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Living and in the UK – Important Visa Rules to Know

The United Kingdom is among the world’s most popular destinations with its diverse array of job opportunities. For individuals who have plans to relocate to the UK, the capital city of London sits at the top of the list as one among the world’s global cities and is also an international financial capital though the average cost of living is rather high.

Most of the big cities in Britain can boast of a substantial population of foreign inhabitants. It comes very high in the ranking of OECD quality of life index with quite excellent scores in the areas of community, environmental quality, job opportunities as well as an admirably publicly-funded nationwide health service. However, with the Brexit vote of 2016, pressures began to mount on tightening up immigration controls in a bid to make it more difficult for foreigners to come into the United Kingdom and have access to its services. Below are some vital rules for living and working in the United Kingdom.

Before embarking on a UK journey

You have to make sure that all your documents are in order, EEA nationals or people from Switzerland need to have a valid passport, in the absence of which they can make use of their national ID issued by any country in the EEA areas.

People outside the EEA areas need a valid passport which validity should last for the duration of your stay. A visa may be required but this depends on your country of origin.

On Arrival

Checks will be conducted on your passport upon arrival at the airport or port to ensure that you were granted leave to visit the UK. No changes will be administered to the status and rights of European Union nationals in the UK till the 30th of June 2020 which may extend to 31st of December 2020 if Britain was to exit from the EU with no deal. You can submit applications to the EU Settlement Scheme along with the members of your family for a continued stay in Britain.

What you are allowed to come with is dependent on your country of origin, and all must be declared to custom. They include;

  • Any luggage above your duty-free allowance
  • Banned goods in Britain
  • Commercial goods
  • Above €10,000 or its equivalent in cash, individuals from outside the EU may have their baggage checked to ascertain all that was declared.

Already in the UK

Individuals who are residents in Britain need to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or Permanent Residence. This grants you the right to live as well as work in the United Kingdom free of any immigration restrictions. The criterion to qualify for an ILR differs depending on your visa status.

Minimum Period of uninterrupted stay in the UK

There is a minimum period that you must stay in the UK in order to qualify for ILR; it is possible to combine two different types of visa. In explanation, individuals who came into the United Kingdom with a Tier 2 Work Permit may decide to switch to Tier 1 General Visa and both periods will be taken into consideration when processing your ILR. The only status that calls for 10 years qualifying period is the Legal stay on any basis, all other status like Ancestry, Tier 1 General, Tier 2 General / Work permit and Investors call for five years qualifying period. It equally takes five years for Writers, composers and artists, Sole representatives, Business – Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Unmarried partners as well as Spouse Visa / Civil Partner / EEA Family Visa.

While observing your qualifying period, you should endeavor not to spend over 180 days in any 12-month period outside the UK prior to your application submission.

Economic Activity

Added to the above requirements are a few economic activities which are largely dependent on your visa status as at the time of ILR application. Holders of Tier 2 Visa status which also means work permits will be faced with the need to prove that their earnings exceed a certain level of income.

Other Requirements

Apart from individuals covered by the HSMP Judicial Review, all applicants also need to pass the Knowledge of Life in the UK Test as well as a recognized English language test. Those that will be exempted are the people holding degrees taught in English and certain English speaking nationalities. The Criminality section comes to play here and states that you should be completely free from any unspent convictions.

British Citizenship

Beneficiaries of Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Permanent Residence will become eligible to submit applications for British Citizenship after one year of holding an ILR.

Conditions for ILR

It is imperative to note that your visa is revocable, but this only happens when you spend lengthy period of time outside the shores of the United Kingdom which makes it appear that Britain is no longer your primary residence. Recommendations are that you do not exceed two years outside of the UK and ideally, you should submit applications for Naturalization as a British Citizen just as soon as it becomes a possibility.

ILR Applications

The process of application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK may take as much as six months and for this duration, you will not be with your passport. Individuals with urgent cases or those who cannot be without their passports within this period can go ahead and book appointments for same-day decision. For an appointment of this kind, the waiting period is usually from four to six weeks.

Working in Britain

With the exception of few people, a work permit is a requirement to be able to get employment in the UK. The work permits are granted on a points-based system. For instance, individual who entered the UK on expat assignment, Intra-Company Transfers or perhaps have a job offer in Britain will have their employer as their sponsors. You sponsor can put in an application for a work permit on your behalf, however, it is your duty to make sure that you meet all the requirements for holding employment in Britain.

How Our UK Immigration Advice Service Works

Master Legal Service’s team of experts are affordable immigration lawyers in London We are readily accessible to you for all your immigration concerns and work visa applications wherever you are in the world. Should you physically be in the UK, do drop by our office and tap into that expertise we are known for.

How can we help?

Migration can be quite a harrowing experience with the many laws surrounding many types of visa and specific circumstances. It need not be though with Master Legal Services helping you through the process. We will help you make sense of it all, providing the best advice and support for your particular circumstance.

Contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: 07710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

Our Fees

Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.

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About us

Master Legal Services is a company Registered in England & Wales No.10309474. We are authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).


7 Bell Yard London,





020 8935 5205