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Can I Apply for UK Residence?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 16 Apr 2018 | 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]
LIAN - Your Question:
I am a Malaysian and wish to know the criteria for applying a permanent residence in UK. Is owning properties amounting certain value is entitle to apply?

Our Response:
You can see via the link here if you are entitled to apply for permanent residence.
AboutImmigration - 16-Apr-18 @ 3:34 PM
I am a Malaysian and wish to know the criteria for applying a permanent residence in UK. Is owning properties amounting certain value is entitle to apply?
LIAN - 16-Apr-18 @ 7:39 AM
@Nanda - If you are a British citizen you can live outside the UK for as long as you choose and will not lose citizenship. There is no time limit for applying for a British passport if you already are a British citizen.
TJ. - 8-Mar-18 @ 8:45 PM
I have British citizenship. How long can I stay out of the country? I know that leave to remain can stay out for 2 years, does it apply to British citizenship too? Is there a maximum period to apply for the passport after you get the certificate?
Nanda - 8-Mar-18 @ 2:21 PM
mlh1975 - Your Question:
Hi, I met my wife in late 2014 here in the UK, I was born in UK so I am UK citizen and shes Romanian and we've been together ever since. We moved in together in September 2015 and married in October 2016. What do we need to do with regards to brexit etc. Is my wife safe here after brexit, shes had a hard time finding work so for much of the three years we've been together I have supported her. However I don't want a situation when brexit comes of it breaking us up. I've looked online but find it awfully confusing on what I need to do in terms of citizenship etc.

Our Response:
Please see the link: Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know here, which will give you the information you need to help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 5-Feb-18 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, I met my wife in late 2014 here in the UK, I was born in UK so I am UK citizen and shes Romanian and we've been together ever since. We moved in together in September 2015 and married in October 2016. What do we need to do with regards to brexit etc. Is my wife safe here after brexit, shes had a hard time finding work so for much of the three years we've been together I have supported her. However I don't want a situation when brexit comes of it breaking us up. I've looked online but find it awfully confusing on what I need to do in terms of citizenship etc.
mlh1975 - 3-Feb-18 @ 7:05 PM
@CARLOS - A suspended sentence and a prison sentence are the same for immigration purposes. The amount of time that you are restricted from applying for settled status depends on the length of the sentence.
TJ. - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:35 PM
IHI, IS A SUSPENDED SENTENCE THE SAME AS A PRISON SENTENCE WHEN AN EU CITIZEN APPLIES FOR SETTLED STATUS. IF ITS NOT HOW LONG I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I CAN APPLY? AND IF IT IS HOW LONG I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I CAN APPLY?
CARLOS - 10-Jan-18 @ 5:17 PM
Thanks TJ. I will do that. Your advice is sincerely appreciated.
Des - 2-Jan-18 @ 10:22 AM
@Des- You should look into applying for the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa as it seems to be most suitable for you. More information on this visa can be found on the govuk website
TJ. - 1-Jan-18 @ 4:36 PM
Hi there, require some advice regarding the qualification for long term immigration to - and working in the UK. I will be 62 on Jan 2018 and my wife 60 on 20 May 18.Health both good. We have a daughter married to a UK citizen and they are resident in Kings Lynn. She has been in the UK for the past 15 Years and is also prepared to sponser us initially. We have sufficient funds to support ourselves for at least 5 - 7 years and to build a pension there. I have a technical engineering registration in Railway signal engineeringand could still be an asset to the British Rail Industry for at least the next 5 years. What are our chances of success and what process do i need to follow. Many thanks
Des - 1-Jan-18 @ 1:12 PM
In December 2013, i moved to the UK on a spousal Visa from Australia with my British Partner and our 2 young children (they both have Dual Passports). Unfortunately we broke up in January 2016, so i was granted a 'Leave to remain' as i was not living with my 2 children anymore and paying Maintenance whilst seeing them once a week. My 'Leave to Remain' is valid until 23/12/2018. By then i will have been living and working in this country continuously for 5 years. Am i eligible for residency?if so what Tier or circumstance? or an indefinite leave to remain? its all very confusing especially with my circumstance and I'm very close to my children. Thank you for your time.
Charlie - 24-Dec-17 @ 3:16 PM
In December 2013, I moved to the UK on a spousal Visa from Australia with my British Partner and our 2 young children (they both have Dual Passports). unfortunately we split up in January 2016, i was granted a Leave to Remain' as i was not living with my 2 children and paying maintenance whilst seeing them once a week. My 'Leave To Remain' is Valid until 23/12/2018. By then i will have been living and working in this country continuously for 5 years. Am i eligible to apply for residency? or an indefinite leave to remain? Its all very confusing especially with my circumstance and I'm very close to my Children. Thank you for Your time.
Charlie - 24-Dec-17 @ 3:04 PM
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
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