So, you’ve falling in love with the city of London, have you? It’s not surprising. There are so many wonderful things about this city and its people. London is an incredible metropolis with rich history and impressive structures abound. Between iconic structures like ‘Big Ben’ and the Houses of Parliament to the breathtaking façade of Westminster Abbey, to the modern touches of the London Eye, this city has something for everyone. Mixed in with the staunch historical structures is a wonderful expression of culture by way of music and art. London leaves an indelible footprint on everyone’s heart who immerses themselves in her singular beauty.
Now that you’ve fallen in love with this great city, how do you become a permanent resident?
That’s quite a good question.You see, the United Kingdom immigration laws can be quite confusing to those looking to become true Londoners. The laws and rules governing this procedure are always changing which makes it ever important to constantly seek the information from credible sources such as the official UK government website and others like us.
Any ex-pats from the EEA or European Economic Area can become permanent residents after living in the UK for five years. Those who lived outside of the EEA can request an Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain status. Being granted either of those means you can come and go as you please without being subject to immigration laws and controls governing both entry and exit from the UK.
When someone has ILR status it means they have been given a ‘settled status’ indicating they are free to live in London without concern for immigration rules and regulations. They will need to live in the UK for a specified amount of time based on what tier their visa is. For instance, someone who is on a tier 1 or tier 2 visa needs to live in the UK for five years before they can apply for permanent residency. The tiers are as follows:
In order to become a permanent resident of the UK specifically London, those interested will need to take and pass the “Life in the UK” test. This test applies to all coming to permanently live in London save those who were part of the Highly Skilled Migrant Program. This is required for ILR status and is made up of 24 computer-generated questions. These questions are designed to test the applicant’s knowledge about life in the UK. It takes approximately 45 minutes and can be taken at any one of the 100 test centers placed throughout the country. There is a study guide available for £10. It’s entitled Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship textbook. Applicants should also be aware that to take the test itself there is a £34 charge. Passing this test is not only a requirement of London citizenship but also British citizenship.
Once applicants have been approved for ILR status, they have approximately twelve months to wait before attaining citizenship. Those who have not may have other considerations to keep in mind. For instance, those applicants who were born to a British mother between the years of 1961 and 1983 might be able to apply for citizenship directly. If the applicants were not born of a British mother between those years, then they likely will have to live in the UK for at least 5 years. That wait can be cut to three years if the applicant is married to a citizen. It is important to note those applicants cannot have lived outside the UK for more than 450 days during that five-year span and not more than 90 days in the 12 months leading up to applying for citizenship.
It is incredibly important to follow the laws of any foreign country particularly when considering citizenship. While there is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which does allow illegal migrants to apply for permanent residency status on the grounds of their right to private life. While this is true, if someone applies for citizenship while living in the UK illegally, they will need to stay in the country between 17 and 30 years depending upon the age of the applicant.
Once the applicant’s time of residence in the UK has elapsed and they are able to apply for ILE status, they can get started making their application with the Home Office Public Enquiry Office. There are downloadable forms that come from the official government website with step-by-step instructions and guidelines to follow.
Eligibility for ILR does vary by visa classification. It is important to know what type of visa applicants have and what their specific requirements are. Those are listed at https://www.visabureau.com/united-kingdom/visas-and-immigration/indefinite-leave-to-remain. If applicants do qualify, and earn their ILR status they need to not live outside of the UK for 2 or more years after earning it or risk having their ILR status revoked.
When deciding to apply for permanent citizenship there are those who are living in the UK with children who are trying to determine whether they should wait until their children are school-age and allow them to attend schools in the UK or to return to their home country for their education. For those individuals, it is important to know all of the facts before making such an important decision for their families and their futures.
Those with citizenship from another country can choose to maintain dual citizenship and remain citizens of both countries. However, that comes with the added cost of having to pay taxes in both the UK and their home country. In some cases, this can become too much to bear and they will choose to renounce their citizenship from their home country and maintain their UK citizenship.