Settlement for Partners and Family Members
The UK offers several routes to settlement for partners and family members of British citizens and settled persons in the UK, under the Spouse or Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner, Adult Dependent Relative and Child immigration routes.
If applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried Partner, you will need to have completed 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or settled person. You will also need to satisfy the strict financial requirement under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.
Unless an exemption applies, you will also need to meet the higher English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications and have passed the Life in the UK test.
If applying for indefinite leave to enter or remain as an Adult Dependent Relative or Child, you will need to demonstrate that you will be adequately maintained, accommodated and cared for without recourse to public funds. There is no English language requirement and it is not necessary to pass the Life in the UK test.
If you qualify for settlement, or indefinite leave to remain, you will be able to stay in the UK without any time restrictions.
Your settled status will lapse if you are absent from the UK for more than 2 years. If your ILR has lapsed, you may wish to consider applying for a Returning Resident visa in order to return to the UK.
Achieving permanent resident status is central to qualifying for a British passport, since Naturalisation as a British Citizen requires that the applicant be settled in the UK.
You will not need to satisfy the English language requirement or pass the Life in the UK test if you are under 18 or at least 65 years of age. The Home Office also has a discretion to waive the requirement if it would be unreasonable to expect you to fulfil that requirement due to a mental or physical condition. Various other exemptions also apply.
Long Residence IRL
If you are a non-UK national and have lived in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully for 10 years, you may qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK on the basis of long residence.
Requirements for ILR on grounds of Long Residence
In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain on the ground of long residence, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
• You have spent a period of at least 10 years residing in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully; and
• Your 10 year period of lawful residence is unbroken; and
• There are no public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain; and
• There are no general grounds for refusing your application (such as a relevant criminal conviction); and
• You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and about life in the United Kingdom; and
• You are not in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration laws.
You will have a break in your residence if at any time during the period relied upon:
• You were absent from the UK for more than 18 months in total; or
• You were removed or deported from the UK; or
• You left the UK having been refused leave to enter or remain;
• You evidenced a clear intention not to return to the UK on leaving; or
• You left the UK with no reasonable expectation of being able to return lawfully; or
• You were sentenced to a period of imprisonment (not suspended) or directed to be detained; or
• You were absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time; or
• You were absent from the UK for less than 6 months but had no leave either upon departure or return (or both).
When assessing whether there are any public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain, the Home Office will consider the following factors:
• Your age;
• The strength of your connections in the UK;
• Your personal history (e.g. character, conduct, associations, and employment record);
• Your domestic circumstances;
• Any compassionate circumstances; and
• Any representations submitted on your behalf.