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Applying for UK Residency

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 20 Mar 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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[Add a Comment]
Irish S - Your Question:
I'm Irish and have lived in the U.K. for over 20 years. My wife is Spanish and has lived here for 18 years. Our daughter was born here. What's our status with regards to Brexit? Thank you

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will give you more information.
AboutImmigration - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:33 PM
jimmy - Your Question:
Dear All,Been living in UK for 21 years.Romanian Citizen.Got right to remain in 2003 December 6.Ever since it never cross my mind to apply for British Citizenship and I believe now I need it.Please advice if still need to apply for Indefinite Right to Remain or direct for British Citizenship.Regards

Our Response:
Please see link here which should help you further.
AboutImmigration - 21-Mar-17 @ 11:36 AM
I'm Irish and have lived in the U.K. for over 20 years. My wife is Spanish and has lived here for 18 years. Our daughter was born here. What's our status with regards to Brexit? Thank you
Irish S - 20-Mar-17 @ 6:03 PM
Dear All, Been living in UK for 21 years. Romanian Citizen. Got right to remain in 2003 December 6. Ever since it never cross my mind to apply for British Citizenship and i believe now i need it. Please advice if still need to apply for Indefinite Right to Remain or direct for British Citizenship. Regards
jimmy - 20-Mar-17 @ 1:14 PM
Hello there. I was born in the UK in 1977. I hold a British passport, but I've never been to the UK since I was a little kid. I plan to go and settle in UK, but I could not get any job there or a scholarship because I am not a UK-resident. Please tell me what do I have to do in order to get resident there. P.S. I hold a master's degree in materials engineering. Thank you.
Lightblue34 - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:35 AM
Su - Your Question:
My husband is a Canadian citizen, I am a British citizen and have permanent residency in Canada and we are married 9 years we wanted to move back to England , would my husband need to apply for British permanent residency from within the UK, or can we start the process from Canada. And when he can get national insurance number

Our Response:
Before you can apply, you would have to be classed as 'ordinarily resident' in the UK and earning a salary of £18,600 (for at least six months) or have savings of over £62,500. You would have to also fulfil all the other requirements laid out in the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Mar-17 @ 11:42 AM
My husband is a Canadian citizen, I am a British citizen and have permanent residency in Canada and we are married 9 yearswe wanted to move back to England , would my husband need to apply for British permanent residency from within the UK, or can we start the process from Canada.And when he can get national insurance number
Su - 12-Mar-17 @ 10:40 AM
I have been married to my husband for 19yrs. I live in the uk since 1999 18ys. I work in the national health service for 10yrs. Can i apply for a british passport are do i have to to a nutalization test. My husband was born here. I also have a child 13yrs who also born here. I live here before the nutralization rulescome in what do I do. Am not sure any more its all so complicated
Cece B - 8-Mar-17 @ 4:01 AM
Hi I've been living in the U.K. for about 3 years now with my mum and stepdad. My stepdad is originally from here. I'm on a parent visa & came here when I was 16. I want to know if I'm able to apply for a visa for myself to live in the U.K. Permanently since I'm over 18.
Kelly - 6-Mar-17 @ 12:55 AM
I am confused.It is only Possible to apply for a UK residence Card if you have a family member from the EU or UK?I am a US Citizen who wants to apply for a UK residency card.I am Self Sufficient and live off of my Investments.I retired early.Can I apply or do I have to have a Family Member?I do not have one.
David L. Borsani - 4-Mar-17 @ 12:51 AM
I came to the UK in 1998 with my wife and my son. I want to apply for permanent residence. My wife since 2012 is registed disabled and she is not able to work anymore my son is 18 but still studying in application I have to be them sponsor?
Luis - 3-Mar-17 @ 7:03 PM
Dutch/Canadian - Your Question:
I'm not sure if these questions are being answered via e-mail or not, but it doesn't hurt to try. I am a dual Canadian/Dutch citizen and have been living in Scotland for the past 16 months as an EU National. If I am no longer eligible to live here on my Dutch passport due to Brexit, will I have to leave the UK in order to apply for a residence visa as a Commonwealth Citizen? Or is this something I can do while remaining in the country and continuing to work?

