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Applying for UK Residency

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 7 Dec 2017 | 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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@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
My daughter has been granted 5 visiting visa from 3 month to 2 years visa. After the 2 years visa was expired she applied again and she was refused now 3 times she got refused without good reason just because she is young the entry clearance officer is not satisfied she would return back county. She never overstated and always returned back within the visa. This is not fair on a mother who is registered disabled and can’t travel. Could you please advice
Sila - 7-Dec-17 @ 3:21 AM
@Bex I will assume that your husband wants to apply for British citizenship since he already has ILR. His employment status will not affect his application in any way.
TJ. - 3-Dec-17 @ 5:11 PM
My husband has an ILR and has been here with me for last 20 years.He is Indian.And recently he said he thought he should apply for residencyHe doesn't have a job, will this go against him? Neither do I But we are not claiming benefits
Bex - 2-Dec-17 @ 11:35 PM
@Worried Father last time I checked your daughter in law should be able to apply for a family visa while she is in the UK as long as her existing entry clearance is still valid. The Home Office does encourage applicants to apply from outside the UK but it is possible to do it in the UK. She should also decide if she is applying for a work permit or a family visa because a work permit has to be applied for from outside the UK. She can only get ILR after 5 year legal residence in the UK.
TJ. - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:56 PM
@LG your mother is eligible for residence in the UK because your status as an EU permanent resident makes you an automatic "qualified person". She can apply for a residence card as soon as she arrives and she will be entitled to NHS. However if you apply for British citizenship before she comes over that will change everything as British citizens need to meet many more requirements to bring a dependant parent than EU citizens.
TJ. - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:46 PM
@Steveo your daughter's husband can apply to settle in the UK permanently but he needs to pass the test as a requirement.
TJ. - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:41 PM
Worried Father - Your Question:
My son (a UK citizen) met a USA citizen online over 20 years ago. They have kept in touch ever since. She came to the UK on a visitors 3 month visa February 2017 - a "meet the family" I think. My son flew to America and married her September 1st 2017. He flew home (UK) alone while she stayed in the US to "do the paperwork" to register her new name and ID etc, She then flew over to the UK one week later on a visitors visa. In the intervening time the UK appears to have "moved the goalposts". They were BOTH of the understanding that she could not apply for a work permit and residency unless she was in the UK. Apparently, while she was in the US. the UK government changed their rules. She is now faced with going back to USA to reapply on a different visa to work, and subsequently apply for ILR!

