Settling in the UK - Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and citizenship


Settling means you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions.


If an individual is an EU/EEA or Swiss national who was residing in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 they can obtain settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme once they have been in the UK for 5 years. Prior to this they can obtain pre-settled status.

EU/EEA or Swiss nationals in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 are normally eligible to apply for citizenship after 3 – 5 years of residence depending on their individual circumstances. However, if entering the UK after 31st December 2020 they would likely require a Skilled Worker visa and would therefore not be able to apply for citizenship after 3 – 5 years, depending on their circumstances, and would need to use the ILR route outlined below.

Other overseas nationals from outside the EU/EEA can apply for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ (ILR). They are normally eligible after 3 -5 years of residence depending on their individual circumstances. The Home Office guidance pages will help to determine when an individual is eligible to apply.

There are additional requirements for those on Tier 2/Skilled Worker visas and details can be found on the Home Office website.

All ILR/citizenship applicants must evidence their 'Knowledge of life and language' which consists of the English language requirement and the Life in the UK test.

If any support is needed with an ILR application, please contact the Staff Immigration Team. Sponsored workers will need a reference letter to go with their application which can be provided on request.


Settling in the UK processes can take up to 6 months and the individual will not be able to leave the country during this time.

Further information

There is further information to view on rights and status in the UK when you have ILR.


Last updated 26/5/2023