Applying for ILR After 5 Years of Residence in the UK


Applying for ILR after 5 years - What You Need to Know

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years of residence in the UK is possible if you meet a certain set of criteria. This includes being in the UK for a continuous amount of time, known as continuous residence, which can only be achieved under an accepted visa route. If this is the case, then you might be able to apply for ILR after 5 years.

Let’s Discuss Your Query

Call us on 020 7269 9590 or Fill in our form

Having the status of indefinite leave to remain in the UK comes with great benefits as it will allow you to come and go as you please and have no restrictions on the time you spend outside of the country as long as you do not stay outside the UK for a straight two year period. Moreover, those individuals who have managed to obtain ILR in the UK can apply for UK citizenship after one year. Based on that, having ht status of ILR is obviously highly beneficial as it will enhance your life and freedom to travel in and out of the UK. However, the application process can be quite complicated as applicants must show much proof of their eligibility and fully meet the criteria. Henceforth, suppose you are seeking to make an application for ILR. In that case, it is always advisable to seek legal advice from an immigration lawyer or solicitor to make sure that you will qualify with no issues. This is because getting an application rejected may require you to go through a complicated appeal process which may be stressful and not ideal. 

In this article, we will outline how one can go about applying for ILR after 5 years. If you feel that the information outlined describes your personal situation, you can always reach out to us to confirm before starting an application yourself.

Applying for ILR after 5 years – Which Visa Categories Can I Do This With?

If you want to apply for ILR after 5 years, the required continuous period will depend on your current immigration status. For many categories, visa holders only need 5 years in the UK. However, some visa categories need less time and some more. Below is a list of these categories separated by the years needed.

Less than 5 years

  • Innovator Visa (3 years)
  • Investor Visa (2, 3, or 5 years depending on the amount that was invested)
  • Entrepreneur (2 , 3 or 5 years, depending on what business you carried out in the UK)
  • Global Talent Visa (3 years)
  • Returning resident (if you have lived in the UK previously and have returned in 3 years)

5 Years

More than 5 Years

How Does the Continuous Residence Requirement Apply?

Appendix Continuous Residence came into effect in December 2020 and explained how the continuous residence requirement is applied to foreign nationals in the UK on any of the above visas.

It states that ILR will be refused by the Home Office to applicants if they do not meet the continuous residence period set out in the immigration rules. The continuous residence period is the time between your entry clearance and actually entering the UK. 

How Long Can I Spend Outside the UK?

In order to apply for ILR after five years (or an eligible period depending on your visa category), you will need to prove in your application that in the 12 months before your application, you have not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK. This includes counting the time you take for short trips outside the country, which will all need to be counted towards the 180-day limit. A day in these calculations is counted as 24 hours, so if you leave in the morning and return in the evening, this does not count as a day.

If you are on a work visa, your absences must be accounted for with regard to your work, so do make sure that if you miss any working days, your employer knows this, as it is important information for them to uphold the integrity of their sponsor license. This also includes paid annual leave that you take from your job. If you are employed, any absences from work will count towards the 180-day limit each year. If your primary employment is outside of the UK, then any absences for that job are not considered permitted absences and will break your continuous residency period. 

Get Expert Advice from our Legal Team​

Call us on 020 7269 9590 or Fill in our form

In some specific cases, usually due to extenuating circumstances such as travel related to the original purpose for entry into the UK or a serious emergency, excessive absences may be allowed and will not add up towards the 180-day limit. These can include an illness of a relative, a natural disaster or something of this nature. In any case, if you will be seeking to demonstrate extenuating circumstances with regard to your absence in the UK, then you will need to prove this in your ILR application.

If your absences are job-related, then our immigration lawyers London recommend getting a letter from your employer specifying the reasons for the absences and how much annual leave you’re entitled to. If you have only taken short visits outside of the United Kingdom, your employer must provide evidence that confirms your normal working pattern and provides proof that the absences occurred during a time when you are not expected to be working.

In short, respecting the 180-day rule and being able to prove that you have not been absent from the UK for longer than a 180-day period will ensure that your application has a high chance of success.

What Happens If Your Application Does not Meet the 5-year Continuous Period?

For instance, if you are given 5 years of consecutive leave to enter but don’t actually enter the UK until weeks after your visa was issued, you haven’t technically completed 5 years in the UK. This would make it so that you wouldn’t meet the requirements for ILR status.

Some applicants may have been granted 5 years of continuous leave but will not actually spend five full years in the UK before their current leave expires. Caseworkers will include the time between when entry clearance was acquired and the date the applicant entered the UK in the five years, as long as this period of time is three months or less. Take this into account if you did not enter the UK up to 28 days after your visa was issued.

What About My Dependents?

If either or both parents have a valid ILR, their children under 18 can apply for one, too, regardless of how long they have been in the UK. If your children are on dependant visas, they will need to apply for ILR when you do. If they do not, then it will mean that they will lose their dependent status and will have to wait another five years before applying independently.

Applying for ILR After 5 Years as a Spouse

Applying for ILR after 5 years as a spouse also will need you to meet some requirements. If you are the spouse of a British citizen or someone with settled status, you can apply for an ILR after 5 years as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. You will need to show that your relationship is still genuine and subsisting, that you have adequate accommodation in the UK, and that you are financially self-sufficient. You will also need to pass the life in the UK Test and prove your English language proficiency.

When applying for an ILR based on your relationship, you will need to provide evidence that:

-You hold a valid visa

-You have been living in the UK for 5 years consecutively

-You are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone with settled status

-Your relationship is genuine and subsisting

-You have adequate accommodation in the UK

-You are financially self-sufficient

-You have passed the life in the UK Test before making the application

-You can prove your English language proficiency

How can Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Help?

Applying for ILR after 5 years or any other period of time can be complex and confusing, with a lot of paperwork involved. Our solicitors can take care of the entire application process for you from start to finish, ensuring that your application is strong and has the best chance possible of success. We will also be on hand to answer any questions that you may have throughout the process. We’re known to manage and process settlement, citizenship, and naturalization applications deftly and quickly and have a very respected reputation for immigration and nationality law within London and all over the UK.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your ILR application.

Ask our Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.

    Share This Post


    Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. This site uses reCAPTCHA and is protected by the Google privacy policy and terms of service.