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What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a highly sought-after immigration status in the UK, offering freedom from immigration restrictions to non-UK citizens. ILR status means you’ve been granted permission to live and work in the UK without any limit on the duration of your stay. This status is a vital stepping-stone towards achieving British citizenship, as you must hold an ILR Visa when you apply for naturalisation.

ILR holders enjoy many benefits like British citizens, including access to the NHS and the freedom to take up employment or establish a business. Importantly, ILR is not a visa but a form of settlement, signifying a long-term commitment to living in the UK permanently. However, it’s crucial to understand that while ILR gives the holder substantial rights, it’s not the same as British citizenship. ILR status can be lost if you spend more than two years outside the UK or if the Home Office can show you are not living here permanently.

Attaining ILR need not be complex during the 5-year or 10-year qualifying period. For instance, if you’re on a UK Spouse Visa, you can apply for ILR after five years of continuous residence if you can satisfy the Appendix FM financial requirements, prove cohabitation, show suitable accommodation, and satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) and Good Character requirements. Knowing the intricacies of the ILR process is vital, helping to streamline your path toward making the UK your permanent home.

ILR is a testament to your enduring connection to the UK, ensuring a worry-free life without immigration restrictions. It’s a milestone in your UK journey, bringing you one step closer to full British citizenship.

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Secure Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Understanding the eligibility criteria is crucial for a smooth transition from a UK Spouse Visa, or any other visa type, to ILR status (and British citizenship via naturalisation if that is your goal).

The eligibility requirements for ILR are as follows:

  • Applicants must have lived in the UK legally for a certain period, typically 5 years, although this can vary depending on your visa type. Continuous residence is key, with no absences over 180 days in any 12 month period.
  • Proficiency in English is a necessity. Applicants must pass an approved English Language Test at level B1 unless exempt (as they have a degree taught in English, come from a majority English-speaking country, are under 18 or over 65 years of age, etc.).
  • Applicants must pass the ‘Life in the UK Test‘, demonstrating an understanding of British traditions, customs, and history.
  • Good character is another requirement. This essentially means no serious criminal record and respect for UK laws.
  • Financial independence is also essential, thereby satisfying the requirements of Appendix FM if you hold a family visa. You need to demonstrate your ability to support yourself (and any dependents) without access to public funds.
  • If applying under a Spouse Visa, your relationship must be genuine and subsist, and you must live together in the UK.
  • Finally, you must have held valid leave during your qualifying period to remain in the UK, whether as a spouse, worker, or other visa categories.

In essence, the ILR application evaluates your commitment to the UK. It assesses your integration through language and knowledge of life in the UK, adherence to its laws, and financial independence. Meeting these requirements ensures your ILR application is on the right track to success.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain Under the 5 Year Rules

Securing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK involves meeting several criteria, one of which is the completion of a qualifying period of residence. For many visa categories, this qualifying period is typically five years. 

Under the 5-year rule, you must have lived legally in the UK for a continuous five-year period and spent not more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period during these five years. The specific visa type you hold during this period can impact your eligibility. For instance, the following visa categories have a 5-year ILR qualifying period:

  • Spouse Visa 
  • Civil Partner Visa
  • Unmarried Partner Visa
  • Same-sex Partner Visa
  • Skilled Worker Visa 
  • Sole Representative (UK Expansion Worker) 
  • Ancestry Visa 

Note that you cannot combine differing visa categories to satisfy the 5-year qualifying period unless the settlement immigration rules for the current category you hold permit it. 

Additionally, you should not have breached any immigration laws during your stay in the UK. Other key requirements include passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test, demonstrating English language proficiency, and not falling under the ‘Part 9: general grounds for refusal’ due to poor immigration history.

Remember, every application is unique, and the 5-year qualifying period rule may not apply to all applicants. It’s always advisable to check the official UK Government website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain Under the 10 Year Long Residence Rules

Securing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the 10-Year Long Residence rules is a viable path for individuals who have been lawfully living in the UK for a decade. This continuous residence provision can apply to a combination of different visas, offering flexibility to applicants.

