Settlement (Indefinite Leave To Remain)

Settlement is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).  This gives you the right to live and work in the UK permanently without any immigration restrictions.

Indefinite Leave to Remain is also a prerequisite to naturalisation which means you must be granted indefinite leave to remain before you apply for British citizenship.

The requirements that must be satisfied to be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain vary depending on the visa route you are on.  

Qualifying routes to ILR

To be eligible for ILR, you must be in the UK with lawful status under a visa category that leads to settlement  for the continuous period required by that category as listed below:

Visa Category

Qualifying continuous period for ILR

Spouse/partner visa (5 year route)

5 years

Parent visa (5 year route)

5 years

Spouse/partner visa (10 year route)

10 years

Parent of child (10 year route)

10 years

Private life (child or young adult who met the half-life test)

5 years

Private life (other)

10 years

Skilled worker visa/Tier 2 worker

5 years


5 years

Global talent

3 or 5 years (depending on endorsement type)

UK ancestry

5 years

Long residence

10 years

Turkish worker or business person

5 years

Discretionary leave

10 years


5 years

Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

You will not automatically qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK but will need to make an application to the Home Office demonstrating that you meet the following requirements:

Continuous residence

To meet the continuous residence requirement, you must show that:

  • You have lived in the UK with relevant permission
  • Your residence is lawful
  • You have not been absent for more than the specified periods, unless for permitted reasons

When is continuous residence broken?

There are certain circumstances where continuous residence can be broken, for instance:

  • You have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the 12 months during the qualifying residence period without a permitted reason
  • You have overstayed your visa during the qualifying residence period unless an exception applies
  • In some cases, where you have been imprisoned or subject to deportation

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK

You need to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable of the language, culture, history and traditions of the UK. To demonstrate this, you will need to pass the Life in the UK Test and English Language Test.The requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain are very stringent and the application is expensive. It is therefore important that you get your application right.

Contact our indefinite leave to remain experts:

Call 0208 902 6110 

or make an enquiry online


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