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Applying for UK Residency

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 11 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Applying For Uk Residency

All British citizens and the citizens of some Commonwealth countries have the right to live in the UK. Citizens of these countries who do not have a passport to prove this may apply for a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode to prove that they are permitted to live and work in the UK.

Citizens of the European Economic Area are entitled to live and work in the UK under European law. However, they must show that they are able to support themselves and their families financially without having to rely on public funds.

Citizens of other countries may be entitled to apply for UK residency if they satisfy certain criteria.

UK Ancestry

Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent who was born in the UK can apply for permanent residence on the basis of UK ancestry. Applications must be made, and permission granted, before coming to the UK. Rights of residency based on UK ancestry cannot be claimed if the applicant entered the UK on another basis.

To be eligible for UK residency under this heading, Commonwealth citizens must be at least 17 years old. They must also prove that they can, and intend to, work in the UK, and can support themselves and any dependant family.

Partners and Children

The husbands, wives or civil partners of UK residents are entitled to live in the UK with their partner but must prove that the marriage or civil partnership is genuine and fulfil certain financial eligibility requirements. They are not automatically entitled to permanent residence. Partners will have to obtain entry clearance before coming to the UK.

Prospective spouses and couples who are not married but live together as if they were may also apply for temporary residence to join their UK resident partner. Special rules apply to those who come to the UK to marry a UK resident.

Children of UK permanent residents who are under the age of 18 and unmarried will usually be entitled to permanent residency in the UK but will have to obtain entry clearance before they travel.

Other Relatives

Some members of a UK resident’s extended family may be entitled to UK residency. Widowed parents aged at least 65 or grandparents where one is aged at least 65 can apply to live in the UK with their family member.

In some cases children over the age of 18, siblings, aunts and uncles, and parents or grandparents under the age of 65 may also come to live in the UK. However, there is no automatic entitlement for these relatives to have UK residency. To be considered they will have to show that:

  • They are entirely or mostly financially dependent on the UK resident;
  • They have no close family members in their own country who can support them; and,
  • The UK resident can afford to support them financially.

Returning Residents

Permanent UK residents who have lived abroad for less than two years may return to live in the UK if they intend to live here permanently. Former UK residents who have lived abroad for longer than two years may be entitled to return if they can show that they have lived in the UK for most of their lives or have close family there.

Foreign Citizens with Temporary Leave to Remain in the UK

Foreign nationals who have been granted temporary leave to live in the UK may be entitled to apply for permanent residence after they have been in the UK continuously for a number of years. Whether people in this category will be entitled to permanent residence will depend on the type of visa under which they have been in the UK. To be successful applicants will usually have to show a good understanding of the English language and life in the UK.

