The keeper lost his place at Wigan to on-loan Ali Al Habsi and his new deal reunites the 29-year-old with Foxes boss Sven Goran Eriksson.
The Swede first called Kirkland into the England squad seven years ago although he did not win his first and only cap until 2006 when Steve McClaren was in charge of the national team.
Chris of life: Kirkland can reignite his career with Leicester in the Championship
Wigan can recall Kirkland at 24 hours notice' but the former Liverpool and Coventry stopper is looking forward to a fresh challenge.
He said: 'I think the fans will see I just need to play, that's the top and bottom of it. I need to be match sharp.
'I love it at Wigan, it's been the best spell of my career. I've said it many times how settled I feel at the club and how great everyone here has been to me.
'But in football, things happen sometimes. Ali has come in this season and done well and I can't argue with that. He is a great lad and all three of us, with Mike Pollitt, get on brilliantly.'
Latics manager Roberto Martinez said: 'Chris has been training really well but to improve his form he probably needs to play some games.
'It is a great opportunity for him. I think it is the best possible way for Chris to get back to his best match fitness.
'He is going to a team making a really good challenge and it is probably what he needs now after the consistency he has shown in training.
'Goalkeeper is a very specific position and it can be frustrating at times.
'We feel from now until January 1 is a perfect window, with a huge amount of games, where Chris can really push himself and enjoy his football.'
Man of the moment: Al Habsi owns the gloves
Kirkland started the season in the Wigan side but was dropped by Martinez after conceding 10 goals to Blackpool and Chelsea in the opening two Barclays Premier League games.
His only senior appearance since came because Al Habsi was unable to play against parent club Bolton under the terms of his season-long move.
Al Habsi's performances have led to speculation Martinez could seek to sign the Oman international permanently.
The Spaniard did not comment on that specifically at a press conference on Thursday but insisted this was not the beginning of the end of Kirkland's four-year spell with the Latics.
Martinez said: 'It is a real boost for his Wigan career. He had a couple of niggles earlier on in the season and that affected his form.
'Ali has come in and done extremely well. Now it is just a way for Chris to keep competing for the number one shirt from a distance. 'In football there are times when you need to play games to test yourself.
'Chris has still got a long-term contract with the football club. He is a huge asset and a model professional. 'I don't want Chris to drop his standards because of frustration.'
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