The information supplied is for guidance only and is subject to sudden and frequent change without notice as the Home Office UK Visas & Immigration branch updates its policies and procedures. Our clients will be dealt with under the prevailing rules at the time of application.
Permanent UK Residency is officially called Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR).
The requirements vary depending on when the initial visa application was made, not when it was granted.
FOR INITIAL VISAS APPLIED FOR PRIOR TO 8TH JULY ONLY.
For a married partner or civil partner they must have been living together in the UK for two years after the registration of the marriage or partnership in the UK but holidays abroad are allowed.
For a married partner who entered the UK as the already married spouse of a British citizen they must have lived in the UK for a full two years but can holiday abroad during this time. This is an important point as in the past very often people were given a visa valid for two years from the date of issue by the Embassy and they then delayed, say, six weeks before travelling to the UK.
This means that they could not complete a full two years residency in order to apply for ILR and had to apply for further leave to remain in order to bring them up to the full two years. This is expensive.
It is always best to plan the journey to the UK and request on the application form for the visa that a date is given as the Embassy can forward date a visa by up to three months. As from 22nd July 2008 visas were issued with a validity of 27 months to allow people time to plan their journey to the UK and still be able to complete a full 24 months residency without having to apply and pay for further leave to remain in order to complete the two years requirement.
Any children under 18 years of age on the date the application is submitted to the UKBA can be included in the application of a parent.
Proof that you have been living together for the last two years will be required and this includes official letters or documentation sent to your address in your joint or single names, utility bills, telephone bills etc. Normally at least six items from at least three different sources covering the two years will be required.
Additionally proof that the applicant can either support themselves or that their British partner can do so without recourse to public funds. It is acceptable if the British partner is claiming public funds in his right only.
In order to apply for ILR the applicant will need to have either passed ‘The Life in the UK’ test or have attended an approved course of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) with the required Citizenship content. If your English ability has been assessed as Entry Level 3 or higher you must pass the test, only people whose English is below this standard can apply based on having completed a course. The tests are organised by Learn Direct who can also supply details of educational institutes running courses in your area. They can be contacted on 0800100900.
If the applicant has not passed the test or attended a course and received a letter from the school they cannot apply for ILR and must apply for further leave to remain in order to stay in the UK. This leave is at the discretion of the Home Office.
Once granted permanent residence it can be revoked if you spend over two years outside the UK or if you regularly stay in the UK for only a short period. It is therefore best to apply to become a British Citizen one year after ILR has been granted.
On receiving the ILR vignette in the passport people are often surprised to see an 'Expiry Date' on it. This is not the date of expiry of the ILR but the date of expiry of the passport. ILR can be transferred to a new passport. The current machinery in use by the Home Office does not permit a vignette to be produced without an expiry date and you should not be concerned about this anomaly. Your ILR does not expire.
The Home Office are in the process of replacing a vignette in the passport with an ID card stating the immigration status of the holder along with a photograph and biometrics held in a chip. If you hold an ID card you MUST carry it with you if you travel abroad together with your passport as it is the only evidence of your right to re-enter the UK.
ILR can also be applied for after 10 years lawful stay in the UK.
The UKBA can take up to 14 weeks to process a regular postal application, far longer if applying under the 10 year rule, and if the applicant needs to request their passport back the application will be treated as withdrawn and no refund of the fee will be made. This can sometimes mean that the applicant’s current leave to remain expires and they will have to make an entirely fresh UK visa application. Leave to remain beyond the date shown in the passport is automatically given whilst the Home Office processes the application for ILR.
It is important to note that an ILR application MUST be made NO earlier than 28 days before the 2 years leave expires. Otherwise the application will fail and the fees are not refunded. Similarly an application received after the two years has expired may fail with the loss of the fee and an entirely new visa application will need to be made overseas, normally in the home country of the applicant. The applicant is then illegally in the UK and may be deported. There is some discretion for the Home Office to accept out of time applications so you should contact us for advice if you are in this position.
FOR INITIAL VISAS APPLIED FOR ON OR AFTER 9th JULY 2012.
The applicant must have been granted a total of five years stay in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British Citizen. As from October 2013 they must have passed the Life in the UK Test and English to at least B1 standard. One year's worth of the financial requirement must also be met. If a person does not meet the test requirements they can continue to apply for further leave to remain until they have lawfully lived in the UK for 10 years when an application for ILR can be made under the prevailing long residency rules.
The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act (Chapter 11) received Royal Assent on 21st July 2009. In addition to making changes to Customs and Passport control arrangements changes to the path to British Citizenship have been introduced which became effective in July 2011 two years after the Act was passed. It is intended that indefinite leave to remain in the UK will be replaced by a probationary citizenship category of leave to remain.
Briefly these changes are that:
The applicant must have been in the UK at the start of the qualifying period.
The applicant must not have been absent from the UK for more than 90 days in each year of the qualifying period.
The applicant must have had qualifying immigration status for the whole of the qualifying period without a break.
On the date of application the applicant must have either probationary citizenship leave, permanent residency, a qualifying common travel area entitlement, a Commonwealth right of abode or a permanent EEA entitlement to remain in the UK.
An applicant who on the date of application has probationary citizenship status granted for the purposes of employment within the UK and has been in continuous employment since the granting of this leave.
An applicant must not at any time in the qualifying period have been in the UK in breach of the immigration laws.
For people with a relevant family association to a British national (for example the wife of a British national) the qualifying period before Citizenship can be applied for is raised from three to five years.
For people with no relevant family association the qualifying period is eight years.
All applicants will be required to be of good character.
All applicants must have sufficient knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
All applicants must have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK.
All applicants must intend to make the UK their homeland.
The Secretary of State will have some powers of discretion in deciding Citizenship applications.
Please contact us for help.
For current fees payable please see our Fees Scale page.