Jun 28, 2024
2 minutes read

How to Settle in the UK?

Indefinite Leave to Remain
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Pathways to Settling in the UK

There are many types of UK visas, and many enable you to qualify for Settled Status (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence) after accumulating a certain number of years residing in the UK. In addition to the well-known 10 Years' Long Residence application, there are also some visas that allow you to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after just 3 or 5 years.

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Business Visas

The Innovator Visa has been renamed to the Innovator Founder Visa, which no longer needs an upfront investment of £50,000. Nevertheless, applicants need to submit a detailed business plan and obtain an Endorsement letter from an approved endorsing body recognised by the Home Office to validate the business plan. The business must meet the criteria of being innovative, viable, and scalable. After holding the Innovator Founder Visa for 3 years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain by meeting all requirements including the Settlement Success criteria.

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Work Visas

The most common work visa is the Skilled Worker Visa, which is usually issued for up to 3 or 5 years and can be renewed. After 5 years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The Global Talent Visa also allows you to apply for ILR after 3 or 5 years. The Global Business Mobility route, such as Expansion Worker Visa or Senior or Specialist Worker Visa does not lead to ILR, but you may switch to another qualifying visa type during its validity to begin a path towards Settlement.

Dependent Partners may also apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years when or after the Main Applicant successfully obtain ILR. Child Dependents may only qualify for Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain after both parents achieve Settled Status themselves.

If you switch from a Dependant Visa to another visa route, such as the Skilled Worker Visa, the 5-year period towards Settlement will normally restart on the new route.

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Family Visas

Family Visas including Dependant Visas or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, currently follows the standard 5 years’ path towards Indefinite Leave to Remain. This includes Spouse Visa, Unmarried/Same-sex Partner Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Child Visa or Parent Visa. If you do not meet certain requirements at the time of initial application or renewal but qualify for exceptional circumstances, you may be granted Leave to Enter or Remain under the 10-year route instead.

If you first hold a Dependant Visa in another category and switch to a Spouse Visa, the 5-year qualifying period for ILR will be recalculated.

In addition to visa types and time requirements, applicants for Indefinite Leave to Remain must also meet the English Language test / qualification requirements and pass the Life in the UK Test. If you and your family want to eventually get a UK passport (British Citizenship), you must first obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. You may apply for Naturalisation after 12 months, or earlier if your spouse or civil partner is British, or you are from an EU country and have lived in the UK for over 5 years.

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