If you have been living in Britain legally and continuously for ten years and you comply with long residence eligibility criteria, you can apply to remain in the country indefinitely.
Since the Brexit vote, nothing has changed thus far in terms of the status and rights of EU nationals living in the UK, or those British nationals living in the EU. And even if you do not meet all of the conditions to settle permanently in the UK, you may still be eligible for leave to remain. This means that you could add another two and a half years to your stay.
Applying to settle in the UK by post will currently cost you £1,875 in Home Office application fees and this will rise if you choose to use an immigration services specialist. The latter could potentially see you receiving a decision on your application on the same day, provided that you supply all of the required information. Postal applications to extend your stay, meanwhile, have a current fee of £811.
You must be able to show ten years’ continuous residence and have adhered to your UK visa terms in order to be eligible to settle.
If you are aged between 18 and 65 you must also demonstrate adequate English language skills and gain a pass in the current Life in the UK test. You can apply for a stay extension if you do not meet these requirements.
The ten-year period of residence begins when you first arrived with a visa in the UK or were granted permission to stay. Continuous residence will not apply if you have left the UK for more than 180 days in one stretch over the ten-year period, or for a cumulative total of 540 days or more.
You cannot count time that you spent living in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland. Periods spent in secure hospitals, young offenders’ institutions and prisons are also discounted.
In order to apply you must show valid travel ID or a current passport, together with any relevant biometric residence permit. You will also need to provide every passport that you have had during your British residence and any police registration certificate.
Two passport photographs are required, together with translations of documents not written in Welsh or English. Additional documents may also be required depending on your individual circumstances.
In addition to sending the necessary supporting documents and filling out the SET (LR) form, you will also need to undergo biometric enrolment at an equipped post office if you choose to apply by post. The enrolment process involves having your photograph and fingerprints taken. Details of suitable post office branches can be found at http://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder.
If you apply by post, you should be advised as to the results of your application within six months. You will be informed if it will take longer as a result of complications. This could include the requirement to undergo an interview or have documents verified.