Before we go into explaining what PR means to UK immigration and visa, let’s talk about the term itself. With Permanent residence, you are granted the ability to live in that particular country indefinitely without restrictions. It’s the closest immigration and visa status to citizenship. Permanent residence in the UK is called an indefinite leave to remain or settlement.
What is a Permanent Resident in the UK?
Permanent residence in the UK refers to your residence status and does not affect your citizenship status. If you’d like to retain your country’s citizenship, while having access to the UK’s social security system, permanent residence is the immigration and visa solution.
There are different ways to apply to live permanently in the UK, depending on your situation. For example, if you’ve lived in the UK for more than five years, you should be able to apply for PR. Alternatively, if you are a family member of a UK citizen/ PR, you might be able to apply for PR two years into your UK stay. Finally, you would also be able to apply if you have had a Tier 2 work visa for the last five years. However, do note that your employer will need to sponsor you. Furthermore, you will have to prove that you earn at least £25,600 per year unless you work in healthcare.
To apply, simply head over to the UK’s immigration website to confirm your eligibility and begin your process.
Benefits of being a UK Permanent Resident
Here are the top benefits of being a UK permanent resident, as an immigration and visa option.
- With your PR status, you will have access to healthcare, pensions and other social benefits that the UK is famous for.
- You may also be able to vote if you are an EU or qualifying commonwealth country citizen.
- Furthermore, PR status is essential if you are to be a citizen. You cannot be a naturalised citizen without first being a PR. This means that you will only be eligible to apply for citizenship after one year of being a PR.
- If you have family looking to join you, being a PR means that your family can make their own journeys over to the UK
- Finally, your permanent resident status will also benefit your child’s British citizenship application, and is important to securing your family’s long term stay in the UK.
Cons of being a UK Permanent Resident
However, it is not all a bed of roses. There are some important challenges and cons of being a UK permanent resident. Before you begin your immigration and visa process, it is important to be aware of these:
- Your status can be taken away from you. If you remain outside of the UK for longer than two years, your status can be revoked. This is unlike a citizenship, where the path to revoking your residency is much harder.
- You will not have a UK passport as your are not deemed to be a British citizen. One of the most powerful passports in the world, the UK passport is an essential tool for most travellers.
With the criteria laid out above, obtaining permanent residence as an immigration and visa status is usually a lengthy process. Depending on which route you are applying under, it can take up to 5 years before you are even eligible!
- First, you need to check your eligibility and collect all the relevant paperwork. You can head to the UK’s immigration website to confirm your eligibility.
- You will need to have access to all your details about your immigration history, especially if you have been on a variety of visas throughout your stay in the UK.
- Furthermore, you will also need to provide documents as proof of your eligibility and legal stay in the UK. These can include payslips, bank statements or letters from your employer.
- You might have to demonstrate your knowledge of British life by passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test. If English is not your first language, you must also prove you can speak and understand the language.
In general, you should expect up to 6 months of processing time for permanent residency applications made in the UK. A processing fee of around £2,000 is typically required. To check on your UK PR application status, you can always log into the Gov.UK platform to view your immigration status online.
It is not easy to apply to be a UK PR, but this is an immigration and visa pathway you will have to go through if you see your and your family’s long term future in the UK. Thankfully, the benefits outweigh the cons for most people, and the UK has an efficient, transparent immigration and visa process. Moving to the UK soon? Find out more about life in the UK and what to expect in our UK country guide!
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