Applying for Settlement
Once you have passed the Life in the UK test, you can start the process of completing your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
All of the information you need to apply should be available from the GOV.uk website. This page will lead you through a series of questions about your immigration status and will tell you which form you need.
The two main forms are listed below. Each form has a set of guidance notes. Make sure you read these while completing your form. They contain detailed instructions on how to successfully complete your application.
Which form do I need?
If you have been required to take the Life in the UK Test it is likely that you will only need to use one of two possible forms.
- SET(M) – If you are applying as a spouse, civil partner, same sex or unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK
- SET(O) – For most other applications
Form and guide SET(M)
Form SET(M) has the full title of ‘Application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as the partner of a person present and settled in the UK and a Biometric Immigration Document’. You can find guidance and answers to common questions about completing the form on the Settle in the UK as the partner of a person who is in the UK and settled here: form SET(M) page of the GOV.uk website.
Form and guide SET(O)
Form SET(O) has the full, but not very helpful, title of ‘Application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in one of the categories listed in this form and a biometric immigration document’. The key categories are listed below, for your information.
You can find guidance and answers to common questions about completing the form on the Settle in the UK in various immigration categories: form SET(O) page of the GOV.uk website.
You should use this form to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you are applying as any of the following:
- work permit holder
- dependant of work permit holder
- PBS dependant
- employment not requiring a work permit
- highly skilled migrant
- highly skilled migrant under the terms of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme indefinite leave to remain judicial review policy document
- self-employed lawyer
- writer, composer or artist
- Tier 1 (General) migrant
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant – accelerated route
- Tier 1 (Investor) migrant
- Tier 1 (Investor) migrant – accelerated route
- Tier 2 migrant
- UK ancestry
- bereaved partner
- other purposes not covered by other application forms
If you have been given temporary permission to remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or person settled here, and your partner has died, you can apply for settlement as a bereaved partner. You can make your application using form SET(O) immediately after your partner’s death – you do not need to wait until you have been here for a certain length of time.
If you are in the UK for other purposes or reasons not covered by other application forms (excluding asylum), you should use the GOV.uk site to check what kind of application you should make. This includes applications for reasons of long residence in the UK, if you have been living continuously in the UK for 10 years.
When you apply for settlement you’ll usually be referred to UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) as part of the application process.
When you attend an appointment with UKVCAS you will provide:
- your biometric information (fingerprints and photo)
- supporting documents for your application.
The latest waiting times are given on the About our services page of the GOV.uk website.
The Home Office advises that you should not make any non-urgent travel arrangements until your passport(s) or travel document(s) have been returned.
Once you have been granted permanent residence (ILR) you may stay in the UK indefinitely so long as you do not leave the country for extended periods. The law states that you should not leave the UK for a period of over two years.
There is a risk that you may lose your permanent residence permit if you are absent from the UK for more than two years.
If you have been away for more than two years, then you must apply for a Returning Resident visa before attempting to enter the UK. If you don’t do this then there is a risk that you will be denied entry to the UK.
To qualify, you must:
- plan to return to live in the UK permanently
- have been settled in the UK before you last left
- not have been given public funds to help you leave the UK
You may still be able to return to the United Kingdom to live if, for example, you have strong family ties here or have lived here most of your life.