What is an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa

Put simply, an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa is the final UK visa that every non-British person in the UK is working towards securing to ensure they never have to apply for another UK visa again. Depending on the category of visa you are living in the UK on, you should be able to secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa after either 5 or 10 years’ continuous residence in the UK. For more information about how you can qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain, please read the appropriate section below. Once you have finally secured your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, we are pleased to confirm that there are no visa restrictions, no expiry date on the visa (hence the word “indefinite” in the name), and you can easily obtain a mortgage if you wish to buy a house in the UK.

We are also pleased to confirm that there are no employment restrictions on Indefinite Leave to Remain so you can work for anyone and even start your own business. An ILR visa also allows you to come and go from the UK for the rest of your life without ever having to apply for another UK visa (as long as you do not leave the UK for more than 2 years in one go once you have secured ILR, or you will lose it!). Should you wish to become a British Citizen, you will need to obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa before being allowed to apply for British Citizenship and ILR is the last visa required before you can become a British citizen.

How can you qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa?

You need to have been living in the UK, on valid UK visas, for at least 5 years before you can qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa. You should note that not all UK visas qualify for ILR after 5 years in the UK, and you will find a list of eligible visas under the 5-year ILR section further down this page. Should you be on a visa that does not qualify under the 5-year route to ILR, you will need to be in the UK for at least 10 years continuously and legally before you can qualify for ILR under the 10-year Long Residence rules (also explained below). Apart from continuous residence in the UK on valid visas for at least 5 years, you will also have to make sure that you comply with and satisfy all the other ILR rules and requirements.

For the specific requirements for either the 5-year route to ILR or 10 years Long Residence, please see the 5 years ILR and 10 year ILR sections below but as a general overview, you are also required to:

Pass an exam called the Life in the UK test. This simple test is to ensure that you have an understanding of life in the UK and British history, politics and culture.

Not have spent too much time outside the UK – the rules state you should not have left the UK for more than 180 days per year under the 5-year route to ILR or no more than 539 days in total or more than 180 days in one single trip if applying for ILR under the 10-year route.

You must not have any criminal convictions or County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) – if you have spent any time in Prison for committing a crime in the UK, then the chances are that you will not secure ILR. Should you have received a fine or judgement in court (including Traffic Offences) within 24 months (2 years) of applying for your ILR visa, you will most probably be refused under the Good Character Requirement. Should you have any issues of this nature, we sincerely recommend that you call us on 0203 178 2048 to enable one of our visa experts to advise you properly about the best way to qualify for ILR due to the complexity of the current rules.

Satisfy the English language requirement – you must now prove that your English speaking and listening ability is at or above level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). Please note that some applicants are exempt from this requirement so feel free to speak with us if you have any queries?

Prove that you have the capacity to support yourself and any dependents without the need for recourse to Public funds – in plain English, you need to demonstrate that you have sufficient savings/earnings to support yourself.

Satisfy specific requirements that are unique to each visa category you are applying from – you should note that each UK visa that leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain has specific requirements that need to be satisfied for you to qualify for ILR. As you can appreciate, there is not enough space on this page to explain each visa type’s specific requirements so we would recommend that you speak with us, and we can check your eligibility over the phone for free.

The eligibility requirements for the 5-year route to secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

So how can you obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa after only 5 years continuous and lawful residence in the UK? To be eligible, you must be on one of the following visas (or a combination of the following visas if permitted) and resident in the UK for at least 4 years and 11 months before you can apply for ILR:

• UK Ancestry
• Retired Person
• Tier 1 (General)
• Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
• Tier 1 (Investor)
• Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
• The Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP)
• Tier 2 (General) visa
• Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
• Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
• Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)
– only if your first Tier 2 (ICT) visa was granted/issued before 6th April 2010
• Tier 5 (International Agreement)
• Turkish Business Person
– Please note that you only have to be living in the UK for 4 years on this visa to qualify for ILR and can include any time you have spent on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Business or Investor visa
• Investor, Innovator, Businessperson or Self-Employed Lawyer visa
• Work Permit
• Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
• Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcaster
• Representative of an Overseas Business

• Domestic Worker – please note that you can only apply for ILR under the 5-year route if your Domestic Worker visa was issued before 6th April 2012
• UK Spouse/Civil Partner/Unmarried Partner/Same Sex visa granted after 9th July 2012 – please note that if you are currently on one of these visas, and it was granted on or before the 9th July 2012, you only have to be on your visa for 2 years before you can qualify for ILR (should you have had to extend your visa for any reason).

