How Long Does It Take To Get Permanent Residency In UK?

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to obtain permanent residency in the UK? As an aspiring resident, the process can seem daunting, but fear not! In this article, we will explore the timeline and requirements for obtaining permanent residency, providing you with a better understanding of what to expect on your journey. From the initial application to the final decision, we will guide you through each step, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared for the road ahead. So, let’s get started on uncovering the process of obtaining permanent residency in the UK.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency

If you have been living in the UK and wish to make it your permanent home, you may be eligible for permanent residency, also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). There are various routes through which you can obtain this status, depending on your circumstances. Let’s explore some of the most common eligibility categories for permanent residency in the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a route to permanent residency suitable for individuals who have been living in the UK with a visa or visa-free status for a specified period of time. To be eligible for ILR, you must meet the residency, knowledge of language and life in the UK, and good character requirements. The required length of residency varies depending on the visa category.


Family Members of British Citizens or Settled Persons

If you are a family member of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK, you may be eligible for a family visa that leads to permanent residency. This category applies to spouses, partners, children, and dependent relatives. The requirements for this route include proving the relationship, meeting financial criteria, and demonstrating English language proficiency.

EU Settlement Scheme

Under the EU Settlement Scheme, EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens and their family members who were residing in the UK before December 31, 2020, can apply for settled or pre-settled status. Settled status grants permanent residency, while pre-settled status allows you to stay in the UK for a limited period before becoming eligible for settled status.

Long Residence

If you have lived continuously in the UK for a significant period of time, you may be able to apply for permanent residency through the long residence category. Generally, you must have lived in the UK for at least ten years, demonstrate good character, and meet the other requirements specified by the Home Office.

Investor or Innovator Visas


Individuals who have invested a substantial amount of money in the UK or have innovator endorsement can apply for an investor or innovator visa. With these visas, you can eventually become eligible for permanent residency, provided you meet the required criteria and maintain your investment or innovative business.

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa, previously known as the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, is designed for individuals who are recognized as leaders or potential leaders in their field of expertise. This visa allows you to work and live in the UK and eventually apply for permanent residency.

Graduate Route

If you have completed a degree in the UK, the Graduate Route allows you to stay and work in the country for a specific period after graduation. While it does not directly lead to permanent residency, it can be a stepping stone toward other visa categories that offer a path to settling permanently in the UK.

Turkish Businessperson or Worker

Turkish citizens who are either businesspeople or workers can apply for an Ankara Agreement visa. Under this scheme, you can eventually become eligible for permanent residency after completing a certain period of continuous residency in the UK.

Returning Resident

If you were previously settled in the UK, but your indefinite leave to remain has lapsed due to spending an extended period outside the country, you may be eligible to apply as a returning resident. This category allows you to reapply for permanent residency if you can demonstrate strong ties to the UK and provide a compelling reason for your absence.


Application Process

Once you have determined your eligibility category for permanent residency, you can begin the application process. It is important to understand the steps involved and the documents required to ensure a smooth application.

Preparing the Application

Before submitting the application, you must gather all the necessary documents and information. This may include your passport, proof of residence, evidence of your relationship (if applicable), language test results, and any other supporting documents specific to your category. It is crucial to ensure that these documents are up-to-date and meet the Home Office’s requirements.

Submitting the Application

The application for permanent residency is typically submitted online, although in some cases, it may be completed through a paper form. Once you have completed the application, you will need to pay the appropriate fee and submit it along with the required supporting documents. It is important to double-check all the information entered and ensure the accuracy of the documents before submission.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

If your application is approved, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which acts as evidence of your permanent residency. This card contains your personal details, immigration status, and biometric information. It is important to collect your BRP within the specified time frame and carry it with you as proof of your right to reside in the UK.

Waiting Time

The waiting time for a decision on permanent residency applications can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the category of application, and the current workload of the Home Office. While the exact waiting time is difficult to predict, it is advisable to apply well in advance, especially if you have any upcoming travel plans or other time-sensitive matters. The Home Office provides estimated processing times on their website, which can serve as a rough guideline.

Exceptions and Expedited Routes

In certain circumstances, there are exceptions and expedited routes available for individuals who require a faster decision on their permanent residency application.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Fast-Track Process

The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) fast-track process allows eligible applicants to receive a decision on their application within ten business days for an additional fee. This expedited service is available for certain categories, such as Tier 2 (General) migrants and Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you have exceptional circumstances, such as serious illness, humanitarian reasons, or other urgent matters, you may be able to request expedited processing of your application. This requires providing supporting evidence and a strong justification for the expedited consideration.


Appeals and Delays

In some cases, an application for permanent residency may be refused. If this happens, you have the right to challenge the decision through the appeals process. Additionally, delays in processing times may occur, which can be frustrating. It is important to understand the options available in case of refusal or significant delays.

Administrative Review

If your application is refused, you can request an administrative review. This allows you to challenge the decision made by the Home Office within a specific timeframe. During the administrative review, the decision will be reviewed by a different caseworker to ensure fairness and to rectify any errors that may have occurred.

