Life in the UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite leave to remain – also known as ‘settlement’ – gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can also use it to apply for British citizenship.

Here’s what you need to know about ILR.


What is indefinite leave to remain?

With Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you gain the right to live and work in the UK for as long as you like, without a time restriction and free from immigration control. ILR is also a route to apply for British citizenship.


Eligibility for ILR if you have a Skilled Worker Visa

To be eligible to apply for ILR you must have lived in the UK for 5 years. There are two rules for what counts for the 5 years.

(1) Time spent outside of the UK

You must have spent no more than 180 days outside of the UK within any 12-month period.

(2) If you have had more than one visa

Within the 5 years of living in the UK, you can include the time you’ve had on any combination of the following visas.

  • Any Tier 1 visa – except Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Skilled Worker or Tier 2 (General)
  • Scale-up Worker
  • T2 Minister of Religion or Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • International Sportsperson, T2 Sportsperson or Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Innovator
  • Global Talent
  • Representative of an Overseas B

You must also meet the salary requirements and continue to be needed in your job after you get indefinite need to remain. A document from your employer can confirm this.

If you are aged 18 to 64 then you will need to book and pass the Life in the UK test and meet the English language requirements.


Cost and application timeline

It costs £2,404 per person to apply for indefinite leave to remain. If they’re eligible, you can include your partner and children on the same application form. You will each need to have your biometric information taken, for which there is no extra fee.

You should receive a decision within 6 months of applying, however, you can expedite the process by paying an extra £500 for the priority service. If you opt to do this, you will receive a decision within 5 working days. There is also a super-priority option, which costs an extra £800 – This option gets you a decision by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information.


If you’re interested in working in the UK and would like to discuss the positions available in your specialty, and how we can assist you, please contact our team.

This article has been written as a guide only. For advice regarding an indefinite leave to remain application, please contact an immigration specialist.