Settlement or officially called Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows you to stay in the UK indefinitely.
You can apply for an ILR under all categories within 28 days before the end of your 'qualifying period', not earlier. A qualifying period is the required duration of (lawful) continuous residency in the UK, which we will advise you of from the initial visa application.
Everyone applying for an ILR has to pass a Life in The UK Test, except those who are under 18 or over 65 years. In addition new rules have been added over the last 2 years. For example, from 28 October 2013 there is an extra requirement of English language. From 13 December 2012 there are more generous limits on absences from the UK for Tier 1, 2, Ancestral visa holders, which is beneficial for those who had to apply for an extension even after spending 5 years in the UK. New criminality rules also apply from that date.
- Holders of a Work Permit, Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, Tier 1 and Tier 2 Visas can apply for an ILR after 5 years of continuing residency (for accelerated routes please see Tier 1. Any dependant spouse can only qualify for an ILR at the same time if dependant spouse has lived in the UK together with the main applicant for the 5 years. Any children cannot have ILR unless if both parents are applying for it or already have an ILR.
- Spouses and partners of British citizens and of UK permanent residents can apply after 2 years on a spouse/partner visa if he/she has the first Spouse/Partner visa issued before 9 July 2012. Those who had a first Spouse/Partner visa issued after 9 July 2012 then waiting time for an ILR will be 5 years (not 2 years).
- Ancestral visa holders can apply for an ILR having lived and worked in the UK for 5 years while holding an Ancestral visa (5 years cannot be combined with being in the UK on other types of visas).
- Long Residence of 10 years for those who have spent continuous 10 years lawfully in the UK.
- Those holding 5 years visas under Humanitarian Protection can apply for an ILR at the end of the 5 years period.