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Make the UK your Permanent Home: Indefinite Leave to Remain for US Citizens

You may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if you are an American citizen living in the United Kingdom and wish to make Britain your permanent home. This means that US residents with Indefinite Leave to Remain can live, study, and work in the United Kingdom without restrictions or time limits.

IAS are experts in UK immigration and work directly to provide assistance and guidance through Home Office applications, such as  Indefinite Leave to Remain applications. Contact us for expert guidance on +1 844 290 6312.

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    What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

    Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) confers the permanent right to reside in the United Kingdom without immigration restrictions on a foreign national. ILR is also referred to as “settlement,” “settlement visa,” and “permanent residence.” Certain visa types, such as those for short-term students, will require their holders to eventually return home, but some forms of limited leave could result in obtaining settled status in the UK. The person of settled status is allowed to remain in the UK permanently. It is known as indefinite leave to remain.

    ILR will enable you and your family to reside permanently in the United Kingdom without applying for a separate visa to live, work, or study. Indefinite leave to remain is the ultimate goal for many individuals who come to the United Kingdom to reside, work, or join family members, and it is the final stage prior to acquiring British citizenship.

    The difference between limited leave and ILR is that indefinite leave to remain grants permanent authorization to reside and work in the UK. Limited leave to remain permits you to remain in the UK for a specified period of time. Further limited leave to remain is an extended period of time for visa holders to stay longer in the UK.

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    Who can get Indefinite Leave to Remain?

    You can apply for indefinite permission to stay under several different visa categories or paths. ILR is often available via one of the following visa types or routes:

    • Tier 1 immigrants, including those in categories such as General, Entrepreneur, Exceptional Talent, and Investor, as well as their dependents
    • Tier 2 (General) migrants and their dependents
    • spouse or partner of a person of UK origin who has resided there
    • Domestic workers protected by interim measures
    • migrants who fall under one of the closed classifications, such as HSMP or work permit holders and their dependents

    What are the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain?


    Some of the general ILR requirements are the following:

    • Legally residing in the United Kingdom for a certain period of time (based on your current immigration route).
    • Having no criminal convictions or immigration violations during your time in the United Kingdom
    • During the qualifying domicile period, time spent outside of the United Kingdom cannot exceed 180 days in a 12-month period.
    • Completing the Life in the UK examination

    Working in the UK

    If you are a work visa holder, you could be eligible to apply. Typically, you must have spent 5 years living and working in the UK. It may be 2 or 3 years if you have a tier 1 visa or Investor Visa. It may take three years to hold a Global talent or Innovator visa.

    Depending on your visa, you may additionally need to satisfy the wage or financial criteria.

    Your visa will determine how you apply:

    Having a Family in the UK

    If you have a spouse, parent, child, or other family who is a British citizen or who has indefinite right to reside in the country, you could be eligible to apply.

    What visa you hold and how your family member has settled in the uk affect how you apply.

    If you’ve spent ten years living in the UK

    You could be eligible to apply if you have resided in this country for ten years or more.

    If you already hold a visa based on your private life, you may apply in a different method.

    If You’re Commonwealth Citizen

    You may apply if you’ve had a UK Ancestry visa for at least five years.

    Some Commonwealth citizens are granted ‘right of abode’ in the UK. This indicates that there are no limitations on your ability to live or work in the UK. See whether you may submit an application to demonstrate your right to reside in the UK.

    If you apply via the Windrush program, for instance, you may be able to get British citizenship alternatively.

    Ready to settle down in the UK for good? Contact us and check out the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Contact Us

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      Documents to Apply For ILR

      At the end of your continuous period of legal residence in the UK, you are not automatically eligible for ILR.

      For UKVI to take into account, you must make an application for ILR. You must additionally provide the following documents to prove your indefinite leave to remain eligibility:

      • Continuously living legally in the UK for the minimum qualifying amount of time
      • 180 days or less of absences from the UK in any one year within the qualifying period
      • proof that you passed the Life in the UK Test
      • Evidence that you speak English at the appropriate level
      • Evidence showing your application satisfies the General Grounds for Refusal, such as correcting any criminal convictions or immigration status violations you may have.

      Routes to Indefinite Leave to Remain for US citizens


      There are several settlement routes for ILR application:

      • Reside in the UK after 2 years
      • Reside in the UK after 3 years
      • Reside in the UK after 5 Years

      Reside in the UK after 2 years

      The shortest route to Indefinite Leave to Remain is the Tier 1 Investor Accelerated Settlement route. People who have invested and sustained a £10 million investment in the United Kingdom have the option to reside in the country after just two years.