Our Response:
If you have been living in the UK as an EU national, then currently there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum. You can see more regarding what options you have via the gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
AboutImmigration - 28-Feb-17 @ 2:36 PM
I'm not sure if these questions are being answered via e-mail or not, but it doesn't hurt to try. I am a dual Canadian/Dutch citizen and have been living in Scotland for the past 16 months as an EU National. If I am no longer eligible to live here on my Dutch passport due to Brexit, will I have to leave the UK in order to apply for a residence visa as a Commonwealth Citizen? Or is this something I can do while remaining in the country and continuing to work?
Dutch/Canadian - 28-Feb-17 @ 4:02 AM
Hi, I'm applying for UK Residency I'm European. I found an inconsistency in one question of the form and I'd like to know if someone could give me an help. There is this question at certain point: Have you ever received any money from the UK government or a local council? If I answer YES (as I did years ago for a short time), the next question is: What type of funds do you RECEIVE? Now, I did received for few weeks an help, but I did not receiving it now. How can I do? I want to say I did receive fundings but not anymore. thanks
gabo - 26-Feb-17 @ 11:41 PM
Hello..May ask.a question. My Cousin is an american passport holder . Born in the middle east. Currently living in the States for over ten years however she will like to obtain Residency as her family is in UK.. Mind you. She had lived while back in UK when she was Younger for several years then.moved to.America. How does she go about obtaning residency thru an American Passport?Is there any sort of arrangement that UK has With Americans?Or are the rules different due to where she was born? Warm Regards .
Peggilina - 25-Feb-17 @ 4:52 PM
I am aged 63 and have lived in Scotland since 1954..Father was German (Prisoner of War) and remained living in Scotland after war.Married my mother who was Scottish in 1948.They moved to Canada for 6 months only, where I was born.Siblings all Scottish.Father was a farmer and I always assumed I was Scottish through my mothers birth right.About 10 years ago I was dismayed to find out I could not get a British Passport, and could only get a British Passport if I first became a British Citizen.I could not afford this at the time and managed to get a German Passport instead.I am always apprehensive going abroad with my German Passport. Would it be better if I were to apply for British Citizenship and would I have to go through the Ceremony and sit the Life in the UK Test etc,or could it be simplified. I have worked since I was 16 and work for Local Government.
Ros - 18-Feb-17 @ 10:25 PM
my 4 year old grandson from Canada is living in the uk on a 6 month visa. it expires soon and we're not sure what to apply for to make it more permanent. my daughter was born in Canada but holds a british passport. she has lived in uk for 25 years. I am the grandmother and was born in the uk
jazzy - 15-Feb-17 @ 12:01 PM
Hi ,I have been living and I have been working in the UK for the 6 years.Paying all essential contributions on time. I am Bulgarian national, and I am holding a Bulgarian passport.I live with my partner (not married yet, but we have a child together/mortgage).My partner is a British citizen and my child is also. British citizen I am about to apply for permanent residencein the UK ,but not really certain whether is called like this. I have the yellow card which was required to be legally employed for the bulgarians/romanians some years back. Please can you kindly inform me of where I can find the relevant application form (or if you can tell me the application code/number),and what documents I am obligated to provide in order to apply for the permanent residence in the UK.I have been searching on gov.uk link where I can find the information about EU and Swiss applicant but not for Bulgarians-there is some info but not really indicate the application form /what doc to provide . Thanks in advance
TJJ - 12-Feb-17 @ 9:37 PM
Hi, I'm an EU citizen living in the UK. I'll be taking a full-time job in Norway. However I will retain my main residence in the UK, where I have my home. I'll have a commuter status, i.e. I'll return probably once per month for the weekend in the UK. Do you believe this will count towards my 5 years needed for receiving the permanent residence in the UK as an EU national? Many thanks in advance!
Jenkins - 12-Feb-17 @ 2:26 PM
I have lived in London for 41 years, I have worked as a self-employed tour guide for the last 31 years, but I have been refused a confirmation of the right to reside in the U.K because I provided insufficient evidence I sent them everything that was mentioned on the Home Office website including my latest tax-return, not good enough They also mixed up my documents with someone else's, as they mention a LLOYDS bank statement, and I sent them a HSBC one. I have 14 days to appeal. This is what it says at the bottom of the form about the appeal: The appeal must be brought on the ground that the decision breaches your rights under EU Treaties in relation to entry to, or residence in, the United Kingdom. If you consider that you have a right to reside in the U.K. as a matter of European Union law, and are in the position to submit the necessary information to support your application for a registration certificate as recognition of that right, you may alternatively wish to submit a further application I don't know what to do in relation to the above, I can do with some help
Pooky - 10-Feb-17 @ 11:16 AM
I am trying to apply for a Permanent Residence card for a 16 year old Lithuanian, she has lived with her family in the UK since she was 7 years old.Her family want to return to their home but she would like to stay in UK to finish her education and work. Does she apply to have her own card or will her father need to remain here to work so they both apply?
jo - 8-Feb-17 @ 10:41 AM
Hi. I am Canadian citizen and often travel to UK and stay there for 4 to 5 months. I want to apply for uk residency visa or open work permit to settle in UK. I cant find enough information on the site. Can you please tell me if i am eligible to apply for UK residency as a Canadian citizen? I was told if I surrender my Canadian Passport I will only be able to get UK residency not the Citizenship and will have to show some funds as well. Is that true? I am a 41 year old single female. Thanks
Zima - 3-Feb-17 @ 1:07 AM
I am the widow of a UK citizen (holder of british passport) and have two children who also have british passport. Can I apply for a certificate of entitlement or what must I do to be able to reside in the UK.I currently reside outside the UK
jones - 1-Feb-17 @ 2:06 PM
My daughter is 22 she visited uk for 6 months then went home. How can I bring her here in uk permanently?
Pam - 28-Jan-17 @ 12:58 PM
Aussie - Your Question:
Hello, I am wanting to retire & live with my son & family in the UK asap.(They are all British Citizens now)I can support myself & my family have room in their household for me.Where do I enquire about the Retirement Visa mentioned in your article? Thankyou

