The Easiest Ways to Settle in the UK: Getting Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is your gateway to settling in the United Kingdom. It provides you with the freedom to live, work, study, and even apply for benefits, while also opening the door to British citizenship. ILR is often referred to simply as "settlement." In this article, we'll explore the quickest ways to obtain ILR based on your unique circumstances.

Three-Year Routes

Global Talent Visa

If you hold a Global Talent visa, you may be eligible for ILR in just three years, provided you meet certain criteria. The duration of your stay depends on the organization that endorsed you. Specifically, you can apply after three years if you were endorsed by prestigious institutions like the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society, or UK Research and Innovation. Similarly, if Arts Council England or Tech Nation recognized you as a recognized leader with "exceptional talent," you can also apply after three years.


Innovator Founder Visa (Former Innovator visa)

To qualify for ILR under the Innovator Founder Visa, you must have lived in the UK for three years solely under this visa category. You cannot include time spent in the UK on any other type of visa. Additionally, you'll need a new endorsement demonstrating that you've met the requirements for expanding your business.

Five-Year Routes

Skilled Worker Visa

Individuals with a Skilled Worker visa can pursue ILR after five years of living and working in the UK. To be eligible, you must meet specific salary requirements, maintain your job, and continue to meet salary criteria after obtaining ILR, which typically involves receiving a confirmation from your employer (sponsor).

Global Talent Visa (Exceptional Promise)

If Arts Council England or Tech Nation endorsed you as an emerging leader with "exceptional promise," you can apply for ILR after five years.

Moreover, if you hold a Global Talent visa, you can count any time spent on certain other visas toward your UK residence requirements, such as Tier 1, Tier 2, Scale-up Worker, Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), International Sportsperson, Innovator Founder, and Representative of an Overseas Business visas.

Family Routes

The family route presents yet another pathway to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, typically within five years. Eligibility for ILR through this route depends on your familial circumstances, including relationships as a partner, parent, child, or adult dependent.

Spouse/Partner Visa (for example)

One of the common applications within the family route is the Spouse/Partner Visa.

If you possess a family visa as a partner or spouse, and your partner is settled in the UK (either as a British citizen or someone with ILR), you may apply for ILR. To qualify, you must have been living in the UK as a partner for at least five continuous years (in the case of the five-year route). Your current visa should be based on your relationship, whether it's a marriage, civil partnership, or a relationship that mimics a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years. Furthermore, you must have lived together since your last visa renewal and intend to continue your relationship after applying.

 10-Year Routes

If you've been in the UK legally for a continuous period of 10 years (referred to as "long residence"), you may be eligible for ILR. Your residence can encompass various immigration categories or a combination of different immigration categories. Continuous residence means that you have not had any gaps in your legal stay in the UK.

During your continuous residence, you can leave the UK for up to 184 days at a time or a total of 548 days in total.

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Alexandra Mokrova

Alexandra Mokrova

Co-founder of Emigral, Immigration Lawyer