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@Aqwxsz - Any EU citizen who comes to the UK before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 will be allowed to stay 5 years and will be granted settled status after. No need to worry.
TJ. - 11-Feb-18 @ 8:56 AM
Hi, I'm a UK born citizen and married a person from Finland in March 2016 - before brexit. My wife has lived in the UK since December 2015. We have since had a child and are having another in a few months. What do we need to do to ensure that my wife can stay living in the UK after Brexit next year? Many thanks.
Aqwsxz - 10-Feb-18 @ 4:40 PM
@Naga - You can only apply for ILR after living in the UK for at least 5 years on one particular visa.
TJ. - 5-Feb-18 @ 7:37 AM
Hi , I have entered UK in Nov 2012 under ict short term visa and then moved to ICt long term visa from October 2013 onwards. So as of today I have completed 5 years and 2 months continuously in Uk. Can I apply for PR ?
Naga - 5-Feb-18 @ 12:07 AM
Hi, I am a Portuguese National and I arrived in the UK on 12th December. I now intend to bring my spouse to the UK, after getting my civil (court) marriage done. She's an Indian national, so I was wondering do I have to apply for a temporary residence card to bring her here? Any other information that you can provide would be of great help to us. Thanks...
JP - 4-Feb-18 @ 8:22 PM
@May - your daughter is an adult above 18 years old. She cannot be included in your visa application.
TJ. - 25-Jan-18 @ 8:01 AM
I am married to a common wealth soildier in the U.K. Am about to apply for my visa to join him in the U.K.,but I have a 19 year old daughter which is not for my husband,how and what do I do to be able to move her across with me.
May - 25-Jan-18 @ 4:46 AM
I was born oct 6th 1983 in uk. my father was born in Jamaica.But before I was born had British citizenship. my mum came to the UK in 1970 as a 10 year old from Barbados and has not left since . I have tried to obtain a British passport but as my mum didn't 're new her bajan passport till 1999 i have no proof my mum had the right to remain at the time of my birth she has a indefinite stamp but as it was issued after my birth have can't prove It. I'm at a loss of what I can do to get a British passport my mother and father was not married so I can't apply through him. Any advice would be helpful
Li - 14-Jan-18 @ 9:10 PM
@Tony - Commonwealth citizens do not have any birth right to British citizenship. Unless one of your parents is a British citizen born or naturalized in the UK you will need to apply for a visa to become a resident in the UK.
TJ. - 12-Jan-18 @ 2:08 AM
Both of my parents are from the Caribbean under the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and then became independent in 1973. Can I apply for residency under their birthright being under the commonwealth?If so how, please?
Tony - 11-Jan-18 @ 8:47 PM
@Lee - If your father was born in the UK then you can find out from the govuk website how you can apply for a British passport. If you were not born in the UK and have never lived there it is unlikely that your daughter will be eligible for British citizenship. She should look into applying for the 5 year ancestry visa as she is a commonwealth citizen and has a grandparent born in the UK.
TJ. - 8-Jan-18 @ 2:35 PM
My dad us a British citizen who lived in South Africa till he passed away 16 years ago. How can i go about to obtain citizenship for me and my daughter?
Lee - 8-Jan-18 @ 12:22 PM
@James - ILR is granted based on continuous residency in the UK. Because you have been outside the UK for over 8 years your previous stay is irrelevant and any ILR application will have to be based on a fresh 5 years of continuous residency.
TJ. - 8-Jan-18 @ 9:55 AM
Hi Born in New Zealand I was granted an ancestry visa and lived and worked in the UK for the period of 2002 until 2009 (consistently). I wish to return to the UK to work and live on a permanent basis. Initially i will apply for an ancestry but my question is do i have to wait for five years before i can apply for ILR or can i apply sooner taking into consideration I have already lived and work in the UK for 7 years? Your assistance would be most appreciated regards James
James - 8-Jan-18 @ 6:41 AM
Hi, I am a British Citizen but currently living and working in Nigeria. I am married with 3 kids. 2 of these kids are currently with my brother in the UK schooling (they are citizens too). In the long run when I can save up enough, I intend to move my whole family abroad so we can all be together. Now the issue is this. For the time being I would like my wife that is a home maker (unemployed) to have access to the kids in the UK every now and then. I can and will be the sponsor of her trips. How can I convince the peoplein charge of issuing visas to give her one. She applied for a visa in December but was refused because of her financial status. She was not given a right to appeal or seek administrative review. It is also stated that if her circumstances do not change she may be refused again if she applies. Does this mean she needs to go get a job after so long before she can go visit her kids? Please advise on the best possible way to get her a visa so she can visit. Thanks
Abdul - 7-Jan-18 @ 7:58 PM
@Ade - Your mother needs to leave the UK before she makes the application. Unless there are compelling reasons for her to remain in the UK for example a medical diagnosis stating that travelling will put her at risk, it is unlikely that an application made in the UK using FLR (HRO) will be approved.
TJ. - 6-Jan-18 @ 3:47 PM
Hello pls help. My mum is 66 wheelchair bound she is in the UK as a visitor. She has been here for two months as is due to leave on 9 Jan 2018 as leave expires on the 9th Jan 2018. She is showing clear mental health signs like alzhimers and I fear for her health. What's the best form to submit to the home office for my mum to remain with me as an adult dependent relative whilst in the UK. Is it FLR FP or FLR HRO? Ade
Ade - 6-Jan-18 @ 8:08 AM
@Lee - The "Life in the UK test" is a mandatory part of a settlement (ILR) application.
TJ. - 30-Dec-17 @ 7:14 AM
My wife and i have been married almost 6 years.She first arrived in 2011 on a tourist visa from Thailand i have renewed her visa(extension of stay)on a number of occasions. We have 2 children and another child on the way. Iam curious to know if i can claim permanent residency(Indefinite leave to remain)without taking life in the U.K. test ? Your reply would be much appreciated. Thanks .
Lee - 29-Dec-17 @ 9:23 PM
My wife and i have been married almost 6 years.She first arrived in 2011 on a tourist visa i have renewed her visa(extension of stay)on a number of occasions. We have 2 children and another child on the way. Iam curious to know if i can claim permanent residency(Indefinite leave to remain)without taking life in the U.K. test ? Your reply would be much appreciated. Thanks .
Lee - 29-Dec-17 @ 9:21 PM
@Tommy - your circumstance is unclear. If your British mother was not born in the UK and you are above 18 years old then you will not be entitled to apply for British citizenship. If any of your grandparents were British citizens born in the UK you may be entitled as a commonwealth citizen to apply for a 5 year ancestry visa which will allow you to live and work in the UK.
TJ. - 25-Dec-17 @ 11:42 PM
My grandmother was born on a british naval base in Malta and then her parents shifted back to the UK where she was brought up. My mother has a british passport, but this was obtained through her grandparents. My mum has lived in the UK for a number of years now. I am a NZ citizen, is there anyway I could apply for a right of abode or residency in the UK ?
Tommy - 24-Dec-17 @ 6:39 PM
@Fufu unless you find an organization that is willing to sponsor you for the Tier 2 visa it will be difficult to remain in the UK after your student visa expires unless you further your studies or marry an EU citizen.
TJ. - 22-Dec-17 @ 9:08 PM
I moved to London in January 2008, and moved back to my home country in December 2013. Before this, I had only left the UK for a total of 3 weeks. I came back to the UK on a student visa in September 2016, and would like to remain. What is the best possible visa to transfer to? Thank you. PS. A lot of companies aren't willing to sponsor the visa, it seems.
Fufu - 22-Dec-17 @ 7:42 PM
Dan - Your Question:
Am Caribbean and my mom is 56 hown can I apply for her to stay with me in the UK she dose nother need a visa to enter the UK but when she comes how do I go about it at one point I coul do have extended her stay but can't find that option anymore

