ILR 2 Year Absence
Indefinite Leave to Remain After 2 Years Absence
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a highly sought-after status in the UK as it allows holders to live
and work in the UK while being free from immigration restrictions. With this status, you are able to
participate in UK life as though you are a British national.
However, it vastly differs from full British Citizenship as ILR status still comes with some strict rules
and regulations. The main difference is that while UK citizenship is granted for life and with no
restrictions whatsoever, ILR has an expiry date and can be revoked in some circumstances.
So, let’s take a look at what may happen to your ILR status after 2 years of absence.
What are the ILR absence and expiry rules?
LR is granted to applicants who can meet a set of specific criteria, otherwise known as the ILR
requirements. One such requirement dictates that applicants must intend to make the UK their
permanent home, and some applicants include a statement of this intention when submitting their
documents to the Home Office.
And although ILR holders are free to come and go from the UK as they please, the status will become
void after two continuous years outside of the UK, Ireland, or the Crown Dependencies (the Isle of
Man, Guernsey, and Jersey).
This means that after just two years outside the UK, you will lose your settled status and may need
to re-apply for a visa in order to return.
However, if you return to the UK intermittently, you may not lose ILR status. Every time you leave
the country, the 2-year countdown begins and restarts again once you re-enter. However, if you’re
only coming to the UK in short bursts, the Home Office may grow suspicious of your intention to live
in the country.
Are there any exceptions to the ILR 2-year absence rule?
You may be exempt from the ILR expiry rule if:
- You are a Commonwealth citizen
- You are a dependant of a member of HM Armed Forces (and therefore accompanied them
- You are a dependent of someone with Settled Status, British Citizenship, ILR or permanent
residence who is employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the
Department for International Development or the British Council (and therefore
accompanied them overseas)
However, the Home Office may also be more lenient with your expiry if you can prove that you had
compelling reasons to be absent from the UK, such as caring for a sick relative, for work purposes or
UKVI will also consider your case if you were seeking a unique type of medical treatment abroad that
is not currently available in the UK.
How to re-enter the UK after ILR expires
Fortunately, you don’t need to re-start all over again if your ILR status expires but you wish to return
to the UK. You can apply for a Returning Resident Visa instead. If you are successful, the Home Office may
consider restoring your initial ILR status. However, you must detail the reason for your absences and
again reinstate your sincere intention to make the UK your permanent country of residence.
The Returning Resident Visa is extremely restrictive. After all, you must make a compelling case that
you will not lose your status again as you intend to live in the UK permanently – a statement which
maybe undermined by your long absence from the country previously.
You can strengthen your case for a Return Visa by showing:
- You have strong ties to the UK, like close familial links, employment, mortgage or rental
- That your strong ties to the UK were maintained throughout the duration of your absence
- The length of your absence
- The length of your original UK residence (I.e., If you sought ILR through the 5-year or 3-year
- Your reasons for absence from the UK with specific details
The longer you have been away from the UK, the more difficult it becomes for you to apply for this
visa as you will struggle to prove that you have maintained ties to the country.
What if my Returning Resident Visa is refused?
You will be denied entry into the UK if you attempt to re-enter without a Returning Resident Visa.
And, since your ILR status has expired, you will have no legal footing to enter or remain in the UK
whatsoever. In the event that your Return Visa is refused, you can seek to appeal the decision – or even take it
further to an administrative review. To take this forward, it is highly recommended that you seek
advice from an immigration lawyer who can also represent you in a Tribunal hearing.
How can your London immigration lawyers help?
Our immigration lawyers specialize in UK nationality and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.
Not only can we help you with your ILR or British citizenship application, but we can help you in the
rare event that your status is canceled or expires. Speak to our immigration experts today by arranging a free consultation on 0207 993 6762. Our lawyers can speak to you over the phone or online, no matter where you are in the world.