You will also have to satisfy the following rules to be eligible under the 5-year route:

• At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 4 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 5 year period of continuous residence is reached). The 5 year period starts according to the rules on the date that your first qualifying visa was issued (either in the UK or overseas). If your first qualifying visa was issued outside the UK, any time spent outside the UK between when your Entry Clearance visa was issued overseas and when you first arrived in the UK is now considered as “time outside the UK” when applying for ILR. Should you have switched onto one of the visas stated above in the UK at least 5 years ago (rather than arrive on a qualifying visa), the start date would be the date of issue in the UK of your first qualifying visa 5 years ago.

• You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK visa(s) for the last 5 years.

• You must not have left the UK for more than 180 days per year. Please note that the year period the Home Office consider is NOT the calendar year as that would be far too simple. The date you submit your ILR application sets the one year periods the Home Office will consider. For example, if you submit your ILR application on 7th December 2016, you must not have left the UK for more than 180 days during each of the year periods between 8th December to 7th December in the last five years.

• You must never have applied for your visa extension(s) more than 28 days after the expiry date of one of your visas during the qualifying period.

• You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

• You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a judgement has been made by a court) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that speak with one of our ILR visa experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.

• Should you have a husband, wife or partner living with you on a dependant visa, they may also be able to apply at the same time as you for ILR. They are entitled to apply if they have been living with you in the UK for at least the last 2 years if their first dependant visa was granted on or before 9th July 2012 or for the last 5 years in the UK if their first dependant visa was granted on or after 9th July 2012. They will also need to pass the Life in the UK test, satisfy the English Language requirement and a few other requirements.

Should you wish to check whether you or your dependants qualify for ILR, why not call us now on 0203 178 2048 or submit a Callback request and one of our UK visa expert will call you instead?

The eligibility criteria for the 10-year long residence route to securing an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

Should you have been living in the UK continuously for 10 years on any valid UK visas*, you are entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Long Residence rules. As you can appreciate, there are some other rules which you must satisfy to qualify. The rules you need to satisfy are as follows:

At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 9 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 10 year period is reached). The 10 year period starts according to the rules on the date that you first arrived in the UK or when you were first given granted permission to stay in the UK by the UK government. Please note that you can claim for ANY continuous 10 year period when applying for ILR on the basis of long residence, and it does not have to be the last 10 years specifically.

You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of the different categories of UK visa you have held during the 10 year residency period in the UK.

You must not have left the UK for more than 539 days (18 months approx.) in total in the last 10 years and no more than 180 days (6 months) in one continuous single trip.

You must never have applied for a visa extension more than 28 days after one of your visas has expired during the last 10 years has expired.

You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences) in the last 2 years before applying. Please note that our pioneering ILR DIY Guide will explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated. Alternatively, if you have any CCJ’s, Fixed Penalty Notices, criminal convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands from the Police, we recommend that you discuss your issues via our Call Service with one of our UK visa experts. Using our groundbreaking Call Service will enable us to advise you properly on what you need to do to qualify considering the issues you face.

Please note that any time spent in a prison, a young offender’s institution or secure hospital cannot be counted towards your 10 years Long Residence. Furthermore, any time you have lived in the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands cannot also be counted towards your 10 year period as they are not part of the UK.

You should also be advised that no dependents can apply with you for 10 years Long Residence unless they also have been in the UK for 10 years continuously and they satisfy all the rules in which case they will need to make a separate application. Should you have a wife, husband or partner who is your dependent and they have been in the UK for less than 10 years; they will need to switch onto a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner visa once your ILR has been approved. They could then either apply for ILR after 5 years on these visas or make their own 10 year Long Residence application once they have been here for 10 years (whichever comes first of course).

If you have any doubts or queries concerning the rules stated above or whether you qualify, we sincerely recommend that you do not take any chances and speak to one of our UK ILR visa experts on 0203 178 2048. The rules and ways of getting discretion from the Home Office for issues you may face are exceptionally complicated but rest assured that we over 10 years of experience in securing discretion for long residence if needed.

