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2 July 2024

Our helpful guide to Limited Leave to Remain

Limited Leave to Remain is a status that all UK visa holders should know about. Find out more in our guide.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Construction worker in his late 50s to early 60s checking his watch to represent Limited Leave to Remain on a visa.

Anyone who is in the UK on a visa will have Limited Leave to Remain. Essentially, it is the amount of time that someone can remain in the UK on their visa before they have to leave.

The opposite of Limited Leave to Remain is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which is gained by being in the UK for either three, five, or 10 years. The ILR route available to you varies based on the visas you have been in the UK on. Once you have reached the required number of years, you can apply for ILR

Limited Leave to Remain is basically a status you will automatically acquire when you obtain a British visa and enter the UK. It will eventually lead you to being able to get ILR. Keep reading to find out more about who gets Limited Leave to Remain, what you are entitled to, and how it leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Who gets Limited Leave to Remain?

As we have already mentioned, anyone in the UK on a visa gets Limited Leave to Remain. However, there are some other immigration statuses that also give you Limited Leave to Remain status. 

A list of immigration statuses that give you Limited Leave to Remain includes:

To get one of these visas, you will have to apply through the UK Government’s website. If you are unsure what visa you think suits you best, or just want help with your visa application, then you should seek the assistance of legal professionals such as ourselves. We can make sure that you get the visa that is right for you.

What can I do with Limited Leave to Remain?

When you are in the UK with Limited Leave to Remain, you will be able to undertake certain activities during your time here. The activities that you can carry out are the ones that are specified in your visa’s rules. 

For example, on a Visitor Visa, you cannot apply for and get a job whilst you visit the UK. To be able to work in the UK, you will need to have a type of worker or temporary worker visa. People on the EUSS can also work. 

Anyone who is staying in the UK for more than six months will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which gives visa holders access to NHS services during their stay in the UK. 

Limited Leave to Remain is basically a status you will automatically acquire when you obtain a British visa and enter the UK.

What can I not do?

As we have said before, your visa’s rules will outline what you can and cannot do, such as working on a non-working visa.

However, on a visa, you also cannot access most forms of public funds, such as benefits. This is known as ‘no recourse to public funds’. For example, you will not be able to access child benefits or get a state pension. 

What do I do when my Limited Leave to Remain ends?

When your Limited Leave to Remain ends, aside from the obvious option of leaving the UK and going back to your home country, you may have a few other options that might be available to you depending on your circumstances. 

A list of your options includes:

Further Leave to Remain

In the previous section, we mentioned Further Leave to Remain (FLR) as one of your options for when your Limited Leave to Remain ends.

Essentially, FLR is something that you can apply for to extend the length of your visa and stay in the UK. Most visas can be extended, but some cannot, such as the Graduate Visa

The application process for FLR can vary a lot based on the type of UK visa that you are on, but generally, 

We have a guide that goes into detail about the different types of FLR that are available if you would like to read more about the topic. 

Getting Indefinite Leave to Remain

Once you have spent a certain number of years in the UK, like we mentioned at the start of our guide, you will be able to apply for ILR. 

The type of ILR you can get will depend on the types of visas you have held whilst in the UK. For example, you can get 5 years’ ILR if you have been in the UK on Skilled Worker Visas. 

Time on different visas can also be combined, but this is usually for the 10 year route for ILR.

Aside from the time requirement, you will also need to pass the Life in the UK test (unless you are exempt), and also prove your English ability. 

Finally, you must not have a criminal record, as that is a reason for your ILR application to be rejected. 

We have guides on the three year route, five year route, and 10 year route that you can read if you want more information about ILR. 

How we can help

Whether you need help with applying for a visa that will give you Limited Leave to Remain, or with applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, our experienced law team is here to help you. 

We offer a range of consultation options that you can choose from, depending on what you want us to do for you. First, you can book a free 10-minute assessment, which allows our team to see how they might be able to help you. If you do not want to book an assessment, you can contact us in other ways, such as by phone. 

Then, you have the option of a full 30-minute or an hour long consultation with our Immigration Solicitor, Nathan Woodcock.  

Alternatively, you can have a quick 15-minute consultation which simply allows you to ask our Immigration Solicitor an immigration law related question. 

Get in touch with us today by calling us, emailing us, using our website chatbot, or by booking a FREE 10-minute assessment.

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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