Once you have lived in the UK legally for the specified period of 3, 5 or 10 years as the case may be, in one of the immigration categories, you would be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom, (ILR). ILR gives you the right to settle in the UK and live here indefinitely. Once you have been granted ILR, your travel to and from the UK will not be restricted and you will be allowed to take up employment or business activities without requiring a work permit. Provided that the relevant requirements are met under British Nationality Act 1981, you may be entitled to become a British citizen either by application or your dependants born after you are granted ILR, may automatically become British citizens.
To be eligible for ILR you need to show that you have been in the UK for a minimum period of time. The length of this period will depend on your immigration status which is determined by:
- The category of visa you hold
- Whether you have a partner (married or unmarried) who is a British or EU national
- Your ability to support yourself (in some cases)
- Whether you have ever stayed in the UK illegally