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7 May 2024

How to apply for ILR after 5 years

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows you to settle in the UK after a certain period of time. Learn about how to apply for ILR after 5 years in our blog.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Apply for ILR after 5 years

Many people who come to the UK on a visa desire to eventually settle in the UK, and one day even gain citizenship. 

There are several different types of ILR that you can apply for, depending on your circumstances. The most popular route allows you to apply for ILR after 5 years. 

However, you will need to know how to be eligible to be able to apply for ILR after 5 years, or see if another route would be best for you. Read on to find out about how you can apply for ILR, and how we can help you. 

Eligibility to apply for ILR after 5 years

Each type of ILR has different rules surrounding what types of visa you must have held for you to be able to apply. 

If you are wanting to apply for ILR after 5 years, you will need to have held the following visas for 5 years:

You can combine the time you have spent on different visas, so if you have been in the UK for 5 years on a Skilled Worker Visa, and then 2 years on another visa, you can apply for ILR.

However, some visas cannot be combined with other routes, so you will not be able to apply for ILR after 5 years. For example, if you have held an Investor Visa, you must have spent all 5 years on that visa.  

Continuous residency

One crucial aspect to consider is continuous residency. This does not necessarily mean that you must have spent every day of your 5 years in the UK, but you must not have gone over a certain number of days. 

For 5 years’ ILR, you cannot have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any 12 month period.

What other ILR routes are there?

Aside from the 5 year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain, there are also the following routes:

Also, there was an old 2 year route that led to ILR, but it was only available for Tier 1 visas under the old tier-based visa system, which has since been replaced.

Other requirements

Aside from the visa requirements, you will also likely be required to do two tests. These are the proof of your knowledge of the English language test, and the Life in the UK test

There are certain situations where you may not have to do a test for either one. For example, a degree taught in English, or an English qualification that is at B1 or above, can act as proof of your English knowledge. You can use Ecctis Visas and Nationality services if your degree is from outside the UK; they will give you a letter that proves your qualification is equal to UK degree levels.

Also, there are certain exemptions to the Life in the UK test, such as being under 18 years old. 

How to apply

In brief, you will need to be in the UK to apply, and provide several different documents as part of your application. Your application will need to be done through the Government’s website

Also, you can apply up to 28 days before you become eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain; you must ensure that you apply for ILR before your visa expires, or you will need to renew your visa before you can apply.

These documents are:

  • Current identity document; for example, a passport or driver’s licence
  • BRP card if you have one
  • All passports you have held while in the UK
  • Proof you have passed the Life in the UK test (unless you are exempt)
  • Translations of documents that are not in English or Welsh

Additionally, you may be requested to provide extra documents depending on your situation. You will only find out what extra documents you may need when you apply.

ILR after 5 years for children

If you want to apply for ILR after 5 years and have children, then you will want them to be able to settle in the UK with you. 

Luckily, there is no time requirement for children to meet before they can apply for ILR. All they must do is apply at the same time as you.

How we can help

Anyone who wants to apply for ILR after 5 years should look into getting assistance from legally qualified professionals, so as to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. This is something that we can do for you. 

Our expert immigration law team can help you with every step of the Indefinite Leave to Remain application process. 

You can book a free 10-minute assessment, during which you can discuss your situation with one of our team members. After this, if it is decided that we can help you, then can arrange a longer, paid consultation that lasts either 30 minutes, or an hour. For most matters, a simple 30-minute consultation will be enough.

We aim to provide you with as much help as we can, and our team is always ready to help.

Get in touch with us today if you need assistance with applying for ILR after 5 years.  

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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