Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain, or ILR, is the formal name for the most common form of ‘settlement’ in the UK. Individuals who are granted ILR are able to live, study and work in the UK with no time limits and no requirement to renew their status like there is with a visa. Most people who are granted ILR are also able to apply for state support in the form of benefits, providing they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Most people who are eligible to apply for ILR will have lived and worked in the UK for at least five years, although this period can be reduced to three years for holders of Global Talent or Innovator visas, and as little as two years for Tier 1 visa holders.

ILR is also a possibility for people who have family in the UK (such as a partner, parent, child or other close relative) who already have ILR, or who are a British citizen. Consideration for granting ILR is also given where an applicant has difficult personal circumstances, such as having ended a relationship due to domestic violence or where their spouse or partner has passed away.

Other circumstances which may make someone eligible to apply for ILR include:

  • Being a refugee
  • Returning to the UK after previously having had ILR
  • Having served in the UK military
  • Having previously been granted a visa on the basis of your private life

Important: Indefinite Leave to Remain is similar to but legally distinct from Settled Status, which is a specific form of leave to remain made available to qualifying EU and EEA nationals due to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in 2021.

Indefinite Leave to Remain application process

The exact process and requirements for ILR will vary depending on the basis for your application. At a minimum, you should expect to prove that:

  • You have lived in the UK for the majority of the period which makes you eligible for ILR
  • You and/or your spouse satisfy any minimum income requirements

If you are aged between 18 and 64, you will also need:

  • To take and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test
  • To prove a minimum level of English language ability

You are usually able to include children and dependants in your application, providing they are eligible. It is generally only permitted to add children over the age of 18 to your application if they were under 18 when they were first permitted to be in the UK as your dependant, and if they are not married and do not have children of their own.

The time taken to reach a decision on an application will vary depending on the complexity of each individual case and the current workload and backlog of UK Visas and Immigration. Decisions can take up to six months, though premium services are available which can guarantee decisions within as little as two working days.

Indefinite Leave to Remain fees

ILR application fees are usually around £2885 per individual applying. Where the priority service is available, you are able to pay an additional £500 in order to receive a decision within five working days. Where the super priority service is available, you can get a decision within two working days at an extra cost of £800.

Application fees are non-refundable if your application is rejected and must be paid again if you wish to submit a new application.

Demetris Demetriou

Demetris is a dual-qualified lawyer in the UK (Solicitor) and Cyprus (Advocate) with 10+ years of experience in UK immigration. He completed his legal studies at University College London and City University London. Over the course of his career, he held key roles as Head of Immigration at Legal 500 firms and within the Big4, overseeing teams of 15+ fee earners handling 2000+ applications annually.

Demetris went on to co-establish his firm in London and continues to offer innovative solutions and strategic immigration planning to multinationals, SMEs, and private clients.

He personally represented 1500+ clients in 30+ visa routes including investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, sole representatives, students, family visas, global talent, UK ancestry, administrative reviews and appeals. Demetris has managed corporate relocations, conducted immigration law training and implemented post-Brexit immigration policies for corporate clients.

Demetris has been featured in various events and publications focusing on UK immigration, notably at the Cambridge Network, the Westminster Policy Forum and most recently at DGEMS, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.

Tatiani Preifelt

Tatiani has a wealth of expertise in global mobility and corporate immigration. Her ample skills were acquired within leading immigration practices including three out of the Big4 firms in both the UK and Sweden. Tatiani went on to co-establish her firm in London where she continues to advise clients predominantly in corporate, business and skilled work migration.

Having personally relocated to 10 different countries, Tatiani understands the importance of an expedient and successful immigration process and takes pride in delivering a seamless experience to her clients as well.

Over the course of her career, she has assisted over 500 individuals and businesses to obtain the appropriate visa permits in the UK.

Her awarded academic work at The University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, and at The Geneva University is in the fields of Political Science, International Human Rights Law, and Global Migration Governance.

She regularly provides immigration training and has recently participated as a speaker and panellist at DGEMS 2023, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.