Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as Permanent Residence (PR) or Settlement, is essentially the immigration status that is just one step removed from full British Citizenship.

ILR means that you are free to work in the UK, and have the right to travel into and out of the country multiple times. You gain access to certain state benefits, and are classed as a 'home student' (rather than an 'international student') when it comes to fees for higher education institutions such as Universities. And since ILR is indefinite, rather than limited, there are no time limits on your stay. So you get to keep your current nationality and passport, but you do not need to worry about many of the usual immigration controls or restrictions.

Once you have been granted ILR then you are considered to have 'settled status', which is an important requirement if you wish to apply for British Citizenship and obtain your own UK Passport. After 12 months of holding ILR, and as long as you meet the various other requirements outlined below, you may be entitled to apply for UK Citizenship - a process known as Naturalisation.

At Five Star International, our immigration consultants really are experts when it comes to ILR applications - from offering you initial legal advice about your eligibility, through to form and document checking to eliminate avoidable errors that might delay or invalidate your request, right up to preparing and submitting your application through the quickest channel.

To speak with one of our specialist immigration lawyers today on a no-obligation basis, please either call us on +44 (0) 141 339 7373 or email us at

ILR Eligibility Requirements

The precise requirements for obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain vary depending on a number of factors, including your age and current immigration status.

One of the main ILR requirements is residency - you must have been lawfully living in the UK for a certain length of time before you can apply, normally staying under one or more temporary visas. Your total qualifying period may cover times when you were lawfully resident in the UK under two different visas, for example if you initially entered on one type of visa and then switched to another type. You are usually able to apply for ILR within the final 28 days of your qualifying period, but no earlier.

The minimum period of residence in the UK that you must have completed before you can apply for ILR depends on your current visa status. In many cases you must have been living in the UK for a minimum period of 5 years (for example work permit, investor, minister of religion, writer, composer or artist, etc) - though there are exceptions that can raise or lower this minimum period.

For example, it may be possible to apply for permanent residence after just 2 years stay in the country if you are married or in a permanent unmarried relationship with a UK Citizen. And it may be possible to apply for permanent residence after a long-term lawful residence (10 years) or even partly unlawful residence (14 years) in the UK.

Additional requirements for ILR include passing the Knowledge of Language and the Life in the UK tests, as well as making sure you have no unspent convictions - including relatively minor offences such as traffic or motoring charges.

Although ILR is indefinite, it is still possible to have your ILR revoked if you break its conditions of issue. One of the main risks to your ILR status is if you leave the UK for a continuous period of two or more years, since this strongly suggests that the UK is not your main residence. In this situation it is possible that the Home Office may revoke your ILR status, because it was originally granted on the basis that you intended to 'remain' settled permanently in the UK. Because of this, if you wish to retain the right to stay in the UK but intend to travel abroad for long durations then you would be better off applying for full Citizenship, rather than just Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Expert Legal Advice about ILR Applications

Although it is possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain yourself, we always recommend that you at least speak to immigration adviser or lawyer before you begin the application process. With the cost of applying for ILR increasing each year, and with a very real risk of refusal through making some small avoidable error in your paperwork, our expert legal advice could save you a great deal of time, effort and money - not to mention stress.

If you are in a rush we can also help you apply for ILR at short notice, with a Same-Day appointment at the Glasgow Premium Service Centre. In normal circumstances a postal application might take 6 months or longer, whereas a Same-Day appointment can usually be arranged within 2 weeks - sometimes sooner - so it's never too late to get in touch.

Five Star International is a specialist immigration firm based in the heart of Glasgow's West End, and our team of solicitors work exclusively on immigration cases for clients across Scotland all day every day. Contact us by phone or email on +44 (0) 141 339 7373 or, and speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable immigration lawyers now.