5 Facts about Indefinite Leave to Remain After 5 Years in the UK

Navigating the path to permanent residency in the United Kingdom can be a complex yet rewarding journey, especially for those aiming to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years.

This crucial milestone marks a significant shift from being a temporary resident to laying down permanent roots in the UK, whether you want to establish a business or career here.

Anyone wishing to live in the UK long-term must understand this procedure. The ILR after a five-year residence is available to professionals working in the UK, family members of British citizens, and anyone who has made the UK their home.

Who Can Apply for a 5-year Route to ILR?


Applying for Indefinite Leave To Remain After 5 Years is an option for several categories of residents. Here’s a breakdown of who can typically apply:

  1. Tier 2 (General) Visa Holders: If you’re in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) work visa, you can apply for ILR after five years. This is provided you’ve been working for your sponsor and meet the salary requirements set by the UK government.
  2. The spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a UK citizen or resident may apply for a 5-year Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  3. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur or investor) visa holders may apply for ILR after five years of continuous UK presence if they meet the visa category’s criteria.
  4. Ancestry Visa Holders: Commonwealth nationals with a British grandmother may apply for ILR after five years on an Ancestry visa.
  5. Representatives of Overseas Businesses: If you’re in the UK as the sole representative of an overseas business or as an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organization, you can seek ILR after five years.
  6. Certain Other Visa Categories: Other visa categories, such as some categories of Tier 5 (temporary workers visa), may also lead to ILR after five years, depending on specific circumstances and requirements.

You must have lived in the UK for five years, spoken English, pass the ‘Life in the UK’ exam, and not break any immigration laws to apply for ILR.

Remember that laws and qualifying requirements might change, so check the current regulations or contact an immigration specialist before applying for ILR.

5 Facts about UK Indefinite Leave to Remain After 5 Years


  1. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) lets you live and work in the UK without limits. It’s a crucial step toward permanent status for five-year UK residents. Consider it a bridge between temporary residence and British citizenship.
  2. After five years, you must fulfil certain criteria for ILR. These include living in the UK for five continuous years on a qualifying visa, such as a work or family visa. You should have adhered to the visa conditions and not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months during these five years. Also, passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test and proving your English language proficiency are mandatory.
  3. The ILR application procedure is complicated and needs preparation. Complete the right application and send it with all relevant papers. These papers usually show your UK residency, financial stability, and immigration status. Biometric data is also required.
  4. ILR application fees might be high. Know the current fees and budget for them. ILR applications often take many months to process. Travel may be limited, so plan.
  5. ILR has several advantages. These include independence from immigration control, the right to work or study, and access to public finances and services. It’s a path to British citizenship if you apply later.


Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years is a crucial step towards permanent residence in the UK. It needs certain requirements, a rigorous application procedure, and patience while processing. ILR’s perks make it desirable, including unlimited UK living and working privileges. Stay aware and prepared to make this exciting new chapter in your life in the UK an easy one.

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Manuela WillboldOnline Media & PR Strategist
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Contributor to many Business Blogs in the United Kingdom | Fascinated to Write Blogs in News & Education I have completed a journalism summer course at the London School of Journalism and am an eBook author.