Indefinite Leave to Remain: Settling in the UK

The UK immigration rules allow various categories of migrant nationals to settle in the UK. This is known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR), but is also referred to as settlement and permanent residence, and is the right to remain in the UK with no time limit or restriction on employment or business activity.

Before ILR can be granted, a migrant has to satisfy various requirements - one of which is to show that they have sufficient knowledge of English/Welsh/Scottish Gaelic, and of life in the UK. The expert solicitors at JMW are specialists in helping migrants settle in the UK, and have extensive knowledge of the legislation related to immigration.

To speak to a solicitor about settling in the UK, get in touch with JMW by calling 0345 872 6666, or by filling in our online enquiry form to arrange for a member of the immigration team to get back to you. 

How JMW Can Help

As specialists in UK immigration law, we will thoroughly review your documents to ensure your application for permanent residence is successful. Our immigration lawyers are proud of their extremely high success rate, and can offer a full service to clients who require advice and assistance with their applications for ILR.

Making an Application for Settlement in the UK

Applications can be made in the following categories:

Spouse or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK

You can qualify for ILR as the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner of a British citizen or someone who is settled here, following the completion of the initial five-year probationary period.

Employed in the UK for the past five years

Settlement can be granted for those who have been living in the UK under one or more of the following categories for the past five years:

  • Tier 1 of the points-based system (investors, entrepreneurs and exceptional talent migrants)
  • Tier 2 of the points-based system (general, sportspeople and ministers of religion)
  • Sole representative of an overseas business
  • A private servant in a diplomatic household
  • A domestic worker in a private household

Tier 1 investors and entrepreneurs can benefit from an accelerated route to settlement if certain conditions have been met, such as the size of the investment made, which is as follows:

  • £10 million investment - two years to settlement
  • £5 million investment - three years to settlement
  • £2 million investment - five years to settlement

Investors and entrepreneurs will be able to apply for IRL after three years if the company has generated a £5 million turnover, or has created 10 full-time roles for resident workers for at least 12 months. Alternatively, an application can be made after five years.

For skilled workers employed under Tier 2 of the points-based system, a minimum required income will need to be satisfied when applying for settlement. This means that applicants must be paid at least a minimum salary of £35,800 from 6th April 2019 in order to qualify for ILR. This will rise in 2020 to £36,200 and increase to £36,900 in 2021.

In all cases of settlements related to employment, applicants should not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12-month period.


If you have been granted leave as an innovator, you may be able to settle in the UK after three years if you meet certain milestones for your business.

Global Talent migrant

If you have been granted leave as a Global Talent migrant, you would be able to settle in the UK once you have been in the country for:

  • three years with an exceptional talent visa
  • three years with an exceptional talent endorsement in science
  • three years with an endorsement under the UKRI-endorsed funder scheme
  • five years with an exceptional promise in either arts and culture or digital technology

Been a resident in the UK for a long time

Applicants who have been long-time residents in the UK must be able to show evidence of 10 years of continuous and lawful residence in order to qualify for settlement in the UK.

Family members of a settled resident

Specific relatives that are dependent on a settled person currently living in the UK can apply for indefinite leave to remain. These include:

  • Children aged under 18
  • An adopted child aged under 18
  • A parent, grandparent or another dependent relative aged 18 or over

Settlement applications can also be made for people under the following categories:

  • UK ancestry
  • A dependant of somebody under the points-based system
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • A sole representative of an overseas firm
  • Bereaved partners
  • Nationals of Turkey, Romania or Bulgaria established in business on the basis of the European Community (EC) Association Agreement
  • Persons granted exceptional leave to remain, discretionary leave or humanitarian protection 

Talk to Us

If you’re looking to settle in the UK permanently, our solicitors can help you make a successful application. Contact us by calling 0345 872 6666 or by filling in our online enquiry form to request for a member of the immigration team to get back to you.  

Let us contact you


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