Our Services

UK Visas offer a comprehensive range of services for corporate clients and individuals.
Our immigration and visa application experts will take the time to understand your requirements before recommending the most appropriate service to meet your needs, all at a competitive price.
See all our Services

, , ,

Exploring the Different Visa Routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain

May 27, 2024

ILR is a permanent residency status in the UK that allows you to live, work, and study there indefinitely. Once you have ILR, you no longer need to worry about renewing your visa or meeting ongoing immigration requirements. You can access NHS and state benefits and apply for British citizenship, which opens doors to additional benefits and opportunities.

However, please note that ILR can lapse if you have significant periods of absence from the UK.

You may be eligible to submit an indefinite leave to remain application if any of the following apply:
• You have family in the UK;
• You work in the UK;
• You are a Commonwealth citizen;
• You are an EU national;
• You have lived in the UK for 10 years.

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must have been living in the UK continuously for a certain time, which is referred to as the "qualifying period". This period generally lasts for 5 years and applies to most visas. However, the qualifying period may vary depending on the visa category you belong to. Here are some of the common visa routes to ILR and their corresponding qualifying periods

  • Long Residence visa 10 years
  • Spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK visa 5 years
  • Skilled Worker visa 5 years
  • Health and Care Worker visa 5 years
  • EU nationals and dependents under EU Settlement Scheme 5 years
  • British National (Overseas) visa 5 years
  • UK Ancestry visa 5 years
  • Minister of Religion 5 years
  • International Sportsperson 5 years
  • Scale-up Worker visa 5 years
  • Representative of an Overseas Business visa 5 years
  • Global Talent visa 3 or 5 years
  • Innovator Founder visa 3 years
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur (route closed to new applicants but you can apply to settle in the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur until 5 April 2025) 3 or 5 years
  • Tier 1 Investor (route closed to new applicants but you can apply to settle as a Tier 1 Investor until 17 February 2028) 2, 3 or 5 years

To be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, you must fulfill certain requirements.

Simply completing a continuous period of lawful residence in the UK does not guarantee you ILR. You need to submit an online application to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) along with evidence that proves you meet the following criteria:
• Continuous lawful residence in the UK for the required qualifying period
• A maximum of 180 days of absence from the UK in any 12-month period during the qualifying period
• Passed a Life in the UK Test
• Sufficient knowledge of the English language.

180-day rule

You must spend no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months if you wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
If you have been in the UK for a continuous period of 10 years, you may be eligible for the 10-year Long Residence route. Under this route, you must not have total absences of more than 548 days, and any single absences started before 11 April 2024 must not be longer than 184 days.
From 11 April 2024, you must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period and the 548 total absences limit is removed.
It is essential to keep track of your travel dates and maintain accurate records to ensure compliance with this requirement. It is worth noting that the family routes do not have a 180-day rule at the indefinite leave to remain application stage, but absences will be considered when applying for British citizenship.
If you have excessive absences due to "serious or compelling reasons", the Home Office may exercise discretion and allow the application. Examples of serious or compelling reasons include.
• serious illness
• the applicant or a close relative has a serious illness.
• conflict, or
• natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions or tsunamis.

Knowledge of English language and life in the UK

In addition to the language requirement, you must pass a Life in the UK test as part of the indefinite leave to remain application. This test is completed online and comprises a 45-minute multiple-choice test focused on the history, culture, and values of the UK. You must score 75% (18 out of 24). The Home Office has published various resources that can be purchased to aid your revision. The test costs £50.

Application process

The earliest you can submit an indefinite leave to remain application is 28 days before you are eligible, and the application costs £2,885. You will be required to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) at your nearest visa centre. You will normally receive a decision within 6 months if you apply using the standard service. There may be an option to select a priority service and receive a decision within 5 working days (£500) or by the end of the next working day with super priority (£1000).

Let Our Experts Guide You

The laws concerning both are extremely complex so using a firm such as UK Visas to manage your case is worthwhile. We have in-house specialist consultants authorised by the OISC to provide advice on ILR and British citizenship.

  • We have a great relationship with the UK Visas team, who provide a prompt, professional service and expert immigration advice. They take the worry out of the visa process, working efficiently even when dealing with numerous requests at once.

    Sarah Bond
    Human Resources Advisor
  • I can honestly say everyone that I deal with at UK Visas are very efficient, super helpful and informative and extremely nice (especially Ana and Garima). Also patient with all my questions – nothing is ever too much trouble, and very prompt with their responses.

    Jackie Thompson
    HR Assistant
  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for almost 10 years now, and the support and advice never fails. From the sponsorship of new employees to training for the whole team, UK Visas are always extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend their services!

    Helena Wittenbach
    Head of Human Resources,
  • Having worked with UK Visas for more than eight years, I cannot recommend their services enough. We have worked with them on a wide variety of immigration topics, including complex licence matters (following acquisitions), day to day sponsorship processes, and reporting; and we have always received an amazing service.

    Members of the team are responsive and come back to our queries quickly, they are always polite, and go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. Thank you to all of the team for the wonderful ongoing support you provide!

    Amy Gadsby
    Director, Human Resources - EMEA
  • We have worked with UK Visas for a number of years and the service that is provided is excellent.

    No query is too big or too small. Always accommodating and helpful. Thank you team!

    Louise Goddard
    Executive Business Partner to CEO and the Board
  • We have worked with UK Visas for over 10 years, since we initially requested obtaining a Sponsor Licence. From day one, their guidance, communication, professionalism, efficiency and support has been and continues to be exemplary, with no request too much.

    Thank you and we look forward to continuing the relationship.

    Sara Searle
    Head of Human Resources and Payroll
  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for over 6 years and always find them helpful, friendly and experts in what they do. I know I can always call them up or send them an email and I will get a detailed response, fast. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone to help and support with your visa journeys.

    Gerry Weiss
    HR Business Partner
  • We have been using UK Visas for many years and service is always expeditious, even as number of requests have increased in recent years. The team advise on a wide range of queries and are always supportive, informative and clear in their advice.

    Jodie Plom
    HR Administrator CVS Vets
Arrange a consultation

Contact our OISC advisor team

For more than a decade we have been assisting businesses and individuals with immigration and visa enquiries, providing sound advice and successfully handling applications.
Please submit your details via our online enquiry form and our expert team will be in touch to progress your enquiry. Alternatively, you may contact us directly on the phone number below.
group of people in front of bookcase

Our Clients

At UK Visas, we're passionate about delivering exceptional service to our clients. We're excited to share their success stories with you and showcase our commitment to excellence.

Sign up for visa news

[fluentform id="2"]

Regulated by the OISC

We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Our registration number: F200300183.
Please note we are NOT a UK Government body or agency and have no connection with the UK Government.

Get in touch

[email protected]
01403 801801

Contact us

Arrange a consultation with our team of expertise.

Enquire today