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British Nationality Assessment

Countries > United Kingdom > Permanent Residency

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (often known as ILR, permanent residency or settlement) is permission to stay permanently (i.e. settle) in the United Kingdom, free from immigration control.

After you have lived legally in the United Kingdom for a certain length of time (usually between two and five years), you are eligible to make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, depending on the category of visa you hold.

For more information on how British Nationality could be acquired through residency in the UK, then watch this short video by Philip Gamble:

Naturalisation in the UK

In order to apply for permanent residence, you will normally first need to show that you have enough knowledge of language and life in the United Kingdom (the exceptions being those aged under 18 and those over 65). This will involve writing and passing the Life in the UK test.

Fast Track Same Day extensions are available for this visa class:

 Click here for more information on the Fast Track Same Day service

QUALIFYING CRITERIA


Ancestry Visa
- 5 years continuous residency (with absences amounting to no more than 6 months in total and specifically no more than 3 months at any one time)

Work Permit (Tier 2) and Highly Skilled (HSMP/Tier 1)
- 5 years continuous residency (with absences amounting to no more than 6 months in total and specifically no more than 3 months at any one time);
- must be in employment at the time of application;
- Work Permit/Tier 2 visa holders must have maintained employment during the 5 year period.

Business & Investment
- 5 years continuous residency (with absences amounting to no more than 6 months in total and specifically no more than 3 months at any one time); AND
- Demonstration of continued investment or business activity.

Children under the age of 18
- either parent must have permanent residency or be applying for ILR;
- either parent must include the child at the time that the parent applied for ILR.

Spouse (including Civil Partner/Same Sex) of British Citizen
- over 21 years in age
- must hold a valid UK Marriage Visa
- may apply after 23 months of holding this visa
- there is no UK residency requirement

Unmarried partner (including Same Sex) of British Citizen
- over 21 years in age
- must hold a valid Unmarried Partner Visa
- may apply after 23 months of holding this visa

Partners (spouse or unmarried partner) of EU Nationals
- both the partner and the applicant must be residing in the UK over the 5 year residency period
- the EU National must have been exercising their Treaty Rights over the 5 years
- the marriage must be legally recognised (or the relationship is still ongoing)


Partners (spouses or unmarried partners) of Employment Visa holders (Work Permit, Highly Skilled (HSMP) and Ancestry)
- qualify for ILR at the same time as the primary visa holder

Discretionary Applications
There are situations where discretion can be considered in granting ILR. The advice of an immigration consultant is recommended.

Please note: under all categories above, time spent on a Working Holiday Visa (Tier 5), a Student Visa or Permit Free Training does NOT count towards the 5 year residency requirement.

To learn more about Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and how residency in the UK can lead to British Nationality, watch this brief video by Philip Gamble. Philip Gamble is now widely recognised as the world's leading authority on British Nationality.

View British Nationality Presentation

Watch this brief video by Philip Gamble on Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and how UK residency can lead to British Nationality.

British Nationality Assessment