      The route for Tier 1 Investors is currently open to new registrants. Those who already possess an entry clearance or leave to enter or remain as a Tier 1 Investor Migrant may file for a stay extension or indefinite leave to remain. Until February 17, 2026, Tier 1 Investors may submit applications for further permission to remain. Until 17 February 2028, applications for ILR as a Tier 1 Investor, which includes via the Accelerated Settlement route, can be submitted. Investors’ dependents are ineligible for accelerated settlement.

      Reside in the UK after 3 years

      After three years in the United Kingdom, there are a number of settlement options available. These consist of:

      • Settlement acceleration as a Tier 1 Investor
      • Accelerated approval as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur
      • Endorsement in the category of Global Talent
      • Endorsement within the Innovator category

      An investor who wants to reside in the United Kingdom after three years must invest and maintain a minimum of £5 million.

      An entrepreneur wishing to settle in the United Kingdom after three years must demonstrate that their investment and experience have created at least ten employment opportunities for the settled population or that their business has generated at least £5 million in revenue. This represents a net increase in employment or revenue for people who became part of existing businesses.

      Global Talent visa holders who continue to meet the criteria for an extension of stay are eligible for an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after three years of continuous residence if:

      • They were endorsed by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy, or United Kingdom Research or Innovation;
      • or they were endorsed by Arts Council England or Tech Nation under the exceptional talent criteria;
      • or their initial submission was approved using a prize specified in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes.

      Innovator visa holders who have been endorsed by a UK-approved endorsing authority and can show at least two business accomplishments in accordance with the Immigration Rules are eligible for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after three years of continuous residence.

      Reside in the UK after 5 Years

      Here are several routes to apply for indefinite leave to remain:

      • Tier 1 Investor (2,000,000 GBP)
      • Tier 1 Entrepreneur (2 positions)
      • Global Talent (if you were previously endorsed under Arts Council England or Tech Nation’s “exceptional promise” criteria)
      • Scale-up
      • Skilled Worker
      • International Athlete (if granted leave as an International Athlete for more than 12 months in the preceding five years)
      • Minister of Religion (T2)
      • Spouse, Civil Partner, or Family Visa
      • Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
      • United Kingdom Ancestry
      • Hong Kong (BNO)

      Are you a US citizen in the UK? Check your eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain today. Contact us for assistance. Contact Us

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        What is Further Leave to Remain?

        ‘Further Leave to Remain’ or FLR is an extension of permission to remain in the United Kingdom. Typically, it pertains to individuals seeking to extend their existing visa (such as a Spouse Visa). There are also situations in which a visa applicant can transfer visa categories from one valid visa to another if their conditions in the United Kingdom change.

        Due to exceptional circumstances, FLR may be granted to an applicant who lacks any valid leave to be in the United Kingdom. IAS can help you to obtain indefinite leave to remain or check if you are eligible for further leave to remain. Call us on +1 844 290 6312.

        Can Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK Expire?

        ILR status does not expire, however, it can be lost under specific conditions. A biometric residence permit as evidence of ILR status is issued for a period of ten years. You can keep your ILR status if you continue to reside in the United Kingdom. If you are absent for more than two years, your ILR status may be revoked.

        UK immigration regulations state that ILR status can expire if the holder has been absent from the UK, Ireland, or the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey) for more than two continuous years. This indicates that after two years of absence from the United Kingdom, you may no longer qualify as present and based in the United Kingdom.

        What Are The Other Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa Requirements?

        There are several other requirements to be a British citizen by indefinite leave to remain route:

        • Evidence of adequate English language skills, as defined by the Common European Framework of Languages, at the level of at least B1.
        • You will lose your eligibility for ILR by evidence of “excessive absence” if you spend more than 180 days away from the UK within any one 12-month of your qualifying term. This essentially resets the clock on your residency.
        • Most applicants for ILR between the ages of 18 and 64 must pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test. The exam covers UK politics, history, and culture. The multiple-choice test is computer-based and costs £50 to take. To pass, you must get a 75%.
        • Depending on the type of leave you presently have, ILR applicants may need to demonstrate that they fulfill the applicable minimum income criterion. For instance, holders of Skilled Worker visas who want to get indefinite leave to stay in the UK must earn the higher of: £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, which is the minimum income criteria.

        I have some unspent convictions; will this affect my Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application?

        When evaluating an immigration application, one of the most obvious considerations that will be taken into account is a criminal record that carries a jail sentence.

