ILR (indefinite leave to remain) or British citizenship? Although both guarantee you an unrestricted stay in the UK, there are significant differences between the two that might affect how you experience your trip there. Although you are permitted to work and study in the UK while holding an ILR status, the country does not recognize you as a citizen. You cannot vote or participate in the government’s internal affairs, therefore.
In this article, we will discuss ILR aka Permanent residence and British citizenship in length.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Permanent Residence (PR) is another name for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Foreign nationals who are given indefinite leave to remain are able to live and work in the UK without any limitations.
The following visa types may result in Indefinite Leave to Remain:
- Visa for a spouse or unmarried partner (after 2 years for visas issued prior to 9 July 2012)
- UK Skilled worker visa (after 5 years)
- British ancestry visa (after 5 years)
- EU citizens and their dependents (after 5 years)
- Long-term stay (after 10 years of legal residency in the UK)
ILR Requirement Criteria
You must satisfy the following requirements in order to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain:
- You need to have lived continuously in the UK for five years and meet certain income standards.
- Keep careful track of any time spent away from the UK during the last five years. Prolonged absences may have an influence on your application.
- You must pass the Life in the UK examination, a mandatory 45-minute exam designed for foreign nationals seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK or naturalization as a British citizen, to prove that you have a solid understanding of the language and daily life in the UK.
How can we distinguish ILR from British Citizenship?
People commonly believe that British citizenship and Indefinite Leave to Remain (which is also referred to as Permanent residence) are interchangeable. Although the two agreements’ terms and conditions considerably match, there are a few important differences that one cannot ignore.
Both possessing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship grant you the ability to live and work in the United Kingdom for an endless amount of time, but the primary distinction between the two is the collection of benefits that each bestows. ILR gives you the freedom to live and work in the UK for an unlimited period of time, but it does not grant you the same rights as a citizen of the country.
The bearer of an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status is allowed to remain in the UK indefinitely. ILR holders are not required to get prior authorization to live, work, or study in the UK. They have access to benefits and healthcare, and they may be able to sponsor certain members of their families to move to the UK from abroad. Children of ILR holders who give birth in the UK are immediately British citizens.
Notably, if someone has ILR status, their status can be terminated and they can be deported.
The ILR holder risks losing their status if they consistently reside outside of the UK for two years or longer (their status would lapse). They could need to apply for a new visa to enter the UK if their ILR status expires. In contrast, British citizenship cannot be lost during any duration of absence from the UK; it can only be revoked in the most extreme cases.
British citizenship – Benefits and how to apply for it
Since you must first establish residency before submitting an application for British citizenship, acquiring the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status is crucial if you wish to become a citizen of the UK. You can apply for British citizenship after you hold ILR status for at least a year and satisfy all other requirements. If you are married to a citizen, you do not need to wait a year, though.
While many foreign nationals are content with their ILR status, applying for British citizenship has several benefits. Once you have naturalized as a British citizen, you will enjoy the same rights as any other citizen of the UK. If you are a British citizen, you are eligible to vote and run for office in all UK elections. You will also be allowed to apply for a British passport, something you cannot do with ILR. There are no limitations on immigration, so you can move freely inside the country and beyond it for whatever length you wish.
Prerequisite for obtaining British citizenship
To achieve the residence requirements, you must not leave the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period while you are in the country on a visa. You should also keep an eye on your moral standing because it will be considered when processing your citizenship application.
While you were there, you were required to abide by the law and defend the UK’s rights and liberties. Paying your income tax and National Insurance contributions are a few examples of what this includes.
Requesting a British passport following ILR
After receiving ILR status, you may be qualified to apply for British citizenship after a year. You could even be able to apply right away for naturalization as a British citizen if you are married to a citizen of that country.
Before submitting an application for naturalization, be sure you satisfy the conditions. You can then apply for your first British passport after becoming a naturalized British citizen.
Contact AY & J Solicitors for assistance
Do you need help submitting your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship? At AY & J Solicitors, we have immigration attorneys at your disposal. Please get in touch with us if you want further details.
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