The 10-year-long residence rule stipulates that you must have been living legally and continuously in the UK for ten years, with no single absence from the UK exceeding 180 days in any 12 months. Absences do not break continuity if they amount to less than 548 days (18 months) during the ten years.

Further, you must demonstrate good character with no record of violation of UK immigration laws or general grounds for refusal. Any breach of immigration laws or overstaying periods could adversely affect your application. Passing the Life in the UK test and proving sufficient English language proficiency is also essential (unless exempt).

Securing ILR status under the 10-Year Long Residence rules is a significant journey, but the rewards of ILR, including the freedom to work, study, and access the NHS without restriction, make it a worthwhile endeavor.

What Documents Do I Need for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application requires certain documents to validate your eligibility. Here’s an overview of the types of evidence needed (note: each visa category has its specific documents required):

  • Passport & Travel Documents: You must submit full copies of any passports held by applicants in the past 5 years. Include all expired passports if they document your travel history.
  • Biometric Residence Permit: If you have one, you must provide copies of the front and back of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card.
  • Evidence of Continuous Residence: Your passport(s) copies prove your continuous residence for non-European applicants, so no further evidence is needed. For European applicants (EU Settled Status), these documents prove your stay in the UK during the qualifying period. This may include bank statements, utility bills, council tax letters, and payslips.
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency: You must provide a pass certificate from an approved English language test or an academic qualification taught in English recognised by UK ECCTIS as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher. Alternatively, you may be exempt from the requirement (under 18 years old or over 65 years of age, etc.) or from a majority English-speaking country (enabling you to use your passport to satisfy this requirement). 
  • Life in the UK Test Pass Certificate: A document confirming you’ve passed the Life in the UK test.
  • Proof of Income: If necessary, provide evidence of your ability to support yourself and any dependents without access to public funds. This could include payslips, bank statements, and letters from employers.
  • Suitable accommodation: You could submit your current Tenancy Agreement or Land Registry document, Council tax statement, and a recent utility bill. 

Exemptions are provided in special circumstances, like refugees and underage applicants. Each case is unique so the requirements can vary. Remember, the more comprehensive your application, the smoother the ILR application process.

Satisfying the Knowledge of Life in the UK Requirement

The Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KoLL) requirement must be satisfied (unless exempt) to secure your ILR Visa approval. Satisfying this requirement demonstrates that you’ve mastered English and soundly understand life in the UK.

  • Passing the Life in the UK Test: This computer-based test comprises 24 questions about traditions, history, and societal norms in the UK. The test is conducted in English and requires a score of 75% to pass. You should prepare using the official “Life in the UK: A Guide for New Residents” handbook.
  • Proving English Language Proficiency: The ILR requires a B1 level proficiency in English as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This can be evidenced by an English language qualification at B1 level or above from an approved test provider or a degree taught or researched in English. You can also be exempt from this requirement if you come from a majority English-speaking country.

Further information on both of these requirements is detailed below.

Meeting the KoLL requirement is more than a visa requirement – it’s a gateway to participate in British life fully, equipping you with the language skills and cultural understanding to thrive in your adopted home. Keep abreast of the latest updates from the Home Office to ensure that you’re fulfilling the current requirements. 


Satisfying the English Language Requirement for ILR

Satisfying the English language requirement for securing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is a key step in your ILR application journey. Here are the ways to satisfy the ILR English language requirement:

  • Approved English Language Test: Pass an English language test at level B1 or above from a Home Office-approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) provider. The test must cover speaking and listening skills. 
  • English-Taught Degree: It can meet the requirement if you’ve earned a degree taught or researched in English. However, the degree must be verified by UK ECCTIS, confirming it’s equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or above.
  • Nationals from English-speaking countries: Applicants from countries like the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and others are deemed to meet the English language requirement. You can find further details and a full list of the majority English speaking countries in our knowledge centre article.
  • Degree Taught in English in Majority English Speaking Country: A degree taught in English from a university in a majority English-speaking country (excluding Canada) also satisfies the requirement (see the full list of majority English-speaking countries above).

Note that certain people, such as those under 18, over 65, or with a long-term physical or mental condition, may be exempt from the English language requirement. Always consult the latest guidelines from the UK Home Office (UKVI) to stay updated with current requirements and exemptions. 

