Settlement Visa UK

A settlement visa – also known as indefinite leave to remain – can only be applied for once a person qualifies, usually after a set period of residence in a visa category that leads to settlement. In most instances, settlement is obtained once a person has resided in the UK for five years. It remains valid unless you leave the UK for a continuous two-year period; even if you do so, it may still be possible to apply for a ‘returning resident’ visa.

Applications for settlement or indefinite leave to remain can be complicated, and the requirements will vary depending on your immigration category. Our helpful solicitors are on hand to advise and assist, whether you would like information about a visa application or help to complete it.

To speak to a solicitor about settlement visas, call us on 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185, or fill in our contact form to request a call back.


How Latitude Law can help

Our team of expert solicitors has extensive knowledge and years of experience helping individuals achieve settlement in the UK on their way to becoming a British citizen. Settlement status can be achieved in many different ways, including working under the points-based system, sponsorship, UK ancestry, and so on.

Settlement applications are submitted online and are supported by specified evidence confirming your time in the UK and that you satisfy the requirements of your immigration route. We can help you to identify the correct application and the documents needed for a successful outcome enabling you to live in the UK permanently.

If you are unsure what your settlement status is, our solicitors will be able to help and explore the best options for British citizenship.

What is settlement in the UK?

Settlement, also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or ‘permanent residence’, is unlimited permission to reside in the UK. This status removes restrictions on travel or work and allows the holder to receive UK benefits if otherwise eligible. Settlement is often available to applicants after they have completed at least five years’ UK residence in a qualifying immigration route. Some routes – such as Global Talent and Innovator – offer a three-year settlement option. It may also be available to people who have completed 10 years’ continuous lawful UK residence regardless of the type of permission they held.

What is a UK settlement visa?

A UK settlement visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK with very few restrictions. Permanent residence is the most secure status you can obtain under immigration rules, short of becoming a British citizen.

Who is eligible for settlement?

Indefinite leave to remain is only available to those who meet the specific requirements of their immigration route. For most applicants, this will mean completing five years’ continuous UK residence and satisfying any other criteria their route demands. For example:

  • Partners can settle in the UK after five years if their relationship is continuing and they satisfy income requirements and other criteria. Partners who cannot satisfy all these requirements may be eligible for settlement after 10 years
  • Workers can settle after five years, providing they remain in a suitably highly skilled and well-paid position and they retain the support of their employer
  • EU citizens and their family members (including non-EU citizens) may be eligible for settlement under the EU Settlement Scheme either after five years’ UK residence under the old EU regulations or with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

It is also now possible for children who were born in the UK and then lived in the UK for the first seven years of their life without valid permission to obtain settlement.

A person who has spent 10 years in the UK with valid, legal leave on different routes, or routes that don’t lead to settlement normally, will be eligible for indefinite leave to remain after 10 years in the UK, providing there are no gaps in their residence.

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about how Latitude Law can help you with your settlement application and route to British citizenship, call our team on 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185, or fill in our online form and we will be in touch at a time that suits you.

FAQs about settlement visas UK

How much is a settlement visa for UK?

Settlement fees are around £2,404 in most categories. For more information regarding fees, visit the government website to see which fee will apply to you.

What is the meaning of 'leave to remain'?

Indefinite leave to remain in the UK is another way of saying ‘indefinite permission to stay’. Indefinite leave to remain is permanent permission to stay in the UK.

Can students qualify for settlement?

Not based on their study alone. Students are not on a UK settlement route, so their study is not building up qualifying time for settlement.

However, students can combine their status with other categories and when they have completed 10 years’ continuous lawful residence, may apply for settlement on that basis (unless they qualify for it some other way first).

How long does it take to process a settlement visa application?

You should receive a decision on your application within six months. However, you can pay for a faster decision in some visa categories. Our aim is to prepare clear and persuasive settlement applications which can be processed quickly by the Home Office.

Does the UK settlement visa expire?

The UK settlement visa allows an individual to remain in the UK for as long as they like. Once you have lived in the UK for at least one year on a settlement visa, you will be eligible to apply to become a British citizen (immediately if you are married to a British citizen).

Can you lose your UK settlement visa?

Settlement in the UK can only usually be lost if you are absent for a continuous period of two years or more, or if you commit a serious criminal offence and face deportation from the UK.

Our experts

What our clients say

Successful visa application for wife of British citizen

Latitude Law is the best immigration law firm that I have ever come across. The quality of service & professionalism from Katerina, Alexandra, Natasha & Anna is out of this world. They invested time to make sure the application was successful & I received the decision exceptionally quickly. I can't thank them enough. If you are looking for an immigration firm to deal with your visa, Latitude Law is the best ever. Special thanks to Mr Gary - star of the immigration world!
Mr Malekzada
April 2024

Complex British Nationality Application

"Many thanks to the amazing Latitude Law team, especially Katerina Woodcock, Gary McIndoe and Anna Sullivan, for expertly handling my passport application. Mine was a very complicated and multifaceted case, but thanks to the wonderful Latitude Law, I succeeded in getting my passport in a timely manner and would definitely recommend Latitude Law for any immigration or citizenship matters. When working with them, you can rest assured that you are in good hands."
Ms B
February 2024

Administrative Review

"I would like to thank Jessica Lee and Natasha Willett for their excellent work over the last couple
of years. They have helped me secure permanent residence status in the UK and their professionalism
has been second to none throughout the process. What really impressed me is that they were prepared to
go the proverbial extra mile to achieve the desired result for me. They have been incredibly supportive
and easy to work with. Needless to say, I can highly recommend this law firm and would definitely go back to
them should I ever need legal advice again."
Mr Tom F
January 2024

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 15/02/2023