ties here or have lived here most of thier life.

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