Settlement in the UK

Long Residence in the UK

If you are a non-UK national and have lived in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully for 10 years, then you may qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK on the basis of long residence.

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain on the ground of long residence regardless of the type or length of leave previously granted. This can include periods when you were waiting for a decision on an application for further leave to remain, provided that you submitted your application before your previous leave expired.

Requirements for ILR on the ground of long residence: the 10 year ILR rule

In order to qualify for settlement under the 10 year ILR rule, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a period of at least 10 years residing in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully; and
  • There are no public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain; and
  • There are no general grounds for refusing your application (such as a relevant criminal conviction); and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and about life in the United Kingdom; and
  • You are not in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration laws.

Continuous lawful residence

Your 10 year period of lawful residence must be unbroken. It will be broken if at any time during the period relied upon:

  • You were absent from the UK for more than 18 months in total; or
  • You were removed or deported from the UK; or
  • You left the UK having been refused leave to enter or remain;
  • You evidenced a clear intention not to return to the UK on leaving; or
  • You left the UK with no reasonable expectation of being able to return lawfully; or
  • You were sentenced to a period of imprisonment (not suspended) or directed to be detained; or
  • You were absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time; or
  • You were absent from the UK for less than 6 months but had no leave either upon departure or return (or both).

Public interest

If you are able to establish 10 years continuous lawful residence, UK Visas and Immigration will consider whether there are any reasons of public interest why your settlement application should not be approved, taking into account your:

  • Age;
  • Strength of connections in the UK;
  • Personal history (e.g. character, conduct, associations, and employment record);
  • Domestic circumstances;
  • Compassionate circumstances; and
  • Any representations submitted on your behalf.

Relevant criminal conviction

Amongst other grounds, your application will be refused if you:

  • Have ever been sentenced to imprisonment for 4 years or more; or
  • You have ever been sentenced to imprisonment for between 12 months and 4 years, but less than 15 years has passed since the end of your most recent such sentence; or
  • You have ever been sentenced to imprisonment for less than 12 months but less than 7 years have passed since the end of your most recent such sentence; or
  • Within the 2 years immediately prior to the date your application is decided you have been convicted of, or admitted, an offence for which you either received a non-custodial sentence (such as a fine or community sentence) or for which an out of court disposal is recorded on your criminal record (such as a penalty notice or caution).

Breach of immigration laws

You may still apply for indefinite leave to remain under the 10 year ILR rule if you have overstayed the expiry of your most recent period of leave, provided that you do so within 28 days.

Dependants

An application for settlement on the grounds of long residence is an individual application. Therefore, any dependants will be required to submit separate applications in their own right. Some dependants (such as children born in the UK) may be entitled to British Citizenship by Registration upon their parent being granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

If you would like to discuss your eligibility for settlement on the basis of 10 years long residence or if you require expert legal assistance in connection with a 10 year ILR application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or email d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Refugee Settlement in the UK

If you are a non-UK national and have been granted international protection in the United Kingdom for 5 years, you may qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

You can apply for settlement if you have been granted asylum or humanitarian protection status in the UK and have held this status for 5 years. Any dependants granted asylum or humanitarian protection in line may also be included in the application.

Requirements for settlement as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection status

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection status, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have held a UK Residence Permit as a person granted asylum or humanitarian protection status for a minimum period of 5 years; and
  • Your UK Residence Permit has not been revoked or not renewed; and
  • You have not been:
  • Sentenced to imprisonment for 4 years or more; or
  • Sentenced to imprisonment for between 12 months and 4 years, if less than 15 years has passed since the end of your most recent such sentence; or
  • Sentenced to imprisonment for less than 12 months, if less than 7 years has passed since the end of your most recent such sentence; or
  • Been convicted of an offence for which you either received a non-custodial sentence (such as a fine or community sentence) or for which another out of court disposal is recorded on your criminal record (such as a penalty notice or caution), if less than 2 years has passed since you received your sentence; or
  • The Secretary of State considers that you have persistently offended and shown a particular disregard for the law, if less than 7 years has passed since your most recent sentence was received.

Revoked or not renewed

A grant of asylum may be revoked or not renewed if the Secretary of State is satisfied that you no longer need the protection of the UK. Circumstances which may lead to such a decision include:

  • You have voluntarily returned to your country of nationality; or
  • Having lost your previous nationality, you have voluntarily re-acquired it; or
  • You have acquired a new nationality and enjoy the protection of that new country; or
  • You have re-established your life in the country in which you previously claimed to fear persecution; or
  • There have been significant and long lasting changes in the circumstances giving rise to your grant of asylum which mean that you cannot reasonably refuse to seek the protection of your country of nationality or former habitual residence; or
  • You should be, or are, disqualified from being a refugee (e.g. due to having committed a crime against peace, a war crime, a crime against humanity, or acts contrary to the purpose and principles of the United Nations); or
  • You have used a misrepresentation, submitted false documents, or omitted facts which were decisive for the grant of asylum; or
  • There are reasonable grounds for regarding you to be a danger to the security of the UK; or
  • You have been convicted of a particularly serious crime and constitute a danger to the community of the UK.

