UK Immigration Programs for Foreigners

Moving to the United Kingdom? Find out if you will need a visa to enter the country and which type of visa for the UK you will need to apply for. This will depend on where you are traveling from and the purpose of your visit.

UK Immigration Programs for Foreigners

Permanent residence in the UK is an alternative to full citizenship if you’ve lived in the country long-term. Here’s what it is and how to get it. If you are looking to settle down in the UK, you will be pleased to know that the country allows overseas residents that meet certain criteria to apply for permanent residence. Moreover, you can do this as a precursor to obtaining UK citizenship, or even as an alternative to it.

To help you understand the process of becoming a permanent resident in the UK, this article includes information in full detail on everything you need to know about obtaining a permanent residency.

Furthermore, you can apply for permanent residence in the United Kingdom if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Permanent settlement is known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR), and holders of ILR receive a settlement permit that allows them to travel freely to and from the UK as often as they want. Unlike some other European countries, the United Kingdom only has one type of settlement permit. However, there are multiple routes to obtaining permanent residence in the UK, which we will explain later on.

Requirements for permanent residence in the United Kingdom

Requirements for ILR in the UK vary slightly depending on the route through which you are applying. However, in general, they consist of:

  • Continuous residency in the UK of five years. This is sometimes reduced (for example, to two or three years for those living in the UK on certain work visas or family visas) or increased (for those applying under the 10-year residency route)
  • Proof of sufficient English language skills
  • Passing the Life in the UK Test
  • Evidence that you continue to meet the requirements of your UK visa; for example, you meet the minimum salary requirements for skilled work visas or are still married if you are on a spouse family visa

How to Apply for Permanent Residence

Meanwhile, here are some of the UK immigration programs that can lead to permanent residence.

UK Employment Visa Sponsorship

Furthermore, you can apply for UK permanent residence if you have been living in the country for five years on a work-related visa. However, this is reduced to either two or three years on certain business and entrepreneur visas.

A UK Employment Visa Sponsorship is an authorization that allows UK employers the right to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship for foreign nationals that come to the UK under a work visa. Those seeking to get a sponsor employer must have the needed qualification, experience, and skills for the position which should be suitable for sponsorship... Read more.

UK Spouse Visa

The UK Spouse Visa, otherwise known as the UK Marriage Visa, is a permit granted by United Kingdom (UK) law, which allows foreign citizens to live and work in England, Wales, or Scotland with their British spouses. The UK spouse visa falls into the category of a family visa and there is UK family immigration law. 

If you have recently married a British citizen and want to live with your husband or wife in England, Wales, or Scotland, a spouse visa will allow you to do so. The process of obtaining a spouse visa can be complicated and time-consuming; however, it can also provide valuable insight into the immigration process as well as help you stay informed about the steps that need to be taken before moving overseas... Read more.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in the UK

The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is a points-based, immigration route that requires you to invest £200,000 in your new business and create at least two jobs. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is designed for high-net-worth individuals who want to start or invest in a business in Great Britain. It allows successful applicants to reside and work freely within British borders. The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward compared with other immigration routes. In most cases, you won’t need a detailed business plan or a complex financial projection... Read more.

UK Tier 1 Investor Visas

Tier 1 Investor visa is one of the UK business visas, part of the UK Points Based System offered to wealthy individuals to enter and live in the UK providing that they invest at least £2 million into active and trading UK businesses. The higher the amount of money invested, the quicker you can apply for settlement and eventually British citizenship.

The Tier 1 Investor Visa is a high-value migration route, this means that you are not required to have a job offer before you can apply for an Investor Visa and your application will not need to be sponsored. The application is almost entirely based on your ability to invest the required amount within the first three months of your visa being granted... Read more.

UK Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is a UK immigration category for talented and promising people in specific sectors such as sciences, the humanities, engineering, the arts, and technology, wishing to work in the UK. Replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa in 2020, the Global Talent route was designed to attract talented and promising professionals in the fields of science, digital technology, and arts and culture to work in the UK. The Global Talent visa is an immigration category that leads to settlement after 3 years if you have been considered a Talented candidate or 5 years if you have been considered a Promise candidate. Upon completing your settlement application, and the required residency period in the UK you may be able to apply for British Citizenship... Read more.

Bottom Line

In most cases, you will lose your permanent residence status in the UK if you leave the country for two years or more without returning. EU/EFTA nationals with settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme can leave the UK for up to five years without returning. You might be able to reapply and get ILR as a returning resident, and the cost of this is £516.