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Indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Permanent residency, or indefinite leave to remain (ILR), allows you to remain in the UK for an indefinite period. The main condition of this status is that you can prove you intend
to remain present and settled in the UK.

Live and work in the UK for an indefinite period

ILR is a form of permanent residency and allows you to work in the UK while also allowing you to exit and re-enter the country with no restrictions.

You may apply for ILR under any of the following circumstances:

  • After five continuous years on a Spousal visa
  • Shortly prior to the expiry of a five year Ancestry visa
  • After having held work permit status in the UK for five years
  • Once having legally spent a continuous 10 years in the UK
  • Once having spent a continuous five years in the UK as an investor
  • Once having spent a continuous five years as a dependant (married partner, unmarried partner, child under 18 or under 18 when first applied) under the points-based system
  • Once having spent a continuous five years in the UK as a writer, composer or artist
  • Once having spent a continuous five years in the UK as a retired person of independent means

The criteria for applying for ILR are:

  • You must pass the “Life in the UK Test”
  • You must pass an English language test

Applying for British citizenship

After spending 12 months on ILR, you may be eligible to naturalise as a British citizen and gain UK citizenship. Read through our section on British naturalisation.

Losing your ILR status

If you leave the country for a continuous period of two years or more, it is usually determined that you are no longer present and settled and your ILR status can be revoked.


Contact our immigration team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2180

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7580

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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