325-331,Greater London, IG1 1NR

What is the earliest I can apply for ILR?

You may have heard the term "Indefinite Leave to Remain" or ILR if you are a foreign citizen who is currently a visitor in the United Kingdom...

What is the earliest I can apply for ILR?

You may have heard the term “Indefinite Leave to Remain” or ILR if you are a foreign citizen who is currently a visitor in the United Kingdom and has been thinking about staying there permanently. Since it gives you the freedom to live and work in the UK without being subject to any immigration limitations, ILR is a significant turning point in the immigration process. However, it’s crucial to know when you can submit an ILR application. We shall go over the earliest time you can apply for ILR in the UK in this extensive guide.

Understanding ILR

It’s important to understand what Indefinite Leave to Remain comprises before getting into the technicalities of when to apply for ILR. In the UK, ILR effectively equates to permanent residence. Once you have ILR, there are no longer any limitations on your ability to travel to or remain in the UK. This entails that you have complete freedom to work, pursue your education, and even launch a business.

Initial Visa Type Matters

The kind of visa you now possess has a considerable impact on when you can file for ILR. The UK offers several different visa kinds, each with its limitations. The most popular visa categories and the ILR eligibility deadlines are shown below:

Tier 2 (General) Visa

After five years of continuous residence in the UK, while holding a Tier 2 (General) visa, you are eligible to apply for ILR. This residence must be legitimate and unbroken. You must also fulfill several requirements, such as proving your proficiency in the English language and passing the Life in the UK test.

Spouse Visa

After five years of residing in the UK on a spouse visa, the holder may apply for ILR. It’s crucial to remember that you must keep your relationship status intact and satisfy the Home Office’s financial requirements.

Ancestry Visa

If you have an ancestry visa, you have five years from the day you first entered the UK with this visa to file for ILR. You must fulfill extra requirements, just as for the other categories, to be eligible.

Long Residence Rule

In addition to the deadlines associated with each visa type, there is another path to ILR known as the “Long Residence Rule.” This clause applies to people who have ten years of continuous legal residence in the UK. Regardless of the kind of visa you previously held, you are qualified to apply for ILR if you meet this criterion.


Need any assistance regarding the ILR?

Time Spent Outside the UK

It’s critical to take into account any time spent outside the UK during the duration of your visa in determining your eligibility for ILR. According to immigration regulations, you cannot have spent more than 180 days abroad in the UK in any one year of your qualifying residency.

The Application Process

You can begin the ILR application process once you have met the eligibility conditions. Speak with our immigration expert or lawyer to ensure that your application is accurate and complete.

The Home Office carefully examines all applications, and any mistakes could cause delays or even denials.

Gather Required Documents

It’s crucial to gather all the necessary documentation before beginning your ILR application. These documents will be used to assess your eligibility and provide proof of your rightful residence in the UK. The following is a list of usual documents you’ll need:

Passport: Ensure you have a valid passport with your current visa.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): If applicable, include your BRP.

Evidence of Continuous Residence: You’ll need to provide documents that demonstrate your continuous lawful residence in the UK. This can include utility bills, bank statements, and official letters.

English Language Proficiency: If required for your visa category, provide evidence of your English language proficiency, such as test certificates.

Financial Documents: If your visa category requires you to meet specific financial criteria, provide bank statements, payslips, or other financial evidence.

Tuberculosis (TB) Test Results: If your visa requires a TB test, include the results.

Paperwork for Dependents: Include the paperwork for any dependents who are included on your application.


The two primary elements that determine when you can apply for ILR in the UK are the type of visa you are currently holding and how long you have been a lawful resident. 

Keep in mind that immigration rules and policies may change, so it’s critical to stay current with the Home Office’s most recent information. Getting ILR is a crucial step toward establishing permanent residency in the UK and securing your future in this dynamic and diverse nation.

We work with a passion of taking challenges and creating possibilities for our clients.

Official Info

325-331, High road Ilford, Greater London, IG1 1NR 

+44 (0) 20 3355 3058

Open Hours

Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Sat & Sunday: CLOSED

Scroll to Top