09 Aug Which type of visa leads to settlement?
Most visa categories can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, for instance, the Tier 1 (Investor) visa, Innovator, Representative of an Overseas Business, Tier 2 (General) visa, UK Ancestry as well as applications made pursuant to Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. The most notable categories that do not lead to settled status are the Tier 2 ICT, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme and Tier 4 General Scheme.
How many years do you spend in the UK to obtain ILR?
- Tier 1 (Investor) visa:
1) Invest 10 million – 2 years
2) Invest 5 million – 3 years
3) Invest 2 million – 5 years
- Innovator visa – 3 years, subject to meeting the criteria
- Representative of an Overseas Business – 5 years
- Tier 2 (General) visa – 5 years (Tier 2 ICT does not lead to settlement)
- UK Ancestry visa – 5 years
- Spouse visa – 5 years
- Long Residence – 10 years
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa – 5 years (accelerated route – 3 years when for instance creating 10 new jobs etc). To be noted that since this category has been removed, a migrant will only be able to settle if an application is made prior to 6 April 2025.
The main criteria of Indefinite Leave to Remain
In order to qualify ILR, applicants have to meet the following main requirements:
- Must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal, and must not be an illegal entrant;
- Must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that paragraph 39E of Immigration Rules applies;
- Have been living in the UK lawfully for a continuous period of 5 years ( but this varies according to the visa category);
- Must not spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 months during the qualifying period;
- English language requirement – Level B1;
- Pass the Life in the UK Test;
- Specific requirements of the visa category.
Indefinite leave can also be revoked if you:
- are liable to deportation;
- obtained leave by deception;
- were granted leave as a refugee and cease to be a refugee
Your indefinite leave will lapse if you stay outside the UK for 2 or more years (5 or more, if granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme) at a time.
Naturalising as a British citizen after ILR under section 6(1)
A migrant is able to apply for British citizenship once he/she has held ILR for a full 12 months period (unless married or the civil partner of a British citizen).
If you are NOT married to or the civil partner of a British citizen, you will need to meet the requirements for the Section 6(1) under the British Nationality Act 1981:
1. Be a person of a good character;
2. Must not have any unspent convictions;
3. An applicant must be aged 18 or over;
4. Must intend to continue living in the UK;
5. An applicant must be able to communicate in English and have sufficient knowledge of life in the UK;
6. Each applicant must meet the residential requirements, such as:
- Been resident in the UK for the last five years;
- Been present in the UK five years before the date of your application;
- Not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the five-years period;
- Not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months;
- Not been in breach of the Immigration Rules at any stage during the five-year period.
Contact Our Immigration Team
For expert advice regarding any aspect of Indefinite Leave to Remain application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.