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 19-Dec-17 @ 9:31 AM
Steve - Your Question:
Hi All,I'm an italian citizen working for more than one year in London. I got the temporary residence. My girlfriend will want to come soon, next here we will have a baby, and we want him to grow up in London. I would like to help her to get the temporary residence as well and know more about our rights and the possibility to get the baby in a London hospital. Can someone give me some hint on how to proceed? My girlfriend works in Italy but in case I think she can be transferred in the same company (London branch).Thank you, Stefano

Our Response:
On the back of TJ's answer, you can see 'Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know' via the gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 18-Dec-17 @ 9:22 AM
Am Caribbean and my mom is 56 hown can I apply for her to stay with me in the UK she dose nother need a visa to enter the UK but when she comes how do I go about it at one point I coul do have extended her stay but can't find that option anymore
Dan - 18-Dec-17 @ 4:22 AM
@Steve - all EU citizens can live, study or work in the UK without any restrictions or permits. Once someone is ordinarily resident in the UK they can access free services offered by the NHS regardless of their nationality. Once your child is born you can apply for a residence card for the child which will no longer be required once the child starts education.
TJ. - 17-Dec-17 @ 11:22 AM
Hi All, I'm an italian citizen working for more thanone year in London. I got the temporary residence. My girlfriend will want to come soon, next here we will have a baby, and we want him to grow up in London. I would like to help her to get the temporary residence as well and know more about our rights and the possibility to get the baby in a London hospital. Can someone give me some hint on how to proceed? My girlfriend works in Italy but in case I think she can be transferred in the same company (London branch). Thank you, Stefano
Steve - 16-Dec-17 @ 1:12 PM
@Sila if your daughter has previously spent a lot of her time in the UK then the Home Office may take this to mean that she has established residency in the UK using a visit visa which is not allowed. This will be made worse if she has few ties in her home country and more ties in the UK.
TJ. - 7-Dec-17 @ 11:45 AM
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