Apply for ILR after 5 Years

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) offers migrants stability in the right to permanently reside in the UK. There are multiple routes towards obtaining ILR, although a popular option is to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, wherein migrants residing in the UK on certain Visas can apply for permanent UK residence and potentially work towards British Citizenship.

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The 5-year Route to Indefinite Leave to Remain

The answer to the question, can I apply for ILR after 5 years, also referred to as permanent residence or settlement, allows migrants to reside in the UK without having to extend their Visas. It presents opportunities such as a path to citizenship and provides security for foreign workers. Applying for 5-year ILR is popular as it is open to a wider range of Visa categories, including Family Visas, Work Visas, Business Visas and Dependents.

Who Can Apply for a 5-year Route to ILR


There are Work and Business Visas that allow migrants to pursue an ILR after 5 years towards Indefinite Leave to Remain; professional business people such as investors and innovators who are bringing money into the UK economy can gain 5-year ILR. An investor must have invested £2 million into the UK economy, and innovators must meet all of the requirements stipulated in their Endorsement and business plan which can depend from case to case

Workers can also apply for ILR after 5 years by combining different qualifying immigration categories with application options available for Skilled Worker Visas and those at the top of their respective fields residing in the UK through a Global Talent Visa.

Additionally, there are 5-year route to settlement options for others who are residing in the UK on their respective Visas for different kinds of work, like International Sportsperson Visa and Minister of Religion Visa.


Another Visa category used for ILR after 5 years is the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business that allows representatives of businesses in the UK to work here and expand their business in contributing to the UK economy through trade.


The 5-year route to settlement is a popular route for migrant families and dependants, with applications available for those who are the spouse, civil partner, proposed civil partner, and unmarried partner of a permanent UK resident.

There are also ways to apply for ILR after 5 years for both the parents and children of UK residents, in addition to those who hold Ancestry Visa (i.e., grandchildren, etc).

Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers who have resided in the UK for 5 years and are here as a result of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, and political opinion as well as anything else that puts them at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in their country can also apply for 5-year ILR

Indefinite Leave to Remain After 5-Year Route Requirements

You must meet certain requirements for your application for 5-year ILR to be granted. The foremost requirement is 5 years of lawful residence in the UK on a qualifying Visa. Once you have almost completed your five years and while planning to apply for 5-year ILR, consider the following additional requirements which must be met. For example, you must:

  • Pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Meet the English language test or qualification requirements
  • Must also be able to prove that you have fulfilled all the requirements stipulated in your Visa, which can vary depending on the route that you have applied for

Without passing the Life in the UK test (LUK which proves your Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK (KOLL) is of an acceptable standard, you will not be able to take on the process of applying for 5-year ILR.

Additionally, there are further language requirements that must be met, you must achieve an English test certificate or qualification above the CEFR Level B1.

Please note that there are some exceptions for which people would be exempt to meet these requirements for 5-year ILR.

Once passing these tests, you will not have to retake them for an application towards British Citizenship.

Requirements for Continuous Residence

Questions about how to apply for ILR after 5 years concern everyone who wishes to have the opportunity to reside in the United Kingdom permanently. However, not everyone is aware that there are government requirements that must be strictly adhered to. These requirements include:

  • Continuous lawful residence in the country for five years.
  • Absence from the country for no more than 180 days in a 12-month period.
  • Proof of being a resident in the country, examples depending on your circumstances:
  • Employment documents.
  • Housing rental documents.
  • Business documents (for self-employed individuals).
  • No criminal convictions.
  • No history of breaching immigration rules.

This scheme for applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years assesses the candidate's level of integration into the economic and cultural life of the country without being a burden on public funds.

Absences Which Will Not Break the Continuous Period

However, even in cases of not meeting the requirements for applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, there are exceptions that may not break the required continuous period for 5-year ILR. Circumstances where we may request for the Home Office's discretion include:

  • Compelling reasons such as hospitalization or unavoidable medical grounds.
  • Extending a Visa before the expiry of the previous one.
  • Minimal overstaying with good reasons beyond your control.

Short-term working and non-working (weekends) trips

Normal and temporary trips are not counted as breaks in the application for ILR during the 5-year period. This includes annual leave or holidays for tourism purposes or business trips, which are documented and approved by the employer.

