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Okay so you have received your visa to live in the UK, and you have settled down for several years and you have decided you want to become a permanent resident and receive settled status, the next question you should be asking is ‘How to apply for a UK settlement visa?’.

Well, provided you meet certain criteria, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This is otherwise known as settlement and allows individuals to live, work, and study in the UK for as long as they wish and is the first step towards British citizenship. 

What’s the difference between citizenship and indefinite leave to remain?

While both citizenship and leave to remain grant individuals to permanently live in the UK, Indefinite leave still has some restrictions. The key difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain and citizenship is that with citizenship, individuals can leave the UK for as long as they want without getting their right to live in the UK revoked. With Indefinite Leave to Remain, it can lapse when the holder has stayed outside the United Kingdom for a continuous period of two years and one day or more. 

How to apply for a UK settlement visa

Now you know why indefinate leave to remain, the important question is, how to apply for a UK settlement visa. To apply for settlement, applicants must submit an application to the Home Office, either online or via mail. Along with the application, you will have to submit a lot of evidence regarding their life in the UK. Whilst it is possible for applicants to do this on their own, the process is complex and it can be challenging to understand what evidence needs to be submitted. That is why it is recommended to have a consultation with an expert advisor who will be able to assist you with the application.

A question you might be asking, is what are the benefits of Indefinite Leave to Remain? Well for one, it is the first step in gaining British Citizenship. Providing the individual stays in the UK for more than 12 months, they will be eligible to apply to biome a British citizen. Becoming a British citizen will allow you the right to indefinitely live, work or study in the UK. Another key benefit is the right to a British passport, which will give access to over 140 counties. 

Who is eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

There are different ways to apply for Indefinite Leave to remain, which are dependant on each person’s individual circumstances, and fall under a few main categories; if you work in the UK, if you have family in the UK, if you have lived in the UK for 10 years, or if you are a commonwealth citizen. 

If you work in the UK, generally speaking, individuals must have been living and working in the UK for at least 5 years. With that being said there are certain exceptions. If you have been working in the UK under a Tier 1 visa (for example the Investor Visa) or under the global talent or Innovator visa, then the individual may be eligible after living in the UK after just 2 or 3 years. If your visa has a certain salary or financial requirement, this may also affect your eligibility to apply.

Individuals can apply for indefinite leave to remain if they have family in the UK who are either citizens, or they too have also received settled status. Eligible family members can include a spouse, children, or parents. 

You may also be eligible if they have lived in the UK for 10 consecutive years. In order to apply the applicant must not have left the UK for more than 180 days at a time, or for more than 540 days in total. Time spent in Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, or prison time will not count. 


Other criteria for applying for settlement after 10 years, would be to have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK. As such, applicants must pass an English language test and the life in the UK test. The life in the UK test aims to test applicants on their knowledge of British values, history traditions, and other facets of everyday life. Providing the applicant passes this, they will be granted indefinite leave to remain. 

What are the benefits of Indefinite Leave to Remain?

When looking to gain settled status in the UK, there are many different factors to take into account, in regards to both eligibilities, and how you apply. The process can be a long and arduous task. As such it is highly recommended that you have a consultation with a professional immigration advisor, who will be able to guide you through the process and give you the best chance of securing settled status.

 At Bridgeway Trust, not only do we help you with the initial visa that will allow you to start working in the UK, but we will give you guidance and support even whilst you are in the UK, right up until you have become a British citizen and are able to hold a UK passport in your hands. For more information about moving to the UK, contact us today to book a free consultation with one of our expert advisors., who will be able to tell you more about how to apply for a UK settlement visa. 

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