*Please note that any time spent on all UK visas including Tourist, Business Visit, Working Holiday Maker, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, Tier 1 (Post Study Work) & (International Graduate Scheme) visas count towards your 10 years Long Residence. The only exception to this relates to any EEA visas which you may have been on as they fall under EU law and are not technically UK visas. However, the Home Office can offer you discretion if they wish regarding any time spent on an EEA visa during the last 10 years but this cannot be guaranteed.

The Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner Visa route to an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

If you currently hold one of the following UK partner sponsored visas and are looking to try and secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, you should note that there are differing rules depending on when you first obtained your partner visa:

UK Spouse visa (and note that all of these visa categories are also known as Settlement visas)
UK Civil Partner visa
UK Unmarried Partner visa
UK Same-sex Partner visa

Depending on when your first partner visa (i.e. one of the four visa categories listed above) was issued, you will either have to spend at least 2 years or 5 years living with your partner continuously in the UK before being eligible to apply for ILR (i.e. to satisfy the UK residency qualifying period): If your first partner visa was issued on or before 9th July 2012, your ILR qualifying period would be 2 years. If your first partner visa was issued on or after 9th July 2012, your ILR qualifying period would be 5 years.

Once you have been living continuously in the UK for the required amount of time to satisfy the residency period depending on when your first partner visa was issued, you will also need to satisfy the following requirements to qualify for ILR:

If your first Spouse, Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner or Same-sex Partner visa was issued on or BEFORE 9th July 2012, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 1 year and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 2-year period of continuous residence is reached). If your first Spouse, Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner or Same-sex Partner visa was issued on or AFTER 9th July 2012, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 4 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 2-year period of continuous residence is reached). The 2-year or 5-year period starts according to the rules on the date that your first qualifying visa was issued (either in the UK or overseas). If your first qualifying visa was issued outside the UK, any time spent outside the UK between when your Entry Clearance visa was issued overseas and when you first arrived in the UK is now considered as “time outside the UK” when applying for ILR. Should you have switched onto one of the visas stated above in the UK, the start date would be the date of issue in the UK of your first qualifying partner visa.

• You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK visa(s) for the last 2 or 5 years.

• Please note that unlike most other UK visa categories, there is not technically a limit on the amount of time you can spend outside the UK when UK partner visa holders apply for an ILR visa. Having said this, if you have spent a lot of time outside the UK (i.e. more than 6 months per year), we would recommend that you discuss this matter with one of our UK visa experts to ensure you will not face any issues when applying for your ILR visa. You can call us now on 0203 178 2048.

• You must never have applied for any of your UK partner visa extension(s) more than 28 days after the expiry date of one of your visas during the residency qualifying period (i.e. 2 or 5-year qualifying period).

• You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the level B1 English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

• You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a judgement has been made by a court) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that you speak with one of our ILR visa experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.

• You will also be required to prove that you have been living at the same address as your visa sponsor (i.e. your partner that is either British or holding an ILR visa) for either the last 2 years or 5 years in the UK (depending on your required residency period as explained above). Should you choose to become our client, rest assured that we would provide you with a definitive list of documents you should submit to guarantee your ILR visa is approved. This list is based on over 10 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR visa approvals.

Should you wish to check whether you or your dependants qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa, why not call us now on 0203 178 2048 or submit a Call-back request and one of our UK visa expert will call you instead?

The Life in the UK test and proving that you satisfy the English language requirement

Any applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) between the ages of 18 and 65 years old are now required to take an exam called the Life in the UK test and satisfy an English language requirement. The Life in the UK test is not a complicated test, but we sincerely recommend that you learn from the official study guide otherwise, it will be tough to pass it. Most British nationals that we know that have attempted the Life in the UK test have failed because they have not read the study guide! The test itself is has been introduced to see how much you know about British history, culture and politics

So how can you satisfy the English language requirement? The English language requirement can be met through one of the following ways:

• You are a national of a majority English-speaking country;
• You have obtained a Bachelor’s, Masters or PhD degree that was taught in English;
• You take and pass a Home Office approved English test. The focus is on your ability to speak and listen to English and to qualify you must score at least level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).

For more information about how you or any dependants applying with you can satisfy the English language or Life in the UK test requirements, call one of our UK visa experts on 0203 178 2048 (or request a Call-back above).

