UK Settlement &  British Citizenship

How we can help with your UK residence and citizenship application

We can represent you at any level of your UK residence and citizenship application.

We offer our clients two different services:

– Preparing the full application

– Document checking services

The first option consists of a comprehensive service including advice about the procedure, documents required, assistance with completing the form, collation of evidence and representations outlining to the Home Office how the requirements are satisfied.

The second option is for those applicants who are confident with their applications and who merely want us to double check the application form and documents to ensure everything is in order and to advise of any potential weaknesses of the application so as to minimise chances of refusal.


After you have lived legally in the UK for a certain length of time, you may be able to apply for permission to settle here. This is also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) means you are free from immigration control. There are no restrictions on your work or length of your stay.

If you are currently in the UK, your right to apply for settlement will depend on your current immigration category. If you are considering applying for settlement in the future, please note that the Immigration Rules are subject to change. You must meet all the requirements of the Immigration Rules at the time when you make your application.

An Indefinite Leave to Remain applicant must have settled status in the UK. This usually means that you have been resident in the UK on the same visa class for at least five years (excluding student visas).

The only exception to this is for people on Marriage visas or Unmarried Partner who only require two years, and for periods of exceptionally Long Term UK Residency (10 years legal UK residency or 14 years as a combination of illegal and legal UK residency).

You and your spouse now also need to take and pass “Life in the UK” test. This test is obligatory since the 2nd April 2007. It will confirm that you and members of your family can speak English as well as know the life and history of the UK. This is a similar test that was previously required for naturalization applications only. You can now use the results of your test for naturalization applications, that is, you do not have to take the test again when you will be applying for naturalization as a British Citizen

Permanent Residence for European nationals

 European national applicants can apply for permanent residence after they have completed five continuous years of residence in the UK in accordance with EEA Regulations 2006.

Eligibility for permanent residence

Applicants will need show that whilst in the UK, they have been in:

Regulation 15 states that the following are eligible for residence:

Applicants will need to complete application form EEA3 available on the UK Border Agency website. Non-EEA national family members will need to complete application form EEA4.

Once permanent residence is acquired, if the EEA national leaves the UK for more than 2 consecutive years, they can lose their right to residence or if they become a threat to public policy, health or security (in line with regulation 19 (b) ).

Continuous Residence

In order for residence to be considered as ‘continuous’, applicants should not have been away from the UK for more than 6 months of each year although exceptions can be made in some circumstances such as maternity or bereavement.

EEA and Swiss nationals

EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members who have been exercising EEA free movement rights in the UK for a continuous period of five years (ending on or after 30 April 2006) will automatically qualify for permanent residence. Applicants must apply for ILR and  before applying to naturalise as a British citizen.


Qualifying residential period

Applicants must have been present in the UK five years before the date of their application. For instance, if an application is sent to the Home Office and received by them on 30th August 2012, this means the applicant should have been present in the UK on 31st August 2007 (five years ago).


There is no such a thing as automatic legalization of an illegal immigration status. At the same time in some case people, who entered the UK illegally or became illegal while in the UK (overstaying, visa expired and not renewed, appeal lost, etc) may still change their status in the UK without leaving the UK in line with certain immigration legislation under the UK and EU Immigration Law.

The scope of this issue is rather complex, often relies upon case-law and requires representation by a qualified immigration lawyer.

The following brief examples may give you some idea of the in-country legalization options.

14 Year Rule

If you entered the UK some 14 years ago, and continuously remained in the UK even without a visa, you may be granted Settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Legacy Cases

If you entered the UK some 6+ year ago, claimed asylum and your case has not been decided yet, you may also qualify to remain in the UK  permanently on the basis of the so-called Legacy Cases.

Marriage to a European citizen

If you marry a European citizen, you may qualify to remain in the UK irrespective of your immigration status (valid visa, visa expired, overstayer, illegal entrant, failed asylum seeker etc).

Marriage to a British citizen who worked in the European Union

If you marry a British citizen, who worked in the European Union, you may qualify to remain in the UK irrespective of your immigration status (valid visa, visa expired, overstayer, illegal entrant, failed asylum seeker etc).

Divorce from a European citizen

If you have been married to a European citizen for 3 or more years and both of your worked in the UK at least for 12 month, you can divorce your European spouse and retain your own right to remain in the UK.

Victims of domestic violence

If your relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the United Kingdom has broken down as a result of domestic violence, you may be able to apply for permission to live permanently in the United Kingdom

If your child is British

If you are a visa national and your child is British, you may qualify to remain in the UK in case you are being deported.

