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Applying for UK Residency

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 28 May 2020 | 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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My Thai girlfriend of 5 years wants to live with me in the UK. She is due to come here on a tourist visa for 6 months and i want to know what i need to do to apply for a permanent residency visa? I dont want to get married initially but live in a civil partnership, is this possible?
PPL - 28-May-20 @ 1:20 PM
I am a South African at 76 years old, lost all due to Zimbabwe collapsing and living with my son. I have a retired sister and brother-in-law in the UK, she is now a British citizen, can she sponsor me to live in the UK at her home as my son is unable to support me. I have absolutely no form of income or finances left.
ed - 27-May-20 @ 11:18 AM
Hi my husband has a tier 2 visa right to remainwe have been married for 9 years no kids hw long before he can apply for permeant residencey i am british born and bread so any know about this canay one give me advice he is fulltime work too
sussan64 - 10-Oct-19 @ 5:19 PM
Hi There. My wife and I have been living in the UK for 3 years now. She is italian and I am Brazilian. She sponsors my VISA (EEA family member). We had a baby last July 15th and the baby is entitled to both Brazilian and Italian nationality. But so far we were only able to get the Brazilian passport and will travel to Brazil before the baby receives her Italian passport. Do we need to issue any visa for our baby in order to not have any problems when coming back to the UK holding only a Brazilian passport? What kind of Visa is that? I searched the home office website and the questions you have to fill in do not really make sense for a baby. They ask things like if the baby could stay outside the UK while appealing if the process gets denied. Thanks a lot.
Ric - 3-Sep-19 @ 4:32 PM
I have been living in the uk for 7 years on a biometric permit and am 17. My parents are moving back to the states but I want to here with my other half. We are not engaged or are pregnant, but I live with him. I still have a little over a year left on my permit so I was wondering if I’d have to leave with my parents or if I was able to stay
Kaleigh Spohn - 1-Aug-19 @ 11:48 AM
@Rakovski - If you have lived in the UK for 5 years or more and have not left the UK for more than 2 years you can apply for settled status.
TJ. - 15-Apr-19 @ 10:19 AM
Hello, can you please help me with my situation. I have been living in the UK for about over 9 years(from 2009 to 2016 are full)of whom I live in the UK for the past year and seven months too now. Prior to this period, I have been in Bulgaria for one and a half years in April 2016 to September 2017 due to the birth of my son. I want to apply for Settled status for EU citizens. I have a registration certificate issued as a self-employed person. In Guidance from home office told. Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you’ve been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12 month period. The exceptions are: One period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting) My question is what are the chances for me to apply for Settled status? and this certification would help me to apply Thank you.
Rakovski - 14-Apr-19 @ 7:18 PM
I am on tier 2 visa and have a baby girl whose premature and is in hospital critical care. I would like to apply for a dependent visa as she can have nhs treatment free for only 3 months. Problem I’m facing is as my baby is in hospital I can’t take here for biometric. Please advice how can I go about this as I require to apply for visa to pay the nhs surcharge and get things going. Thank you
Mario - 4-Apr-19 @ 8:16 PM
I lived in the UK from 1980 to 2002 on a grandparent entry certificate (ex NZ), married a British citizen but currently live in New Zealand. We are looking to return to the UK. Where does my eligibility lie?
CB - 6-Mar-19 @ 8:00 AM
@Dai - You can apply for a retired person of independent means visa. You will need a minimum net income of £25,000 per year.
TJ. - 11-Feb-19 @ 6:29 PM
Hi, I am a 67 year old financially independent( ie not reliant on a govt pension) Australian citizen, born and bred in NSW. I lived in the UK for approx 2 years in the 1970's, and have returned a number of times since then. I am a widower and have 2 daughters, one living in Canada and the other still at school. I would like the opportunity, if possible, to retire in Wales or Gloucestershire where I have an extensive family history, and indeed still have some not too distant relatives. My grandparents were all born in Australia, but 6 of my great grandparents came from the UK and Ireland. What is the likelihood of someone such as myself obtaining British citizenship/ permanent residency, and what would be the appropriate pathway to take in seeking UK residency? Many thanks.
Dai - 10-Feb-19 @ 6:17 AM
Hello Me and my mother has lived in the UK for 18 years now and every 3 years we would have to reaply for leave to remain. Now we have completed this and we need to send of information to home office for ILR but the fees are to high and we can not afford it each ? What do we do please?
Alex - 17-Dec-18 @ 4:28 PM
Hello. I came to the U.K. on a 2yr Commonwealth Work/Travel visa in Dec 96. I am Canadian and asked my dad to repatriate himself with Slovakia so that I could get my European Union Passport. I am self employed and own a house, or well paying my mortgage on my house that I bought in 2007. Bboth my Slovakian and Canadian Passports arein date and I’ve never applied for permanent residence. Should I apply? As a Canadian and on the electoral roll, I voted to remain, but how will Brexit affect me now? Kind regards.
Mary F - 4-Nov-18 @ 7:42 AM
@Thab.luca - If you leave the UK for more than 2 years all your years of residency in the UK will be lost.
TJ. - 26-Sep-18 @ 5:14 PM
I am a British Citizen and my Husband is an Italian Citizen. We have been married for 3 years and have a child together. We were married in the UK but since then have been living in Italy. We are now looking at coming to the UK to live. He will still work overseas which means he will be away for 7 months of the year. Will he be entitled to residency?
