Complete Guide: Apply for ILR & Settle in the UK Indefinitely

UK Immigration Blog

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of immigration status that is granted to individuals who wish to live in the UK indefinitely. The meaning of ILR is that it provides the holder with the right to live, work, and study in the UK without any time restrictions. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the ILR process, including how to apply for ILR, the evidence required, and the timeline for the application process. It will also explain the meaning of indefinite leave to remain, what does indefinite leave to remain mean, and the indefinite right to remain.

Understanding ILR

ILR in the UK, also known as ‘settlement’, is a form of immigration status that grants the holder the right to live and work in the UK without any time restrictions. It is the final step for non-EEA nationals before becoming eligible to apply for British citizenship. Successful teams may remain indefinitely in the UK under this status, which is why it is often referred to as ‘indefinite leave’ or ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

Eligibility for ILR

To be eligible for ILR, you must have been living legally in the UK for a certain period, typically five years. However, the specific length of time depends on your current visa or immigration category. You must also have knowledge of life in the UK, and be able to communicate in English to an acceptable level.

Applying for ILR

To apply for indefinite leave to remain, you must complete the ILR application form and submit it along with the required documents. The application can be made online through the settle scheme login. The ILR process involves providing evidence of immigration status in the UK ILR, such as a valid passport, biometric residence permit, or immigration status document.

  • Complete the application form: The form requires detailed information about your personal circumstances, immigration history, and employment or study in the UK.
  • Provide the necessary documents: This includes evidence of your identity, residence in the UK, and financial independence.
  • Pay the application fee: The fee for ILR is currently £2,389.
  • Attend a biometric information appointment: At this appointment, your fingerprints and photograph will be taken.

ILR Application Timeline

The ILR application timeline can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the volume of applications being processed by the Home Office. However, most applications are decided within six months. It’s important to note that you should not leave the UK until your application has been decided, as this could affect your eligibility for ILR.

Understanding the ‘Rolling 180-Day Period’

When applying for ILR, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period during your qualifying period. This is known as the ‘rolling 180-day rule’. What does a rolling 180-day period mean? It means that you can’t be outside the UK for more than half a year during any year of your qualifying period.

Indefinite Leave to Remain: The Right to Live in the UK

Once granted ILR, you have the indefinite right to remain in the UK. This means you can live in the UK without any time restrictions, and you are free to work or study without needing further permission from the Home Office. You can also access public funds and services, and apply for a British passport.


Applying for ILR in the UK is a significant step towards making the UK your permanent home. It provides the freedom to live, work, and study in the UK without any time restrictions. However, the process can be complex and requires careful preparation. It’s important to understand the meaning of ILR, the application process, and the eligibility requirements before you begin your application. With careful planning and preparation, you can successfully navigate the ILR process and settle in the UK indefinitely.

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Teresa Aldridge
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VisaHelpUK - UK Immigration and Visa Application Advice Service
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