You have probably heard of expats applying for an EU Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. For a brief overview of eligibility, one should be in one of the following:

  • Have a long-term visa
  • Has lived in the UK for a specified period (will depend on the visa)
  • Is a Commonwealth citizen
  • Was/Is a part of the armed forces
  • Is a refugee
  • Has a humanitarian protection

An Indefinite Leave to Remain is known to be the way to finally become a permanent resident after staying in the country for an unrestricted amount of time.


However, the said status is more than just a way to wander around the UK. It actually has a great significance for expats because it’s the key to having rights throughout their stay. To be specific, below are some of the reasons why an Indefinite Leave to Remain is essential for expats and immigrants:

#1: Allows Access to Free Healthcare

The main asset of living in the UK is its free healthcare system powered mainly by the National Healthcare System or NHS.

Some other benefits that come alongside the free healthcare system are:

  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Pension
  • Career Progression

Unfortunately for tourists and early movers, this is reserved for national citizens and official residents. If one belongs in any other category than these, then you need to pay NHS fees.

With an Indefinite Leave to Remain, however, you can freely take advantage of the tax-funded healthcare. You won’t have to worry about tedious hospital bills, both physical and mental.

#2: Path to Becoming a Permanent Resident

Though having an immigrant status if Indefinite Leave to Remain doesn’t officially make you a citizen of the said country, it can be a way to complete a sufficient reckonable residence and finally apply for either permanent residency or citizenship.

To be specific, since the certification will allow you to stay for as long as you like, considering you renew it, you will be able to easily gather 5 years’ worth of total stay in the country. Throughout the period, you can also start preparing for financial matters, work, or school.

What makes the status more important is you will be able to get the benefits of being a registered citizen even without being one yet. It will make your indefinite stay much more convenient. It will also increase the overall quality of your stay in the UK.

#3: Legalizes Daily Activities

If your visa is fixed to only one purpose, such as a Student Visa, Visitor Visa, or Work Visa, that’s the only thing you can legally participate in.

However, with the right expat visa and an Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can do any activities you want throughout the span of your stay. These include starting or continuing educational studies, starting a business, applying for employed work, and likes.

Basically, you will be allowed to partake in activities that are usually restricted in regular visas.

#4: Provides Opportunity for Family Members

An Indefinite Leave to Remain will also give holders the opportunity to bring their family members to the UK. Partners, spouses, and other direct relations are also included in the people that you can bring. They can be in the country for a short visit or until they get eligible for their own Indefinite Leave to Remain.

#5: Access to General Benefits of Public Funds

The UK is not only known for its well-executed healthcare system, but they also have a number of benefits funded by public funds. These are exclusive to the country’s nationals and residents, but immigrants who have an Indefinite Leave of Remain will also be subject to the pros.

Some of the said benefits include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Child Benefit
  • Career Allowance
  • Housing Assistance


You won’t get these with a regular, short-term visa. This means that you will need to have a more costly living compared to other people. This is a big disadvantage, especially because it can be expensive to settle in the UK.


As you can see, an Indefinite Leave to Remain is much more important than what it seems to be. Without this, it will be hard for an expat to get the most out of their stay in the UK.

Not only that but there is also a chance that they will run into several legal issues in the long run due to lack of resources.

The only con about gaining the status at hand is the process of application. It can be tricky, complex, and, most of all, expensive. This is why if you’re planning to take on this path, you should highly consider availing of an expat legal solution to ensure a smooth-sailing process.