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If I have a ILR how long can I stay away from the UK? I have immigrated here and hold an ILR in my US Passport since 1987.
I have not paid to have a new ILR stamp in my passport as I felt the £900+ charge was outrageous and my MP has looked into it and as long as I carry my expired passports with me I can travel in and out of the Uk at will.
I am now looking to stay in Spain for an extended period of time and want to make sure I do not loose my ILR status. How long can I say away?

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Your question is addressed in Paragraph 18 of the Immigration Rules, which says in part...

has not been away from the United Kingdom for more than 2 years; and

The workaround for this rule is given in Paragraph 19...

A person who does not benefit from the preceding paragraph by reason only of having been away from the United Kingdom too long may nevertheless be admitted as a returning resident if, for example, he has lived here for most of his life.

So your ILR will time out after 2 years of not residing in the UK. If this happens, the remedy is a Returning Resident Visa...

You need a Returning Resident visa to come back to live in the UK if you were previously settled (given ‘indefinite leave to enter or remain’) and you have either:

...but these are notoriously hard to qualify for.

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