UK Residency

UK residency gives you the right to live, work, and study in the UK indefinitely without the need to apply for a new visa. As a Turkish national, you can settle permanently in the UK if you meet the requirements.

For more information on UK residency, including a breakdown of the eligibility criteria, the documents required, and how you can apply, consult one of our expert legal advisors. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375, or contact us online.

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    Live Permanently in the UK: An Overview

    UK residency, also called indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or settlement, is an immigration status granted to foreign nationals who have gained the right to stay in the UK permanently.

    The requirements to attain settled status differ depending on your visa type. The most basic requirement is to live in the UK for a certain period, usually between 2 and 5 years.

    If you’re granted settled status, you can live and work in the UK indefinitely, without time limits on your stay. You’ll also have the right to access public benefits and enjoy the UK’s healthcare and education system.

    The UK residency is a pathway to citizenship. With ILR, you can naturalise as a British citizen and enjoy further privileges, such as voting in UK elections.

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    Who is Eligible for Residency in the UK?


    To be eligible for permanent residency, you must be in the UK legally on a visa. Additionally, you must meet a qualifying period of residence in the UK. The specific duration varies depending on the type of visa you have.

    The minimum duration is five years if you are on the following visas:

    The residency time is reduced for the following visas:

    • Tier 1 Visa: 2 to 5 years
    • Innovator Founder Visa: 3 years
    • Global Talent Visa: 3 or 5 years, depending on your category

    In addition, you should meet the following requirements to be eligible for residency:

    • You must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period during the qualifying period
    • Pass the Life in the UK test
    • Pass the English language test
    • Meet the income requirement (it differs depending on your visa type)
    • Have a clean criminal record

    English Language Requirements for UK Residency

    You must prove your knowledge of the English language to settle in the UK. The exemption is if you are 65 or older or have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from taking the test.

    You can do so either:

    • With an academic qualification equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher and taught in English or
    • By taking an approved English language test at least at a level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale

    Life in the UK Test Requirement for Permanent Residency

    You must also take and pass the Life in the UK test to qualify for ILR. Like the English language test, you can only be exempted if you’re 65 or older or have a medical condition that prevents you from taking a test.

    The Life in the UK test helps the Home Office determine if you understand or are accustomed to British life, customs, and traditions. It includes 24 computer-based questions with a pass score of 75%. The test costs £50, and you must pay to retake it if you do not pass.

    Residency in the UK as a Family Member of a Settled Person or UK Citizen


    You may qualify for residency if you are in the UK:

    • On a Family Visa as the family member of a UK citizen or a permanently settled person
    • As a dependent on other visas and your family member is settled or applying to settle

    Note that you must be related to your family member as their spouse/partner, dependent child, parent, or dependent older relative.

    Requirements for Partners

    If you’re the spouse or partner of a citizen or settled person, you must meet the following specific requirements to be eligible for permanent residency:

    • You and your partner must have lived together since you last renewed your visa
    • You must continue your relationship after you settle
    • You can only include time spent in the UK on the Spouse or Work Visa when calculating your residency time
    • You and your partner must meet the minimum income requirement

    To meet the minimum income requirement, you and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600. If you have children, you must earn an extra £3,800 a year for your first child and £2,400 for each additional child.

    Note that from Spring 2024, the minimum threshold will increase from £18,600 to the 25th percentile of earnings for eligible skilled jobs, currently £29,000. It will increase again to the 40th percentile, currently ​​£34,500, and finally to the 50th percentile, currently £38,700.

    The change in the income requirement is still under review at the Home Office, and this is the current information as of December 2023. Speak with our immigration lawyers at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get up-to-date information.

    Requirements for Parents

    If you’re in the UK as the parent of a British Citizen or settled person, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain if:

    • Your child is under 18 at the time of your application or was under 18 when you first got your Parent Visa
    • Your child does not live an independent life
    • You have sole or shared parental responsibility if the child is under 18. If you share parental responsibility, your co-parent must be a British citizen or settled person

    Note that if you have a partner in the UK and are eligible for a Partner Visa, you cannot settle with a Parent Visa.

    Furthermore, if you’re eligible for ILR, you may include your other dependent children on your application.

    Requirements for Dependent Child

    You can apply for permanent residence in the UK as a dependent child if:

    • You are in the UK on a Family Visa through a parent with citizenship or settled status
    • You are under 18 and were born in the UK before your parents settled, including if you have never had a visa

    If you are applying through one parent, they must have sole responsibility for you. Otherwise, if your parents share parental responsibility, they must both have settled status before you can apply.

    Note that the residency requirement may not apply to you. You can apply to settle as soon as your parents attain settled status.

    Requirements for Dependent Older Relative

    If you entered the UK as an older dependent relative on a Family Visa route, you automatically have indefinite leave to enter and do not need to apply to settle.

    If you came into the UK as a dependent on other routes, such as pre-settled or humanitarian protection, you must apply for ILR at the same time as your family member applies. Otherwise, once your sponsor attains settled status, your visa will expire.