How to sign up for First Migrations expert services or benefit from our free eligibility assessment over the phone

There are three easy ways you can contact us to take advantage of our free ILR eligibility assessment and speak with an ILR visa expert with over 10 years’ practical experience. Rest assured that you will only ever speak directly with a UK visa expert here at First Migration should you contact us through one of the following means:

• You can call us on 0203 178 2048 – and you will be able to speak directly to an ILR visa expert with 10 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR visa approvals. We will check your eligibility for free and explain about our services and the process of securing your ILR visa. Should you want to visit us before signing up for services, we will offer you a free 30-minute in-person consultation with one of our ILR visa experts at our central London office. We know that once you have met with us; you will place your faith in us to ensure the most important UK visa application you will ever make is approved the first time.

• You can use the live chat feature if you are viewing our site via a desktop computer or tablet device – you can find the live chat feature at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. This is an excellent way to have an instant chat with a UK visa expert that has secured thousands of ILR visa applications to date. Should all of our UK visa experts be away from the office when you try to use this service, just submit a callback request or message, and we will call you as we can.

• You can submit a Call-back request, and we will call you back as soon as possible. You can do this at the top of the screen if you are viewing our site via a desktop computer or a tablet device. Should you be viewing our site via a mobile device, you can submit a Call-back request via the Contact page in the top right-hand menu icon.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience and working with you to ensure that your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa is approved the first time, without exception.

Once you have your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, how can you secure British Citizenship

There are two ways to obtain British Citizenship once you secure your ILR visa depending on whether you are married to a British national or not? If you are not married to a British national (like most applicants), you will have to wait on your ILR visa for a minimum of 12 full months before you can apply for naturalisation (i.e. the process of securing British citizenship). You must also have been in the UK for at least 5 years continuously at the time you apply for citizenship. Furthermore, you must not have left the UK for more than 450 days in total in the last 5 years and no more than 90 days in total in the previous 12 months before applying for citizenship. Please note that we have great experience in working around any time spent outside the UK issues so if you have any concerns, call us now on 0203 178 2048.

Should you be married to a British national, you do not have to be on ILR for a minimum of 12 months and can immediately apply for naturalisation as soon as your ILR visa is issued. You are also only required to be in the UK continuously for at least the last 3 years and not have left the UK for more than 270 days in the total in the last 3 years and no more than 90 days in total in the previous 12 months.You should also be aware that you cannot apply for British Citizenship for 3 years from the date of any criminal convictions, police cautions or County Court Judgements (CCJ’s – for financial disputes taken to court) issued against you. This also involves traffic offences where you have received a fine or sentence in court.

For more detailed information about British Citizenship, how to qualify for naturalisation or the application process, we recommend that you check out our British Citizenship information page.

Should you want to double check the requirements for securing British citizenship or have any eligibility concerns, why not call us or submit a Call-back request so you can discuss this matter with one of our UK visa experts?

You can benefit from our 10 years of experience in securing thousands of ILR visa approvals

Should you choose to place your faith in First Migration like the thousands of clients that have come before you, you can expect to benefit from the following:

• A service truly second-to-none – and don’t just take our word for it when you can read about the experiences our clients have had with our service since 2013 at an independent third party review site called Trustpilot.co.uk.

• We provide you with a detailed document list to ensure you provide all the documents required to guarantee your ILR visa approval. Our comprehensive ILR document has evolved with every rule or policy change affecting ILR applications over the past 10 years. Should the Home Office start requesting additional documents today, you can rest assured that our document list will be updated within 5 minutes. Due to us processing ILR visa approvals on a daily basis, we can ensure our clients are ALWAYS one step ahead of the Home Office.

• You can benefit from our practical experience in securing ILR visa approvals daily since 2007 – to date we have secured over 5,000 ILR visa approvals for our clients and counting. This means that we have literally seen every issues and problem a client could face and a solution to that problem to ensure they secure their ILR visa. This is what you can most benefit from by choosing our services and is one of the main reasons we are so successful at obtaining ILR visas.

• We will manage the entire application process for you and fully prepare your application for you to ensure the process is as hassle free as possible. We will also represent your application through our legal cover letter to make sure that the Home Office are aware you are being represented by First Migration. After securing nothing but ILR visa approvals over the past ten years, we know that once the Home Office caseworker realises that you are our client, your chances of securing your ILR visa will jump exponentially.

