Let’s clear the air on a common confusion over differentiating an indefinite leave to remain in the UK from British Citizenship. This understanding will be very helpful for you before you plan your UK immigration.
First, let’s see what Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is.
ILR grants its holder the freedom to stay in the UK for an unlimited time. He/she can live or work in UK with no restrictions applied. ILR also gives its holder the ability to leave and enter the UK with no restriction.
ILR is not a status you can obtain automatically. You have to apply for it after becoming qualified to do so which can be achieved if:
- You complete 5 years of stay in the UK and apply via an Ancestral Visa route
- You complete 5 years of stay in the UK as a spouse of a UK resident/citizen and then apply for a UK Spouse visa
- You complete 5 years in the UK as a Skilled Worker, fulfilling the criteria for minimum income threshold
- You legally be in the UK for 10 continuous years and become eligible through long residence stays
- You try accelerated paths to the ILR like the Global Talent Visa where you meet specific criteria
The downside with ILR is that it can be revoked. For instance, if you stay for over 2 years outside the UK, you will become ineligible for the ILR and hence it will be revoked.
Now let’s look at what British Citizenship will hold for you.
You can apply for British citizenship after living for at least 5 years in the UK and have held any of the following statuses for a year (12 months):
- Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (which means the permission to move to the UK from abroad permanently)
- A Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
Other criteria you will have to meet to be eligible for British citizenship include:
- Having taken the KoLL test
- An intention to continue living in the UK
- Up-to-date maintenance of tax affairs and national insurance
- Having good character
- Satisfy criteria under travel restrictions such as:
- Not spending over 450 days outside the UK in the 5 years prior to the application for citizenship
- Not spending over 90 days outside the UK in the past 12 months
Once you get British citizenship, you can apply for a British passport and have all benefits granted for a person who took birth in the UK. And unlike the ILR, British Citizenship is permanent.
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ILR – Indefinite Leave to Remain
KoLL – Knowledge of Life and Language