Our Response:
Has she applied for a spouse visa? Please see link here, which she would need to apply for from outside the UK. Unless she has lived in the country continuously for more than five years, she would not be able to apply for ILR. I can't advise regarding a work visa, as much depends upon whether she fulfils the requirements laid out.
AboutImmigration - 1-Dec-17 @ 1:52 PM
My son (a UK citizen) met a USA citizen online over 20 years ago. They have kept in touch ever since. She came to the UK on a visitors 3 month visa February 2017 - a "meet the family" I think. My son flew to America and married her September 1st 2017. He flew home (UK) alone while she stayed in the US to "do the paperwork" to register her new name and ID etc, She then flew over to the UK one week later on a visitors visa. In the intervening time the UK appears to have "moved the goalposts". They were BOTH of the understanding that she could not apply for a work permit and residency unless she was in the UK. Apparently, while she was in the US. the UK government changed their rules. She is now faced with going back to USA to reapply on a different visa to work, and subsequently apply for ILR!
Worried Father - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:14 AM
Hi there, I am a Netherlands citizen and have been living in the UK for ~25 years and have Permanent residents card.I am also married to a UK National.My mother is retired and is also a Netherlands citizen.She is retired and on her own so I would like her to emigrate and move to the UK and live with me and my husband.Could you please advise me on: 1) what she needs to do for me to register and become a resident here in the UK? and live with me? 2) will she be entitled to NHS care?is there anything else she needs to do to be able to live here? thank you.L
LG - 30-Nov-17 @ 1:34 PM
Hello can you Please help me my daughter who is a U.K. citizen and her turkish husband have lived hear five years they now have a child he has worked full time since arriving in uk his he entitled to uk residency or does he still have to keep renewing is visa has this is so expensive every two years he keeps trying life in uk test but keeps failing i just thought he was elligable to stay after five years thanks
Steveo - 27-Nov-17 @ 8:11 PM
Hi there! I was born in England and I have dual citizenship in UK and US. My family relocated to US when I was very young, and I have lived here ever since. I am 30 and I would like to move to England to live, work, and eventually go back to school. How does dual citizenship affect residency? Do I need to apply for any extra documentation? I've been scouring the web for answers but not much info on dual citizens in regard to this. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
JT - 10-Nov-17 @ 4:55 AM
@Kiki you will be able to apply for permanent residency once you have spent at least 5 years working in the UK. If you leave the UK for more than 90 days in one year before you become a permanent resident will affect your ability to apply.
TJ. - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:36 AM
@Shaz you will qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of legal residence in the UK. You can apply for British citizenship one year after holding ILR
TJ. - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:31 AM
Hello I'm from EU from Poland icame here on December 2012 and started working on February 2013 when can I apply for residency?And also I'm planning to go to Poland for few months can I do this anc still can apply ? If i take unpaid leave from work will it be ok ?
Kiki - 1-Nov-17 @ 9:21 PM
Hi there, I hope you are well. I need to ask about permanent residence. I got married to EU national on 11/02/2012 my first residence card was issued on 07/01/2013 we got divorced after 3 and half years time roughly on August 2015. I got retain rights of residence valid till January 2021. My question is when I will be eligible apply for permanent residence ? If I apply now on the basis of my marriage from 2012 to 2017 ( cover 5 years) do I need my ex wife’s documents ? If I apply on the basis of retain rights in 2021 ( Feb 2016 to 2021) then still I would need her documents or I can rely on my own documents? Look forward to hear from you. Regards
Shaz - 30-Oct-17 @ 9:43 AM
Can you please advise me regarding my dependant application? I am going to apply for LIR for my self. Last 5 years I have been living as a Tier 4 dependant visa and we have got kids born here. After my LIR approval my wife will apply for FLM ? And wneed to show £18,600 income for her? But I am really confused about my two kids. What would be my approach for them to be settled in UK? Many thanks. Any advice would be grealty appreciated.
Ali - 27-Oct-17 @ 3:36 PM
I was granted with ILR in 1994 lived in UK from 1991 to 2009 then moved back to Brazil where my british citizen husband was working. In 2012 we came over for my daughter's wedding and stayed over 18 days. In 2015 my husband found out he had skin cancer(melanoma) type, so he started his treatment in Brazil and last year decided to come over, because it was too costly over there. I came in may/2017 for a visit and was giving a 6 months tourist visa. My question is how can I apply for a Returning Resident Visa if I am in UK and my 15 year old son, now attending year 11 and getting prepared for his GCSE's exams and my husband needs to check his cancer every 6 months. Thanks !
Doll - 23-Oct-17 @ 7:47 PM
ziogelis - Your Question:
Hello. Me and my partner were married for 4 years. I'm British he's Pakistani. He lives in UK for 7 years already. Earns more then 20k. Is there any chances after divorce for him to stay in UK? Or get Permanent resodence card. Thank you.