A grant of humanitarian protection status may be revoked or not renewed for analogous reasons.

For advice and assistance with an application or appeal in relation to settlement following a grant of asylum or humanitarian protection status, contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

 

Returning Residents

If you are a non-UK citizen and are not currently in the UK, but have previously been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you may be eligible to return to the UK for settlement as a returning resident.

The requirements that you will need to satisfy in order to be admitted to the UK for settlement as a returning resident will vary depending upon whether you have been away from the UK for more, or less, than 2 years. If you have been outside the UK for more than 2 years then you should apply for a Returning Resident visa before travelling. You may also apply if you have been away for less than 2 years. In each case, entry to the UK may be refused if the requirements of the Immigration Rules are not satisfied.

Requirements for entry as a Returning Resident: absent from the UK for less than 2 years.

You may be admitted to the UK for settlement as a returning resident if the Immigration Officer on arrival is satisfied that you:

  • Had indefinite leave to remain in the UK when you last left the UK; and
  • Have not been away from the UK for more than 2 years; and
  • Did not receive assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK; and
  • Now seek admission for the purpose of settlement.

If you consider that the Immigration Officer may have concerns in relation to your ability to satisfy any of the above requirements then you should consider applying for a Returning Resident visa before you travel.

Requirements for entry as a Returning Resident: absent from the UK for more than 2 years.

If you have been absent from the UK for over two years then you should apply for a Returning Resident visa before travelling to the UK. You will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you:

  • Had indefinite leave to remain in the UK when you last left; and
  • Did not receive assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK; and
  • Now seek readmission for the purpose of settlement; and
  • There are good reasons for you to be admitted as a returning resident.

Having strong family ties in the UK, or having lived in the UK for most of your life, may be good reasons for you to be admitted as a returning resident. However there may be other good reasons.

Intervening visits to the UK may assist; however they may also undermine an application for a returning resident visa depending upon the timing and circumstances of the visits.

For expert advice and assistance with a returning resident visa application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or e-mail d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Settlement for Partners and Family Members

If you qualify for settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or ‘ILR’) in the UK, you will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely, without any time restrictions.

The UK offers several routes to indefinite leave to remain for partners and other family members of British citizens and settled persons in the UK, under the Spouse or Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner, Adult Dependent Relative and Child immigration routes.

Achieving permanent resident status is central to qualifying for a British passport, since Naturalisation as a British Citizen requires that the applicant be settled in the UK.

Spouse or Civil Partner Visa: Settlement in the UK

After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or settled person, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse or civil partner you will need to demonstrate that:

  • Since you have been in this category you have lived together with your partner in the UK or there is good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period when you have not done so;
  • You meet the higher English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications;
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test.

Unmarried Partner Visa: Settlement in the UK

After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the unmarried partner of a British citizen or settled person, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as an unmarried partner you will need to demonstrate that:

  • Since you have been in this category you have lived together with your partner in the UK or there is good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period when you have not done so;
  • You meet the higher English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications;
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test.

Adult Dependent Relative Visa: Settlement in the UK

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to enter the UK as an Adult Dependent Relative, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are the parent aged 18 years or over, grandparent, brother or sister aged 18 years or over or son or daughter aged 18 years or over of a person who is in the UK and that person is over 18 and either a British citizen, settled in the UK or a person with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status;
  • As a result of age, illness or disability, you require long-term personal care (that is help performing everyday tasks, e.g. washing, dressing and cooking);
  • You are unable, even with the practical and financial help of your family member in the UK, to obtain the required level of care in the country where you are living because it is not available and there is no person (close relative, home-help, housekeeper, nurse, carer, care or nursing home) in your country who can reasonably provide it, or because it is not affordable;
  • You will be adequately maintained, accommodated and cared for in the UK by your family member, without recourse to public funds (If your family member is a British citizen or settled in the UK, they will be required to sign a 5-year undertaking to this effect).

Children: Settlement in the UK

Indefinite leave to enter

An application for indefinite leave to enter the UK as the child of a settled parent or relative may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • Where the child is coming to the UK to live with both parents and either:
  • Both parents are British citizens or have indefinite leave to remain, or are being admitted on the same occasion for settlement; or
  • One parent is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, and the other parent is applying to come to the UK.
  • Where the child is coming to the UK to live with only one parent and either:
  • One parent is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, and the other parent is dead; or
  • One parent is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, and that parent has had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing; or
  • One parent is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, and there are serious and compelling family or other considerations that mean that it would be undesirable to exclude the child from the UK.
  • Where the child is coming to live with another relative who is not their parent and:
  • The relative is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain, and there are serious and compelling family or other considerations that mean that it would be undesirable to exclude the child from the UK.
  • Additionally, the child will have to show that they satisfy the following requirements:
  • They are related to the parent or other relative as claimed; and
  • They are under 18 at the date of application; and
  • They are not married, in a civil partnership or leading an independent life; and
  • There is adequate accommodation and maintenance for the child, without relying on public funds.

