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Applying for UK Residency

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 18 Jan 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.

If a couple has been married for less than four years the partner will be given permission to live and work in the UK temporarily. After two years they may apply for permanent residency.

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 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.

Retired People

People who are retired, and aged 60 or over, may be entitled to UK residency if they have a personal income of at least £25,000 per year. They must be able to show that they can support themselves and their family indefinitely and have a “close connection” with the UK. Those with obtained permission to stay on a different basis may apply to transfer to the retired person category if they satisfy the requirements.

UK residency under this category will usually be granted for an initial period of five years after which an application may be made for permanent residency.

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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[Add a Comment]
M - Your Question:
Hello There.I am a resident of India. I have never nor my ancestors or friends lived in UK before except for a short term official visit. I wish to become a PR of UK and search a job.What are the procedures for this? Is this doable?

Our Response:
Your only option would be to apply for a visa through your job or study. Please see list of visas here.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:03 AM
Hello There. I am a resident of India. I have never nor my ancestors or friends lived in UK before except for a short term official visit. I wish to become a PR of UK and search a job. What are the procedures for this? Is this doable?
M - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:03 PM
Hi there, I'm a Polish national and have been living in the UK 10.5 years. I now decided to apply for permanent residency and am in the middle of my application - I'm stuck at "Give details of any period in which you were working for an employer in the UK." There's a sample start date below: 23/12/1976 (1976!!!). Does this mean I need to provide details of when I worked for an employer not just in the last 5 years but since I first arrived to the UK? I was 19 at the time and didn't think of retaining payslips then, unfortunately... The application asks to submit salary - there's no way I'd remember the exact figure for the first couple of jobs. Can you clarify the period the details are required for please? And if it's the 10 years, can you give me any advice on what to do in this situation? Thanks in advance.
Ania - 14-Jan-17 @ 8:44 PM
Hello Dear, I am from Italy. I came here for one year for my studies. I am pregnant, my delivery is due on 10th september 2017. Is this is possible me and my baby will got British Visa?
Akam - 14-Jan-17 @ 8:08 PM
My Wife & I live in Australia, My wife was born in the UK and has a UK Passport, but has lived in Australia most of her life, and I am Australian, we have been married 25 years. I currently work fulltime in Australia & my wife is retired. We are looking at permanently relocating to the UK in the future. Could you please let us know what requirements there are to move to the UK and what type of visa I would need.
kimbo - 12-Jan-17 @ 11:34 PM
Hi, I am polish national, I received my Registration Certificate in July/09 (after being under the working registration scheme since 07),and since then worked permanently until Jan/16 (more than 6 years). Since Jan/16 am a fulltime mum and rely on my husband income, never have applied for benefits. Can I still apply for permanent residency? will my last year unemployment will negatively affect my application? Or the 5 years treaty rights apply backwards from the time of application i.e. Feb 17. I have been looking for jobs since Dec 16. Thanks
Bluesky - 10-Jan-17 @ 4:57 PM
My mother is 75 and German. She has permanently lived in the UK since 1963 after marrying my father in Germany in 1963 where he was stationed as a British soldier.My father who was British died 5 years ago.She is self-sufficient.What does she have to do to get permanent residency in the UK. She is anxious about her status.She is now retired - having been a homemaker and having worked part-time until her 60s.
Janet - 6-Jan-17 @ 6:26 PM
zed - Your Question:
My daughter is a British Citizen, through her mother being British.I am now separated from her mother. I now wish to be closer to my daughter who is in her late thirties.I am a non EEC. A retiree with a pension.I am also interested in operating a business in the UK, if given residency.