Human Rights Cases

In some cases a person may be granted a leave to remain in the UK on the basis of certain Articles on Human Rights. Note that in most cases you will have to qualify and meet quite high threshold in order to be granted some sort of status in the UK.

All these scenarios require thorough and extended preparation as well as the knowledge of the relevant Rules and case-law.

The above options are not exhaustive as we treat every client’s case individually.

British Citizenship and Nationality

 If you are settled (have Indefinite Leave to Remain or, in the case of European (EU) nationals, permanent residence) in the UK, then you can stay here without any time limit, whatever your nationality. You do not have to become a British Citizen. However, this is something many people who have made the UK their permanent home do wish to consider. The benefits are many and applicants will be afforded full rights of citizenship along with unrestricted entry to the UK, travel within the EU and a British passport.

There are now three main ways to become a British Citizen. The first is to be born one. The second is to be registered as one and the third is to be naturalised as one. In addition there are circumstances in which a person who was not born a British Citizen automatically becomes one, without the need to be registered or naturalised. For example, this can happen where a child is adopted by British Citizen parents.

Whether or not you were born a British Citizen depends on a combination of where and when you were born and the nationality of your parents. British nationality law is one of the most complicated in the world, in part because of Britain’s history and historical relationship with other countries in the world. In some cases it will be necessary to go back several generations to identify whether you are a British Citizen or are entitled to British Citizenship.


 Naturalisation is the most common way for adults who were not born British to become British. People who have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can, subject to fulfilling residence requirements, apply to naturalise as British Citizens. It is necessary to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the language, and of life in the UK, and to be good character. This can be done by taking a test or undertaking a course of study. Naturalisation takes place at a public ceremony.

Significant changes to the process whereby citizenship is to be acquired by naturalisation were created by the then UK government (the Labour government) in the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The changes were not implemented however and it was announced that they would not become law until July of 2011.

However the Coalition government was elected in May of 2010. The Coalition’s Secretary of State for the Home Department has since announced that these provisions will not now become law.


Registration is the only way in which children can become British and is also used for adults in special circumstances. It is necessary for those over ten years old to be of good character, but it is not necessary to demonstrate knowledge of the language or of life in the UK. One example of the use of registration is to address problems created by discrimination in the past. For example it is now possible for people born to certain British mothers between 7 February 1961 and 1 January 1983 to register as British. At the time when they were born, only British fathers could pass on their nationality to children born abroad. This discrimination was removed in 1983, but the effects of the historic different treatment remained, as indeed they still remain for people born abroad to British mothers before 7 February 1961.

Different British Nationalities

 To complicate matters further, there are many forms of British nationality, in addition to British Citizenship. For example, British Overseas Territories Citizenship, or the status of being a British Subject or a British National (Overseas). Unlike British Citizenship, these other forms of British nationality will not normally give you a right to live in the UK, although they may be a step on the road to becoming a British Citizen and also give you a wider range of opportunities to make immigration applications, for example applications based on UK Ancestry.

Eligibility Requirements for UK Naturalisation

In order to qualify for naturalisation, an applicant must meet the following standard criteria:

There are additional requirements depending on which route to Naturalisation an applicant takes.

After three years

Applicants who arrived in the UK on a spousal visa and who, following their two years probationary period was granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) can apply to naturalise as a British citizen after having completed three years in the UK.

The requirements are as follows:

After five years

Applicants who have been in the UK for five years (for instance on a work permit) and who have been granted ILR, can apply to naturalise as a British citizen if they meet the following requirements in addition to the standard requirements above:


Dual Nationality

Dual Nationality occurs where a person is a national of two different countries. You do not normally have to give up your current nationality to become a British citizen and nor are you likely to lose your British citizenship if you acquire another nationality.


Right of Abode

Applicants who have a Right of abode  can apply to be issued with a Certificate of Entitlement to a right of abode in the UK. This will serve as proof of the applicant’s right to live and work here without being subject to any immigration restrictions.

 Life in the UK test

If you are applying for naturalisation as a British citizen or for indefinite leave to remain, you will need to show that you have sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom.

British Passports

A British Passport can be applied for once the British Citizenship Certificate has been received. Applications are made at one of several Passport Agency offices throughout the UK, or via certain nominated Post Offices and first time applicants will need to send in or show their previous non-British passport together with the Naturalisation / Registration Certificate, their certified photographs and a completed application form and fee.

Since 1 May 2007 first time applicants have been subject to compulsory interviews, and this new procedure has also applied at British Embassies and Consulates from 1 August 2007.

It is advised that travels should not be booked until the passport is issued, as there are substantial delays in the Passport Section.

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