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ILR Settlement 
Permanent Residence

Settled status is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This status allows you to live and work in the UK without restrictions on the length of stay.

After 1 year on ILR, you may be eligible to apply for UK citizenship. 

UK Indefinite leave to Remain

Key Details

  • Usually 2-10 years to qualify

  • 2 years: Investors with £10m+

  • 3 years: Innovators with £5m+, some Innovators, Global Talent visa holders

  • 5 years: Tier 1, Tier 2, Skilled Worker, Investors with £2m+, Ancestry, Sole Representative, Family visa as a partner

  • 10 years: Lawful residence in any status (eg Tier 4 student, Tier 2 ICT)

  • 20years: Any status including illegal/overstaying

Once you have 'Indefinite Leave to Remain', you can stay in the UK for as long as you want, you can have any job, pursue your own business, study, or retire.  You can also apply for benefits if you’re eligible.


Most adults who acquire British Citizenship do so by applying after first being granted ILR.  If a child was born in the UK while their parents had temporary leave (eg Skilled Worker visa), then, as soon as the parents obtain ILR, the child can usually apply for Naturalisation (British Passport).

The routes to ILR within 2 or 3 years are limited.  Most people will acquire ILR after 5 or 10 years.

5 Year Routes


* Tier 2 (General) visa

* Skilled Worker visa

* Sole Representative visa

* Dependant spouse of a UK national or settled person

* Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

* Tier 1 Investor visa with £2m investment

* Ancestry visa for commonwealth citizens

Most of the 5 year ILR routes require you to prove that you still meet the criteria of your existing visa.  If you are on a Skilled Worker visa, you must still be required by your sponsoring employer.  If you have a £2m Investor visa, you must have maintained your investment by at least the £2m level.  If you are a dependant spouse, you should still be in a subsisting marriage, although if you are no longer married due to bereavement, or domestic violence, you may also be able to obtain ILR.

For those that do not qualify for the 5 year routes, 10 years in the UK in any lawful capacity, including Tier 4 student, Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer, Tier 5 working holiday, etc. 

To apply for ILR, you will need to show

1. That you have had the required leave for an unbroken period (If your visa expires, you leave the UK, and return with a new visa 3 months later, then your qualifying period begins again).

2. That you have not spent more time abroad than is allowed for the route you are taking.  For most 5 year routes, this is 180 days in any rolling 12 month period.

3.  That you have passed a 'Life in the UK' Test.

4.  That you can maintain and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds.

5.  That you have not been convicted of any unspent offences, or of breaking  immigration laws (such as by overstaying your visa).

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