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a visa independently, unless you qualify for the requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 6-Jan-17 @ 2:13 PM
My daughter is a British Citizen, through her mother being British. I am now separated from her mother. I now wish to be closer to my daughter who is in her late thirties. I am a non EEC.A retiree with a pension. I am also interested in operating a business in the UK, if given residency.
zed - 5-Jan-17 @ 4:33 PM
Hi my partner is a new zealander. He worked in the uk for 9 years on a visa. If he was to come back on a visa could he add on them previous 9 years to the requirements of applying for residency or would he have to start a fresh?
Lou83 - 31-Dec-16 @ 11:30 PM
After what seemed like forever my sister (UK resident) and husband (Ghanaian National, but family in the UK) got permanent residency in Canada in 2015 and both have very good jobs. They are expecting their first baby and would like to move back to the UK eventually to where close family is. What do they need to do? Does the permanent residency of Canada restrict them from coming back sooner?
H - 31-Dec-16 @ 12:26 AM
Hi, My cousin is 26 years old and lives in the Caribbean, his father (a British citizen) wants to help him to come to live in the U.K. permanently, how would they go about this?
Kelly - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:03 PM
hi, i am from the seychelles, i was a student in the uk between 2003 to 2008, during that tinei have a son who was born in 2004, and a daugter in 2007, whilst in the uk, my son was in school , but then due to the death of my wifes mum ,we were forced to come back to seychelles , now my kids have grown up, and are desperate to relocate back to the uk, can you advice on which type of visa or entry route can we apply please
GAZ - 27-Dec-16 @ 9:21 PM
My Wife & I both currently live in Australia, I am an Australian Citizen, my wife was born in the UK, and has UK citizenship,we have been married over 20 years, we are looking at relocating to the UK in the future, I currently work in Australia, and my wife is retired, would I need a spouse or partner visa, and how complicated is this process, is it started from the UK or when in Australia?
Kimbo - 26-Dec-16 @ 6:00 AM
ingrid - Your Question:
Hello,I am planning to relocate to York Yorkshire March 2017 where we own our own home.My husband of 37 years is British and I am Canadian, I would like to know if I am entitled to immediate permanent residency.This is what I have read on this page:"If a couple has been married for four years and can show that they have lived together throughout that time, the non-UK resident may be entitled to immediate permanent residency "My next question how do I proceed to obtain such documents.I appreciate any help.Thanking youIngrid Zimnoch

Our Response:
I'm afraid entitlement to 'immediate' permanent residency no longer applies, you/your husband would have to fulfil the eligibility requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:46 AM
Hello, I amplanning to relocate to York Yorkshire March2017where we own our own home. My husband of 37 years is British and I am Canadian, I would like to know if I am entitled to immediate permanent residency. This is what I have read on this page: "If a couple has been married for four years and can show that they have lived together throughout that time, the non-UK resident may be entitled to immediate permanent residency " My next question how do i proceed to obtain such documents. I appreciate any help. Thanking you Ingrid Zimnoch
ingrid - 16-Dec-16 @ 3:27 PM
Nicw - Your Question:
My daughter is 25 and was born in the U.K and lived here until she was 21. THe family were going to emigrate to Australia and we obtained permanent residency visas however we changed our mind and decided not to move. WE then went on holiday to Australia and my daughter ended up staying in Australia, she has then met an Australian and they have been in a relationship for the past 5 years and they have a 3 year old son and she is pregnant again, baby due in Feb. THey have decided to come back to the UK, how can they go about this?

Our Response:
The only way your daughter can apply for her partner would be to live in the UK for six months or more and fulfil the eligibility requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here. Or your daughter's husband could apply for a work visa and come independently, as the government has made immigration particularly difficult for spouses of British citizens to be able to come to the UK.
AboutImmigration - 13-Dec-16 @ 12:42 PM
My daughter is 25 and was born in the U.K and lived here until she was 21.THe family were going to emigrate to Australia and we obtained permanent residency visas however we changed our mind and decided not to move.WE then went on holiday to Australia and my daughter ended up staying in Australia, she has then met an Australian and they have been in a relationship for the past 5 years and they have a 3 year old son and she is pregnant again, baby due in Feb.THey have decided to come back to the UK, how can they go about this?
Nicw - 13-Dec-16 @ 10:53 AM
Mel - Your Question:
Hi I have a tier 5 youth mobility visa which expires in September. I want to extend my visa is there anyway around this? I am single and my job is something I couldn't be sponsored for. I love it here and really don't want to leave!!

