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How long is ILR valid for?

UK Indefinite Leave to Remain is a form of settlement that allows a person to remain in the UK for an unlimited amount of time. However, there are some circumstances where it can be lost or revoked, or even expire.

For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your Indefinite Leave to Remain queries, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375 for immediate assistance.


Can my Indefinite Leave to Remain expire?

For many, the acquisition of Indefinite Leave to Remain status is of paramount importance to living in the United Kingdom free from immigration rules.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a form of settled status that allows an overseas individual greater freedom to live, work and study in the UK for an unspecified time limit, offering greater freedom and peace of mind.

Although ILR status does not expire on its own, there are instances in which your status can be lost or revoked. It is important to understand the regulations in place to avoid losing your Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK so you can continue to live freely.

For more information on how Immigration Advice Service can help you with your Indefinite Leave to Remain queries, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375 for immediate assistance.

Extended periods of absence from the UK

Extended periods of absence from the UK when you have Indefinite Leave to Remain can often result in your ILR status expiring.

UK immigration rules specify that any continuous period of absence from the UK of more than two years will result in your Indefinite Leave to Remain expiring automatically, then you will no longer be considered of settled status within the United Kingdom.

If you are planning to leave the UK for an extended period of time, you must ensure you return to the UK during the two-year time limit. By doing this, you will reset the timer and be able to retain your ILR status. However, this should only be done in exceptional circumstances as it could be questioned by border control officials.

Can I get a Returning Resident visa if I have lost my ILR status?

If your Indefinite Leave to Remain has expired due to an extended period of absence, you will need to apply for a Returning Resident visa to re-enter the country for settlement. Once you have been granted a Returning Resident visa, your Indefinite Leave to Remain will be reinstated and you shall be granted settled status once more.

To be eligible to apply for a Returning Resident visa, you must:

  • Prove that you did previously hold valid ILR status
  • Prove that you wish to make the UK your permanent abode
  • Show that you have strong ties to the UK (Property, family members, or study commitments)
  • Proof and reasoning for your previous length of absence

In most cases, the longer you have been away from the UK, the more challenging it will be to reinstate your Indefinite Leave to Remain status through a Returning Resident visa.

Do you need help applying for a indefinite leave to remain status? Our lawyers can assist you.

Biometric Residence Permits

When you have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, you may have been issued a Biometric Residence Permit also. Your BRP will come with an expiry date ten years after the date it was issued to you- this expiry date is not the date your ILR status will expire. Expired ILR status is subject to breaches of ILR regulations.

Once your Biometric Residence Permit reaches the expiry date, you should apply online for a replacement at least three months before it is due to pass the expiry date. Similarly, if any of the details on your BRP are due to change, you should inform the Home Office at the earliest chance you get.

Should you lose your Biometric Residence permit, you must report this to the Home Office and the police as soon as possible to acquire a crime reference number which you may need as proof of losing your BRP.

How can I prove my Indefinite Leave status?

ILR status documentary proof is something that can be advantageous should you need to prove that you have been granted Indefinite Leave as your immigration status. For instance, you may need to prove your Indefinite Leave status as part of a right to work check or to rent or buy property in the United Kingdom.

Documentary evidence can include:

  • A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • A ‘No Time Limit’ passport stamp
  • An official letter from the Home office confirming your Indefinite Leave to remain status

If you do not have documentary proof of your ILR status, your employer can opt to use the Home Offices online checking system with the share code you have provided.

Can my Indefinite Leave be exempt from expiry or revocation?

There are limited circumstances where a person who has been granted settled status may be exempt from ILR rules that could result in the expiry or revocation of your status. These circumstances include:

  • You are the dependant of a HM Armed Forces member who you have accompanied overseas
  • You are the dependant of a British Citizen or person with settled status (including under the EU Settlement Scheme)
  • You are the dependant of a person in permanent employment in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, the Home Office, or British Council and you have accompanied them
  • You are a commonwealth citizen covered by section 1(5) of the Immigration Act
  • You return to the UK in circumstances that do not require entry clearance

Other ways that ILR can be lost

In addition to ILR expiring after extended periods of absence from the UK, there are also other ways in which an individual can lose ILR status.

These include the following:

  • If you’re deported from the UK
  • If you’re liable to deportation or removal from the UK but cannot be due to the Refugee Convention or the European Convention of Human Rights
  • If you’re found to have obtained ILR status deceptively
  • If you obtained ILR due to being a refugee but no longer hold refugee status through your own actions

How can Immigration Advice Service help?

Indefinite leave to remain is a key step for those wishing to settle in the UK long term.

However, obtaining it can be a complicated process, especially given that the requirements may be significantly different for different applicants.

If you’re looking to apply for indefinite leave to remain and require more information about the process, or you already have ILR and need further support and reassurance regarding your immigration situation, IAS can help.

We are a team of expert, professional immigration lawyers who are committed to providing the highest quality service to our clients as possible. Whatever your immigration needs are, we’re here to help and advise for you to achieve your goals.

Whether you need further clarification on how to obtain ILR for you and your dependents, worried about being in a situation where you might lose ILR, or just need additional peace of mind and reassurance regarding your situation, we can help.

For more information on how we can help you, call our friendly team of advisors on  0333 305 9375 for further assistance.

We can help you if you need assistance with your indefinite leave to remain application.

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