The UK will most certainly prove a great destination for people outside the EU in search of a better life, although obtaining permanent residence in the UK can be a lengthy process, this article shows you how to get a permanent residence in the UK. The average time it takes for you to begin an application for a permanent resident in the UK is 5 years depending on the route you have chosen to take.

Why Live in the UK 

The UK is very multicultural. In fact, about 14% of the population in the UK was born abroad, according to the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.  About 35% of the immigrant population lives in London.

The UK has an excellent healthcare system, too. The National Health Service (NHS) is free for residents and has been ranked among the best in the world for its affordability, safety, and efficiency. UK countries also boast world-class research facilities, universities, and a strong education system in general.

How To Get A Permanent Residence in the UK

Permanent residence in the UK is also known as Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR). With this, you can live and work in the UK permanently. You may also be able to apply for British citizenship after 12 months of acquiring a permanent residency.

Read Also: 6 Tips for your Canada Immigration Application

Who is Eligible to Apply

You are eligible to apply if and only if you have lived/stayed in the UK for a minimum of five years under the following category;

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2 of the points-based system: for the skilled professionals from overseas who have a valid job offer in the United Kingdom
  • Businessperson
  • Investor
  • International students and Research Fellows
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency, PR agency, or broadcasting organization
  • A private servant in a diplomatic household
  • Domestic worker in a private household
  • Overseas government employee
  • A self-employed lawyer or solicitor
  • UK ancestry
  • Highly skilled migrants under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)
  • Retired person of independent means
  • The sole representative of an overseas firm

Usually, you can apply for the permit after five years of residing in the UK, however, there are other paths to permanent residency and they depend on the initial visa you acquired.

Below is a list showing the length of time you must spend in the UK on various visas to be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR):

  • Lawful stay on any basis (long stay): 10 years
  • Unlawful stay: 14 years
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permit: 5 years
  • Investor, sportsperson, business owner, arts: 5 years
  • Ancestry: 5 years

If your stay in the UK is within any of the categories above and you have completed the stated length of time, you may be eligible to apply for British residency and obtain a permanent UK residence permit.

Read Also: 8 Tips for Moving to the UK When Selected for a Job Offer

How to get Permanent Residency in the UK for Non-EU Citizen

Permanent residency becomes feasible when you have met the minimum requirement of staying legally in the UK for a minimum of five years and then begin to gather all the relevant documents you may need. Once this is done then you can head on to fill out the application form, then you need to ensure you have access to all details about your immigration history, especially if you have been on a variety of visas since your arrival in the country.

Types of Permanent Residency Form

There are two types of this form make sure you choose the correct form applicable to your personal situation;

  • Set(O);
  • Set(M).


This type of form can only be used if you are a partner to a UK citizen or a permanent resident holder; if you are a parent to a child that is a citizen or a permanent resident holder.


Use this form if you have lived in the UK in any one of the immigration categories above.

You will need to provide documents as proof of your legal stay in the UK as part of the application process. These may include:

  • Payslips
  • Bank account statements
  • Council tax letters
  • Letter from employer on company headed paper.

Read Also: 6 Graduate Jobs with Visa Sponsorship in the UK

Fees and processing times

According to UK Visas and Immigration, ILR takes about 6 months to process. The application for ILR costs £2,389. But keep in mind that many categories have financial requirements, which can make applying much for expensive.

Conditions That Apply in Permanent Residency

Your visa status expires if:

  • You spend more than 2 years outside the country. The pre settled status becomes void and you will need to reapply for it in case you want continuous residence in the country once again.
  • Any criminal offense is committed by the individual which would cancel the PR permit and could lead to deportation.

Permanent residency applications could be rejected if the social media handles of the applicant do not pass the fairness test. Immigration officers have the authority to verify the information provided by the applicants on the basis of data collected from the social media accounts.



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