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      Get a UK Residency Via a Work Visa

      The criteria to apply for permanent residency differs depending on the type of work visa you are on.

      If you hold a Skilled Worker, International Sportsperson, Minister of Religion, or Scale-up Worker Visa, you can apply to settle if:

      • You’ve lived in the UK for 5 years (you can add time spent on a combination of different work visas)
      • Meet the salary requirements of:
        • At least £33,000 yearly if you’re on a Scale-up Worker Visa
        • £25,600 per year, £10.10 per hour, or the ‘going rate’ for your work, whichever is the highest, if you are on other work visas.

      When applying to settle through these visa routes, you do not need to meet the English language requirement because you already did when you applied for your work visa.

      On the other hand, if you are on a Global Talent Visa, you must meet the language requirement. If you were endorsed as an emerging leader (‘exceptional promise’), you can settle after 5 years, but you can only settle after 3 years if:

      • You were endorsed as a recognised leader (‘exceptional talent’)
      • You got your visa by winning an eligible award and not through an endorsement
      • You applied for the Global Talent visa as an academic researcher.

      Get a UK Residency Via Your Business

      The requirements for settling through your business depend on the type of business visa you have.

      If you’re on the Innovator Founder Visa, you must have lived in the UK for 3 years on your visa. You will not be allowed to count any time spent on other visas to your residency time.

      Additionally, you must have a new endorsement from an approved body showing that you’ve grown your business during your time in the UK.

      If you are on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur Visa) and have generated £5 million business income and created 10 full-time jobs that have lasted at least one year, you can settle after 3 years. However, if you’ve created 2 new full-time jobs, you can settle in 5 years.

      Furthermore, if you’re on the Tier 1 (Investor Visa), you can settle in 2, 3, or 5 years, depending on how much you’ve invested and when you first entered the UK.

      Documents to Apply for UK Permanent Residence

      You will need to provide the following documents to apply for permanent residency in the UK:

      • A valid passport or other valid form of travel identification
      • Any other passports or travel documents you have held during your time living in the UK, including expired ones
      • A biometric residence permit
      • Two valid and recent passport photos
      • Marriage/civil partner certificates, divorce certificates, or birth certificates, where applicable
      • Proof of your English language test
      • Proof that you passed the Life in the UK test
      • Payslips from your employer to prove you meet the financial requirement

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        How to Apply for UK Residency

        If you’ve determined that you meet the eligibility requirements and you have prepared your documents, take the following steps to apply for permanent residency:

        1. Visit the UK government website and create an account.
        2. Complete and submit the appropriate online application form.
        3. Pay the ILR application fee.
        4. Book an appointment at a UKVCAS service point to provide your biometric information (photo and fingerprints).
        5. Upload your supporting documents online or submit them when you attend your interview with the UKVCAS.

        Residency Application Fees and Processing Times

        The application fee for indefinite leave to remain is £2,885 for each person. You don’t need to pay to submit your biometric information.

        You should expect a decision on your application within 6 months. If you need a faster decision, you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision in 5 working days or £1,000 for the super-priority service to get a decision by the next working day.

        Indefinite Leave to Remain and Permanent Residence

        Before Brexit, indefinite leave to remain and permanent residence (PR) were different ways to live in the UK permanently.

        While permanent residence was granted to EU nationals looking to settle in the UK, ILR was given to non-EEA nationals for the same purpose. Both ILR and PR had the same rights and effects.

        After Brexit, the PR status of EU nationals became invalid, and they had to switch to pre-settled status through the EU settlement scheme. Now, to reside permanently in the UK, EU nationals must apply for ILR.

        Become a British Citizen

        You can naturalise as a British citizen after 12 months of living in the UK on indefinite leave to remain. However, if you’re married to a British citizen, you don’t need to wait for 12 months; you can naturalise immediately after you attain ILR status.

        To be eligible for citizenship, you must continue to meet all the requirements for ILR and, in addition, prove that you are of good character.

        The citizenship application costs £1,580. If your application is successful, you can apply for a British passport, which allows you to travel in and out of the UK without immigration restrictions. You can also vote in elections.

        Since Turkey allows dual citizenship, you can maintain your Turkish nationality and enjoy the rights of it when you become a UK citizen.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Getting UK residency is an exciting milestone for foreign nationals who wish to settle permanently in the UK. However, it can prove time-consuming and challenging to obtain.

        If you require any assistance with your indefinite leave to remain application, our lawyers at Total Law can help. We are experts in UK immigration law and can provide you with comprehensive and bespoke legal services for your residency application.

        To learn more on how we can help you, call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375. We are also available online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Yes. You will lose your ILR status if you live outside the UK for 2 or more continuous years. You can re-enter the UK and gain your ILR status back with a Returning Resident visa.

                  Yes. Your family members can join you as dependents with your residency status.

                  As a UK resident, you must pay taxes on all income, whether it was earned in the UK or abroad. However, your foreign income will not be taxed in the UK under certain circumstances. Call +44 (0)333 305 9375 to discuss your taxes with an immigration lawyer.