Indefinite Leave to Remain: Work Route
After spending a qualifying period of 5 years in the UK with work visas such as Tier 2 General, Sole Representative or Ancestry Visas, you might be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Commonly referred to as ILR, this visa status removes you from immigration restrictions and represents the final visa required before you can apply for British Citizenship.
ILR Eligibility Requirements
The basic requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain are that you must:
- have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK with a qualifying visa status.
- not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK during any 12-month period during the 5-year qualifying period.
- have passed the Life in the UK Test.
- have a sufficient knowledge of English language (unless exempt).
In addition to the above, where your visa requires you to work for a specified employer, such as Tier 2 General and Sole Representative visas, then you must provide evidence from your employer that you are still required for that job.
Where you are sponsored under Tier 2 General then you are subject to a minimum income in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The minimum salary requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications can be higher than the minimum salary required for sponsorship and it can also be higher than the minimum salary required for your particular job.
ILR for Dependant Family Members
Your Dependant family members should qualify for ILR after spending 5 years in the UK as your dependant. If you obtain ILR before they have spent 5 years in the UK then they can continue to extend their Dependant Visas until they reach 5 years.
Your dependants should also meet the basic rule regarding absences from the UK and, unless they are under 18 years of age, they will also need to pass the Life in the UK test and satisfy the English language requirement (unless exempt).
Indefinite Leave to Remain Conditions
There is a particularly important word in this visa status that many people overlook – ILR means Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. If you are outside the UK for 2 or more continuous years then you can lose your ILR status.
If you have particularly compelling reasons for your absence then you might be able to apply to come back to the UK as a Returning Resident.
Once you have Indefinite Leave to Remain you are entitled to public funds as you are considered to be Settled in the UK.