Settle in the UK

in various immigration categories

#1 experts on UK settlement law, we founded this business after our own experience almost 20 years ago

Indefinite Leave to Remain guidance: settle as a spouse, partner or parent of a British Citizen, 5 and 10 year routes

1000s of successful cases for Workers, Ancestry, 10 years residence

Get a faster decision on your settlement application!  

24 – hour service: decision within 24 hours from the day of your appointment for biometrics (fingerprints), as opposed to waiting – and worrying – for up to 6 months. We book an appointment for you, we upload the documents beforehand and ‘hold your hand’ throughout the whole process. You can keep your passport during the processing time.  

1 – week service: works as above but takes 5 working days.  

Standard service is more affordable but may take up to 6 months. You can keep your passport during the consideration time but cannot travel abroad.

When you submit a new visa application before your old visa expired, your ‘old’ status continues for as long as it takes the Government to make a decision. It may be just weeks or several months, your status remains legal even if your previous visa has expired during the consideration process.

For example, you have a Spouse visa and applied for Settlement. While waiting, your Spouse visa expired. No problem! Your immigration position remains ‘Spouse visa’ until you get a decision on Settlement, even if it takes several months. You also retain the same rights as on a Spouse visa. 

Another example: you have a Skilled Worker visa and can only work for your Sponsor. Before it expired you applied for Settlement. While waiting, your status remains ‘Skilled Worker’ and you can still only work for your Sponsor. Once your ILR has been approved, however, you are free to do any work!

If you need your Settlement visa sooner, please see above about the 24-hour service, so your status changes fast!

Some can be, some cannot be, it is written in the UK Immigration Rules – we will guide you!

For example, you can mix and match most work visas but cannot combine work visas with family visas. Also, a main visa is different from a dependent visa, such as Tier 2 General is different from Tier 2 Dependant, so cannot be combined either. Some categories are not counted at all, such as Student or Graduate, so Student+Spouse doesn’t work. If you are in the Spouse / Partner route, you cannot mix and match 5 and 10-year routes (unless it’s 10 years).   

The only exception is 10 years of legal residence where virtually all visas are acceptable. 

5 years in the UK continuously. Can be combined with some other visa categories but not all. It is a matter of the Immigration Rules and needs to be checked properly. For example, you can combine Tier 1 Entrepreneur with a Tier 2/Skilled Worker, but not other way around. You cannot combine a main visa with a dependent one. Some business categories have accelerated routes to settlement after just 3 years in the UK. Life in the UK test and English B1. Absences: 180 days per year.

For example, Tier 1 Entrepreneur accelerated route, Innovator if the qualifying conditions are met (a choice of 7), Global Talent if endorsement was from Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering. For a full list and individual assessment please Book a Consultation with a lawyer. 

5 years and 10 years respectively. For the 5-year route: English at B1 level, Life in the UK test and Financial Requirement £18,600. Five years can only be on a Spouse/Partner visa, cannot count Fiancé(e) visa and cannot combine with other categories, such as Student or even a visa in the 10-year Partner route. You can, however, switch into the 5-year route to qualify for Settlement sooner. 

If you have a pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you can apply for settlement after 5 years in the UK, continuously, while working, studying or living self-sufficiently. You don’t have to wait for 5 years from the date of pre-settled status. For example, it can be 4 years, then pre-settled status, then 1 year later – application for a settled status. 

Family members (of any nationality) – 5 years in the UK while living with ‘your’ EEA citizen of the type above.

10 years of living in the UK legally and continuously. 

Any UK visas are counted. 

Life in the UK test and English B1.

Absences: 6 months in each absence and 18 months total in 10 years

Most common problem: 18 months limit on absences. Those who started as child students 10 years ago had too many days away due to coming home during the school holidays.

In most cases, the rule is 180 days per year. Examples: Work visas, business, ancestral routes and dependants. Same for European / EEA citizens and their family members. 

For spouses and partners of British citizens, there are no written rules. In practice, 6 months per year is acceptable, providing the UK remained your main home.  

10 years residence: 6 months in each absence and 540 days total in 10 years.  

You can lose you ILR / settled status by leaving the UK for more than 2 years. This may also happen if you make your home overseas and return to the UK for short visits to keep it within 2 years. If you need to spend long periods of time outside the UK, the best solution is to get a British passport!

From our blog