Our Response:
Your husband must either apply for a new visa or leave the UK, if his visa is dependent upon you, please see link here . We cannot second-guess what the Home Office may decide if he applies to remain in the UK independently.
AboutImmigration - 20-Oct-17 @ 12:56 PM
Hello. Me and my partner were married for 4 years. I'm British he's Pakistani. He lives in UK for 7 years already. Earns more then 20k. Is there any chances after divorce for him to stay in UK? Or get Permanent resodence card. Thank you.
ziogelis - 19-Oct-17 @ 7:01 PM
Blossom - Your Question:
My nephew emigrated to New Zealand aged 7 with his Father and Sister. Now aged 31 he has decided to return to live in the UK. He has a British Passport. What does he need to do? Hes already bought his return ticket, he only has roughly £2,000 saved. I can put him up for a couple of weeks, put finacially I am unable to support him. Will immigration let him in with such a small amount? Any help would be appreciated Thanks

Our Response:
Yes, he is eligible to return to the UK, but he would have to be able to support himself financially. He would not be eligible to claim means-tested benefits until he was classed as being 'ordinarily resident', please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 13-Oct-17 @ 3:02 PM
JF - Your Question:
Being a UK citizen for 22 years by marriage. I lost my dad 18months ago in Nigeria. Now it is just my mum who is back home, no siblings or carer. She is 73 years old, often visits but I would like to apply for a residency permit for her as she is all alone.Your advise on how to go about it is highly appreciated.Thanks,JF

Our Response:
You would need to fulful all the requirements for a family visa to be able to apply to bring your mother to the UK to live, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 12-Oct-17 @ 10:15 AM
Being a UK citizen for 22 years by marriage. I lost my dad 18months ago in Nigeria. Now it is just my mum who is back home, no siblings or carer. She is 73 years old, often visits but I would like to apply for a residency permit for her as she is all alone. Your advise on how to go about it is highly appreciated. Thanks, JF
JF - 11-Oct-17 @ 11:43 AM
My nephew emigrated to New Zealand aged 7 with his Father and Sister. Now aged 31 he has decided to return to live in the UK. He has a British Passport. What does he need to do? Hes already bought his return ticket, he only has roughly £2,000 saved. I can put him up for a couple of weeks, put finacially I am unable to support him. Will immigration let him in with such a small amount? Any help would be appreciated Thanks
Blossom - 6-Oct-17 @ 10:51 PM
Jean - Your Question:
HiI have a British passport and own my flat and want to bring my 15 year old Philippino son to live here with me. Do you have any advice?

Our Response:
Much depends upon who your son is living with currently and why you wish to bring him to the UK. You can see more via the gov.uk link here for more information.
AboutImmigration - 5-Oct-17 @ 3:57 PM
Hi I have a British passport and own my flat and want to bring my 15 year oldPhilippino son to live here with me.Do you have any advice?
Jean - 4-Oct-17 @ 8:13 PM
@amr You wouldn't be able to get a work permit because you are married. You would have to apply for one independently. It's really difficult to bring your wife or husband to the UK, unless she's wealthy.
JayJay - 29-Sep-17 @ 2:48 PM
I m a Norwegian citizen. I want to marry my girl-friend who is British citizen. Can I get a residency permit and work permit in UK if I marry her?
amr - 28-Sep-17 @ 11:21 PM
we have two kids who were born in U.K. We are from Ghana and my husband is from Norway. I lived in U.K. For 7years . Two years on working Visa and 5years of marriage .until we moved to Norway. I still have a 10 years of permanent residency and I come to Uk every year after leaving U.K. In Dec 2012 to Norway. Shortly after arriving I was subjected to domestic violence.Since then I went to report the case but the policeman heard my case and the names of people involved and decided to rather direct me to counselling because of they are untouchables. In U.K. I worked and paid taxes. And I would like to come back and work again since I have still not found a job here in Norway. What are my chances of obtaining a U.K. Citizenship after returning. How many years do I have to work and reside in U.K. To be able to acquire the citizenship. Plus what are my rights under human rights law as a domestic violence victim.
Cassandra - 24-Sep-17 @ 6:11 AM
My daughter is in the process of getting her Cuban husband to the uk but she would like to move closer to her family the question is can she move address while the process of getting him is going on. Thanking you Woody
Woody - 21-Sep-17 @ 6:56 PM
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