The type of leave to remain you currently have will dictate when you can apply to settle permanently in the UK. Settlement is also referred to as Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and means that you are allowed to live in the UK without time limit.
The type of application you make will also depend upon your circumstances but all applications must be made in the last month of your leave. The Home Office do not consider applications made more than 28 days before the expiry of the leave. However, you would need to make preparations well before this date and gather together evidence about your private life in the UK which you can use in support of your application.
The Home Office charge a fee for each application. These are subject to change and a list of the current fees can be found on the following website:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table
From 28th October 2013 the Home Office introduced further English language requirements for people applying for settlement and also naturalisation as a British Citizen. When you make your application you will need to ensure you meet the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement by:
- Passing the Life in the UK Test; AND
- Have a speaking and listening qualification in English at level B1 CEFR or higher, or an equivalent qualification.
The Life in the UK Test is a test about British traditions and customs and you will need to obtain a pass mark of 75% or above. The test can be booked online on the government website and can only be taken at one of the 60 official test centres across the country. There is also a fee to take the test which is currently £50.00.
As stated above, you will also need to pass an English language qualification. Details of relevant qualifications can be found at: https://www.gov.uk
Please note that many people take ESOL as a language qualification, however the required equivalent ESOL certificate for a settlement application is ESOL Entry Level 3 or higher.
If you are granted settlement/ Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK then once you have had this leave for one year you can consider making an application to naturalise as a British Citizen subject to meeting the requirements.
If you would like further information on settling in the UK, applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or becoming a British Citizen then please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team on 0845 894 1622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org