A person granted with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK can remain in the UK without any restrictions on their stay. This means that a person granted ILR may live and work without limitations imposed on how long they can be in the UK. This is also referred to as settlement in the UK.
Once ILR status has been held for 12 months, a person is eligible to apply for citizenship in the UK, subject to meeting the citizenship requirements.
Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR), also known as settlement, is granted to those who have spent a qualifying period of continuous residence in the UK and meet the eligibility criteria for their visa category. The qualifying continuous period is generally 5 years, but there are some categories that have a reduced continuous period.
‘Continuous residence’ means that a person has remained in the UK without gaps of 180 days in any 12 months of the period being counted.
In order to successfully apply for ILR in the UK, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria. Applicants should check the criteria that applies to their current visa category for their visa category.
The general eligibility criteria are as follows:
- Applicants must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal – the general grounds for refusal are grounds that might suggest applicants are not of good character, for example if they were to have previous criminal convictions or a bad immigration history;
- Applicants must not be in breach of immigration rules;
- Applicants should meet the continuous residence requirement for their visa category. For most categories this is 5 years continuously spent in the UK, with no more that 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months;
- Applicants need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English Language, at B1 level or above. There are some exceptions available to those who are a national of a majority English speaking country, or have a degree taught in English;
- Anyone who is aged between 18-64 should have passed the Life in the UK test.
The 10-year Route:
Applicants can apply to settle in the UK if they have legally spent 10 continuous years in the UK. This is also known as the ‘long residence route’.
Applicants can apply under the 10-year route if they have:
- Remained in the UK for continuous period of 10 years;
- Passed the Life in the UK test;
- Demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English Language;
- Not fallen for refusal under the general grounds for refusal – the general grounds for refusal are grounds that might suggest applicants are not of good character, for example if they were to have previous criminal convictions or a bad immigration history.
The Home Office service standard to make a decision on ILR applications is 6 months. For an additional free, there are options available to apply for a faster service for some applications.