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UK Residency Visa | Indefinite Leave to Remain | ICS Legal

UK residency can be defined in a number of ways, and those who have either applied for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under Immigration Law or permanent status, also referred as settled status under European Law, can enjoy a permanent stay in the UK. 

The Immigration Rules was created by the Immigration Act 1971 and allows the Home Office to grant leave to enter, remain and indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The Home Office have powers to grant discretionary leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain, if there are exceptional grounds. 

The policy of Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, protects a persons immigration status in the UK, as long as they have applied prior to their visa was to expire and protects their immigration status, for the purposes of their indefinite leave to remain application. Section 104 of the Nationality, Immigration & Asylum Act 2002 sets out when an appeal is pending.

In reference to Section 3D of the Immigration Act 1971, this was amended by Section 11 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, which sets out the policy for leave to remain which are curtailed or revoked. Following the legal changes to the appeal rights by the Immigration Act 2014, there are no right to appeal against a visa being curtailed or revoked. However this does not prevent you putting a legal challenge against the decision. 

It is important to note that when you lodge a judicial review application, this does not automatically extend your Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 status, however this is not uniformed policy, so you must take legal advice on this. 

There are a number of ways you can apply for indefinite leave to remain or settled status, which usually is following a period of 5 years and 10 years residency. In some cases, under the Tier 1 visas, you can secure ILR after 2 years or 3 years of residency. 

Most of the immigration categories will tell you whether you can apply for indefinite leave to remain and what is required in order to secure the settled status in the UK. In majority of the indefinite leave to remain applications will require you to meet the good character requirements and meet the new public interest arguments, as part of your application. If you have been convicted or have committed an offence or possibly overstayed your immigration stay, then this may impact your indefinite leave to remain application. 

Once you have understood what is required for your indefinite leave to remain application including the evidences and information required, you can embark on applying for your indefinite leave to remain. The processing of the application will be done through the online application system and a decision can take up to 6 months albeit, you can fast track the decision, depending on the visa route you are applying under. 

Given the complexity of the different access routes to indefinite leave to remain applications, and referred as the most critical application, it is important to take legal advice early on the options open to you for your specific circumstances, to avoid delays and ensure your case is effectively represented to the Home Office. 

At a glance on indefinite leave to remain

There is no time limit on indefinite leave to remain in the UK but it is important to understand that the status can be lost. For example, you should avoid spending periods of more than two years outside the UK as this may lead to the loss of indefinite leave to remain. It may also be revoked if you commit an offence that could lead to you being deported from the UK, or for reasons of national security.

Indefinite leave to remain, or permanent residence, grants an applicant the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions and entitles them to apply for naturalisation. You can apply for indefinite leave to remain if you are under one of the following categories, however this is not an exhaustive list of categories:

  1. Partner of a British Citizen or person settled in the UK visa: after two years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012, after five or ten years if applied on or after 9 July 2012.

  2. Tier 1 visa: after five years. However those under the Tier 1 Investor or Tier 1 Innovator category can qualify for indefinite leave to remain after 2 or 3 years of residency. 

  3. Tier 2 General migrants, once you have completed 5 years period of residency. 

  4. UK ancestry visa after five years of continuous residency in the UK.

  5. EU nationals and their eligible family members in the UK after 5 years residency. 

  6. Discretionary leave to remain after 6 years continuous residency. 

  7. Long residency after ten years continuous legal residency in the UK.

  8. Returning residents can re-apply for indefinite leave to remain, if settled in the UK prior to your departure and returning to the UK within two years of departure. 

In all immigration applications for indefinite leave to remain, will require you to complete the knowledge of life requirements and completing an approved English language test, unless you are exempted from the requirements. 

Turkish ECAA ILR applications

There is a special provision contained in the immigration rules framework, incorporated from the Ankara Agreement, which was agreed on the 12th of September 1963. The aim of this agreement was to improve the economic relations between Turkey and also the European Economic Community and the UK became a signatory to this community in 1973. 

New guidance’s have been introduced by the Home Office on 6th July 2018, which sets out the full requirements of how a Turkish person can apply for indefinite leave to remain. 

A Turkish national can apply for indefinite leave to remain once you have completed 5 years period of residency in the UK under the business route or working route. You must meet the knowledge of life requirements and have completed continuous residency in the UK. 

The absence policy is also important, and in any 12 months period of residency in the UK, you must not be absent more than 180 days per qualifying year. Must not fall for general grounds of refusal i.e. no unspent convictions, no overstaying periods of residency in the UK, are some of the examples that could impact the immigration application. 

If you have dependants, they can also qualify for indefinite leave to remain, however must meet the residency requirements, relationship, and also the intention to live as a family unit in the UK. 

How to apply for indefinite leave to remain or settled status

The application will need to be completed online, as majority of the paper forms have been removed. When choosing the application route, you need to be careful on the immigration category you choose, as the immigration rules would be dictated based on the chosen category. If you complete the wrong application, then there is a risk of your indefinite leave to remain application being refused. 

Taking legal advice on an indefinite leave to remain application

We understand that it can be a daunting experience when you consider applying for your last immigration application, so taking some legal advice and help can be invaluable. Our UK Immigration Lawyers will provide you with the very best advice and most importantly putting your best interest at first. 

Our commitment to you is:

  1. Provide clear, straightforward legal advice in a language you understand.

  2. A personal service.

  3. A friendly, caring and approachable team of UK Immigration Lawyers. 

  4. Transparent costs with no hidden surprises.

It’s not that we think differently. It’s that we are different. Reassuringly so. You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at


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