How can you qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa?

You need to have been living in the UK, on valid UK visas, for at least 5 years before you can qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa. You should note that not all UK visas qualify for ILR after 5 years in the UK, and you will find a list of eligible visas under the 5-year ILR section further down this page. Should you be on a visa that does not qualify under the 5-year route to ILR, you will need to be in the UK for at least 10 years continuously and legally before you can qualify for ILR under the 10-year Long Residence rules (also explained below). Apart from continuous residence in the UK on valid visas for at least 5 years, you will also have to make sure that you comply with and satisfy all the other ILR rules and requirements.

For the specific requirements for either the 5-year route to ILR or 10 years Long Residence, please see the 5 years ILR and 10 year ILR sections below but as a general overview, you are also required to:

Pass an exam called the Life in the UK test. This simple test is to ensure that you have an understanding of life in the UK and British history, politics and culture.

Not have spent too much time outside the UK – the rules state you should not have left the UK for more than 180 days per year under the 5-year route to ILR or no more than 539 days in total or more than 180 days in one single trip if applying for ILR under the 10-year route.

You must not have any criminal convictions or County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) – if you have spent any time in Prison for committing a crime in the UK, then the chances are that you will not secure ILR. Should you have received a fine or judgement in court (including Traffic Offences) within 24 months (2 years) of applying for your ILR visa, you will most probably be refused under the Good Character Requirement. Should you have any issues of this nature, we sincerely recommend that you call us on 0203 178 2048 to enable one of our visa experts to advise you properly about the best way to qualify for ILR due to the complexity of the current rules.

Satisfy the English language requirement – you must now prove that your English speaking and listening ability is at or above level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). Please note that some applicants are exempt from this requirement so feel free to speak with us if you have any queries?

Prove that you have the capacity to support yourself and any dependents without the need for recourse to Public funds – in plain English, you need to demonstrate that you have sufficient savings/earnings to support yourself.

Satisfy specific requirements that are unique to each visa category you are applying from – you should note that each UK visa that leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain has specific requirements that need to be satisfied for you to qualify for ILR. As you can appreciate, there is not enough space on this page to explain each visa type’s specific requirements so we would recommend that you speak with us, and we can check your eligibility over the phone for free.

The eligibility requirements for the 5-year route to secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

So how can you obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa after only 5 years continuous and lawful residence in the UK? To be eligible, you must be on one of the following visas (or a combination of the following visas if permitted) and resident in the UK for at least 4 years and 11 months before you can apply for ILR:

• UK Ancestry
• Retired Person
• Tier 1 (General)
• Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
• Tier 1 (Investor)
• Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
• The Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP)
• Tier 2 (General) visa
• Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
• Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
• Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)
– only if your first Tier 2 (ICT) visa was granted/issued before 6th April 2010
• Tier 5 (International Agreement)
• Turkish Business Person
– Please note that you only have to be living in the UK for 4 years on this visa to qualify for ILR and can include any time you have spent on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Business or Investor visa
• Investor, Innovator, Businessperson or Self-Employed Lawyer visa
• Work Permit
• Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
• Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcaster
• Representative of an Overseas Business

• Domestic Worker – please note that you can only apply for ILR under the 5-year route if your Domestic Worker visa was issued before 6th April 2012
• UK Spouse/Civil Partner/Unmarried Partner/Same Sex visa granted after 9th July 2012 – please note that if you are currently on one of these visas, and it was granted on or before the 9th July 2012, you only have to be on your visa for 2 years before you can qualify for ILR (should you have had to extend your visa for any reason).

You will also have to satisfy the following rules to be eligible under the 5-year route:

• At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 4 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 5 year period of continuous residence is reached). The 5 year period starts according to the rules on the date that your first qualifying visa was issued (either in the UK or overseas). If your first qualifying visa was issued outside the UK, any time spent outside the UK between when your Entry Clearance visa was issued overseas and when you first arrived in the UK is now considered as “time outside the UK” when applying for ILR. Should you have switched onto one of the visas stated above in the UK at least 5 years ago (rather than arrive on a qualifying visa), the start date would be the date of issue in the UK of your first qualifying visa 5 years ago.

• You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK visa(s) for the last 5 years.

