Settling in the UK
Once you have lived legally in the UK for a specific amount of time, you may be eligible to apply for permission to settle here, granting of this permission is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You will need to meet all of the requirements of the Immigration Rules in place at the time of your application for settlement andyou will normally also need to pass a Life in the UK test and an English language test, unless you are exempt from doing so.
Find out if you can apply to settle in the UK.
Apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in various immigration categories.
Tier 2 (General)
You can apply if:
- you have a Tier 2 (General) visa
- you’ve been living and working in the UK for 5 years and spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period (‘continuous residence’)
- the College still needs you for your job
- you get paid the relevant salary listed in the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers
- From 6th April 2018, if you entered under Tier 2 under the rules in force from 6th April 2011 must be paid at least £35,500 per annum (in the main job you are sponsored for) or the appropriate rate in the relevant UKVI Code of Practice, whichever is higher. This threshold level will increase to the following levels:
- £35,800, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2019
- £36,200, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2020
- £36,900, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2021
- £37,900, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2022
- £38,800, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2023
- £40,100, if you apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2024.
- You are exempt from the earnings threshold requirement if you are working in a designated PhD level job, as set out the in the Codes of Practice
Points to note:
Since October 2019. Tier 2 visa holders sponsored to fill a ‘PhD-level’ role are now exempt from the 180 day rule for UK absences, where the absence(s) taking them over 180 days absence in a 12 month period was due to the individual undertaking research for the job they are sponsored. This will apply to absences before October 2019, and for any period(s) the individual was sponsored under a designated PhD-level SOC code (Occupations listed under Table 1 of Appendix J).
Tier 2 visas are usually valid for a maximum of 6 years. They give the possibility of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years' residence in the UK, but you must apply before the end of the 6th year, unless you are granted exemption under rules in place before 6 April 2011.
If you cannot satisfy the minimum salary requirement (and you are not employed in a designated PhD level job that exempts you) you will not be able to stay in the UK under Tier 2 sponsorship for longer than six years. You will not be able to apply for another Tier 2 visa until you have competed a 12 month ‘cooling off’ period outside the UK.
When making your settlement application you will need to list details of your absences from the United Kingdom, including the reasons for those absences and you will need to provide this information for the full 5-year continuous period. Providing you have kept your absence history up-to-date in the College absence and leave recording system (Teamseer), this information will be easily accessible to you from the system.
If you are not eligible to apply for settlement, unless you can apply to/switch to another suitable visa category you would need to make arrangements to leave the UK at the end of your granted leave period.
UKVI have introduced a new Priority Visa service to offer increased customer choice for Tier 2 Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) customers. Previously customers could choose between either a 6-month service standard and the Super Priority next working day service for an additional fee of £800. From applications submitted after 13/11/2019, the new Priority service offers a 5-day service standard for a fee of £500.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
You can apply if:
- you currently have a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa
- you’ve been living and working in the UK for 3 years (exceptional talent criteria) or 5 years (exceptional promise criteria), or more on this visa and spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
- you’re still endorsed by the organisation which gave you the letter of endorsement to get a visa
- you’re still doing paid work in the field you came to the UK to work in
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
You can apply if:
- you currently have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa
- you’ve been living in the UK for 5 years, or 3 years if you’ve created enough jobs or income
You may be eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) as the partner or child of a person who’s already settled using:
- any Tier 1 visa except Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
- a Tier 2 visa
- a Tier 5 (International Agreement) visa
*Please note that a partner/dependent of a Tier 2 visa holder whose UK absences are exempt from the 180 days outside the UK rule (due to being sponsored in a PhD-level role, and the UK absences being to undertake Research overseas) will also benefit from this exemption when applying for settlement, if they accompanied the Tier 2 sponsored employee.
Further information is available on the gov.uk website.
If your partner or parent settled in another way, for example because they’d been in the UK for 10 years (‘Long Residence’), you would not be able to settle because of their work visa. You’ll need to apply to stay in the UK as a family member of a person settled in the UK .