Permanent Residence In The UK

Permanent Residence In The UK
Permanent residence in the UK involves either indefinite leave to remain or naturalisation and British citizenship, with strict rules governing eligibility. Migrants already granted ‘indefinite leave to remain in the UK’ may apply for citizenship, with all adult applicants required to naturalise or register before applying to become British nationals.

Citizenship requirements
Spouses of British citizens: must have lived for three years or more in the UK and are required to have indefinite leave to stay at the point of application. Absence from the UK for more than 270 days in the three-year period will disqualify the applicant. Sufficient knowledge of English, Gaelic or Welsh must be demonstrated, and the applicant must prove good character and the wish to remain in the UK permanently as well as pass the new ‘Life in the UK’ test.

Those not married to a British citizen: must have lived in the UK for five years, with the final year under ‘indefinite leave to remain’. Absence from the UK for more than 90 days in the year before application or more than 450 days over the five-year period is not permitted. The ‘Life in the UK’ test must be passed and the applicant must have knowledge of English, Gaelic or Welsh, good character and the wish to stay permanently in the country.

Those who were born to a British mother between the years of 1961 and 1983 may be eligible for immediate registration as a British citizen.

Indefinite leave to remain
An alternative to British citizenship which allows permanent residence is indefinite leave to remain, granted to migrants who have demonstrated their commitment whilst on a temporary visa. A number of years’ residence in the UK is required, usually between two and 10, dependent on the reason for staying. Even illegal immigrants can apply if their stay has been more than 14 years, with work permit holders, investors, writers, artists and those starting businesses required to have been resident for five years before application.

Requirements and processing times for the ILR vary according to the visa class held at the time of application, with a good knowledge of English and life in the UK essential, unless the applicant is over 65 or under 18. Criteria for eligibility are complicated, but a form assessing personal criteria can be filled in at or a consultation can be requested via the website.

The cost of fees payable for British citizenship has recently increased to ?655, plus an ?80 fee for the ceremony, with applications taking at least six months to process, and the cost of an ILR application has risen to ?972, with application processing times varying. Prospective applicants should note further changes may be under consideration by the UK Border Agency.