If you have been in the UK for a certain number of years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). ILR (or Permanent Residence) will allow you to live in the UK free from any visa restrictions and eventually apply for British Citizenship.
It depends on the visa you have been under while residing in the UK. An example of the various eligibility time lines are as follows:
|Visa Status||Lenght of Time Before ILR can be Applied For|
|Unmarried Partner||5 years|
|EEA Family Permit||5 years|
|Work Permit||5 years|
|Legal stay on any basis||10 years|
|Illegal stay on any basis||14 years|
What tests do I need to pass to obtain ILR?
You will need to pass an English language test (if applicable) and a Life in the UK Test unless you are under 18 years or over 65 years at the time of applying.
From 6th April 2016 migrants who are in the UK on a work permit (Tier 2 (General) visa) must earn a salary of £35,000 or more to apply for ILR.
Those who are in jobs which are on the Shortage Occupation List and/or require a PhD are exempt. Nurses are also exempt temporarily.
Yes, dependants must change their immigration status at the same time the visa holder does or they can lose their right to stay in the country. If you are applying for ILR with dependents, you will need to seek legal advice as applications can become very complicated.
People on a Tier 4 visa cannot apply for ILR, they need to switch visas and then apply once they are eligible.
No. You can only apply for ILR once you have completed five years on the same visa. However, if you have been in the UK legally for 10 years then you can apply for ILR under the 10-year route.
The Government is making it more difficult for non-EEA nationals to gain Permanent Residence in the UK. If you wish to apply for ILR then it is best to obtain experienced legal advice to help you with what can be a complex process.