Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK

7 minute read
Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK

Individuals planning to stay permanently in the UK need to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To apply for ILR several requirements are required to be fulfilled for a smooth application process of Indefinite Leave to Remain. Continue to read the following article for a complete guide on the Indefinite Leave to Remain UK such as what is ILR, how to qualify for ILR, eligibility criteria, visa requirements, application fees, processing time, documents required, etc.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide – UK Visas and Immigration Process

What is an Indefinite Leave to Remain UK?

Indefinite leave to Remain UK also known as ILR allows an individual to live, work, and study in the UK for as long as they like, and also apply for benefits if they’re eligible. ILR can also be used to apply for British citizenship. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), is also known as Permanent Residence which allows applicants to live and work in the UK without any time restrictions. However, there are certain differences between ILR and permanent residence. Permanent Residence applies to the settlement status of EEA nationals and their family members whereas Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applies to the status acquired by non-EEA nationals. The application process, requirements, and the fees differ accordingly. Watch the video below to learn more about Indefinite Leave to Remain UK

How to Qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK?

Individuals can qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK (ILR) under several categories of visa after living in the UK for a certain period. However, the qualifying period depends upon the current visa category and status in the UK. 

There are various routes a person can take to qualify for ILR such as:

  • They can apply for ILR after 2 years, while the majority can do so after 5 years of residence in case all other requirements are met. 
  • There is also a 10-year route for people who have lived in the UK legally for 10 years. Some people will qualify under the 20-year or 30-year route when both legal and illegal residence has taken place.

Also Read: Types of UK Visa for India Students

Eligibility Criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain

The major requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK (ILR) include:

  • Individuals should have stayed in the UK for the relevant qualifying period of time under a specified visa category 
  • They should fulfil the knowledge requirements of life and the language 

Visa Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

There are several visa categories or routes that are required to be qualified for indefinite leave to remain UK. Generally, the following visa categories or routes are considered to qualify for ILR:

  • Tier 1 migrants – Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 1 (Investor) and along with their dependents
  • Tier 2 (General) migrants and their dependants
  • Spouse or partner of a person who is settled in the UK
  • UK ancestry route
  • Domestic workers who are covered by transitional arrangements
  • Migrants in closed categories, such as Work Permit holders or HSMP, along with their dependents

When Can You Apply for ILR?

Generally, the Indefinite Leave to Remain UK can be applied after 5 years. For example, work visa holders, and family visa holders can apply after 5 years. Aside from the 5-year route, there is a 10-year route as well. For the 10-year route, it doesn’t matter what kind of visa you have. Thirdly, there is an accelerated route to ILR. In this route, those with an Innovator visa, an Investor visa, a Global Talent visa and an Entrepreneur visa can be applied for after 3 years. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain Application Forms

Generally, the applicants are required to fill in one of two forms mentioned below to apply for ILR.

  • SET(M) – In case of applying as a spouse, civil partner, same-sex or unmarried partner of a person who is already present in the UK
  • SET(O) – For other types of ILR applications apart from those mentioned above

Find out if it’s easy to get a PR in the UK

Application Fees for Indefinite Leave to Remain UK

The application fees depend on the type of form that the candidates will apply for to make a valid application or ILR. The application fees have remained the same as of 2021. The current fee for ILR is $2389. To register for biometric information it costs $19.20. The dependants will also have to pay the full fee of $2389.

Documents Required For Indefinite Leave to Remain UK

The documents that are required to be submitted vary on the route that is being applied under ILR. Applicants must check for the individual routes or categories to get an accurate idea of the documents that are required to be submitted along with their application. However, in general, the documents that are required for a valid ILR application include:

  • Correctly filled ILR application form
  • Receipt of payment of fees 
  • Valid passport or a national identity card or travel document 
  • Complete section 7 (Personal History) as required and sign a declaration in section 14
  • Other supporting evidence based on the ILR route, such as relationship evidence for spouses, and employment evidence for Tier 2 (General) migrants.

Processing Time for Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications

The processing time of ILR depends upon the routes visa categories and other personal circumstances of the application. Applications that require further inquiries take longer than the general timeline. General processing time is up to 6 months however, decisions regarding most ILR applications are given in 8 weeks. 

Also Read: UK Tier 4 Visa: Meaning, Checklist

Exemptions for ILR application

Under certain situations, you do not have to apply for an indefinite leave to remain. IRL application can either be waived or you are allowed to apply sooner. For example, if the partner or spouse of the partner visa applicant dies. Then he/she is eligible to apply before 5 year ILR qualification time. Similarly, those who are more than 65 years of age can get theri English language requirements waived off. 

Additionally, certain applicants are not required to clear the  Life in the UK test. That is, if they fall under the following categories:

  • You are a victim of domestic violence 
  • Skilled migrants applying under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) judicial review (dependents are included)
  • Civil partners, unmarried partners, bereaved spouses or same-sex partners of those who are settled and present in the UK
  • Grandparents, parents, and other dependent relatives of those settled in UK (even if they are between the ages of 18 and 64)
  • Refugees, and those applying on the grounds of discretionary leave 
  • Retired personnel with independent means 


How long does it take to get indefinite leave to remain in the UK?

There are various routes that a person can take to qualify for the ILR. Certain applicants can apply for ILR after 2 years, while the majority can apply even after 5 years of residence. 

Is indefinite leave to remain the same as permanent residence?

Permanent residence apply to EEA nationals and their family members, whereas indefinite leave to remain is applicable for UK-settled status for non-EEA nationals. However, the immigration status under both PR and ILR is the same; they both allow the holder to remain in the UK and work without restrictions or any immigration control.

What are the benefits of ILR in the UK?

ILR gives an individual the right to live, work, and study in the UK for as long as they like. The candidates can use ILR to apply for British citizenship. There are different ways to apply for indefinite leave to remain based on the circumstances.

What are the rules for indefinite leave to remain?

To be eligible for an indefinite leave to remain applicants must have lived and worked in the UK for at least 5 years. However, Tier 1 visa holders only need to stay and work in the country for 2-3 years.  The Innovator Founder or Global Talent visa only needs to stay and work for 3 years. Aside from this, applicants must meet other eligibility criteria such as salary or financial requirements based on the visa type. 

What is indefinite leave to remain meaning in hindi?

An indefinite leave to remain means you can settle in the UK. You are allowed to study, live, and work in the UK as long as you want. You also become eligible to apply for benefits. You can also apply for British citizenship.

We hope you now understand what is an indefinite leave to remain, its requirements, the application process, etc. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below, or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu, and we will guide you on your dream journey!

Relevant Reads:

Australian Spouse Visa Processing Time: Fee, Requirements, ProcessIs it Easy to Get a PR in the USA?
What to do After 485 Visa Expires?Spouse Visa for Canada Student
PSW Dependent Visa: Country Wise PSW Dependent VisaA Guide On Skilled Regional Visa Australia or Subclass 491

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *