Indefinite Leave to Remain is also referred to as Permanent Residence. If you are granted indefinite leave to remain, you have the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions.

It is essentially the final stepping stone before you can apply for British citizenship.

You have to apply through an application to the Home Office in order to be granted indefinite leave to remain. It’s best to seek legal advice as early on as possible – one simple mistake in your application could set you back months.

Time Restrictions

You may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after living in the UK for five years on one visa. If you’ve been in the UK on different, valid visas for a period of ten years or more, you will also be eligible to apply.

In order for you to be granted indefinite leave to remain you can’t have spent more that 900 days outside of the UK in the past five years. In the past 12 months you also cannot have spent more than 180 days outside of the UK.

One of the benefits of holding indefinite leave to remain is that you can leave and re-enter the UK multiple times. Saying that, it is good to bear in mind that your indefinite leave to remain can be taken away from you. This will only happen if you stay away from the UK for two years or longer whilst you hold permanent residency.

So – you can leave the UK for holidays or to visit family abroad, but you can’t permanently leave for years at a time and still expect to keep hold of your permanent residence status.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Spouse Visa UK Holder

You may be able to get Indefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse visa holder.You can apply for permanent residency on the basis of your own immigration status – i.e. if you have lived in the UK on a different visa for five or ten years yourself. However, it’s also possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you’re a spouse, partner or family member of certain UK residents.

If your partner is a British citizen, an EEA or Swiss national, or holds their own indefinite leave to remain, you may be able to apply for you on indefinite leave to remain using this as the grounds for your application.

In order for you to be able to do so, you have to have been living in the UK for five years under a partner of a settled person visa. This has increased to ten years if you made your settled person visa application on or after 9th July 2012.

You’ll have to be able to prove that your relationship is genuine, but you don’t have to be married. You could be in a civil partnership or been together for longer than two years. As long as you have ample proof, the Home Office will be satisfied that your relationship is real.

If you are between 18 and 64 years old, you’ll also have to take an English language test and the Life in the UK test in order to be granted indefinite leave to remain.

Applying on Behalf of your Children

If you have children, you will likely want them to be granted indefinite leave to remain at the same time as you, if possible.

If your child is 18 or under, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain on their behalf so long as your partner is their other parent. If they aren’t, you can apply on their behalf if one of the following is true:

  • You are the only surviving parent
  • You have sole responsibility of them
  • There are other, compelling reasons why they should be granted ILR

Also, your child must have or have had a valid UK visa, and be living with you and your partner. You will have to prove that you can support and accommodate them without needing to access public funds. Your child must also not be married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life away from you.

UK Visa Application Process

The UK visa application process is complex. You should never attempt to put together and submit your indefinite leave to remain application yourself.

If you make a simple mistake and your application gets rejected,you could have to wait months to appeal the Home Office’s decision. So, it’s always best to seek advice and help from immigration solicitors when it comes to UK visa applications.


If you require assistance with your indefinite leave to remain application, immigration solicitors in Manchester, AWH Solicitors will advise and guide you through the process, making it as smooth and successful as possible.

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