Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

What is ILR?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), allows a person to settle and stay permanently in the UK. There are different routes which can be used to obtain ILR including SET(LR).

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What is included?

  • Indefinite Leave to remain
  • SET[LR]
  • Eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • 2 Years’ Extension
  • Starting Point
  • Recent Changes
  • Fee
  • English Language and Life in the UK Test
  • Events Which Will Break the Continuous Residence
  • Good Character
  • Bio-metric and Supporting Documents


SET (LR) is a long residency route which allows to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK if someone has been living in the UK for continuous 10 years but legally.

Eligibility for ILR

Under the UK’s Immigration law, the starting point for the long residence route application is that the applicant must have an existing visa or leave to remain in the UK.

Right to Re-entry

ILR provides you with a right of re-entry into the UK. However, after continuous 2 years’ absence from the UK, you may have to reapply for leave to enter

The other requirements are following;

The applicant must have lived in the UK lawfully for continuous 10 years, irrespective of the immigration category the person held a visa for;

Must not have breached any condition or immigration rule during those 10 years, for example, working more hours than permitted or working full time during term times;

Must have passed the life in the UK test;

Must have sufficient English Language skills;

The applicant must not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days at any given time and 540 days in total during the qualifying 10 years;

Please note that any time period spent in the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands is not included in your 10 year’s long residence.

2 Years’ Extension

If due to any reason you are unable to meet the eligibility requirements you can apply to extend your visa for 2 years.

Starting Point

Your 10-years’ qualifying period starts from either

  • when you arrived in the UK with a visa; or
  • when you were given permission to stay in the UK.

Recent changes

From 13 July 2018 anybody who wishes to apply for Indefinite leave to remain on a long residency base must use the new online application service in line with the changes introduced in paragraph 34 of Immigration Rules.

The new rules make it mandatory for all applicants to state their all reasons to remain in the United Kingdom. Previously you have to argue your case on the bases of legal right and social ties in the UK. However, under current rules, the applicant must state all reasons he has or why he thinks he should be granted with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

The Failure to state all reasons for a permanent stay in the UK can result in loss of any right of appeal against the decision of the Home Office.  It is vital for all new applicants to state in the application to Including social, family, financial, and emotional ties in the United Kingdom and special circumstances including caring for a disable child, medical treatment, fostering children, violence or threat you may face if you return etc.


The fee for the postal application is £2389 for a single applicant. You also have to pay £19.20 for Biometric details and you can also choose some extra service through UKVCAS.

English Language and Life in the UK Test

You must have passed the Life in the UK test and must also have B1 English language certificate for speaking and listening skills.

Events Which Will Break the Continuous Residence

  • Removal or deportation from the UK.
  • The applicant left the UK with a clear intention not to return.
  • The applicant left the UK in circumstances and his/her return was not reasonably expected.
  • The applicant is convicted of an offence and was imprisoned.
  • The applicant has spent a total of more than 18 months absent from the UK during the period in question.

Good Character

You must be of Good Character and meet the general criteria of good character.


You can start your application here.

Biometric and Supporting Documents

Once you have filled the online application form and made the required payment, you will be referred to the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS)  to make an appointment in order to provide your biometric details including fingerprints.

The supporting documents can be either

  • upload into the online service by the applicant; or
  • UKVCAS can scan supporting documents at the appointment

Please note that if there are any children aged 6 and over who are applying alongside or on your application are also required to provide their biometric information as well.

What would you do next?

You can speak to Legal Ally’s experience immigration lawyers instantly through Instant Access or why not have a look at the practical resources we have provided including, guides, UKVCAS, Fees, and Courts’ addresses.
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