Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or permanent residency, is an immigration status granted to non-British citizens enabling them
to settle in the United Kingdom.

It is not quite citizenship, but it affords more status than a visa. If you are granted ILR this means that there is no time limit on your ability to stay in the United Kingdom – you are free to live and work indefinitely.

Most work type visa holders may be eligible to apply for ILR after five years.

You can apply for British citizenship after 12 months of living in the UK with ILR, and you meet the requirements.

What can I do when I am granted ILR?

  • You can work in any business or profession, including self-employment.
  • You may be able to vote.
  • Your will have access to the National Health Service.
  • You will be able to study.
  • You may be able to access benefits.

Before you apply

There are additional requirements that need to be met before you can submit the application, and these are dependent on your current immigration category.

The more common requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain between work categories include:

  • English language requirement and CEFR Level B1 if you are aged between 18-65 years old;
  • Pass the Life in the UK Test if you are aged between 18-65 years old;
  • Provide a full schedule of your absences from the UK over the last five years (also known as the “qualifying period”). It is important to ensure that your absences do not exceed 180 days in any 12-month rolling period.

If you are a Tier 2 (General) holder it is important to provide a letter from your employer confirming your job role (which should remain in-line with the selected SOC Code), current salary, and confirmation that you are still required for the role.

Please note that holders of the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa are not eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain because the purpose of this role is for temporary transfers of talent to the UK. It is important that advice is sought at the earliest opportunity if you are currently in the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) visa category and wish to settle in the UK permanent as time within this visa category will not be counted towards your five-year qualifying period.


Indefinite Leave To Remain

Your biometric residence permit will show your settled status in the UK. It usually says one of the following:

‘Indefinite leave to remain’

‘Indefinite leave to enter’

‘No time limit’

Your BRP lasts for 10 years, and will have an expiry date. You must apply for a replacement 3 months before it expires.

You should take your BRP with you if you travel outside of the UK to ensure that you can re-enter when you return.

If you are out of the UK for more than two years, you may be eligible for a returning resident visa. You must be able to show that you plan to return to live in the UK permanently.

Family members may be able to join you, but are subject to immigration riles depending on their relationship to you and the type of family member they are.

Your child should be a British citizen automatically at birth.

If you have a child who is not a British citizen, but who was born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983, they may be able to register as a British citizen once you have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Unlike British citizenship, which is granted for life, ILR may lapse. It can be taken away under certain circumstances.

  1. If you commit a serious crime and you are deported
  2. If you obtained leave by deception
  3. If you were granted ILR as a refugee, and cease to be a refugee
  4. If you stay outside of the UK for a continuous period of two years.

If you or your parents came from a Commonwealth country and were settled in the UK on 1 January 1973, or arrived in the UK from any country before 1988, you may be eligible to apply to the Windrush Scheme.


There are many requirements to be met to satisfy the Home Office. We can assist you in making the application and help to ensure your application is processed efficiently without unnecessary delays.

Woodcock Law is well placed and highly experienced in providing bespoke advice and assistance with Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

We recommend getting in contact with us on 0207 712 1590 for our expert advice on such an application before any action is taken.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on


Woodcock Law & Notary Public is the combined trading name of Woodcock Law Limited (Co. No: 12080697) and Woodcock Notary Public Limited (Co. No: 12085976). Woodcock Law Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (registration number 664924). Woodcock Notary Public Limited is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury for work undertaken by Mr Nathan Woodcock as a Notary Public. Woodcock Law Limited is a member of Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. (Membership Number: 7980).

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
Designed by Woodcock Marketing | Copyright 2022 | Woodcock Law & Notary Public | All Rights Reserved