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Can I Apply for UK Residence?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Uk Residence Work Permit Worker Visa

Q.

I have been on a work permit since July 2002 but spent one year and four months (from December 2003 to May 2005) on a spouse visa. I have been working full time with the company I got the work permit with and there is no gap in my work permit. After taking one year and four months in total out on a spouse visa, since 2002, I have compleated a 5 year period on a work permit. Can I apply for residence now?

(Mr J Singh, 11 January 2009)

A.

Many foreign nationals who wished to work in the UK were required to obtain a work permit before coming to the UK. Foreign nationals who needed a work permit would be denied entry to the UK if they travelled before obtaining one. In addition to a work permit, some foreign citizens require a visa before the come to the UK. These include nationals of countries who always require a visa to come to the UK (visa nationals) and those who held a work permit that was valid for six months or longer.

On 27 November 2008 the old work permit scheme was replaced with Tier 2 of the new points-based immigration system. Workers who originally came to the UK under the work permit scheme will be entitled to apply to transfer to the new Tier 2 category. Tier 2 – General applies to foreign nationals who come to the UK with an offer of a skilled job which could not be filled by a worker already resident in the UK.

Foreign workers who come to the UK under the Tier 2 General category will be given permission to stay in the UK for a period up to a maximum of three years and one month. At the end of the initial period foreign nationals who wish to continue working in the UK must apply to extend their leave to remain in the country. Additional leave to remain may be granted for a further period of up to a maximum of two years. Foreign workers who originally came to the UK under the old work permit scheme may apply to extend their stay under the Tier 2 category pursuant to transitional arrangements put into place after the implementation of the new points-based scheme.

Once workers in the Tier 2 category have been in the UK for a continuous period of five years they may be eligible to apply for permanent residency – also known as indefinite leave to remain or settlement. The worker’s employer will have to confirm in writing that the foreign worker is still required for the job and will have to supply a new certificate of sponsorship in support of the worker’s application for permanent residence.

For any application for permanent residence to succeed, the applicant must have been in the UK with the appropriate visa or other permission throughout the five-year qualifying period. It is essential that all visa requirements you had were satisfied both before and after you were on a spouse visa. If at any time during the five-year period you did not have permission to be in the UK, your application for permanent residence is likely to fail. It may be wise to get specific advice on this point before starting an application.

Free advice on immigration issues may be available from The Citizens Advice Bureau, The Immigration Advisory Service or Community Legal Advice.

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[Add a Comment]
Thank you but that link doesn't specifically answer whether you need to be an EU citizen for the entire duration of 5 year qualification period for permanent residence document (or 6 for citizenship)? There is no answer to my unique situation online, and it seems the only way to find out is by applying - but would prefer not to waste my time or the governments if not eligible.
James - 16-Nov-17 @ 11:58 AM
Tina - Your Question:
I am geman I been in England since 1979 Can I stay in the uk or do I have to live.Thank you

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:24 PM
James - Your Question:
Question. I have lived in the UK continuously for just over 6 years, however, the first 2 years was under an Australian Tier 5 Youth Mobility Migrant Visa. Just before my visa expired, I became a Greek (EU) citizen through ancestry and was able to leave the UK for a day and return as an EU migrant. I would like to apply for British Residency in order to someday apply for British Citizenship. The question I hope you could help with please is am I eligible to apply for Residency now given I have continuously lived here for 6 years, or do I need to wait until I hit 5 years under the time I lived here since entering on my EU passport instead of now expired Tier 5 Visa? Many thanks for your help as the Governments website is not clear on this point.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which may help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 14-Nov-17 @ 10:24 AM
I am geman I been in England since 1979 Can I stay in the uk or do I have to live.Thank you
Tina - 13-Nov-17 @ 8:13 PM
Question. I have lived in the UK continuously for just over 6 years, however, the first 2 years was under an Australian Tier 5 Youth Mobility Migrant Visa.Just before my visa expired, I became a Greek (EU) citizen through ancestry and was able to leave the UK for a day and return as an EU migrant. I would like to apply for British Residency in order to someday apply for British Citizenship. The question I hope you could help with please is am I eligible to apply for Residency now given I have continuously lived here for 6 years, or do I need to wait until I hit 5 years under the time I lived here since entering on my EU passport instead of now expired Tier 5 Visa? Many thanks for your help as the Governments website is not clear on this point.
James - 13-Nov-17 @ 5:32 PM
@MD - you can't apply for British citizenship retrosepctively or from outside the UK, you would have to be living here.
JaNV - 13-Nov-17 @ 12:20 PM
Hi, Although I am an American citizen, I lived in the UK from 1969-1989 as my stepfather was British. Unfortunately, my mother never thought to apply for citizenship for me while we lived there. I returned to the the USA and have been living here since then, but have thought about returning to the UK eventually. Is there any way of applying for retro-active citizenship based on that length of residency?? p.s. I had a NHS number and all that, so I was a full resident during that time.
MD - 13-Nov-17 @ 1:58 AM
Hi, I'm British by descent, my partner is Auatralian and our daughter was born abroad and holds an Australian passport. We have just recently moved to England, my partner has a work permit. How do I register my daughter as a resident? I presume she is allowed to be here as she's my daughter and I'm British? We are about to start the process of applying for her British citizenship but don't know what to do in the meantime? Should she be on a visa? Not sure of all the legalities so any advice most welcome. Many thanks in advance.
Katey - 9-Nov-17 @ 12:49 PM
@LT - you still have to pay, there are no freebies from the UK Home Office :(
Hofh - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:45 PM
Hi, I'm a Canadian who married my UK husband 23 years ago. Both our daughters are born in the UK. I have been working and living in the uk since 1995. Do I hold any rights to become a uk citizen for free or do I still have to pay the fee of £1200 (ish). Which I can't afford?? Thanks for your help.
LT - 31-Oct-17 @ 7:02 PM
mub786 - Your Question:
We kids and mum is British but our father is not, my mum (63) spend her life with my father (73) out side UK she use to come and go. now my father is retired and want to move back to UK. what is the best option they have so my dad can live with my mum in UK