Passing the Life in the UK Test

Passing the Life in the UK test is an important part of your journey to securing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Here’s how you can achieve this:

  • Booking the Test: Book your test online at the official Life in the UK Test website. The test fee is £50. You’ll need an email address, debit or credit card, and an accepted form of ID to book the test.
  • Prepare: Study from the official handbook ‘Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents’ to cover all the test topics. You can find practice questions online and in books.
  • Taking the Test: The test comprises 24 multiple-choice questions about British traditions, customs, law, and history. You’ll have 45 minutes to complete it at a designated test centre. You need to score at least 75% to pass.
  • After the Test: If you pass, you’ll get an onscreen pass reference number that must be entered into your ILR application form and included with your ILR application.

Exemptions apply to those under 18, over 65, or individuals with long-term physical or mental conditions. It’s important to note that even if you’re exempt from the English language requirement, you may still need to take the Life in the UK test unless exempt due to age or health conditions. You can find a more comprehensive Life in the UK Test guide in our knowledge centre.

Calculating the Continuous Period Requirement

The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Calculating the Continuous Period Policy Guidance must be understood before applying for ILR. This guidance helps determine whether you have maintained lawful, continuous residence in the UK during your qualifying period for ILR, typically 5 or 10 years.

A key point in the policy is the “180-day rule”. This rule stipulates that during any given 12-month period of your qualifying period, you should not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in total. Time spent outside the UK can break your continuous residence, potentially affecting your eligibility for ILR.

It’s important to note that the continuous period is typically calculated retrospectively from the date of your ILR application. However, the guidance states the UKVI must use whichever of the following is most beneficial for YOU to calculate the last 5-year qualifying period:

  • The date of application.
  • 28 days after the date of application.
  • The date of decision. 

Any breaks in your leave, such as gaps between visas or periods of overstaying, could disrupt your continuous period and hinder your ILR application.

Furthermore, the policy makes exceptions for certain unavoidable circumstances, such as work assignments abroad, severe illness, or conflict situations, which may not count as breaks in your continuous residence.

As always, check the most recent guidelines on the official UK Government website. Understanding the rules for calculating the continuous period is important to ensure you qualify for ILR when the time comes. Being thorough and meticulous in maintaining your continuous residence will pave the way to securing your ILR successfully.

When to Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Timing your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is crucial to ensure a seamless transition from your current UK visa, like the Spouse Visa or Skilled Worker Visa, to ILR status. ILR typically requires you to have spent a specific period, usually five years, residing continuously in the UK, depending on your current visa. However, it’s essential not to apply too early or too late. Applying after your visa expires could lead to complications or rejections. 

The optimal time to apply for ILR is 28 days before completing your 5-year or 10-year qualifying period in the UK. For instance, if you are on a Spouse Visa or Skilled Worker Visa, you should apply for ILR 28 days before reaching the five-year mark of your continuous residence. The 28-day period allows for the processing time and helps prevent potential overlaps that could disrupt your continuous stay. Bear in mind any absences from the UK shouldn’t exceed 180 days in any 12 months during the qualifying years. Any breaches of this requirement could affect your application negatively. If there are significant absences, you might want to consider a visa extension rather than an application for ILR. If in doubt, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

In essence, the appropriate time to apply for ILR is just before you reach your qualifying residence period (either 5 years or 10 years Long Residence) while your current visa is still valid. This strategy ensures you maintain continuous legal residence and brings you one step closer to securing your ILR status.

Which Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Application Form should you use?

Choosing the correct form for your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application is not complicated, as there are three different forms to choose from to secure your ILR Visa. They are named SET(O), SET(M), or SET(LR). The “SET” part of the name refers to “Settlement”, and the letters refer to three routes to ILR:

  • SET(O) – the most common form used by 80% of applicants – stands for “Settlement (SET) Other (O)” – the correct form for holders of a Skilled Worker Visa, Ancestry Visa, their Dependents, etc.
  • SET(M) – used by applicants that hold a Spouse Visa/Civil Partner Visa/Unmarried Partner Visa/Same-Sex Partner Visa) – stands for “Settlement (SET) Marriage (M)”.
  • SET(LR) – used by applicants that are securing ILR based on their 10-year continuous Long Residence – stands for “Settlement (SET) Long Residence (LR)”.