        The following types of sentencing that do not include jail time or alternative dispute resolution may also have a negative impact on an immigration application, such as fines, discharges (either absolute or conditional), fixed penalty notices, civil orders, or driving bans.

        Even in cases where minor offenses were given out-of-court disposals (such as fines, community orders, or suspended sentences), if it is judged that the applicant is a “persistent offender,” the number of offenses and the time period in which they were committed may lead to a denial of the application.

        A lack of presenting any of the criminal records in an application for indefinite leave to stay or to naturalize as a British citizen may have a significant adverse effect on the application and lead to its denial.

        For further guidance, contact our IAS lawyers on +1 844 290 6312

        Don't miss your chance to stay in the UK for good. Check if you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a US citizen. Contact us today. Contact Us

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          Advantages of Indefinite Leave to Remain

          You will be allowed to stay and work in the UK for as long as you want and be able to leave and enter the nation as often as you please without being subject to typical restrictions.

          Having Indefinite Leave to Remain has various financial advantages as well. When comparing ILR to work visas, you’ll get access to public resources and services and spend less on visa extensions.

          Students may also benefit financially in several ways. That’s because if you have ILR, you’ll be regarded as a “home student” as opposed to an “international” student, making you qualified for course tuition subsidies. Course costs are expensive, as any current or past student will confirm, therefore there are some significant discounts to be obtained here.

          How if My Application for Indefinite Leave to Remain Is Refused?

          Even if your ILR request gets rejected (or if a dependent family member’s application is refused), with the correct assistance, you may get a settlement in the UK. First off, you have the right to appeal the judgment if you can demonstrate that your request for permission to stay indefinitely was justified by reasons covered by human rights. An immigration lawyer may provide guidance if this pertains to your application.

          However, the majority of ILR applications cannot be contested because they are not founded on respect for human rights. There are still other options, however. You have the following options for appealing an ILR denial:

          • You may ask for a judicial review if you believe UKVI misled in rejecting your application.
          • The legal rationale of the rejection must be contested via an administrative review.
          • In certain cases, submitting a fresh application for ILR might be preferable.

          Immigration Advice Service can assist you if your indefinite leave to remain application gets refused. Call us on +1 844 290 6312.

          Outside the Immigration Rules

          In certain situations, the rules contain exceptions that enable caseworkers at the Home Office to exercise their discretion and grant leave in unusual situations. In other, more restricted instances, exceptions may be made to the principles.

          Leave outside the rules, also known as LOTR, is a term used to describe all forms of permissions granted outside of typical regulations and requirements. LOTR can be applied to decisions regarding entry clearance, leave to remain, and indefinite leave to remain applications on a variety of discretionary grounds, albeit on a limited scale.

          The goal of the few Home Office LOTR policies is to maintain a firm, efficient, and fair immigration system that usually requires people who do not meet the rules to leave the United Kingdom or be denied entry, but takes into account exceptional and compassionate personal situations that may justify discretionary leave.

          Need help with your Indefinite Leave to Remain application? Get our expert guidance and assistance now. Contact Us

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            How Can IAS Help with Your Indefinite Leave to Remain Application?

            Before submitting an application for ILR, it is essential to understand the requirements and evaluate the possibility of success. If there are issues or concerns with your proposed ILR application, you can evaluate whether there is merit in requesting the Home Office to use discretion in your favor, and if there is little chance that they will, whether you should instead consider submitting for an extension of leave, which many clients can meet the requirements for.

            Due to the complexities involved, it is advisable to seek professional assistance when submitting an ILR application.

            Our teams of attorneys are experts in this field, and they will guide you through the process, ensuring that your application is completed to the finest detail without errors or oversights that could cause delays. Preparation to take the UK Life Test is also available.

            We are able to determine whether or not you are qualified for ILR, and if you are not, we are able to provide guidance on the best ways of obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain that are available to you.

            If you desire to speak with one of IAS attorneys, please call +1 844 290 6312 or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      You may be eligible for ILR sooner than you realize. It is commonly believed that you can register 28 days before entering the United Kingdom, but it is not always the case. If you entered the United Kingdom within three months of your visa’s issuance, you may be eligible to apply 28 days prior to the visa’s issuance date.

                      As of 6 April 2022, the indefinite leave to remain processing fee is £2,404 per applicant.

                      You will also be required to pay a fee of £19.20 to transmit your biometric information.

                      After five years for the majority of eligible visa routes, visa holders are able to apply for ILR.