Living permanently in the UK

If you are considering applying for indefinite leave to remain, contact our immigration team based in Bromley to book an affordable and totally confidential fixed-fee consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer. The consultation will cost just £100 (plus VAT) and if you decide to instruct Wellers to work with you then we will waive that fee.

What is indefinite leave to remain?

‘Indefinite leave to remain’ (ILR) is a formal term for being given permission by the Home Office to stay in the UK. In other words, it is a way of settling in the UK permanently and is therefore also known as ‘settlement’.

Once you have ILR, you are able to live, work and study in the UK without the need for any further visa or work permit applications. You can also claim certain state benefits if you are eligible.

There are several ways to gain ILR. These include:

Working in the UK

If you have a valid work visa you may be able to apply for ILR after a certain amount of time. For most applicants, it will be five years, but there are other visa routes which reduce the time specification. You may also need to prove your salary meets the financial requirements.

How you apply for ILR will depend on your visa or other method by which you have leave (permission) to be in the UK.

Talk to Wellers’ Immigration Team about the best method to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Family in the UK

If you have a partner, spouse, parent, child, or other relative who is settled in the UK as either a British citizen or with ILR, you may be able to apply for ILR yourself.

The application process will depend on your individual circumstances, including which type of visa you have, and how your family member gained their ‘settlement’ status.

There are also ways to apply for ILR if your partner dies or if you suffered domestic violence which ended your relationship.

Wellers’ Immigration lawyers can help you apply for ILR and will talk you through the whole process including what evidence you will need to provide.

Living in the UK for 10 years

If you have been living in the UK with leave (permission) for 10 years or more, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

From June 2022 you may be able to apply for ILR via the 10-year route on the basis of your private life (family visa).

Other routes for indefinite leave to remain

You may be able to apply for ILR if:

  • You have lived in the UK for five years on a UK Ancestry visa
  • You are a refugee
  • You have humanitarian protection
  • You have discretionary leave to remain
  • You previously had ILR and are now returning to the UK
  • You served in the UK armed forces

If you are a Commonwealth citizen you may have ‘right of abode’ which means you can live and work in the UK and are not subject to immigration restrictions. However, this is not the same as ILR. Some commonwealth citizens may be able to apply for British citizenship under other circumstances, such as via the Windrush scheme.

Talk to Wellers Immigration team about your circumstances.

Life in the UK test for ILR

All applicants for ILR are required to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language and will need to take and pass the ‘life in the UK’ test if they are between the ages of 18 and 65.

Once you have been granted ILR or settlement status, you are free to take up employment without the need to apply for a work permit, you are also free to live in the UK permanently.

Although you are free to leave and enter the UK at any time, you may have to make an application as a returning resident if you live outside of the UK for two years or more at a time. To avoid this situation, you may wish to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen as this is a way of gaining unlimited access to and from the UK.

For further assistance in obtaining ILR please call Lorraine Toal on 020 8290 7956 or email