The ILR form you will use will depend on your current immigration status, such as a Spouse Visa holder, Skilled Worker, or other visa categories.

For ILR applications based on 5 years of living in the UK on a UK Partner Visa (see list above), the correct form is the ‘SET(M)’ form. The ‘SET(M)’ form is also used by those applying under certain other categories like parents, grandparents, or other dependent relatives.

If you’re applying for ILR based on Long Residence, typically after 10 years of continuous legal residence in the UK, the ‘SET(LR)’ form is the one to use. This form applies regardless of the type of visa you have been on during your stay.

For Skilled Workers or those on other work visas (Ancestry Visa, Sole Representative Visa (aka UK Expansion Worker Visa), etc., the ‘SET(O)’ form is appropriate. This form covers many categories, so it is important to ensure it is correct for your particular circumstances.

The Application Process for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK

The application process is fully digital nowadays. You must submit an online application form, pay the government fees, upload all your supporting documents to the UKVCAS website, and attend the nearest biometric centre to take your biometrics. 

The process of applying for ILR is as follows:

  • Start by checking your eligibility, which typically requires at least five years of continuous residence in the UK, among other criteria.
  • Choose the correct application form based on your visa type. ‘SET(M)’ is for UK Partner Visa holders, ‘SET(LR)’ for 10-year continuous Long Residence, and ‘SET(O)’ for Skilled Worker Visa holders and other categories.
  • Prepare your supporting documents, which usually include proof of identity, proof of continuous residence, evidence of passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test, and an English Language test at B1 level (unless exempt).
  • Submit your application online. Upload digital copies of all your supporting documents. You’ll also need to book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre for biometric information collection.
  • Pay the ILR application fee, which is currently £2,885 per applicant for the 6-month Standard Service processing time, or £3,885 per applicant for the Super Priority Service 1-working day decision after the biometric appointment. 
  • Attend your biometrics appointment. You’ll have your photograph and fingerprints taken. 
  • Wait for your application to be processed. The processing time will be a 1 working day decision with the UKVI’s Super Priority Service or up to 6 months of processing via the Standard Service. 
  • Once you receive your decision, if successful, you’ll receive your new ILR biometric residence permit (BRP) ID card at your home address within 10 working days, confirming your status. You should note that all BRP cards will expire on 31st December 2024, and no further BRP cards will be issued after this date. The UKVI is moving to a fully digital e-Visa system, and your immigration status from 1st January 2025 will be shown online instead of via a BRP card. 

What are the Indefinite Leave to Remain Fees in 2023?

Understanding the costs of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK is crucial to your financial planning. In 2023, the application fees are as follows:

  • For the Standard Service, the fee is £2,885 per applicant. This service offers a decision within six months of your biometrics appointment.
  • If the Priority Service is available for your ILR application, the cost is £3,385 per applicant. This expedited service reduces the processing time to five working days after your biometrics appointment.
  • If you want the fastest possible decision, the Super Priority Service is priced at £3,885 per applicant and offers a decision within one working day after your biometrics appointment.

Remember that these costs do not include other potential expenses such as legal advice, English language tests, the Life in the UK test, or biometrics appointment fees.

Remember, the availability and costs of these services can change, so always verify the latest information on the official UK Government website. 

Investing in the ILR application is essential to making the UK your permanent home. So, despite the significant cost, achieving ILR status is a meaningful milestone in your journey towards settling in the UK. Plan your finances carefully and choose the best service to navigate this crucial transition smoothly.

Do you have to pay the NHS Surcharge fee when you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, you might wonder about the NHS Surcharge fee, also known as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Applicants for ILR are not required to pay the NHS Surcharge fee. The surcharge is typically paid by individuals applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than six months but not those applying for settlement (ILR).

The NHS Surcharge gives you access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) like a UK citizen. However, once you’ve achieved ILR status, you have the right to live, work, and study in the UK without restrictions, including access to the NHS, without the need for an additional surcharge.

Is There an Indefinite Leave to Remain Priority Service?

If you’re applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and wish for a faster decision, you might consider paying more for the Priority Service (5 working day decision after biometrics) or Super Priority Service (1 working day decision after biometrics). 