Our Response:
Your mum would have to be living in the UK and classed as being 'ordinarily resident' before she can apply for your father to join her. You can see more via the family visa link and how your parents can qualify here .
AboutImmigration - 30-Oct-17 @ 10:28 AM
@mub786 your father can apply for a family visa as a spouse if your mother meets the income requirements or as a dependant on one of his children if any of the children meet the requirements.
TJ. - 30-Oct-17 @ 5:10 AM
we kids and mum is British but our father is not, my mum (63) spend her life with my father (73) out side UK she use to come and go. now my father is retired and want to move back to UK. what is the best option they have so my dad can live with my mum in UK
mub786 - 29-Oct-17 @ 12:23 PM
My wife has finally received her UK spouse visa. Can you advise when she is likely to receive her BRP decision letter with instructions on collect her BRP card? Will this be sent to her registered address in UK? Thanks
Abz127 - 17-Oct-17 @ 7:34 PM
factfinding - Your Question:
My partner of 8+ years is a UK citizen living and working in the UK. We are not legally married. I am an Australian citizen. I plan to take a leave of absence from work in Australia and stay in in UK as a visitor for less than 6 months after which I am planning to return to Australia for a few months to attend my daughter's wedding and attend to other business and/or go to visit my family in the USA and then return to the UK for another visit of less than 6 months. However, at this point in the plan, we have discussed the possiblity of getting married whilst I am back in the UK but want to know that if we do, can I apply for permanent residency whilst actually back in the country or do I have to apply for some sort of visa outside the UK and re-enter with the new status?Or would it be better to marry in Australia and if so, what would be the best pathway for me to enter the UK on the appropriate visa?

Our Response:
You can choose where you wish to marry. If you marry in the UK, you have to give notice, please see link here. If you wish to apply to live in the UK, regardless of whether you are married or not, you would still have to fulfil the requirements laid out in the family visa link here and apply from outside the UK.
AboutImmigration - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:45 PM
My partner of 8+ years is a UK citizen living and working in the UK. We are not legally married. I am an Australian citizen.I plan to take a leave of absence from work in Australia and stay in in UK as a visitor for less than 6 months after which I am planning to return to Australia for a few months to attend my daughter's wedding and attend to other business and/or go to visit my family in the USA and then return to the UK for another visit of less than 6 months. However, at this point in the plan, we have discussed the possiblity of getting married whilst I am back in the UK but want to know that if we do, can I apply for permanent residency whilst actually back in the country or do I have to apply for some sort of visa outside the UK and re-enter with the new status? Or would it be better to marry in Australia and if so, what would be the best pathway for me to enter the UK on the appropriate visa?
factfinding - 15-Oct-17 @ 7:13 AM
Winny - Your Question:
Hi, I am a British citizen and would would like move to the UK with my husband whom is currently a non citizen. Can he apply for UK citizen passport through marriage or he needs to apply for spouse visa first? thanks.