KAT - 8-Sep-18 @ 4:11 PM
Hi, I am British and lived with my French husband in the UK together for 17 years before leaving to live in Prague in August 2016 with our 2 children. We would like to return to the UK at some point (we own a house) but it won't be until at least the end of 2019. Will my husband still have to re-register as if he had never been in the UK for all those years? Thank you for your help. Sa
Sa - 7-Sep-18 @ 11:06 AM
UKNZ - Your Question:
Hello, my partner a new zealand resident entered uk on youth mobility visa. We lived together in germany before this for a year. Wehave lived here for a year now and would like to settlehere permanently. I am a british citizen. What are our options

Our Response:
The link here should help answer your question. If your parnter is not eligible, then he would have to return to his home country and apply for a new visa. If you intend staying togther as a couple, a family visa may be an option, please see the link here . To be eligible for this, you would have to be resident in the UK and earning at least £18,600 in order to sponsor him.
AboutImmigration - 4-Sep-18 @ 9:51 AM
@cc - You will be able to apply for Permanent Residency (ILR) after 10 years of continuous legal residence in the UK
TJ. - 3-Sep-18 @ 1:14 PM
Hi, I've been held Tier4 General Visa since 2011 and this is my 7th year in the UK. My current visa expires in Jan,2019. I was wondering that when can I start applying for my permit residence card. Do I need to hold another Tier4 visa to prove that I can stay longer in the UK or find another visa sponsored job first, then I can apply for it? Thank you
CC - 3-Sep-18 @ 12:35 PM
Hello, my partner a new zealand resident entered uk on youth mobility visa. We lived together in germany before this for a year. Wehave lived here for a year now and would like to settlehere permanently. I am a british citizen. What are our options
UKNZ - 3-Sep-18 @ 7:28 AM
Hi . I came first time for working in2015 December and been here for 8months. After thatI came back in 2017 March . So been here 2 years continuously. Can I apply for permanent visa?
Lisa - 23-Aug-18 @ 2:14 AM
@Pat - You will need to apply for a new Certificate of Entitlement in your new Singapore passport.
TJ. - 20-Aug-18 @ 3:56 PM
I am a Singapore citizen and have lived in the UK since 1984 and have employment records since 1986.I am married to a British citizen and have held Right of Abode certificates all this time.I have applied for British citizenship because Singapore does not recognise dual citizenship.I had been informed, both by the British High Commission in Singapore and at UK Border Control that by showing my Certificate of Right of Abode in my old passport is sufficient to see me through passport control.Recently though, I have been told by airline checkers that my Certificate of Right of Abode in my 'expired' passport is not longer acceptable although on my last return to the UK, the passport control officer said that it was still ok.I am confused. In order to avoid future complications at passport controls, I would like to apply for a Full UK Resident Permit. How do I go about this without surrendering my Singapore passport for up to 6 months?I already have several European trips planned in the next 2-3 months.
Pat - 20-Aug-18 @ 1:00 PM
@Karen - If you all move back to the UK before your son turns 18 and your husband adopts him here, your son will become an automatic British citizen upon granting of the adoption order and will be eligible for a British passport. Your son however does not need to be adopted by your husband in order to apply for a family visa as your dependant.
TJ. - 16-Jul-18 @ 1:26 PM
Hi there, I am a New Zealander married to a UK Ctizen who has been living in New Zealand for 16 years. My son (my husband's step son) will be 18 soon and we are planning to live in the UK. Does my husband need to adopt my son before he turns 18 to enable him to get a visa? If he intends on studying in the UK and live with us as a dependent while he studies will be be eligible for a visa once he graduated? Thanks Karen
Karen - 15-Jul-18 @ 9:42 PM
@Annie - Your husband should adopt your daughter legally as his child and she will automatically become a British citizen.
TJ. - 11-Jul-18 @ 1:45 PM
Hi! I'm a dual citizenship Republic of Moldova and Romania. Recently married with a British citizen. I have a 13 years old child. We are living in the husband's and my mother- in- law house. How I and my daughter can apply for a UK residence?
Annie - 10-Jul-18 @ 8:32 AM
Hi. I'm a British national married to an American (D.O.B 1950) via British Embassy in Ecuador in 2008. We moved to Cyprus- residency granted 2010. 2012 mother not well and returned to UK. 2014 mother, husband and I went back to Cyprus for 6 months thinking change of climate would be healthy for mum - wrong. back in UK conclusion of tests resulted in Heart failure and asthma. 2015 UKBA police visited looked and took copies of both residency papers, UK & USA passport and said: 'Apply within 5 years to remain' 2016 EEA2 submitted. Supporting documents: UK & USA passports, letters, marriage certificate (translated and stamped by Cyprus Government and Husbands Cyprus residency. EEA2 refused on 2,6,9.'No evidence shown as to how husband got his CY document' - Not working -No evidence to support Dr's letters or prescription (DWP carers payment or letter not considered either) Make a further submission - Human Rights under rule 276ADE on FLR(M) or (O). As complaint fell on deaf ears - 'the onus is on the applicant to fill out the correct form' We filed FLR(M) application with the same information this time-inclusive of my Cyprus residency. Application ticked for 'Spouse' - processed under 'partner with a private life. Result: Human Rights Clearly certified. Looking up this 276ADE rule it is apparent the Rule is for persons under the age of 25. There was cut-&-paste of this rule and why my husband did not meet requirements. Decision paragraph: British Citizen go go and return with you to USA and mother-in-law can access the NHS and Social services. Classified as an 'overstayer' (But EU law applies to entry does it not?) UKVI cannot tell B.C's to go to a country they have never been to or who can provide care = discrimination. Sorry this is so long. Your help is truly needed and appreciated.
Jayne - 8-Jul-18 @ 3:32 PM
I'm from Romania and I arrived in the UK in September 2012 and I never left the UK since then. Can I apply directly for Permanent Residence? As I know, Romania is an EU country, and EEA country as well.
MS - 6-Jul-18 @ 3:53 PM
@Cris - If you have lived in the UK legally for at least 10 years continuously then you can apply for ILR.
TJ. - 22-Jun-18 @ 10:38 AM
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