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Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK - a general overview

19 August 2011

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is also referred to as 'permanent residence' in the UK. An applicant can qualify having spent either two years in the UK as the partner/spouse of a British citizen or someone present and settled in the UK or  having spent 5 years in a working visa category in the UK.

All of the Tier Points- Based categories, except the Post- Study Work, lead to residency. Upon completion of five years of residence in the UK, you are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The  UK Border Agency has decided to apply a stricter criminality threshold for settlement which means that applicants will need to be  free of unspent conviction when applying for settlement as this might lead to their application being refused.

Applicants will need to disclose, among other things, all criminal convictions that have not yet been spent and civil proceedings made against them in the UK or any other country including any criminal convictions for which they have not yet been tried in court.

From 6 April 2011, migrants in these categories can no longer meet the KOL requirement by passing an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification, unless they are applying for settlement under the UKBA's transitional arrangements.

Tier 1 General holders will need to comply with paragraph 245CD of the Rules whereby they will need to score 75 points if their last visa was granted before 19 July 2010 or 80 points for applications made post 19 July 2010 in terms of age, academic qualification, earnings and UK experience.

Following the grant of your settlement application,  you will be free of immigration control, there will be no time limit or immigration related restrictions upon the type of work or business you may engage in. However, it is important to note that you should not spend a period of more than two years outside of the United Kingdom.

After completing 12 months on ILR you may be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a UK citizen. This usually involves meeting the requirements of section 6 (1) and Schedule 1 of the British Nationality Act 1981, or section 6 (2) on the basis of your marriage/civil partnership to a British Citizen.

Please note that new forms and new fees are constantly updated for settlement applications. If you are concerned that you might not meet the provisions listed above or provide the mandatory evidence in support of your application,  please feel free to contract us to seek professional legal advice.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.