Settle in the UK
Depending on your current circumstances, you may qualify to settle in the UK after a certain amount of time spent in the country as a lawful resident. Acquiring British Citizenship is the last step of your immigration journey in the UK.
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
You will automatically receive your Biometric Residence Permit if you:
Are granted permission to stay in the UK for more than 6 months
Apply to extend your existing visa for at least 6 more months
Apply to settle in the country as a UK national
Request to transfer your current permit to a new passport.
Right of Abode
Those who hold dual nationality are entitled to include a Right of Abode stamp in their foreign passport to enter the UK freely. You can also apply if you are:
A Commonwealth national whose parents were born as British citizens
A Commonwealth woman married to a British national on or before 1st January 1983.
Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)
As a general rule, you must have spent at least five years in the UK before you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, applicants who are in the UK under different visas may be able to claim their settled status before, or even after, this time frame. For example, Spouse Visa holders will become eligible for ILR after only two years.
Once you settle in the UK, you will no longer be subjected to any immigration-related restrictions. You will be free to visit, work and study in the UK, and to travel abroad and re-enter the UK without the need to apply for a visa.
On the other hand, if you spend more than two years abroad, you will lose your permanent residence status.
Holding Indefinite Leave to Remain is a mandatory preliminary requirement before you can apply for British citizenship.
UK Citizenship and Naturalisation
You can naturalise as a British citizen after five years of lawful residence in the UK, or after three years if you are married to a British national.
Once you get Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you will be eligible for British nationality after a further 12-month period. Before you send your request to naturalise as a UK national, you must also meet specific requirements, such as:
Demonstrate your adequate knowledge of the English language
Pass the Life in the UK Test to prove your commitment to British customs
Be of good character, meaning that you must not hold any severe criminal record nor having lived in the UK in breach of any immigration rule
Not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK during your qualifying period
Since British naturalisation is a complicated process that requires someone to send a strong portfolio of documents and evidence to the UKVI, it is always advisable to seek guidance from an expert immigration lawyer.
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Work and Study in the UK
As a general rule, you need a UK-based employer or educational institution to sponsor your PBS visa application to work or study in the country. Under the UK Tier Visa system, applicants will need to pass an assessment test to demonstrate their eligibility.
UK Tier 1 Work Visas
Tier 1 is targeted at “high-value migrants”, such as international entrepreneur or investors who wish to invest their capital or set up a business in the UK. The Tier 1 Visa subcategories are as follows:
Tier 1 (General). This category which was designed for highly skilled workers is closed. Applicants can choose any other visa included in this tier.
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent). This is for those who work in a specific field (such as science, medicine, engineering, or the arts) and are internationally recognised as leaders in their area of expertise. The minimum points score is 75.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). This immigration route is now closed. It used to be for persons who wished to set up a business in the UK. Individuals already holding this permit have until 5th April 2023 to extend their visa, while new applicants can now apply for the Innovator route. This was introduced in 2019 and requires a capital investment of £50,000.
Tier 1 (Investor). To qualify for this permit, you must have access to at least £2,000,000 which can be invested in the UK.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur). This route is now closed and has been replaced by the Start-Up Visa. This is for individuals who want to set up their first business in the UK. Although there is no minimum investment required, applicants must demonstrate their high potential.
UK Tier 2 Work Visas
This category of UK visas is suitable for applicants who have been offered a skilled job (such as accountancy, IT, or healthcare) by a UK-based sponsor. The employer must hold or request a certificate of sponsorship. Also, the occupation needs to be on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List. Tier 2 applicants need to score at least 70 points on their assessment test.
The following are the four different visa categories under the UK Tier 2:
Tier 2 General. This visa is for international workers who have received a job offer for a position that is either on the Shortage Occupations List or for which there are not enough skilled workers in the domestic labour market.
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer – ITC). This category of UK visas is accessible only for existing employees who work abroad but need to be transferred to a UK branch of their company. This permit is available for both long-term staff and for new graduate trainees.
Tier 2 (Sportsperson). Internationally established athletes and qualified coaches can apply for this category only if their role is recognised or endorsed by their sport’s governing body.
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion). This permit is targeted at religious workers and missionaries who need to undertake employment within a faith community based in the UK.
Study in the UK: Tier 4 Student UK Visas
Tier 4 student visas allow international pupils to enter the UK as a student at a school, college or university. To be eligible, applicants must hold a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) at a UK educational institution.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. Students aged 18 or over who have been offered a place at a UK educational institution who hold a valid sponsorship licence, can send their visa application.