• You must not have left the UK for more than 180 days per year. Please note that the year period the Home Office consider is NOT the calendar year as that would be far too simple. The date you submit your ILR application sets the one year periods the Home Office will consider. For example, if you submit your ILR application on 7th December 2016, you must not have left the UK for more than 180 days during each of the year periods between 8th December to 7th December in the last five years.

• You must never have applied for your visa extension(s) more than 28 days after the expiry date of one of your visas during the qualifying period.

• You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

• You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a judgement has been made by a court) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that speak with one of our ILR visa experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.

• Should you have a husband, wife or partner living with you on a dependant visa, they may also be able to apply at the same time as you for ILR. They are entitled to apply if they have been living with you in the UK for at least the last 2 years if their first dependant visa was granted on or before 9th July 2012 or for the last 5 years in the UK if their first dependant visa was granted on or after 9th July 2012. They will also need to pass the Life in the UK test, satisfy the English Language requirement and a few other requirements.

Should you wish to check whether you or your dependants qualify for ILR, why not call us now on 0203 178 2048 or submit a Callback request and one of our UK visa expert will call you instead?

The eligibility criteria for the 10-year long residence route to securing an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

Should you have been living in the UK continuously for 10 years on any valid UK visas*, you are entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Long Residence rules. As you can appreciate, there are some other rules which you must satisfy to qualify. The rules you need to satisfy are as follows:

At the time of application, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 9 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 10 year period is reached). The 10 year period starts according to the rules on the date that you first arrived in the UK or when you were first given granted permission to stay in the UK by the UK government. Please note that you can claim for ANY continuous 10 year period when applying for ILR on the basis of long residence, and it does not have to be the last 10 years specifically.

You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of the different categories of UK visa you have held during the 10 year residency period in the UK.

You must not have left the UK for more than 539 days (18 months approx.) in total in the last 10 years and no more than 180 days (6 months) in one continuous single trip.

You must never have applied for a visa extension more than 28 days after one of your visas has expired during the last 10 years has expired.

You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences) in the last 2 years before applying. Please note that our pioneering ILR DIY Guide will explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated. Alternatively, if you have any CCJ’s, Fixed Penalty Notices, criminal convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands from the Police, we recommend that you discuss your issues via our Call Service with one of our UK visa experts. Using our groundbreaking Call Service will enable us to advise you properly on what you need to do to qualify considering the issues you face.

Please note that any time spent in a prison, a young offender’s institution or secure hospital cannot be counted towards your 10 years Long Residence. Furthermore, any time you have lived in the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands cannot also be counted towards your 10 year period as they are not part of the UK.

You should also be advised that no dependents can apply with you for 10 years Long Residence unless they also have been in the UK for 10 years continuously and they satisfy all the rules in which case they will need to make a separate application. Should you have a wife, husband or partner who is your dependent and they have been in the UK for less than 10 years; they will need to switch onto a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner visa once your ILR has been approved. They could then either apply for ILR after 5 years on these visas or make their own 10 year Long Residence application once they have been here for 10 years (whichever comes first of course).

If you have any doubts or queries concerning the rules stated above or whether you qualify, we sincerely recommend that you do not take any chances and speak to one of our UK ILR visa experts on 0203 178 2048. The rules and ways of getting discretion from the Home Office for issues you may face are exceptionally complicated but rest assured that we over 10 years of experience in securing discretion for long residence if needed.

*Please note that any time spent on all UK visas including Tourist, Business Visit, Working Holiday Maker, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, Tier 1 (Post Study Work) & (International Graduate Scheme) visas count towards your 10 years Long Residence. The only exception to this relates to any EEA visas which you may have been on as they fall under EU law and are not technically UK visas. However, the Home Office can offer you discretion if they wish regarding any time spent on an EEA visa during the last 10 years but this cannot be guaranteed.

The Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Same-sex Partner Visa route to an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa

If you currently hold one of the following UK partner sponsored visas and are looking to try and secure an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, you should note that there are differing rules depending on when you first obtained your partner visa:

UK Spouse visa (and note that all of these visa categories are also known as Settlement visas)
UK Civil Partner visa
UK Unmarried Partner visa
UK Same-sex Partner visa

Depending on when your first partner visa (i.e. one of the four visa categories listed above) was issued, you will either have to spend at least 2 years or 5 years living with your partner continuously in the UK before being eligible to apply for ILR (i.e. to satisfy the UK residency qualifying period): If your first partner visa was issued on or before 9th July 2012, your ILR qualifying period would be 2 years. If your first partner visa was issued on or after 9th July 2012, your ILR qualifying period would be 5 years.