Appealing a Decision

If the administrative review is unsuccessful, or if you are not eligible for an administrative review, you may have the option to appeal the decision through the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). It is crucial to seek legal advice and guidance before proceeding with an appeal, as the process can be complex.

Delays and Processing Times

Delays in processing times can occur due to various reasons, including increased workload, staffing issues, and the complexity of the case. If you experience significant delays beyond the Home Office’s published processing times, you can seek updates on the status of your application through their online tool or by contacting the relevant department. It is important to keep in mind that processing times can vary and may be subject to change based on the Home Office’s workload.

Changes in Immigration Policy

It is essential to stay informed about any changes in immigration policies and regulations, as they can impact your eligibility for permanent residency. Here are two key areas where recent changes have occurred.

Impact of Brexit

Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, there have been significant changes to immigration policies for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens. The EU Settlement Scheme provides a way for eligible individuals to secure their status in the UK. It is important for affected individuals to understand the requirements and deadlines associated with the scheme to ensure they can continue to reside in the UK and maintain their rights.

Points-Based System

In a bid to attract highly skilled individuals and prioritize certain skills and occupations, the UK has implemented a points-based system for immigration. This system assigns points based on specific criteria such as job offer, skill level, English language proficiency, and salary level. Understanding the requirements of the points-based system is crucial if you plan to apply for permanent residency through an eligible category under this system.

Fees and Costs

When applying for permanent residency, there are certain fees and costs associated with the process. It is important to factor in these expenses when planning for your application.

Application Fees

The application fees for permanent residency can vary depending on your eligibility category. The fees are subject to change, so it is advisable to check the Home Office website or consult with a legal professional for the most up-to-date information. It is important to pay the correct fee and ensure that the payment is made through an approved method.

Immigration Health Surcharge

In addition to the application fees, you may be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. This surcharge provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. The amount of the surcharge is determined based on the length of stay as well as other factors. It is important to factor in this cost when budgeting for your permanent residency application.

Legal Representation Costs

While it is not mandatory to have legal representation throughout the application process, it can be beneficial to seek professional guidance. Legal representation costs can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the services provided. Engaging a legal professional can help ensure that your application is prepared accurately, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

Renewing Permanent Residency

Once you have obtained permanent residency, it is important to understand the renewal process and the requirements to maintain your status.

Renewal Process

Permanent residency is typically granted with no expiry date. However, you should still renew your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) every ten years. This involves submitting a renewal application along with any required supporting documents and paying the appropriate fees. It is important to keep track of the renewal date to ensure your application is submitted in a timely manner.

Continuous Residence Requirement

To maintain your permanent residency, you must meet the continuous residence requirement. This generally means that you should not spend more than a specific number of days outside the UK during each twelve-month period. Failing to meet this requirement may result in the loss of your permanent residency status.

Path to Citizenship

For those who wish to go beyond permanent residency and become a British citizen, understanding the path to citizenship is essential.

British Citizenship Eligibility

To be eligible for British citizenship, you must generally have held permanent residency for at least twelve months. In addition, you must meet the residency requirements, demonstrate good character, and pass a Life in the UK test. It is important to review the specific eligibility criteria outlined by the Home Office to determine your eligibility for British citizenship.

Naturalization Process

The naturalization process involves submitting an application for British citizenship, providing the required documentation, attending a citizenship ceremony, and taking an oath of allegiance. This process can take several months, and it is vital to ensure that you meet all the requirements and provide accurate information throughout the process.

Common Mistakes and Tips

To increase your chances of a successful permanent residency application and avoid unnecessary delays or rejections, it is important to be aware of common mistakes and follow these tips:

Incomplete Applications

Ensure that your application is complete and all relevant sections are filled out accurately. Missing or incomplete information can lead to delays or even the refusal of your application.

Insufficient Supporting Documents

Provide the required supporting documents and make sure they are up-to-date. Failure to include the necessary documents or submitting outdated documentation can result in the rejection of your application.

Language and Knowledge Requirements

If your eligibility category requires you to demonstrate English language proficiency or pass a Life in the UK test, make sure you prepare adequately. Familiarize yourself with the test format and study the necessary materials, such as the official Life in the UK handbook.

Seek Professional Guidance

Consider seeking professional guidance from an immigration lawyer or advisor. They can help ensure that your application is prepared accurately, provide guidance on required supporting documents, and provide valuable advice throughout the process.

Review and Double Check

Before submitting your application, thoroughly review all the information and double-check for any errors or omissions. Taking the time to ensure the accuracy of your application can help prevent unnecessary delays or potential complications.


Obtaining permanent residency in the UK is an important step toward making the country your permanent home. By understanding the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the potential challenges, you can navigate the process more confidently. Remember to stay updated on any changes in immigration policies, seek professional guidance when needed, and carefully prepare your application to give yourself the best chance of success.

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