Often referred to as Settlement, Permanent Residency or simply PR, acquiring settlement means you can stay in the UK without restrictions (ie no time limit or employment restrictions).
Are you eligible to apply for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’?
Eligibility is normally dictated by your current immigration category and the length of time you have been in the UK, although you can also apply from abroad in certain circumstances.
Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements and criteria at a glance…
- You are required to satisfy the English language requirement through an academic qualification (ie you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher) or by taking a test (ie by passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening) and pass the Life in the UK test.
- You may 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 lost your documentation and/or been away for more than 2 years. You must be planning to return to live in the UK permanently, have been settled in the UK before you last left and not have been given public funds to help you leave the UK.
- There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.
- If you’ve been away for more than 2 years, you won’t get a Returning Resident Visa unless you’re also able to show what exceptional personal circumstances have led to you being out of the country for this long. You must provide enough evidence to show your strong family ties to the UK, that you lived in the UK most of your life, your current circumstances and why you’ve lived outside the UK.
Important concessions and exceptions to be aware of…
- You won’t lose your indefinite leave to remain after 2 years outside the UK if your spouse or partner is a member of the UK armed forces and you’ve joined them on an overseas posting.
- You also won’t lose it if your spouse or partner is a British citizen or settled in the UK and a permanent member of the Diplomatic Service, a UK-based British Council employee who works outside the UK, a Department for International Development (DFID) employee or a Home Office employee
- Your dependents (partner and children under 18) need to apply separately for a Returning Resident visa if they’re eligible.