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Settlement in the UK: an overview

A successful Settlement application results in the grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). ILR is also known as Permanent Residence (PR).

There are three main routes to ILR: Employment, Partner (Marriage), and Long Residence.

Employment Route to ILR

  • The general rule (though note the following!) is that five years continuous lawful residence in any combination of Work Permit, Tier 1 General, and Tier 2 is sufficient to make an application for ILR.
  • Time spent as a Post Study Work (PSW) holder cannot be included as part of this five years.
  • The automatic link between Tier 2 and ILR was broken by the UK Government in April 2012, retrospectively to those entering after 6 April 2011. While it used to be the case that after five years spent as a Tier 2 migrant any applicant was eligible to apply for Settlement, their job must now meet minimum criteria on salary, educational level, or shortage occupation status.
  • Allowable absences from the UK are those which are less than six months in any 12 month period i.e. a maximum of 2.5 years within the 5 year period
  • For those whose status is Tier 1 General at the time of Settlement application there is a points based requirement similar to that for a Tier 1 General application.
  • For the Employment route to ILR, use the SET(O) form

Partner (Marriage) Route to ILR

  • 'Partner' includes a husband, wife, or cohabiting partner of a British Citizen or a person with Settled Status
  • Initially 30 months of leave are granted (or 33 months in the case of Entry Clearance applications), followed by a further extension of the same. At the end of this period, if the relationship is still subsisting, the partner will qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
  • For the Partner (Marriage) route to ILR, use the SET(M) form

Long Residence Route to ILR

  • To qualify for the Long Residence route, the applicant should have 10 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK. Time spent as a Tier 1 Post Study Work holder is included.
  • Absences are permitted so long as they are no more than six months for any single trip, and total no more than 18 months in all
  • For the Long Residence Route to ILR, use the SET(LR) form

After ILR

  • Once ILR has been granted, permitted absences may be of up to two years whilst still retaining ILR.
  • After ILR has been granted, applicants can choose to progress to a British Citizenship Application. The advantages of Citizenship include a British passport, the right to vote in UK elections, and the ability to be absent from the UK for any amount of time whilst retaining Citizenship.

White Rose Visas can assist you with your Settlement application. Our advisers will use their expert knowledge and extensive experience to ensure that your application is successful. Our service includes a complete document check, filling out all application forms required, attendance with you at your Premium appointment if applicable, and no limit to the amount of time that can be spent on your case.

White Rose Visas are authorised by The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner: Registration Number F201200452

White Rose Visas is a trading name of White Rose Visas Ltd, Registered in England & Wales, Company Number 7680391, Registered Office White Rose Visas Ltd, Wharf House, Victoria Quays, Wharf Street, Sheffield S2 5SY, United Kingdom