Can l lose my permanent residence status UK?

Permanent Residence (which is also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain) means that a person can live and work in the UK for an indefinite period of time once they have been granted this immigration status. 

There are many ways someone can receive this status, and we consult clients on a weekly basis to discuss their path to permanent residence in the UK. However, at the same time, permanent residence in the UK can be taken away subject to certain scenarios and situations. It is also very common for clients applying for permanent residence in the UK to also ask our legal team the question, can l lose my permanent residence status UK? 

Continuous residence in the UK is crucial to keeping your ILR status intact. Being outside the UK for more than two years can lead to losing this status. If you wish to travel to the UK, re-enter the UK, or return to the UK after a lengthy absence, you may face challenges with your status.

An EU/EEA National or Swiss citizen with settled status ( permanent residence/ indefinite leave to enter or remain), under the EU settlement scheme, can be a way for up to 5 years from the UK consecutively without losing such status, whereas if such a person has pre-settled status, that status can be lost if the person is away from the UK for more than two consecutive years. Furthermore, with pre-settled status, the period of ‘ continuous residence( in the hope of getting settled status after a residence of 5 years), is reset to 0 if the pre-settled holder spends over six months abroad in any 12 month period.

A non-EU/EEA National who has permanent residence will lose that status if remaining outside the UK for more than two years consecutively. 

Any exceptions?

There may be good reasons for having stayed out of the UK for more than the permitted period, and since the Home Office have a discretion they can at times exercise favourably, much would therefore depend on the reasons for the absences. 

Any other reasons why permanent residence or settled status can be lost?

A deportation order against a foreign criminal can result in the loss of permanent residence or settled status. Opposing the deportation order on human rights grounds can be dealt with however during the appeal process in the Asylum and immigration tribunal.

Permanent residence / settled status can also be lost if the Home Office considers the status was obtained fraudulently, for example by using fake documents to show continuous ten years lawful residence, or by acting in a fraudulent manner during the course of the person’s immigration journey in the UK such as taking a required English language test via a proxy, under-declaring tax payments to the HM RC, or over declaring salary to the Home Office to score points during that immigration journey, these matters coming to light after the grant of permanent residence or settled status. 

Permanent residence through a spouse or partner

If a person has obtained permanent residence due to marriage / civil partnership after a five year temporary period in this category under the immigration rules, the Home Office will not revoke the grant of such status if there is an allegation by the other spouse or civil partner that the relationship has broken down, divorce proceedings have commenced or concluded in a decree absolute, or that the other party only married for immigration purposes and for no other reason. Once permanent residence has been obtained, it’s too late for these arguments to be made by the aggrieved spouse or civil partner. The same applies to those unmarried partners who have obtained permanent residence after a relationship of 5 years.

For more info on the process of maintaining your Indefinite Leave to Remain, reach out to our immigration lawyers and solicitors in London

What are the consequences of losing indefinite leave to remain (ILR)?

Losing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK can greatly affect a person’s life, resulting in a complicated and difficult situation. This matter requires careful thought and a thorough understanding of the UK’s immigration rules. Below are some of the significant outcomes individuals should be aware of:

  1. Loss of Right to Stay and Work in the UK: Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK permits a person to live and work without any restrictions. Losing this status may restrict your ability to work in the UK and even affect your ability to stay in the UK.
  2. Impact on Family in the UK: If you have family in the UK, losing ILR may affect their immigration status as well, especially if they were depending on your settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  3. Effects on British Citizenship Application: If you were eligible to apply for British citizenship, losing ILR could cease this process. Continuous 5-year residence in the UK (sometimes more) is often required to apply for British citizenship, and losing ILR may reset this clock.
  4. Legal Repercussions: Losing ILR may also trigger legal proceedings, especially if the loss is due to fraud, criminal activities, or breaching immigration rules. In such cases, you might lose your indefinite leave, face deportation, or struggle to be back to the UK under current UK law.

Losing ILR might mean uprooting your life in the UK, impacting ties to the UK, and affecting future plans to stay permanently in the UK. So, it’s important to plan your time outside the UK and make sure you do not breach any of the immigration rules to keep your ILR status intact.

Learn more about the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Services

Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK is a significant landmark in an individual’s journey towards settling in the UK. It is more than just an immigration status; it symbolises a commitment to live, presenting the right to live in the UK without limitations and paving the route to apply for British citizenship.

Our team of qualified and experienced lawyers and solicitors, proficient in the nuances of UK immigration rules and the EU settlement scheme, understand the complex eligibility criteria of ILR, including the 5-year residence in the UK requirement. Whether you’re looking to apply for settled status, or need to apply for a permanent residence card, we can guide you through the process.

We are also well-versed in scenarios where you may need to remain outside the UK without losing your settled status or if you’re returning resident after an absence from the UK. We can also assist you in the unfortunate event that you lose your indefinite leave status, guiding you on how to apply for settled status anew or how to maintain your rights to live and work in the UK.

To learn more about our ILR services ⇒Click here


Yes, a permanent residency in the UK can be withdrawn under particular circumstances. This can happen if the holder is found to have obtained the status through fabrication or deception, has committed serious crimes, or has been absent from the UK for a constant period of more than 2 years without significant ties. 

A person with ILR can be refused entry to the UK if they have engaged in serious criminal offences or activities against the public interest or violated particular immigration rules. A detailed legal examination is needed in these rare cases.

Settled status is specific to EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens who moved to the UK prior to 31 December 2020. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a broader status applicable to non-EU citizens. Both are granted the right to live and work in the UK, but the application process and eligibility criteria may vary.

You can be expelled from the UK even if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Reasons for deportation can include engaging in criminal exercises, posing a danger to national security, or if the Home Office doubts that the ILR status was obtained through dishonest means.

Immigration authorities track entries and exits primarily through passport scans at the border, the Advance Passenger Information provided by airlines, and cooperation with international immigration authorities. Your departure details are recorded and updated in their system each time you cross the border.