Once you have been living continuously in the UK for the required amount of time to satisfy the residency period depending on when your first partner visa was issued, you will also need to satisfy the following requirements to qualify for ILR:

If your first Spouse, Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner or Same-sex Partner visa was issued on or BEFORE 9th July 2012, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 1 year and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 2-year period of continuous residence is reached). If your first Spouse, Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner or Same-sex Partner visa was issued on or AFTER 9th July 2012, you must have been living in the UK continuously for at least 4 years and 11 months (as you can apply 28 days before the 2-year period of continuous residence is reached). The 2-year or 5-year period starts according to the rules on the date that your first qualifying visa was issued (either in the UK or overseas). If your first qualifying visa was issued outside the UK, any time spent outside the UK between when your Entry Clearance visa was issued overseas and when you first arrived in the UK is now considered as “time outside the UK” when applying for ILR. Should you have switched onto one of the visas stated above in the UK, the start date would be the date of issue in the UK of your first qualifying partner visa.

• You must not have been in breach of any of the terms of your UK visa(s) for the last 2 or 5 years.

• Please note that unlike most other UK visa categories, there is not technically a limit on the amount of time you can spend outside the UK when UK partner visa holders apply for an ILR visa. Having said this, if you have spent a lot of time outside the UK (i.e. more than 6 months per year), we would recommend that you discuss this matter with one of our UK visa experts to ensure you will not face any issues when applying for your ILR visa. You can call us now on 0203 178 2048.

• You must never have applied for any of your UK partner visa extension(s) more than 28 days after the expiry date of one of your visas during the residency qualifying period (i.e. 2 or 5-year qualifying period).

• You must have passed the Life in the UK test and be able to satisfy the level B1 English Language requirement. For more information, please read the Life in the UK test and English Language requirement section below.

• You must not have received any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), Police Cautions or Criminal Convictions (including traffic offences where a judgement has been made by a court) in the last 2 years before applying. We would recommend that you speak with one of our ILR visa experts if you have any concerns about this requirement. This will allow them to explain in detail about what you can or cannot get away with concerning this point as the rules are extensive and complicated.

• You will also be required to prove that you have been living at the same address as your visa sponsor (i.e. your partner that is either British or holding an ILR visa) for either the last 2 years or 5 years in the UK (depending on your required residency period as explained above). Should you choose to become our client, rest assured that we would provide you with a definitive list of documents you should submit to guarantee your ILR visa is approved. This list is based on over 10 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR visa approvals.

Should you wish to check whether you or your dependants qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa, why not call us now on 0203 178 2048 or submit a Call-back request and one of our UK visa expert will call you instead?

The Life in the UK test and proving that you satisfy the English language requirement

Any applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) between the ages of 18 and 65 years old are now required to take an exam called the Life in the UK test and satisfy an English language requirement. The Life in the UK test is not a complicated test, but we sincerely recommend that you learn from the official study guide otherwise, it will be tough to pass it. Most British nationals that we know that have attempted the Life in the UK test have failed because they have not read the study guide! The test itself is has been introduced to see how much you know about British history, culture and politics

So how can you satisfy the English language requirement? The English language requirement can be met through one of the following ways:

• You are a national of a majority English-speaking country;
• You have obtained a Bachelor’s, Masters or PhD degree that was taught in English;
• You take and pass a Home Office approved English test. The focus is on your ability to speak and listen to English and to qualify you must score at least level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).

For more information about how you or any dependants applying with you can satisfy the English language or Life in the UK test requirements, call one of our UK visa experts on 0203 178 2048 (or request a Call-back above).