Our Response:
You and he would have to apply for a spouse visa. However, you would have to be considered ordinarily resident in the UK before he is allowed to apply and fulfil all the other requirements. Otherwise, he would have to apply for a visa independently of you or a visitor visa.
AboutImmigration - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:51 PM
Hi, I am a British citizen and would would like move to the UK with my husband whom is currently a non citizen.Can he apply for UK citizen passport through marriage or he needs to apply for spouse visa first? thanks.
Winny - 7-Oct-17 @ 5:33 AM
I'm Malaysian would like to enquiry about the requirements to apply for residential in UK. I'm married with two sons. We would like to know about the requirements please. We family planning to move to UK. Thanks. Truly appreciate your help.
Liz - 15-Aug-17 @ 4:19 PM
Lulu - Your Question:
I am a Malaysian studying in the UK. I did my A levels (1 1/2 year), undergrad (3 years) and Masters (1 year) here. Do I qualify for permanent residency? Thank you.

Our Response:
You can find out if you can apply for settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) in the UK, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 31-Jul-17 @ 12:17 PM
I am a Malaysian studying in the UK. I did my A levels (1 1/2 year), undergrad (3 years) and Masters (1 year) here. Do I qualify for permanent residency? Thank you.
Lulu - 28-Jul-17 @ 6:28 PM
gilly - Your Question:
Hi,My sister in law is Thai, Married for 13 years and living in UK for all of that period.Can she apply for a British Passport?

Our Response:
Your sister-in-law can check if she can apply via the link here .
AboutImmigration - 21-Jul-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hi, My sister in law is Thai, Married for 13 years and living in UK for all of that period. Can she apply for a British Passport?
gilly - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:46 AM
SofiaZ - thanks for the information.Regards.
Deborah - 4-Jul-17 @ 9:17 PM
@Deborah - he would have to apply under his own steam i.e on a work permit. He's too old to apply as a child and he is not considered to be eligible to apply as a dependent.
SofiaZ - 4-Jul-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hello there. Further to my question posed on the 28th May 2017, is there any advice for me?Thanking you...
Deborah - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:43 PM
Hello, I've completed a online visa application for my wife to come to the UK (settlement visa). The online visa form has been completed but not yet submitted. We are past the point of making any changes. On reviewing the application, I have picked up an error. Should I explain the error in my accompanying letter or cancel the application and reapply to avoid confusion? The error states my wife's daughter (from first marriage) will be also be coming to UK and she actually won't be coming to UK.
Dave - 2-Jul-17 @ 9:21 AM
Man Singh - Your Question:
I have a very unique situation. I am a 46 year old Malaysian single father. I have been divorced since 2010. My ex wife and I have equal joint custody of our 11 year old son. He has been staying with me ever since the divorce. Now my ex has remarried to a UK citizen in early 2016. I gave my permission for her to take our son to the UK for studies and a better future. But this separation is taking a toll on my son and I. He needs me to give him the confidence that my ex doesn't provide. My question is that, can I somehow be able to apply for a UK visa which will allow me to work to support myself and be close to my son? My son is a UK resident but he is only 11. Is there any way for me to get the visa that I desperately need? Thank you for your time

Our Response:
You would not be allowed to apply for a visa upon the sole basis of being with your son. However, you may be able to apply for the likes of a work/study visa independently which would allow you to work in the UK. You can check here if there is a visa that may suit you.
AboutImmigration - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:29 PM
oli - Your Question:
Hello. Me and my Korean wife and 8 month old son would like to make a move to live in the UK. We really don't want to spend months apart, so could you tell us which would be the easiest way to get a visa for my wife.Thank you

Our Response:
I'm afraid the only way for your wife to apply for a spouse visa is to do so from her own country as it is part of the requirements. I can only suggest she/you bridge the gap by her coming on a standard visitor visa and then returning to her home country to apply. I'm afraid it is a bone of contention for many married couples because of the lengthy application process, the divisions it creates and no guarantee of success.
AboutImmigration - 30-Jun-17 @ 10:47 AM
I have a very unique situation. I am a 46 year old Malaysian single father. I have been divorced since 2010. My ex wife and I have equal joint custody of our 11 year old son. He has been staying with me ever since the divorce. Now my ex has remarried to a UK citizen in early 2016. I gave my permission for her to take our son to the UK for studies and a better future. But this separation is taking a toll on my son and I. He needs me to give him the confidence that my ex doesn't provide. My question is that, can I somehow be able to apply for a UK visa which will allow me to work to support myself and be close to my son? My son is a UK resident but he is only 11. Is there any way for me to get the visa that I desperately need? Thank you for your time
Man Singh - 30-Jun-17 @ 3:33 AM
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