Standard ILR applications usually take up to six months to process. This timeframe can vary depending on the case’s complexity, the accuracy of the information provided, and the volume of applications the Home Office is dealing with. However, checking the latest updates from the UK Government’s official website is essential, as the availability of expedited services may have changed. 

We always recommend you try applying for ILR as early as possible before your current visa expires and consider paying for the Super Priority Service to secure the approval before your visa expires. Be warned that you cannot reapply if your visa has expired at the time you are refused. Should this unfortunate situation occur, you can immediately reapply, secure the ILR approval, and avoid starting the 5-year qualifying period again. 

Rest assured that should you apply for your ILR Visa before your visa expires and the visa expiry date passes, you are still in the UK lawful under Section 3c leave of the Immigration Act 1971 (page 5 – Pending Decision on Application).

To summarise, it is always best practice to pay the Priority Service fees and do everything possible to secure your ILR approval before your visa expires. That keeps the balance of power with you and not the UKVI. It gives you a way of resolving any issues that may arise before your visa expires, so it’s not too late to do anything to rectify the situation. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain Processing Time

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, it’s important to understand the processing times to ensure a smooth transition. The Standard Service typically takes up to six months after your biometrics appointment. However, faster options are available if you’re seeking a quicker decision.

If the Priority Service is available for your application, the decision time is usually within five working days after your biometrics appointment. But if you’re in a hurry, the Super Priority Service promises a decision within one working day after your biometrics appointment, although this service comes with an additional fee of £1,000.

Especially if your current visa is nearing its expiration date, I highly recommend considering the Super Priority Service. This faster processing option can help ensure you receive your ILR decision before your visa expires, which is crucial. Remember, if your application is refused and your current visa has expired, you cannot reapply from within the UK.

Please note the availability of the Priority and Super Priority Services can vary, so always check the latest information on the official UK Government website. Despite the additional cost, these expedited services offer peace of mind and help secure your path to making the UK your permanent home.

Indefinite Leave to Remain Versus British Citizenship

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship are substantial steps in the UK immigration journey, yet they differ in rights and privileges. Unravelling these key distinctions aids prospective applicants in their decision-making:

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

  • No Time Limit: ILR holders can stay indefinitely in the UK, but continuous absences of over two years could result in its loss.
  • Retain nationality: ILR status does not confer British nationality; you’ll maintain your current nationality and passport.
  • Limited Political Rights: ILR holders do not have the right to vote in general elections or stand for public office.
  • Access to Benefits: ILR allows access to public funds and social benefits, depending on specific circumstances.

British Citizenship

  • Permanent Residency: As a British citizen, you can live, work, or leave the UK without restrictions.
  • British passport: Eligibility for a British passport, offering visa-free travel to many countries.
  • Full Political Rights: Voting in all elections, holding public office, and even standing for Parliament is possible.
  • Unrestricted Access to Benefits: Unrestricted access to public funds and benefits.

Choosing between remaining on ILR for years and obtaining British Citizenship depends on your circumstances and long-term aspirations. Remember, achieving British Citizenship is usually the final goal of many migrants, providing the full privileges of being a UK national. As we always say, the only way to truly secure your future in the UK is to secure British Citizenship via naturalisation. 

