If you have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years, you may qualify and can apply to settle in the UK. This route is known as ‘long residence’.
Settlement or indefinite leave to remain means you can stay in the UK without any time restrictions.
A person can be in the UK in any immigration category, or a combination of different immigration categories. One must also have:
- been in the UK legally for 10 years;
- kept to the terms of any UK visa granted during this period.
Due to general requirements, the applicant must:
- pass the Life in the UK test;
- prove they have sufficient English language skills;
The 10-year qualifying period starts from either: date of arrival to the UK with a visa or date when the permission to stay in the UK was granted.
Continuous residence is time spent in the UK without gaps. You can leave the UK during the continuous residence for up to:
- 180 days at a time;
- 540 days in total.
Time spent in a prison, young offender institution or secure hospital or in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Channel Islands cannot be counted.
You may be able to extend your leave to remain for another 2 years if you do not meet the requirements to the Language and Life in the UK tests.
How long it takes
You’ll be told whether your application has been successful within 6 months of your application date if you use the standard service. If you use the super priority service a decision will be made: by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday; 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend. If you apply for extension, you’ll be told whether your application has been successful within 8 weeks.
Your family members (‘dependants’) can apply separately if they’re eligible. A partner or a child can be a dependant, but they cannot be included in your application.
Your partner can apply to remain in the UK as the partner of a settled person if they are not eligible to apply separately and your application for settlement is successful. They may be able to include their children in their application.
Children over 18
Your children may have to leave the UK if they’re not eligible to apply separately and are over 18. You may be able to include your dependants in your application if you apply to settle under your visa category instead.