Our Response:
You can see the gov.uk link here which may help further.
AboutImmigration - 9-Dec-16 @ 12:46 PM
Hi I have a tier 5 youth mobility visa which expires in September. I want to extend my visa is there anyway around this? I am single and my job is something I couldn't be sponsored for. I love it here and really don't want to leave!!
Mel - 9-Dec-16 @ 10:33 AM
Tony - Your Question:
My father in law is here on a visitors visa from south africa and returns to south africa in february 2017 but would like to return and make an application for permanent residence how does he do this and can he do this Thanks tony

Our Response:
Your father-in-law would have to continue coming on a visitor visa unless he can find a work/student or family visa that he would be eligible for.
AboutImmigration - 7-Dec-16 @ 11:43 AM
My father in law is here on a visitors visa from south africa and returns to south africa in february 2017 but would like to return and make an application for permanent residence how does he do this and can he do this Thanks tony
Tony - 6-Dec-16 @ 5:58 PM
hi i moved here in the uk when i was 5 years old on my mums passport (Jamaican) my grandparents who are British was my legal qarudian ship they have now passed away over the yearsi have no formal id or passport as over the years i got sick i have 6 kids who are British all non depend now I'm 56 years old is it possible to apply for a for passport or can i automatically get my stay
pam - 25-Nov-16 @ 2:33 PM
Hi I came to the UK from Jamaica in the 1950s and have never left this country since, I have never had a passport, But now I need a passport to see my father who is 95 Years Old and has not got long to live, I am not sure if I am Naturalized or if I have Citizenship, Can you help me
GaryMcGhie - 22-Nov-16 @ 5:31 PM
Hey there, A quick query regarding a document certifying permanent residence My family and I have been living in the UK for 7 years I wanted to know are we qualified to apply for a document certifying permanent residence? My dad is a self-employer, my mum doesn't work and my siblings and I are in full-time education. Thank you and hope to get an answer to my questions soon. Many Thanks, Sivangui
Sivangui - 20-Nov-16 @ 2:00 PM
Hello, I have been living in UK for 7 years. I received my Master form here and I just graduated with Doctorate in Finance. I was wondering if i can stay here for longer and if it is possible to apply for permanent Visa. I am now a Tier 4 visa holder
Aldo - 20-Nov-16 @ 10:55 AM
Phil - Your Question:
Hi, My wife and I have been married for 40 years. I am British. She is German. She has worked almost continually in Britain and we have brought up two children, who have now had grandchildren. She now wants to get British citizenship, but we have both been travelling in and out of the country for the last three years. Will this effect her chances of getting citizenship here?

Our Response:
Yes, it may affect your application - please see gov.uk statement herewhich outlines her rights as an EU citizen.
AboutImmigration - 18-Nov-16 @ 11:14 AM
Hi, My wife and I have been married for 40 years. I am British. She is German. She has worked almost continually in Britain and we have brought up two children, who have now had grandchildren. She now wants to get British citizenship, but we have both been travelling in and out of the country for the last three years. Will this effect her chances of getting citizenship here?
Phil - 17-Nov-16 @ 2:30 PM
Snail - Your Question:
Hi I'm born & bred in the U.K. But my wife who I have been married to for 5 years but been in a relationship for 14 years is polish,she has lived and worked in U.K. Since 2002 can she apply for a British passport and will she have to do the test first. does she qualify regardless and has no need to do the test.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here for more information.
AboutImmigration - 17-Nov-16 @ 9:59 AM
Kitt - Your Question:
I married my polish wife 5 years ago, have been living together for 8 years and have three children two from her previous marriage whom are both polish, 18 & 13.What do I need to do to get them British citizenship as by looking at the government website it gets very confusing and appears very expensive

Our Response:
You don't say whether the children have been living with you in the UK. If so, the link heremay help explain things more clearly about EU members' rights to citizenship. If they have not, then then their mother would have to be classed as a permanent resident to be able to apply. Please also see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:30 AM
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