Indefinite leave to remain

A child with limited leave to remain as the child of a parent with, or applying for, limited leave as a partner may also qualify for indefinite leave to remain as the child of a parent, parents or a relative present and settled in the United Kingdom if able to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • Both parents are British citizens or settled in the UK;
  • One parents is settled or settling in the UK and the other parent is dead;
  • One parent is settled or settling in the UK and has sole responsibility for looking after the child;
  • One parent or relative is settled or settling in the UK and there are compelling reasons why the child should be allowed to stay.
  • Additionally, the child will have to show that they satisfy the following requirements:
  • They are related to the parent or other relative as claimed; and
  • They are under 18 at the date of application; and
  • They are not married, in a civil partnership or leading an independent life; and
  • There is adequate accommodation and maintenance for the child, without relying on public funds.

For advice and assistance with an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a partner of other family member, please contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or by email d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

Work Related Settlement in the UK

If you qualify for settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or ‘ILR’) in the UK, you will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely, without any time restrictions.

The UK offers several routes to settlement by working in the UK, the most popular being the Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Worker, Tier 2 General Skilled Worker and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer categories of the points-based system, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business category and the UK Ancestry visa.

Achieving permanent resident status is central to qualifying for a British passport, since Naturalisation as a British Citizen requires that the applicant be settled in the UK.

Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Worker: ILR in the UK

If you are currently in the UK as a Tier 1 General migrant, a Highly Skilled migrant, a Writer, Composer or Artist or a Self-employed lawyer, applications for indefinite leave to remain can be made up until 6 April 2018.

In order to qualify for permanent residence in the UK as a Tier 1 General highly skilled worker, you will need to show that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of five years lawfully in the UK in a permitted category, of which the most recent period must have been spent with leave as a Tier 1 General migrant (if you received an HSMP approval letter issued on the basis of an application made before 3 April 2006 then the period may be 4 years);
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five consecutive 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application, any absence was for a purpose consistent with your basis of stay (including paid annual leave) or for serious or compelling reasons and you can provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences;
  • You qualify for either 75 points (if you have, or have had, leave under the Tier 1 General category before 19 July 2010; or if you are here as a Highly Skilled Migrant, a Writer, Composer or Artist, or Self-employed lawyer) or 80 points (in all other cases) for attributes (if you received an HSMP approval letter issued on the basis of an application made before 7 November 2006 then you need to demonstrate that you are economically active in the UK);
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and about life in the UK.

Tier 2 General Skilled Worker: ILR in the UK

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant, you will need to show that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant or in any combination of the relevant categories as set out in Paragraph 245HF(c) of the Immigration Rules; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any of the five consecutive 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You are not in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded;
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer; and
  • You are paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job as stated in the Codes of Practice;
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer: ILR in the UK

If you were initially granted leave in the Tier 2 ICT category on or after 6 April 2011, then you will not be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you were granted leave as a Tier 2 ICT migrant before 6 April 2010, you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain if you satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as a Tier 2 ICT migrant or in any combination of the relevant categories as set out in Paragraph 245GF(c) of the Immigration Rules; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any of the five consecutive 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You are not in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded; and
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer; and
  • You are paid at or above the appropriate for the job as stated in the Codes of Practice; and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Sole Representative of an Overseas Business

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a sole representative of an overseas business, you will need to show that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as the sole representative of an overseas business; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any of the five consecutive 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You met the requirements for an extension of stay throughout the 5 year period; and
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer; and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Persons with UK Ancestry

In order to quality for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on grounds of United Kingdom Ancestry you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the United Kingdom with a UK Ancestry Visa; and
  • You are employed, self-employed or seeking employment at the date of application and have been throughout most of the five years; and
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five consecutive 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application; and
  • You can provide specified documents to evidence any absence that was for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Family Members (Dependants)

Your partner may qualify for ILR if they have permission to be in the UK as your partner and they have been living with you in the UK for at least 2 years (if they applied before 9 July 2012) or 5 years (if they applied on or after 9 July 2012). If aged 18 to 64, your partner will need to pass the Life in the UK test and an English language test.

Your child may qualify for ILR if they were previously given permission to stay in the UK as your child. You and your child’s other parent should generally both be in the UK legally, or currently applying to enter, remain or settle, for the child to be allowed to settle.   Your child can also apply for settlement if you are the child’s sole surviving parent, you have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing or there are serious or compelling family or other considerations.

For advice and assistance with an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in a work visa category, please contact our immigration solicitors in London on 0207 467 5767 or by email d.winnie@rfblegal.co.uk

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