What are my UK settlement options?

What are my UK settlement options?

Some visa applicants think long-term whereas others are just happy to secure their first work visa, family visa or student visa so that they can enter the UK and start their new life. From the perspective of a UK immigration solicitor it is never too early to ask the question ‘what are my UK settlement options?’ That way we can work out the best and quickest settlement route for you so that you can plan ahead. 

UK settlement and Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors 

OTS Solicitors are specialists in British Nationality and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications. The firm is recommended for immigration law in the two leading law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

 For advice on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or British Nationality call us on [telephone: telephone] to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.  

What is settlement in the UK? 

To some people you are only ‘’settled’’ in the UK if you successfully apply for British Nationality but that isn’t legally the case. You do have other settlement options, such as:

If you secure settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or Indefinite Leave to Remain you can ’stick’ there if you want to do so as there is no requirement to take the step of applying for British citizenship if you are content with the settlement status of Indefinite Leave to Remain or settled status. 

Immigration solicitors say that if you are unsure about your settlement options it is best to take legal advice from a British citizenship solicitor so you are aware of the differences between the different types of legal status, what type of immigration status best meets your goals and the eligibility criteria to make an application should you wish to apply for a form of UK settlement.

The main point is that if you secure settled status (if you are an EU citizen) or Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship then you won't be subject to UK immigration control. You therefore won't need to make continued visa applications or worry that, in future, you may not meet the visa eligibility criteria. You may think that immigration isn’t relevant to you if you are from the EU and living in the UK. However, after the end of free movement in December 2020, any EU national living and working in the UK will become subject to UK immigration control (and thus need a visa for a long stay or to work in the UK) unless the EU citizen applies for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme before the June 2021 cut-off date for applications under the scheme.

What is the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Nationality?  

Many people assume that Indefinite Leave to Remain is a stepping stone to an application for British citizenship but, if you prefer to do so, you can stay indefinitely in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain status and not apply for British citizenship. To understand the best UK settlement option for you and your family it is important to understand the difference between Indefinite Leave to Remain and a British naturalisation application.

Immigration solicitors say that both British naturalisation and Indefinite Leave to Remain status give you the right to live and work in the UK. There are however important differences between the UK settlement options of British Nationality and Indefinite Leave to Remain:

  • If you make a successful British naturalisation application you become British (or you become a dual British citizen with your country of origin if your country of origin permits dual citizenship and you prefer not to lose your citizenship of origin)
  • A British citizen by naturalisation can only lose their status of being a British citizen in limited circumstances
  • A British citizen can enter and leave the UK without worrying about the length of their stay overseas because if you successfully secure British Nationality there are no rules about the length of time they can spend overseas
  • With Indefinite Leave to Remain settlement status you retain your nationality of origin. The Indefinite Leave to Remain immigration status gives you permission to live and work in the UK without a departure date or a need to keep applying for visas. It therefore avoids the hassle and paperwork of immigration control but doesn’t give you the same degree of security and flexibility as a British naturalisation application 
  • If you obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain you will lose your ILR status if you are leave the UK and remain absent from the UK for a period in excess of two years. If that happens  then you have to make a Home Office application to apply to come back to the UK as a returning resident
  • If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain status then you remain a national of your country of origin and may therefore remain subject to the laws of your country of citizenship, for example laws on taxation of income or assets.      

Which UK settlement option is right for me?

Sometimes you know what you want but in other scenarios you may need a bit of legal advice on your best UK settlement options. immigration solicitors say that it is best to take that legal advice early on in your immigration journey so that you understand the eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain and for British citizenship and your quickest routes to settlement.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

OTS Solicitors are specialist in immigration law and our specialist Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship solicitors have lots of experience in advising on best UK settlement options and in making applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain and applications for naturalisation. For help with your UK settlement call the British citizenship team on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.

OTS Solicitors are recommended for immigration law in the leading law directories, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors also have Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in immigration law. 

For more information about applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain or naturalisation as a British citizen or any other aspect of personal or business immigration law call the Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors on [telephone: telephone] to speak to one of our friendly and approachable  specialist immigration solicitors or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone.


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For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.


We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, student visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and human rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, entrepreneur visas and Investor Visas.

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