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Indefinite Leave to Remain: The Ten Year Route to Settlement

The Gateway to British Citizenship

Indefinite Leave to Remain (10 years) means that a person no longer needs to apply to extend their leave in the UK. They are allowed to stay here indefinitely - they are 'settled' in the UK. It is the most secure immigration status in the UK except for British Citizenship. It is also known as a Long Residence application.

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after ten years if you have lived lawfully - that is with legal immigration status - for ten years in the United Kingdom without long periods abroad. Your immigration status can have been in one immigration category or a combination of different immigration categories.

If you are aged between 18 and 65 years old, you will need to pass two tests. These are the Life in the UK Test and an English Language test.

You must still satisfy all the requirements needed for your current visa status when you apply. 

Here are some examples of someone eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain:

  • A person who has been granted leave to remain as the partner of a British Citizen over a period of 10 years and has always extended their leave before their current leave expires
  • A person who was in the UK initially as a student for 3 years, then as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant for 4 years and then as the partner of a British citizen for 3 years

Your 10-year qualifying period starts from either:

  • when you arrived in the UK with a visa
  • when you were given permission to stay in the UK

Without Indefinite Leave to Remain you cannot apply for British Citizenship on this route. If you are married to a British Citizen, you can apply for British Citizenship as soon as you are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you are not, you must wait 12 months before applying for Citizenship.

Working with us to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (10 years)

We can calculate when you are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and assess whether you are likely to be successful. After an initial consultation, we will advise you and list the documents we need from you. Having prepared the application with all the correct evidence, we write legal representations to the Home Office to ensure your application is properly considered by the Home Office. We submit the application on your behalf. We do all the hard work and you can be sure that the application is as strong as possible.

At Immigration Legal Services, we work on a fixed fee basis. We do not work by adding up the hours we spend on your matter and then charging you. We give you a price for the job beforehand. So we are transparent about our costs and you have certainty. See our costs page.

How does the process work?

Once your application is submitted, you will need to visit a visa application centre near you to have your fingerprints and photo taken. The decision will take up to six months to come from the Home Office. You will receive a Biometric Residence Card that proves your new Indefinite Leave to Remain status.

"We cannot thank Angela Cole and her assistant Karen enough for their professional help and guidance. They work to speed but certainly do not cut any corners!"

Cat Farinos

We offer a special discount if you instruct us to do both your Indefinite Leave to Remain application and a subsequent British Citizen Application. See our costs page.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have lived in the UK as the partner of a British Citizen for ten years but last year I recently spent over six months in India where my family live. Will this affect my application?

Yes. Your residence in the UK is broken if you spend over 180 days outside the UK in a 12 month period (or 540 days over the whole 10 year period). Unless there are work-related or compelling reasons for the absences, you may not be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

I cannot pass the Life in the UK test having tried six times. I do not have any learning disabilities and I am 40 years old.

You will need to apply for more 'limited' leave to remain until you can pass the test or you reach the age of 65. In certain circumstances and with very specific evidence, you might be able to apply without the tests if you have lived in the UK for 15 years or more.

I have lived here for 15 years. I came here as a visitor and just stayed when my visit visa ran out. Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

No. As you have lived in the UK without permission for most of your time here, you cannot apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Get in touch
The Gateway to British Citizenship
If you want to know more or if you are unsure whether you are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, call us or email. We offer an initial free 20 minute advice session with one of our team.
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