Our Response:
I'm afraid in 2008, the retired persons of independent means immigration category was closed to new entrants. This means people cannot enter the UK in this category or if the person is already in the UK in a different category, they cannot switch into retired persons of independent means, please see guidance link here.I have updated the article to reflect this. Instead, you would have to see whether you are eligible to apply for the visa listed here.
AboutImmigration - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:40 PM
Hello, I am wanting to retire & live with my son & family in the UK asap. (They are all British Citizens now) I can support myself & my family have room in their household for me. Where do I enquire about the Retirement Visa mentioned in your article? Thankyou
Aussie - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:32 AM
Wooty - Your Question:
My daughter, a British citizen has been living in the US for some years. She is coming back to the UK to live as her father and I are getting old. She has a partner who has retired. He is an American citizen, what does she need to do to obtain permission to enter this country?

Our Response:
In order to be able to apply for her partner to come to the UK, your daughter would have to be considered 'ordinarily resident' in the UK, earning a salary of at least £18,600 or have capital savings of over £64,000 in order to be able to apply. Please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 23-Jan-17 @ 2:23 PM
Hello, I was born in Cuba but I am also a Spanish citizen. I am 18 years old and I have permanent residence in USA. I am planning to eventually move to the UK and apply for a residence. Would being 18 years old affect the application even if I am employed? Which way it would be easier for me, with my Spanish citizenship or my American green card? Thank you very much
Laura - 22-Jan-17 @ 7:34 PM
My daughter, a British citizen has been living in the US for some years. She is coming back to the UK to live as her father and I are getting old. She has a partner who has retired. He is an American citizen, what does she need to do to obtain permission to enter this country?
Wooty - 22-Jan-17 @ 6:20 PM
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
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