Settlement for Non EU Nationals


A Non EU National may apply for Settlement / Permanent Stay / Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) through various routes that are available within the Immigration Rules. However you may only apply for ILR after you have lived legally in the United Kingdom for a certain length of time (usually between two and five years), depending on the category of visa you have. Settlement rights can be derived either by work route or by family route.




After probationary period as Spouse/Civil Partner

2 years

Old HSMP, Former members of HM Forces

4 years

Most of the PBS Work routes, Ancestry routes, Retired persons with independent means, Sole Representative of an overseas firm, Family member of an EU national, Refugee and Humanitarian Protection route

5 years

Discretionary Leave

6 years

If a child spent their formative period in the UK

7 years

If you had a long lawful residence

10 years

If you had a long lawful and unlawful / fully unlawful

14 years

Other routes for settlement can be broadly categorised as:


  • Settlement for former members of HM forces (Gurkhas)
  • Settlement Rights Based on Domestic Violence
  • Settlement Rights as a Bereaved Spouse
  • Settlement Rights of a Retired Person of Independent Means
  • Settlement Rights of a sole representative of an overseas firm
  • Asylum Seekers Reunion
  • Settlement Rights of family member of an EU National

Q. What are the benefits of obtaining settlement in the UK?

  • Need not apply for a visa every time you wish to enter into the UK;
  • Need not worry that your visa will expire;
  • Need not spend money and time applying for a visa extension;
  • Gives you full freedom to move, travel, live, marry in the UK;
  • Free to seek and undertake work without any constraint or investing or entering into business;
  • No time limit as to how long you are allowed to stay in the UK lawfully.

English language and life in the UK

If you wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK on or after 2nd April 2007 you will need to be aware of the introduction of the new rules, which requires applicants to demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the English language and life in Britain in order to qualify.


Whether you have a right of appeal will be stated in the refusal decision sent by the Home office. If you are granted with a full right appeal then you must lodge the appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chambers within 10 business days from the date of service if you are not in detention centre and 5 business days if you are at the detention centre. You must make your appeal within the time allowed for doing so. If you are late in making your appeal, the tribunal may decide not to hear it.

You will not have a right of appeal if:

  • you still have permission to stay in the United Kingdom despite Home Office decision to refuse your application for settlement; or
  • you made an application to extend your stay or for permanent residence after your existing permission to stay in the United Kingdom had already expired.

Loss of Indefinite Leave to Remain

It is important to note that holders should not spend periods of more than two years outside of the United Kingdom. A long-term UK resident should consider the United Kingdom as home and spending only short periods of time in Britain may lead to the loss of ILR.

Returning Residents

A resident is someone who has been given permission to stay in the United Kingdom without time limit. A returning resident is one who left the United Kingdom and wants to come back to live here again. If the returning resident has been away from the UK for less than two years then he or she may be allowed to return to the UK as a resident. However the person must prove that they had a settled status prior to leaving the UK, did not use public funds to pay the cost of leaving the UK and that they are returning to the UK to live here permanently.  However if you have been away for more than two years, you may still qualify to return to live in the United Kingdom if you can show strong family ties in the UK or that you have lived here most of your life. If you have been away for more than two years, you must apply for permission to return, known as entry clearance. You should do this at the British diplomatic post in the country where you live now.

Transfer your Indefinite Leave to Remain visa to your new passport

If your passport or travel document that contains the residence permit expires then you may apply to the Home Office to transfer the residence permit or leave to remain stamp on to your new passport. If you choose not to transfer then you must carry both your old and new passport every time you travel internationally. If you are unable to produce the original permit then you may not be allowed to enter into the UK. This is because you have failed to satisfy the Immigration Officers of your residence status in the UK. It is up to you to ensure that your travel documents are up to date and valid. An immigration officer will decide whether or not to let you enter the country, based on the evidence you produce.