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa. This permit is accessible for non-UK students under the age of 18. Applicants over the age of 16 may be allowed to work up to 10 hours per week.
Short-Term Study Visa. You can apply for this permit if you wish to visit the UK for a short period and you have been offered a place on a short-term course, such as a training course or an English language course. This visa only lasts between 6 to 11 months.
Tier 5 UK Visas (Temporary Workers)
Tier 5 Temporary Work Visas are suitable for those who wish to enter the UK for a limited amount of time and do not intend to settle in the country.
Tier 5 Visa (Charity Worker). This permit is for workers who have an unpaid or voluntary job offer.
Tier 5 Visa (Creative and Sportspersons). Only highly skilled creative workers or sportspersons who have been offered a job in the UK can apply for this visa.
Tier 5 Visa (International Agreement). This visa is for workers who have a job offer that is covered by international law, such as diplomatic or embassy workers.
Tier 5 Visa (Youth Mobility Scheme). This visa enables international workers aged 18 to 30 and who are nationals of one of the countries listed in the Youth Mobility Scheme, to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.
UK Visa Application Advice
Our highly qualified immigration advisors can help you choose the best visa for your case, and evaluate your eligibility and your chances to succeed. Book your first Advice Session with one of our immigration specialists to receive professional guidance.
Call us on 0203 283 8742 or make an enquiry online to find out if you qualify for your desired visa.
UK Visa Application Assistance
With decades of legal experience and professional expertise, our immigration lawyers are ready to help you and your family enter the UK. Hire one of our experts to process your case, complete and submit your UK visa application form on your behalf, and liaise with the UKVI.
Call us on0203 283 8742 or make an enquiry online to investigate your options to apply for a UK Visa.
To join your family in the UK, you can apply for one of the following Family Visas:
Parent of a British national or settled person. You can apply for this permit if your child is under the age of 18 and is living an independent life in the UK.
Children of a British national or settled person. Only children under the age of 18 can be included in your application as dependants.
Adults coming to be cared for by a relative. To be eligible, your designated relative must be a British national or settled person. In addition, this person must be able to support, accommodate and care for you without claiming public funds.
UK Ancestry Visa. Those who are Commonwealth citizens, or who can prove that one of their grandparents was a UK national, can send their visa application.
EEA Family Permit. This visa is for those who live outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and want to join their family in the UK within six months from the date of their application.
Partners Visas are available for those who are engaged with, married to, or in a civil relationship with a British national or settled person. Depending on your situation, and if you decide to include your dependents in your form, there may be additional financial and eligibility criteria you will need to meet.
Spouse Visa. With a Marriage Visa, you can join your partner in the UK for up to 30 months. To be eligible, you must prove that your relationship is genuine and that you meet certain financial requirements.
Fiance Visa. The fiance visa is designed for someone who intends to get married in the UK within six months from the date of your application. However, if somebody fails to meet this essential requirement, they will face deportation from the UK at the end of their permitted period of residence in the UK
Civil Partnership Visa. Same-sex couples can legally form a civil partnership, or convert their existing one into a marriage, in England or Wales. To be eligible, you must not be married already or closely related. Most importantly, currently, opposite-sex couples cannot form a civil partnership in England and Wales. Different rules may apply in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.
Visit the UK
UK Visitor and Short-Stay Visas allow non-EEA nationals to enter the UK for a short time (up to 6 months) for leisure, medical, artistic works or limited business activities.
UK Visitor Visas
To visit the UK for business, leisure or to get private medical treatment, you can apply for a Visitor Visa.
Standard Visitor Visa. This permit can be used to visit the UK for unpaid business appointments or artistic work, receiving private medical treatment in the country and for leisure purposes.
Visitors in transit Visa. Some travellers may need to send a relevant visa application to pass through the UK on their way to another country.
Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. This category is for those who have been invited to the UK as preeminent experts of their profession or field. This includes performers, academics, broadcasters and researchers.
UK Short-stay Visas
You can apply for a short-stay visa if you wish to visit for tourism or business for up to 6 months.
Short-term Study Visa. You qualify for this visa if you wish to enter the UK to study a short course, or for a short period of research as part of your international degree course.
Parent of a Tier 4 Child Visa. This permit is available for applicants whose children attend an independent fee-paying school in the UK.
Visitor Visa for Chinese tour groups. This category is reserved for Chinese tour groups of a minimum of 5 people that are organised by an ADS licensed Chinese tour operator.