Based on Five Years Leave on a Working Visa
Many visa categories, such as the old Work Permit and Highly-Skilled Migrant categories, the newer categories such as Tier 1 and Tier 2, and other visa types such as the Ancestry Visa, allow the visa holder to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after five continuous years in the UK on that visa. In some cases, applicants can combine together combinations of different working visas. Dependants may also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain along with the visa holder.
Importantly, changes to the Immigration Rules mean that Tier 1 (General) migrants can no longer apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after 5 April 2018.
Based on Ten Years Continuous Lawful Residence
If a person has spent ten continuous years in the UK lawfully, without any significant gaps between their grants of leave, they may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK on that basis. Dependants cannot apply under this type of permanent residence visa scheme.
Based on Spouse/Civil Partner/Unmarried Partner Visa
In many cases, a person who holds a family visa on the basis of a family relationship with a person present and settled in the UK, such as a spouse/civil partnership visa or unmarried partner visa, will eventually qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Until July 2012, family visas of this type were granted for two years and after two years, if the relationship was still genuine and subsisting, the visa holder could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Anyone who was granted a visa under the rules in place before July 2012 may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after two years.
However, in July 2012 the rules changed and the requirements were made more difficult. Leave under these categories is now granted initially for two-and-a-half years. After this period, a person may be able to, if the relationship is still genuine and subsisting, apply for a further period of leave of two-and-a-half years. After a period of five years in total, and if the relationship is still genuine and subsisting, the visa holder may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
We offer assistance and specialist advice on specific immigration issues. We are not part of the Home Office. General immigration advice and forms can be found on the Home Office website www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.UK visa & immigration consultation