How to Obtain British Citizenship by Naturalisation Once you Hold ILR

Securing British Citizenship, or naturalisation, post acquiring Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the ultimate step in the UK immigration process, opening up the entirety of the UK’s rights and privileges. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  • Wait Period: After obtaining ILR, you typically must wait a full year (as there is no 28-day early rule) before applying for British Citizenship (unless you’re married to a British national). If you are married to a British national, you may be able to apply as soon as you secure your ILR approval under the 3-year rules. 
  • Good Character Requirement: You must demonstrate good character, meaning no serious or recent criminal records and adherence to UK laws and procedures.
  • Life in the UK Test: You must pass this test, which assesses your knowledge of British customs, history, and society.
  • English Language Proficiency: Unless exempt, you should meet the English language requirement.
  • Residency Requirements: The requirement is residence in the UK for the last five years and having not spent more than 450 days abroad during this period, and no more than 90 days abroad in the last year. If you are married to a British national applying under the 3-year residency rule, you must not have left the UK for more than 270 days in total in the past 3 years and no more than 90 days in the past 12 months. 
  • Application: Apply online on the UK government’s official website. The form is extensive and requires thorough preparation.
  • Fees: As of 2023, the naturalisation fee is £1,580 per adult applicant (and £1,214 per child applicant using the MN1 application form).
  • Attend a Citizenship Ceremony: On approval, you’ll attend a ceremony, taking an oath of allegiance and receiving your Certificate of British Citizenship.
  • Apply for your first British passport: When you officially become British at the citizenship ceremony, you will be given your naturalisation certificate. You can then apply online for your first British passport. You will need to state the reference on this certificate on the online passport application form and send your current passport to HMPO for them to check your name and gender match your new British passport. HMPO will then send your current nationality passport and the new British passport when ready. 

Remember, this process can be complex, and every case is unique. Therefore, guidance from an immigration expert can be invaluable. After becoming a British citizen, you’ll enjoy unrestricted access to work, live, vote, and receive all public benefits in the UK. With your new British passport, you’ll join a community of citizens with one of the most powerful passports globally.

General Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Visa FAQs

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is an immigration status in the UK that, as the name suggests, doesn’t come with a specific expiry date. However, there are important considerations to bear in mind:

  • Absence from the UK: While ILR does not ‘expire’, it can be revoked if you spend more than 2 consecutive years outside the UK. Your ties to the country and reasons for absence can be considered on return.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Your BRP evidencing your ILR is usually valid for up to 10 years. Although ALL BRP cards will expire before 31st December 2024, your ILR status does not. You must replace an expired BRP to prove your status until the BRP card system is replaced by the new e-Visa online system on 1st January 2025 (when BRP cards will no longer be needed).
  • Criminal Convictions: Serious criminal offences can lead to the revocation of ILR. 
  • Deception: If your ILR Visa was obtained through deception or fraud, it could be revoked.

There are no exemptions to these guidelines; they apply to all ILR holders. So, while ILR doesn’t have a ‘set expiry’, maintaining your status requires some commitment to UK residency and compliance with the law. Understanding these conditions is crucial in protecting your rights and privileges under ILR status.

Once you have successfully obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, you’ll receive proof of your status, which is significant for various legal and administrative procedures. Here’s what to expect:

  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): This is the primary proof of ILR until 31st December 2024, when a new e-Visa online system will replace ALL BRP cards. The BRP is a plastic card that includes your photo, immigration status, and fingerprints. It demonstrates your right to stay, work, or study in the UK without restrictions.
  • Approval Letter: Alongside the BRP, you’ll receive an approval letter confirming your ILR status. The letter details the rights and obligations associated with ILR.
  • Digital Status: From July 2021, the UK Home Office moved towards digital confirmation of immigration status. The ‘View and Prove’ service can check your status online. This doesn’t replace the BRP until 1st January 2025 but offers a fast, secure way to share your status.

Regarding exemptions, it’s important to note that everyone granted ILR, regardless of their visa route to ILR, will receive these proofs. They are critical for establishing your legal rights in the UK, including the right to work, access services, and leave and re-enter the country without restrictions. Always keep these documents safe and accessible.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) comes with specific conditions, granting rights like those of British citizens. Here they are:

  • Residence: Holders of ILR can live and work in the UK without restrictions.
  • Employment: There are no employment restrictions. ILR holders can take any job, run a business, or study in the UK.
  • Public Funds: Access to public funds such as benefits and pensions is granted, subject to eligibility.
  • NHS: ILR holders have access to National Health Service (NHS) facilities, 

However, there are also some conditions and limitations to keep in mind:

  • Absences: If you spend over two years outside the UK on a single trip OR if the Home Office can establish you’re not living here permanently, you may lose your ILR status.
  • Good Character Requirement: Criminal convictions can lead to a revocation of ILR.
  • ILR Revocation: ILR can be revoked on national security grounds or if obtained by deception.

Exemptions from these conditions are rare and usually pertain to unique situations. Always consult with an immigration expert or the official UK government resources to fully understand your rights and limitations under ILR.