How to sign up for First Migrations expert services or benefit from our free eligibility assessment over the phone

There are three easy ways you can contact us to take advantage of our free ILR eligibility assessment and speak with an ILR visa expert with over 10 years’ practical experience. Rest assured that you will only ever speak directly with a UK visa expert here at First Migration should you contact us through one of the following means:

• You can call us on 0203 178 2048 – and you will be able to speak directly to an ILR visa expert with 10 years’ experience in securing nothing but ILR visa approvals. We will check your eligibility for free and explain about our services and the process of securing your ILR visa. Should you want to visit us before signing up for services, we will offer you a free 30-minute in-person consultation with one of our ILR visa experts at our central London office. We know that once you have met with us; you will place your faith in us to ensure the most important UK visa application you will ever make is approved the first time.

• You can use the live chat feature if you are viewing our site via a desktop computer or tablet device – you can find the live chat feature at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. This is an excellent way to have an instant chat with a UK visa expert that has secured thousands of ILR visa applications to date. Should all of our UK visa experts be away from the office when you try to use this service, just submit a callback request or message, and we will call you as we can.

• You can submit a Call-back request, and we will call you back as soon as possible. You can do this at the top of the screen if you are viewing our site via a desktop computer or a tablet device. Should you be viewing our site via a mobile device, you can submit a Call-back request via the Contact page in the top right-hand menu icon.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience and working with you to ensure that your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa is approved the first time, without exception.

Once you have your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa, how can you secure British Citizenship

There are two ways to obtain British Citizenship once you secure your ILR visa depending on whether you are married to a British national or not? If you are not married to a British national (like most applicants), you will have to wait on your ILR visa for a minimum of 12 full months before you can apply for naturalisation (i.e. the process of securing British citizenship). You must also have been in the UK for at least 5 years continuously at the time you apply for citizenship. Furthermore, you must not have left the UK for more than 450 days in total in the last 5 years and no more than 90 days in total in the previous 12 months before applying for citizenship. Please note that we have great experience in working around any time spent outside the UK issues so if you have any concerns, call us now on 0203 178 2048.

Should you be married to a British national, you do not have to be on ILR for a minimum of 12 months and can immediately apply for naturalisation as soon as your ILR visa is issued. You are also only required to be in the UK continuously for at least the last 3 years and not have left the UK for more than 270 days in the total in the last 3 years and no more than 90 days in total in the previous 12 months.You should also be aware that you cannot apply for British Citizenship for 3 years from the date of any criminal convictions, police cautions or County Court Judgements (CCJ’s – for financial disputes taken to court) issued against you. This also involves traffic offences where you have received a fine or sentence in court.

For more detailed information about British Citizenship, how to qualify for naturalisation or the application process, we recommend that you check out our British Citizenship information page.

Should you want to double check the requirements for securing British citizenship or have any eligibility concerns, why not call us or submit a Call-back request so you can discuss this matter with one of our UK visa experts?

You can benefit from our 10 years of experience in securing thousands of ILR visa approvals

Should you choose to place your faith in First Migration like the thousands of clients that have come before you, you can expect to benefit from the following:

• A service truly second-to-none – and don’t just take our word for it when you can read about the experiences our clients have had with our service since 2013 at an independent third party review site called Trustpilot.co.uk.

• We provide you with a detailed document list to ensure you provide all the documents required to guarantee your ILR visa approval. Our comprehensive ILR document has evolved with every rule or policy change affecting ILR applications over the past 10 years. Should the Home Office start requesting additional documents today, you can rest assured that our document list will be updated within 5 minutes. Due to us processing ILR visa approvals on a daily basis, we can ensure our clients are ALWAYS one step ahead of the Home Office.

• You can benefit from our practical experience in securing ILR visa approvals daily since 2007 – to date we have secured over 5,000 ILR visa approvals for our clients and counting. This means that we have literally seen every issues and problem a client could face and a solution to that problem to ensure they secure their ILR visa. This is what you can most benefit from by choosing our services and is one of the main reasons we are so successful at obtaining ILR visas.

• We will manage the entire application process for you and fully prepare your application for you to ensure the process is as hassle free as possible. We will also represent your application through our legal cover letter to make sure that the Home Office are aware you are being represented by First Migration. After securing nothing but ILR visa approvals over the past ten years, we know that once the Home Office caseworker realises that you are our client, your chances of securing your ILR visa will jump exponentially.

Why not take 5 minutes out of your day to speak with one of our ILR visa experts for free about your eligibility and we can provide you with a competitive quote for guaranteeing to secure your future in the UK. Call us now on 0203 178 2048 or request a Call-back and we will call you instead.