Immigration rules in the UK define indefinite leave to remain (ILR) as being granted permanent residency in the UK. This is not the same as naturalisation. ILR can only be given after the migrant has demonstrated a commitment to the UK under a temporary visa. Eligibility depends upon which visa the applicant was originally travelling on and how long they have held it. They must have lived in the UK for a certain period of time before they can apply for ILR.

Applying for ILR through Oratto

If you are looking to settle in the UK, taking early legal advice about your eligibility and which process you need to follow is essential. Any mistakes, or applying via the wrong means, could delay your entitlement to receive indefinite leave to remain. Oratto has a number of member lawyers who will be able to give you clear, specific visa legal advice regarding your application.

Oratto has been developed as an online method of choosing and making contact with the right lawyer for your circumstances. You can choose an immigration solicitor yourself from the list or send your details to Oratto and we can pair you with a lawyer through our Match function.

Length of time you must have been in the UK to apply for ILR

The length of time depends on your immigration status:

  • Work permit holder – five years
  • Ancestry visa holder – five years
  • Being married – five years
  • Being an unmarried partner – five years
  • Holding a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa – five years
  • Holding a Tier 1 (Investor) visa – five years
  • Writers, musicians and artists – five years
  • After a legal stay – ten years
  • After an illegal stay – fourteen years

As part of your application to settle permanently in the UK, applicants will need to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge and understanding of the English language and about living in Great Britain. This is done through a ‘Life in the UK' test. The only exceptions to this immigration rule exist if you are over 65 or under 18.

Once indefinite leave to remain has been granted, you should not spend two years or more outside the UK because this could lead to revocation of the ILR. If this does happen then you would need to apply for a Returning Resident visa before you try to re-enter the UK. It's very important to do so or you could be declined entry.

Waiting times

  • Postal applications. Approximately 95% of these receive a decision within six months
  • Applications in person. In approximately 90% of cases there will be a same day decision

For further information on ILR, and the conditions for settling in the UK, or to apply, contact an Oratto member immigration solicitor today.