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To settle in the United Kingdom (applying for indefinite leave to remain), you will need to complete a number of years that allows you to settle after a period. Settling in the UK as a dependant of a British National is normally after five years unless you are part of the transitional arrangements. However, if you are in a working category, you will need to show that you have been in continuous employment and living in the UK throughout the five years.


The changes to a number of policies mean you may able to combine certain categories and apply for indefinite leave to remain. To get some initial legal advice, call our team on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us on


If the visa category you are in at the moment does not allow you to settle in the United Kingdom, for example the student category does not allow you to settle in the UK, and then you would need to switch into another category that allows you to settle.


However, if you have been in the UK for more than 10 years and have been in continuous residence, then you may be eligible to apply for settlement. Please read our section for long residency. Where you have been granted leave to remain based on your private life, you need to be in that category continuously for 10 years to be granted indefinite leave to remain.


You must not send the application more than 28 days before the end of your qualifying period. If you do, Home Office may refuse your application with no refund of the fee. However, you must make your application before your current permission to stay in the United Kingdom expires.


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