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Eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

16th August 2019

Samuel Njogu


We have recently received many queries regarding eligibility requirements for indefinite leave to remain, or permanent status in the UK. The following notes clarify some of the key requirements under the Tier 2 route, and those applicable under the overseas business representative visa, (commonly referred to as the ‘sole representative visa’) and also other business-related options.

Examples of other visa category routes which can lead to ILR include Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investors, Innovator, UK Ancestry, spousal/unmarried partner visas, and long residence applications. This can be a complex area, and careful thought should be given as to which is the best approach. 3CS have the expertise to advise in any of these areas.

The essential ILR requirements are as follows:
1. You must have completed five years’ continuous residence in the UK with a qualifying visa, or ten years if applying under the ‘long residency’ route. Under the Tier 1 Investor route, the length of stay can be as short as two or three years, depending on the level of investment.

2. For the points-based system applications, including the spousal visa route, you will be required to adhere to specific minimum income requirements. There are different thresholds for each visa route, so please contact us, and we will advise you accordingly. The sole representative route, Tier 1 entrepreneur and innovator visa have some additional financial and business requirements, but we cannot cover all of these in this newsletter.

3. You must keep a clear record of any absences from the UK for the past five years, and ten years if applying under the long residence route. Any lengthy absences may impact your eligibility for ILR.

4. You must demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of the English language. You can do this by either providing a certificate from one of the accredited institutions or a degree certificate that meets the Home Office rules and guidelines.

5. You will also be required to show that you have passed the mandatory ‘Life in the UK’ test at one of the accredited institutions unless you meet one of the exemptions.

There is no time limit once you obtain the ILR, irrespective of the expiry date shown on your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). The expiry date on the ILR BRP is mainly there to encourage applicants to renew their biometric information with the Home Office, from time to time, but the status remains the same. However, it is essential to note that you should not spend more than two consecutive years outside the UK as this may lead to the loss of your ILR status.

Your ILR status is also at risk if you commit a criminal offence which could lead to your being deported from the UK. The ILR status can also be withdrawn if you commit offences deemed to be a significant risk to national security.

After securing ILR status, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship after twelve months. 3CS can also assist with nationality applications should you wish to get advice in this area.

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