Long-term residence

United Kingdom

Country Report: Long-term residence Last updated: 24/04/24


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In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain, applicants must have held refugee or humanitarian protection leave for a continuous period of 5 years which must not have been revoked or not renewed. The Rules also enable the Home Office to delay granting settlement to those with a criminal history or where there is any evidence of extremist behaviours that run contrary to British values, either permanently or for set periods of time depending on the severity of the crime or behaviour. In these cases, the application for settlement may be refused but if the applicant is still in need of international protection, additional periods of time limited leave may be granted.[1]

The legal framework for withdrawal of indefinite leave is Section 76 of the NIAA 2002.[2] Indefinite leave (ILR) will be taken from a person or considered to have lapsed when that person:

  • Is liable to deportation or administrative removal but cannot be deported or removed because of the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention or the ECHR (ILR is revoked);
  • Has obtained leave by deception (ILR is revoked);
  • Is deported from the UK (ILR is invalidated);
  • Ceases to be a refugee because of their own actions (ILR is revoked);
  • Remains outside of the UK for more than two years (ILR lapses).

The guidance on revoking indefinite leave to remain was amended in 2023.[3]

In 2023, 29,676 refugees obtained indefinite leave to remain.[4]




[1] See Home Office, Settlement for people on a protection route (refugee status / humanitarian protection), 6 October 2021, available at: http://bit.ly/2kSFC3n, Section 7.

[2] Section 76, Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, available at: https://bit.ly/3I8NZDN.  

[3] Home Office, Revoking indefinite leave to remain in the UK, last updated October 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3Ih3V5p.

[4] Home Office, Immigration system statistics data tables, Settlement detailed datasets, year ending December 2023, table Se_D01, available at: https://tinyurl.com/bdhnwfkr.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection