Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR Work Category

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – Work Visa Category

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) grants you the right to remain in the UK indefinitely. It is worth keeping in mind that you can lose your ILR status if you are outside the UK for two or more continuous years.


You can only combine work category visas such as Tier 2 (General) visas and Skilled Worker Visas during the five continuous years of residence to qualify for ILR. If you have spent time with family visas, youth mobility scheme, student visas, etc, then they cannot be included toward the five-year residency requirement but they can be included for a ten-year Long Residence application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Residence Requirement

You must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK during any continuous twelve-month period during the five-year qualifying period. If you are outside the UK for more than 180 days in a continuous twelve-month period then you will start a new five-year qualifying period and there is no discretion available.

Family Members

Family members who meet the requirements and have been in the UK with you for five continuous years can be included in your application. If your dependant family members have not completed five years when you apply then they can continue extending as PBS Dependants until they qualify for ILR.

If you have children that were born in the UK then they can apply directly for Naturalisation as a British Citizen as soon as the parents have ILR status – the children do not need to get ILR before they apply for British Citizenship IF they were born in the UK.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain

You should submit your application no more than 28 days before you reach five continuous years in the UK with work visas.

You will need to complete an online Indefinite Leave to Remain form and submit the application and supporting documents online.

You will need to have passed the Life in the UK Test before you apply and also meet an English Language requirement, which you will often have already met as part of your work visa application.

Our guide will take you through the process of preparing and submitting your application for ILR and also provide you with guidance for a future application for Naturalisation as a British Citizen.