Valid reasons, such as natural disasters, illness, conflicts, etc.

Suppose a person is stuck in another country due to a natural disaster, illness, conflict, etc. In that case, we may request the Home Office's discretion to exclude such absences from 180 days of allowed breaks in the Indefinite Leave to Remain application. For example, if a non-resident gets caught in a conflict zone, cannot leave, falls seriously ill, or suffers a sudden bereavement.

Absence due to a crisis

If a person is stranded outside the UK due to a complex pandemic restriction, volcanic eruption, flooding, etc.. In that case, we may ask the Home Office's discretion in considering these absences when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years.

So, if you're wondering, “Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years?” the answer is yes, you can, if comprehensive evidence and strong legal arguments are provided to explain your history and circumstances based on the rules and any permitted exceptions.

ILR After 5 Years by Combining Different Immigration Categories

The UK's immigration system offers a unique flexibility that many may not be aware of. It is indeed possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years by combining different immigration categories in certain applications, allowing applicants to stitch together their journey towards permanent residency.

In the realm of professional and talent-based immigration, several categories can be intertwined to meet the 5-year continuous residence requirement in some ILR applications. Specifically, individuals under the

routes can combine their years of residence in qualifying applications. Additionally, those who held leave as Tier 1 Migrants (such as Investor Visa or Entrepreneur Visa), excluding the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant category, may also be part of this combination, offering a diverse range of professionals the opportunity to achieve ILR.

Diving into the more personal aspects of immigration, the 10 years' route granted under Family Life, Private Life or Human Rights grounds offers another avenue for combination. This includes those with permission under

In conclusion, the UK's approach to continuous residence for ILR is both accommodating and inclusive. By understanding the potential combinations available, immigrants can navigate their path to permanent residency with greater clarity and confidence.

When Should I Apply for ILR Under the 5-Year Route?

You may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain just before or after completing the qualifying 5-year period. Typically applicants would put forth their ILR after 5 years application before the expiry of their Visa or 28 days before the completion of your residential period depending on their current residence plan.

As a team of knowledgeable professionals with ample experience in the immigration law field, we can help put forth a timely and well-presented application that will get you a higher chance of success in your pursuit of Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years.

How to Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain After Five Years

First of all, pay attention to the requirements for applying for 5-year ILR and the categories (routes) that allow you to assimilate into the UK.

When applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, you must submit documents confirming your continuous stay in the country, and the absence of travel outside the country (up to 180 days in 12 months).

How QC Immigration Can Help With Your ILR After 5-Year Application

To obtain ILR after 5 years by completing a single route or combining different immigration categories, it is key to have a strong application on top of the tests and Visa stipulations that you must pass. The team at QC Immigration will provide you with assistance and guidance in creating a strong case that will help the Home Office make a decision. We offer friendly and thorough assistance that will ensure that your application is as strong as it can be with all of the relevant and important documentation submitted in a timely and professional manner. Please send us an email or book a consultation with our highly experienced team.

How Does the Process Work?

We help you get Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years using our expertise and tried-and-tested strategies. With our experience, you will no longer need to ask yourself, "Can I apply for 5-year ILR?". Our help looks as follows:

  • We will consider your personal questions: "When is the earliest I can apply for ILR?"
  • We will collect your documents and study the current terms for applying for ILR after a 5-year qualifying residence.
  • We will prepare a plan for you to obtain ILR after 5 years, whether you may use a single route or can combine different immigration categories.
  • We will support you throughout the entire process of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, including completing any form and checking your documents.
  • We will represent you in answering any questions from the Home Office, or help you to prepare for any interview, until we receive a decision.

‍Our services include not only consulting but also direct participation in applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years. Simply book a consultation with us, and we will help you with the application process for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 5 years' route.


What are the advantages of obtaining ILR compared to other immigration statuses?

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Can I apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years?

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What is the difference between 5 year and 10 year route?

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How long before 5 years can I apply for ILR?

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Can dependents be included in the ILR application after 5 years, and what's the process for that?

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What documents do I need to provide for ILR?

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Can I apply for ILR after 5 years on Tier 4?

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Can I apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years on a spouse visa?

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