Apply for ILR After 5 Years

Indefinite Leave to Remain, or ‘settled status’, in the UK lets someone live free from visa restrictions. This means more freedom of work, study, housing and travel. For those who intend to make the UK their permanent home and become a British citizen, an ILR Visa is a necessary step.

You can receive settled status from either Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA Permanent Residence. These both grant the same freedoms, with ILR relating to nationals from outside the European Economic Area, EEA PR from within.

For most migrants, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years. However, there are restrictions to this and some applicants may have to wait up to 10 years before they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

How Can IAS Help You Apply for ILR After 5 Years?

The lawyers at IAS are experienced in helping apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years. Your lawyer will assess your eligibility and ensure you meet the criteria. They will advise you on documents to show your immigration history and help you prepare for the Life in the UK test.

The application for ILR can be lengthy and time-consuming. With IAS, your lawyer will fully complete all application forms and collate your evidence for you. They will also write a type of cover letter, called a Letter of Representation, which directly pleads your case to the Home Office. Contact us today on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to start your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Please see our FAQs below for more information, or read about the other ILR requirements.


Do I need to stay on the same visa category?

To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you will need to have been on the same visa type for the whole five years to be eligible for an ILR Visa.

This could be quite simple for those on an Ancestry Visa, as the initial grant period can be up to five years. Additionally, if you have been granted a Tier 2 Visa for five years, you may also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after this.

However, for those on a Family Visa, or a Points-based Visa for less than five years, you will need to extend. Your visa can usually be extended for the same amount of time as your first one, allowing you to reach five years in total.

If you have switched visas during your stay, as long as you have a continuous five-year period on one visa category, you will be eligible to apply for an ILR Visa. Otherwise, you will have to spend 10 years in the UK on successive visas with no gaps in between to be eligible for the 10-year route.

Can I apply for an ILR Visa with absences more than 180 days?

To be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you will also need to meet the continuous residence requirements. The UK government currently has an absence limit of 900 days.

This means that you will not be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if you have spent a total of 900 days outside of the UK in the past five years. The Home Office also states that you cannot have spent 180 days outside the UK in each year of your qualifying period.

There are some circumstances in which absences are not counted, such as work overseas or extended periods to care for someone outside the UK. If you feel that you have breached the absence limit, it is best to seek expert legal advice before making your application.

What are the common ILR Visa refused reasons?

Any criminal convictions you have received in your five-year stay will affect your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is one of the most common reasons ILR applications are refused.

However, this depends on what the conviction was. There is the possibility that minor convictions may not mean your Indefinite Leave to Remain application is refused.

However minor your offence is, it is highly advised that you seek legal advice to decide whether your application is viable.

Recently, the government have been refusing some migrants who apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years. This is due to technicalities with their tax returns. Paragraph 322(5) is most often used to deport those guilty of terrorism-related crimes but has meant a number of migrants being asked to leave.

The application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is so crucial for those wanting to spend their lives in the UK. Avoiding these kinds of issues will be vital to making a positive result as likely as possible.

Is there an English test for an ILR Visa?

To be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you must prove that you have sufficient English Language ability. If you are from an English-speaking country, you will not be required to prove your English ability.

For those who do not speak English as a first language, you will most likely have had to prove your English for previous visa applications. You will be able to meet this requirement if you have a degree taught in English.

Those who have previously used an IELTS test for their visa applications may need to show an improvement in English ability by passing the next level before applying for ILR.

Are there any other Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements?

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you will need to show an understanding of UK life and culture. This is measured by the Life in the UK test. Nationals of all countries will have to pass this test before making an application for ILR.

Fortunately, you will not need to pass this test again before applying for British Citizenship in the future.

The test includes questions on politics, history and culture and practice tests are available to help you pass the first time.

How can I get Indefinite Leave to Remain after 10 years lawful stay?

For those who are not able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, there is also the 10-year route.

If you have stayed in the UK on different visas with no breaks in between, you can apply after 10 years. You will also need to meet the same requirements, such as the English Language and Life in the UK tests.

The absence limit is similar for the 10-year route. You will need to provide a detailed account of your immigration history for the entire period you have been in the UK.

What services does IAS offer?

Here at IAS, we can assist with all applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five or ten years. As the UK’s leading immigration experts, we can help you get the result you want whatever your circumstances.

Our services include:

  • conducting an advice session with you in person, via phone or Skype at a time that suits you;
  • assessing whether you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years;
  • providing a document check to ensure they are sufficient;
  • writing a personal Letter of Representation for your application;
  • liaising with the Home Office throughout the process;
  • helping you complete your application forms to a professional standard;
  • preparing you for the ‘Life in the UK test’;
  • ensuring you meet the English Language requirements.

For more information, or to see if you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, contact us today using our online contact form or call 0333 363 8577 free.

Our Indefinite Leave to Remain Packages

Advice Package

Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals


Application Package

Designed to make your visa application as successful, smooth and stress-free as possible


Fast Track Package

Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline


Appeal Package

Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any hearings/tribunals


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