Permanent Residence

Indefinite leave to remain, also known as settlement, is the pathway to establishing permanent residence in the UK. This status grants individuals the freedom to live, work, and study in the UK indefinitely, as well as apply for benefits if eligible.

There are various avenues to apply for indefinite leave to remain depending on your specific circumstances and qualifications. In most cases, eligible applicants will be required to complete the Knowledge of Life in the UK and English Language requirements.


If you are employed in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you hold a work visa.

Typically, you must have resided and worked in the UK for a minimum of 5 years to qualify. However, for specific visas like Tier 1, the requirement could be 2 to 3 years. In the case of an Innovator Founder or Global Talent visa, the qualifying period may be 3 years.

Additionally, meeting salary or financial prerequisites may be necessary, contingent upon the type of visa you hold. It’s essential to understand and fulfil these requirements based on your specific visa category.

Family members settled persons or British citizen.

If you have a partner, parent, child, or other relative who is settled in the UK as either a British citizen or a person with indefinite leave to remain, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain based on their status.

Your eligibility to qualify for indefinite leave to remain will depend on your visa route, for example 5-year or 10-year route to settlement. The application process will also vary depending on the type of visa you hold and how your family member has settled in the UK.

Long residence and private life in the UK

If you have been residing in the UK lawfully for 10 years or longer, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain based on your long-term residency in the country.

There is a separate application process if you possess a visa that is granted on the grounds of your private life. In such cases, you may have a route to apply for indefinite leave to remain, taking into consideration the specific circumstances surrounding your residence and visa status, age, and ties to the UK.

Other ways to settle in the UK

There are several other pathways to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, including if you:

  • Are recognised as a refugee or have been granted humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave
  • Are coming back to the UK after holding indefinite leave to remain in the past (for example if your indefinite leave to remain lapsed due to your absence from the UK).
  • Have served in the UK armed forces.
  • Have lived in the UK for 5 years with a UK Ancestry visa.

Each of these circumstances provides a unique route to potentially securing indefinite leave to remain status in the UK. It’s important to review the specific eligibility criteria and application process corresponding to your situation.

How can we help?

If you are considering applying for settlement in the UK through any of the mentioned pathways or need guidance on the process, SMK Solicitors can provide expert assistance with your application. From reviewing eligibility criteria to completing the application process, our team is ready to support you every step of the way. Feel free to reach out for personalised assistance with your settlement application.

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