Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR in the UK

Embark on Your Journey to Permanent Residency: Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK

Settling down in a new country involves several milestones, and applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is one of the most critical steps. Sometimes referred to as permanent residency, ILR allows you to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

A Guide to Understanding ILR

Navigating the path towards acquiring Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can seem daunting due to its complex process and stringent requirements. But worry not; Immtell is here to help you comprehend the subtleties of ILR, paving your way towards becoming a permanent resident of the UK.

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Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

The eligibility criteria for ILR can seem complicated. It encompasses everything from continuous lawful residence requirements and passing the Life in the UK test to demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the English language. It is also essential to have a clean immigration history and provide evidence of financial stability.

The main UK visa types that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Tier 2 (General) / Skilled Worker
Health and Care Visa
Family Visas (Under Appendix FM)
UK Ancestry
Global Talent

UK visa types that do not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), unless applying under the ten-year-long residence route

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT))/Global Business Mobility Visa
Tier 4 Student/Student
Tier 5/Temporary Worker categories.
Visitor Visas

What constitutes ‘Continuous Residence’ in the UK?

The residency requirement for ILR varies depending on the UK visa type currently held.

Skilled Worker (previous Tier 2 (General) visa categories, the applicant should usually not have been absent from the UK:

  • for more than 180 days in any rolling 12-month period if the last visa was granted after 11 January 2018; or
  • for more than 180 days in any preceding 12-month period at the time of application if the last visa was granted before 11 January 2018


Suppose the applicant has been in the UK with visas granted before and after 11 January 2018. In that case, the applicable requirement will apply to the period that each visa was held, thus combining the two.

UK Ancestry visa category, the applicant should usually not have been absent from the UK:

  • for more than 180 days in any preceding 12-month period at the time of application if the last visa was granted before 11 January 2018

There is no official absence or continuous residence requirement for spouse/partners of a British citizen or someone permanently settled in the UK. 

However, there is an expectation that the UK will be the principal place of residence during the qualifying five-year period for ILR, and the applicant should be a resident at the time of application. Suppose one has been absent from the UK significantly during the five-year qualifying period. This may raise additional questions for the caseworker, so the application should be well-prepared. 

Do dependant family members also have to meet the residence requirement?

Qualifying family dependants, essentially those that hold UK visas or permits as the dependant of the ‘main applicant’, for example Skilled Worker, are usually also permitted to apply for ILR once they have held the appropriate immigration permission for a minimum of five years and the other requirements are met.

The UK continuous residence requirement for dependants is only applicable if the last visa was granted after 11 January 2018.  If applicable, absences from the UK must not exceed 180 days in any rolling 12-month period.  There is no requirement for dependants of the UK Ancestry visa.

Life in the UK & English Language Requirements

Life in the UK Test
All applicants who apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) aged between 18 and 65 must pass the Life in the UK Test. Additional information regarding the Life in the UK Test can be found by clicking on the following link: HERE. It is advisable to purchase one of the various comprehensive books available to aid in the preparation for the test. Due to the significance and nature of the examination, we recommend investing in one of these books. Some of the most popular Life in the UK Test books can be purchased HERE.
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English Language Requirement for ILR
In addition to passing the Life in the UK test, applicants between 18 and 65 years applying for ILR in the UK must satisfy the English language requirement. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, depending on the applicant’s circumstances, including:

  • If the ILR applicant is a national of what the UK considers to be a predominately English-speaking country, the applicant’s passport in isolation is enough evidence to meet language requirement
  • Pass an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) in English speaking and listening qualification at a minimum level of B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
  • Obtained a minimum of a UK Bachelor’s degree from a UK university; or
  • Obtained a minimum of an equivalent UK Bachelor’s degree which was taught in English and confirmed as such from ECCTIS – we can assist you with this
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    ILR Application Process

    Home Office Sponsorship Licence Application Submission
    01. Document Gathering, Preparation & Submission

    You complete an online application form, submit the form and pay the relevant government fee.

    Home Office Sponsorship Licence Collate Supporting Documents
    02. Book an Appointment

    You'll need to book an appointment to attend an application centre to provide your biometrics (photograph and finger scans).

    Home Office Sponsor Licence Send Documents to UKVI
    03. Upload Documents

    Upload your supporting documents to the government’s system.

    Home Office Sponsor Licence Decision Processing Time
    04. Attend an Appointment

    At the allotted time, attend an appointment at an application centre in the UK.

    Home Office Sponsorship Licence Decision Outcome
    05. Home Office Considers The Application

    Your ILR application is processed by the Home Office, usually within eight weeks via the Standard Service and within one business day via the Super Priority Service, if available.

    Apply for first British passport
    06. Application Outcome Notification

    You will receive a notification of approval, and your new Biometric Residence Card (BRP card) should follow approximately one to two weeks later.

    What else do you need to know about ILR?

    Although once granted ILR, the holder will no longer be subject to any time limits or restrictions in the UK; it is essential to understand that the immigration status can be lost.

    Examples of when Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be revoked/lapse include:

    If you are absent from the UK for more than two years (five years if granted under the EU Settlement Scheme), ILR status is likely to lapse as you will no longer be deemed resident in the UK.
    If you commit a serious criminal offence which could lead to deportation from the UK.
    If the Security of State deems your presence in the country non-conducive to public good and/or reasons for national security,

    Securing ILR provides you with the security of permanent residence and opens up several opportunities. You get the freedom to work without restrictions and gain access to public funds, and it’s a stepping stone towards applying for British citizenship.


    Navigating the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application can be complex, and at Immtell, we understand the nuances and variations in each individual’s journey. To support you effectively, we offer two packages tailored to the needs of those qualifying under Tier 2 or Skilled Worker routes. Please note fees may vary depending on your specific route (we support all visa routes) and circumstances,

    🌟 Full End-to-End Support: For comprehensive guidance through your ILR journey, this package offers extensive support and advice. From initial assessment to final submission, our experts will be with you every step, ensuring your application is robust and compliant.

    📝 Application Review and Feedback: Our review service is ideal if you prefer handling your application independently but seek professional assurance. We meticulously assess your completed application and provide detailed feedback, highlighting areas of strength and suggesting improvements where needed.

    💡 Transparent Pricing: Our goal is to clarify our fees for each package, aiding your decision-making process with upfront and transparent pricing.

    📞 Begin Your ILR Journey with Confidence: Whether you need full support or just a professional review, our packages are designed to align with your budget and requirements. Contact us to discuss how we can facilitate a smooth and successful ILR application process.

    Immtell's Professional Fees

    Full Service

    End to End Application Support
    £ 1,600 + VAT
    • Eligibility assessment
    • Advice on English language and Life in the UK Test requirements
    • Assessment of absences
    • Application preparation and online submission
    • Appointment booking
    • Responding to queries from the Home Office
    • Review of issued documents
    • Sharing of schedule of absence spreadsheet with formulas
    Best Value

    Review Only

    Expert Review of Your Application
    £ 500 + VAT
    • Specialist review of your prepared application
    • Assess application against the relevant rules and legislations
    • Provide feedback and recommendations for improvement (if applicable)

    Estimated Government Fees

    Expert Guidance for your ILR Application with Immtell

    Our team of experienced immigration consultants at Immtell understand the complexities of the ILR application process. We offer expert guidance tailored to your circumstances, ensuring your application is accurate and meets all the required standards. Immtell makes your path to permanent residency in the UK simpler and stress-free.

    Ready to make the UK your permanent home? Don't go through the complicated ILR application process alone.



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