How to get UK residency

Acquisition of permanent residence in the UK refers to the British government’s act of granting applicants full rights to live in the country indefinitely. Applicants can move freely and work without restrictions throughout the United Kingdom. Application for permanent residency in the UK is open to all. Potential applicants include 5-year settlers, family members and married partners. The UK border bureau makes strict eligibility and visa checks beforehand. Acquisition of UK residency is not a simple process; it demands patience and honesty. Potential applicants should avail adequate evidence and documentation for fruitful applications.

Application process

Check your visa qualification status before application. The UK border organisation requires selected visas. Read the application and eligibility guidelines before embarking on the process. The applicant must have lawfully inhabited the UK for five years prior the application for permanent residence, except for the long-term inhabitants required to wait for more than ten years. Applicants betrothed to formal UK citizens wait for two years.

Depending on your preferred choice, download or view the visa application form online from the UK Border Agency Website. Fill the form in uppercase block letters with a black ink to enhance visibility. Several application types exist depending on the visa type. The majority of applications require filling of the SET (M) for applicants married to British citizens, SET (O) for applicants under different work and visa types and SET (DV) for domestic violence victims. SET (F) is for applicants related to permanent UK residents. Country specific forms are available. Ensure completion of all pertinent parts of the application form.

Collect essential documents for identification. Avoid the use of forged credential since they are detrimental to the entire application process when border agencies conduct credibility checks. Such documentation entails passports and certificates. Application types have different requirements. This step proves your conduct, financial and family statuses. Contact the UK Border Agency for proper guidelines.

Take the proficiency test to meet the language precision required. Non-native English applicants have to take a relevant course while native English speaking applicants may not. The border agency exempts applicants with physical or mental disabilities from attending language courses. There is an exemption for the test for applicants over 65 and under 18 years old.

Book an appointment to present the application form and identification credentials if the application is on hard copy. Book an appointment to submit biometric information. Different application types of residency require or exempt an applicant from providing biometric information. Application fees are necessary for consideration. The fee varies depending on the visa type and presentation of the application. Remit the required payment personally or through postal order, credit card or a personal cheque. With the presentation of a valid application, await approval and further instructions.


Take your time in completing the UK residency application correctly. Allow the border agency to review your application.


Avoid presentation of false documents to limit disqualification. Provide all the required credentials to the border agency for clarification purposes.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport or National ID
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Bank statement
  • Visa fees
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or divorce certificate
  • Medical Insurance
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About the Author

Christine Wanjiru began writing since 2003, contributing to Flipboard Social Magazine on the business potential and comparative analysis of the African and global economic venture. She holds a PhD in educational psychology and Masters of Arts in counseling psychology and business administration.