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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Blacks Solicitors’ expert Immigration team regularly advise clients in relation to their Application/s for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Aside from British Citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the strongest form of immigration status under our domestic legislation, and for many obtaining ILR marks a welcome end to the stress-inducing need to periodically renew a Visa.

There are various paths to ILR and some of the most common are outlined below.

Note that all ILR Applicants will have to have passed the Life in the UK Test and have satisfied the English language requirement.

ILR – Tier 2

Those who have spent a ‘continuous period’ of five years lawfully in the UK, the most recent period of which has been spent under the Tier 2 category, could be eligible for ILR.

The rest of the five year period must have been made up of certain specified categories of leave, including Tier 2.

Applicants will need to still be required by their Tier 2 employer for the foreseeable future.

Applicants should take careful note of the Home Office’s definition of a ‘continuous period’, which includes a requirement not to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12 month period.

ILR – Long Residence

Individuals who have been resident lawfully in the UK, and continuously, for at least 10 years might be eligible for ILR on the basis of ‘long residence’.

You will need to satisfy the Home Office’s definition of ‘continuous residence’ as it applies to long residence (which is not quite the same as the requirement if applying on the basis of Tier 2 Leave), and you must show you have not been absent from the UK for more than six months at any one time.

In addition, in order for residence to be continuous you must not have spent more than 18 months abroad over the 10 year period relied upon.

ILR – Based on Family

Those who obtained Leave on the basis of having a family member resident in the UK, usually under a provision of the Rules called Appendix FM, will eventually qualify for ILR.  Those granted Leave under Appendix FM will either be eligible to qualify for ILR after five years (the ‘five year route’) or after 10 years (the ‘10 year route’).

As with earlier extension applications, Applicants will need to satisfy requirements around ‘relationship’, ‘suitability’, and finance.

ILR – Tier 1 Investor

Under the Tier 1 Investor category, and by making an investment of at least £2m, individuals can be eligible for ILR after spending a ‘continuous period’ of five years’ Leave in the Investor category. However, by making a larger investment of £5m or £10m, ILR can be applied for after three or two years respectively.

Given that many investors tend to travel frequently and often have multiple bases, Applicants must be careful to meet the Home Office’s definition of a ‘continuous period’, which includes a requirement not to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12 month period.

ILR – Tier 1 Entrepreneur

The standard route to ILR is to spend a ‘continuous period’ of five years’ Leave in the Entrepreneur category. However, if you have managed to turnover at least £5m, or if your business has created 10 or more jobs, then you could be eligible to apply for ILR after just three years.


For more information about Indefinite Leave to Remain, or to find out how we can help you, please email or call Blacks’ Immigration team today on 0113 322 2842.

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  • I was recently referred to Louis MacWilliam of Blacks Solicitors with relation to a visa application to live/work in the UK. Louis was extremely thorough and always kept in touch throughout the entire process. I could not recommend Louis or the team at Blacks more highly.

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  • I have recently used the legal services of Louis MacWilliam at Blacks. He helped me sort my tier 2 visa application and helped me out even out of hours. I would recommend him to anyone struggling with immigration.

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