The length of time you must spend in the UK before being eligible for Permanent residence in the UK:
|Permanent residence||Time needed to gain permanent residency|
|Tier 1 / HSMP and Tier 2 / Work permit||5 years|
|Unmarried partners||2 years|
|Writers, composers and artists||5 years|
|Sole reps||5 years|
|Persons establishing themselves in business||5 years|
|Unlawful stay or a combination of lawful and unlawful stay||14 years|
|Lawful stay on any basis||10 years|
Please note that some of the times needed to gain permanent residence changed on April 3, 2006. You can find details of these changes in our news section. Also, as of 02 April 2007, persons requesting permanent residence will be required to take the "Life in the UK" test.
Once permanent residence (properly known as indefinite leave to remain) has been granted, there are no longer any immigration related restrictions on the work or business you may do in the UK, and no time limits on your stay in the UK.
You should note that to keep your permanent residence you should not spend longer than two years outside the UK. You should maintain ties to the UK and should consider the UK as your home. If you continue to only spend short periods of time in the UK over many years it is likely that there will come a time when you will lose your indefinite leave to remain in the UK. It is therefore beneficial in most cases to apply for UK citizenship. You can normally apply for naturalisation as an UK citizen one year after being granted indefinite leave to remain and as long as you meet the residence requirements.
If you are interested in gaining citizenship, please try our sample Life in the UK test.