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Indefinite Leave to Remain Explained

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) also known as ‘Permanent Residency’ is an immigration status granted to the citizens of countries outside the EEA region, who qualify for the requirements set by the British Government to settle in the UK for an unspecified period of time.

An Indefinite Leave to Remain enables the UK visa holder to work or study in the UK for indefinite period of time – contingent upon he or she has lived in the UK for certain years. Also, they can apply for naturalisation after that span of time. Similar to all other visa restrictions, rules and regulations, this qualification is also subject to certain conditions. In this post, we’ll have a quick look at some of those conditions that apply on a continuing basis to maintain an ILR status.

Who is Eligible for an ILR?

Broadly, anyone having an immigration status in the qualifying category and who has been settled in the UK for five consecutive years can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Below you will find some of the popular qualifying categories that can bring about an eligibility to acquire an ILR after 5 consecutive years of settlement in the UK:

Tier 1 Visas

You qualify for an ILR if you’ve been settled in the UK for 2, 3 or 5 years (investor visa) contingent upon your overall investment in the UK (including loans/assets). Similarly, you can also apply for ILR if you have been living in the UK on the basis of innovator or Exceptional Talent Visa.

Tier 2 Visa

With the Tier 2 visa, you can live and work in the UK for a maximum of six years. To qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain, your employer or sponsor will have to provide confirmation to show they still want you to continue your job after the initial five years period finishes. Also, your job must pay you over £35,800 in terms of remuneration.

UK Ancestry Visa

UK Ancestry visas are usually granted for 5 years. You can apply for an ILR just after your UK Ancestry visa expires.

Spouse Visa/Unmarried Partner Visa

Acquiring an ILR while keeping the spouse visa is a two-step process. The first step is linked with the standard validity of this visa type which is 33 months, while the second step requires you to submit an extension application for your spouse visa that allows you to live in the UK for another 30 months.

Generally, ILR eligibility is accessible if you’ve been on the similar visa for at least 5 consecutive years. But, if you have lived in the UK for more than 10 years (on any valid visa category), you’re eligible to apply on the basis of 10-year long residence. There are certain conditions for this eligibility though. For instance, you must have lived continuously as well as lawfully in the UK for 10 years. Also, during these years, you’re not allowed to leave the UK for more than 180 consecutive days.

Requirements for an Indefinite Leave to Remain

There are certain other requirements you have to fulfill before you apply for an ILR for yourself. For instance, you may be required to meet the language requirements and clear the 45 minutes ‘Life in the UK’ assessment test.

What are the Benefits of Securing an ILR?

There are many advantages to securing an Indefinite Leave to Remain status in the UK. Not only you can study or work easily, but you’re also entitled to receive additional benefits such as NHS, housing and social funds, etc.

With ILR, you’ll have a choice to choose your type of employment (to be hired by someone, self-employed or start your own business).

All in all, securing an ILR is a great option for foreign citizens who have been settled in the UK for 5 or more consecutive years. The perks of PR is the last step before being able to enjoy full-fledged British citizenship and obviously, this is one of the biggest reasons why many people choose to go for it.

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