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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite leave to remain, also known as UK settlement, alows an applicant the right to live and work in the UK free from any restrictions.

ILR does not however allow you to vote in the UK or apply for a British passport. ILR can also be lost if you are absent from the UK for more than two years.

How long is indefinite leave to remain valid for?

Indefinite leave to remain is without time limit but can be lost if the holder is out of the UK for more than two years.

ILR absence rule

For entry clearance or leave to remain granted prior to 11 January 2018, ILR applicants cannot have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in the five consecutive 12 month periods. Periods of leave granted after 11 January 2018 are calculated on a rolling basis, with the 180 day rule applicable to any 12 month period during of the qualifying period. Absences from the UK totalling over 180 days during any one 12-month period of your qualifying period might render you ineligible for ILR.


Naturalisationis the legal process by which a non-British adult becomes a British citizen. An application has to be made to the Home Office and if the criteria set out in the British Nationality Act 1981 are met then the application will be granted and the person can attend a ceremony to become a British citizen and obtain a Certificate of Naturalisation.

The requirements for naturalisation include a set period of lawful residence in the United Kingdom, possession of permanent immigration status, passing the “good character” test, passing the “Life in the UK” test and taking an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen at a formal citizenship ceremony.

Qualifying period of residence in UK

Before they can apply for naturalisation as a British citizen. There are different rules in the British Nationality Act 1981 for those who are married to a British citizen and those who are not: for those not married to a British citizen the period will usually be six years.

There are also rules on the maximum amount of time that a person can spend outside the UK during their qualifying residence period. These are referred to as absences from the UK.

If married to a British citizen The maximum permitted number of full days absent from the UK for those married to a British citizen is 270 days in total during the three years leading up to the application for naturalisation, no more than 90 of which can fall during the final qualifying year The applicant must have been physically present in the UK exactly three or five years prior to the application.