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Settlement in the UK: what? why? how?

21 September 2010

Settlement, permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain are interchangeably used to indicate the same immigration status, namely the absence of any immigration restrictions on a migrant's ability to work, stay, live or marry in the UK.  In a nutshell, "permanent residence" is the term used for an applicant who has acquired settled status under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 as the family member of an EU national exercising his/her treaty rights in the UK.

However, under the Immigration Rules one is eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain either having spent 5 years in a working category leading to settlement or after ONLY two years as the spouse/civil or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK.

There are many factors to be taken into consideration when applying for settlement. The most common or simple mistakes are noted when an applicant submits an incorrect or out-of date form and/or pays the incorrect fee depending on whether the application bundle is sent by post or lodged using the same day service. However, in line with paragraph 34 (I) of the Immigration Rules, the UK Border Agency will accept applications made on the previous version of an application form up to 21 days from the issuing of a new form.

There are also more serious and difficult circumstances, which may require the assistance and advice of an immigration expert or a legal representative. In particular, an application for settlement may be refused when the applicant has accumulated excessive absences, when there are gaps between the extensions or if the applicant has overstayed his/her leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. Similarly the application might be undermined if the prospective applicant has breached the conditions attached to his/her particular visa category, if there are any civil or criminal fines or convictions and if the migrant has not been in lawful employment throughout the five years. These are all factors, which will need to be addressed and disclosed when preparing an application for settlement as they may well make the difference between success and failure.

Please contact us if you have any concern with your UK settlement application.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.