UK Yankee© advises all Americans who have been issued Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK to take note of the rules surrounding this visa.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain) can be granted to a spouse after the completion of a two-year probationary visa, or to a work-permit holder after 5 years of continuous residence. Dependents are normally included in the application and receive ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain at the same time as the primary applicant. Obtaining ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain is a big step in the settlement process because it removes all barriers to employment opportunities and provides access to the benefits and tax advantages open to British citizens.
Under the rules, Indefinite Leave to Remain can be unintentionally lost if the holder is absent from the UK for a period of 2 years or more. Once lost, this status can only be regained by qualifying under Paragraph 19.
Interpreting Paragraph 19 of the rules, Immigration Consultant Victoria Sharkey had this to say, "If you have ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain and leave the UK for more than two years, you can apply to return to the UK as a 'returning resident'. In order to qualify for this, as well as meeting the maintenance and accommodation test, you must show that you still have strong ties to the UK, usually of the same nature as those you had last time. For example, if a woman has ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain as a spouse, and she and her husband go to the US for three years then wish to return to the UK to settle, the ties are clear - the husband, the in-laws, perhaps a job."
If you are at risk of losing your Indefinite Leave to Remain due to an absence of more than 2 years, UK Yankee(c) advises you to consult a specialist or to contact one of the four British consulates in North America.
 "Indefinite Leave to Remain" (ILRIndefinite Leave to Remain) is also called "Permanant Residence" or "Settlement".
 For information on the British consulates in North America, consult http://www.fco.gov.uk
 For the current rules on Indefinite Leave to Remain, consult http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk
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