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How to Get ILR in UK for Student Visa

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows you to stay and work in the UK without any restrictions and for an unlimited period. ILR lets you attain the status of a Permanent Resident (PR) in the UK.

For more information about how to get ILR in the UK for Student visa, get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers at IAS on +23413438882 or our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

Need Help with Your ILR Application?

We have successfully helped numerous Nigerian students with their ILR application. If you need assistance, we can guide you through the eligibility requirements and support you along the way. Let us handle all the complexities and make your application process as stress-free as possible.

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Understanding Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Nigerians can apply for ILR which authorises them to live and work in the UK without any restrictions. You may no longer need to apply for a visa or extend your visa to remain in the UK once you obtain ILR status.

ILR is also called “Settlement” and it is a status that allows you to live in the UK for as long as you wish. You may be eligible to apply for British citizenship 12 months after getting ILR in the UK.

The only way to get ILR on a Student visa is through the 10-year long residence route, as normal Student visas are not eligible for settlement purposes. Therefore, you need to switch from your student visa to a different visa category that leads to ILR to qualify. The qualifying years (time spent in the UK) will reset when you switch to your new visa, which means that you will need to remain in the UK for a further 5 continuous years to be eligible for ILR.

It should be noted that your ILR will end automatically if you leave the UK for more than 2 years at a time. However, if you leave for more than 2 years, before you can return to live in the UK, you must first apply for entry clearance as a returning resident.

However, whenever you want to leave the UK, ensure you have your biometric residence permit with you so that you will not be refused re-entry into the United Kingdom.

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Eligibility Criteria for ILR

You may be eligible to get the ILR in the UK for a Student visa if you:

  • Have held a work permit for 5 years in the UK
  • Should have passed the Life in the UK test
  • Should prove you have sufficient English language skills
  • Resided legally in the UK for 10 continuous years
  • Resided in the UK as a dependent under the point based system for 5 continuous years. This includes dependents such as a child under 18 when first applied, unmarried partner, and married partner

It should be noted that as a Student visa holder, you would need to switch to a different visa such as the Skilled Worker visa or a different visa category that leads to ILR and remain on that visa for a further 5 years to be eligible for ILR because Student visas are not used for settlement purposes.

10-year Long Residence ILR

If you have resided in the UK for 10 continuous years (long residence), you may apply for the ILR. In order to qualify for the 10 year long residence ILR, you must:

  • Ensure that you do not stay more than 180 days outside of the United Kingdom at any one time
  • Ensure that during the 10 years, you do not spend 540 days outside of the UK
  • Pass the Life in the UK test which proves your sufficient English language skills

It should be noted that if you have held multiple continuous visas over a 10-year period, your requirements for the 10 year long residence ILR can be challenging. Therefore, if you wish to go this route, you’ll need expert guidance on how to go about it.

We recommend that you contact one of our friendly immigration advisers at IAS today. Call us on +23413438882 or our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

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Applying for ILR Based on 10 Years in the UK under Different Visas

You may be able to apply for ILR under the Long residence route if you have spent a continuous period of 10 years under different visas in the United Kingdom.

The time you spent on your visa that does not result in settlement through the typical 5 year route which includes Tier 1 Post Study, Student/Tier 4, etc, may be applied towards a 10 year ILR.

You must note the following:

  • The standard ILR route is not as strict as the continuous residence limit on absences from the UK. You must not have spent more than 540 days throughout the 10 years and should have no absence throughout 180 days, outside the UK.
  • As long as you had a valid visa both when you left and when you returned, time spent outside of the UK in between visas can be allowed. The number of absences during these times is also taken into account.

If you need help with your ILR application, we can guide and offer optimal chances of a successful application.

Visas that Allow for 10-Year Long Residence ILR Application

There are different types of visas that allow for a 10 year long residence ILR application. They include:

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is designed exclusively for foreign nationals who have been recognised as leaders or future leaders in academics or research, the arts and culture, or digital technology by an authorised endorsing body.

You can work as an employee, a self-employed person, or a director of a company in the UK for up to 5 years if you have a Global Talent visa. Additionally, you will have the freedom to change occupations and companies without seeking approval from the Home Office.

Your partner and children, as well as any dependent family members, will be permitted to travel with you to the UK. Depending on your area of competence, the Global Talent visa also offers a route to permanent settlement (ILR) after 3 or 5 years.

Spouse Visa

The UK Spouse visa is another popular visa that allows for 10 year long residence ILR application. You can live, work, and study in the UK for an initial term of 30 months if you move from a Student visa to a Spouse visa, and you can extend your stay for an additional 30 months.

Therefore, having stayed continuously for 60 months (5 years) in the UK, you can now apply for ILR.

The UK Spouse visa is readily available to foreign internationals who have a partner living in the UK who is either a British or Irish citizen or who has lived in the UK and currently has ILR or EU Settled Status. Also, you must have been in a civil partnership, living with or married to your spouse in the UK for at least two years.

In addition to meeting the relationship requirements, you must show the Home Office that you both speak English well and earn enough money to support your children and yourselves. You need to prove that you and your partner have a joint account of at least £18,600.

Also, that you have £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each additional child yearly. You can make up these amounts from your self-employment, pensions, savings and investments, and employment.

Skilled Worker Visa

The most common type of work visa for foreign nationals seeking employment in the UK is the UK Skilled Worker visa. You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years as a holder of a Skilled Worker visa.

During that time, you can work for your sponsor, pursue your education, and bring your partner and children with you. If you want to stay in the UK after five years, you can either apply for ILR or just extend your visa.

You must have a job offer from a UK employer who has been given authorization (Sponsor License) by the Home Office to sponsor foreign workers before you can apply for a skilled worker visa. Also, you’ll need to have a job included in the list of eligible occupations. You will also need to earn at least £25,600 annually, £10.10 per hour, or the rate unique to your line of work.

However, in some cases they may require a minimum salary from you if you:

  • Are under 26 years
  • Are a recent graduate
  • Have a job on the shortage occupation list
  • Have a PhD in a Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) subject

You must also fulfill the English language requirements, which can be satisfied in a few different ways, such as by finishing an English degree taught in English, passing an approved English language test at level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale or being a citizen of English speaking country.

Scale-Up Visa

The Scale-up visa is designed for foreign nationals who wish to work in the UK for a rapidly expanding business, sometimes known as a “Scale-up business.” Scale-up visas are issued for up to two years and can be renewed as much as you’d like for additional terms of three years. You can apply for ILR after 5 continuous years on a Scale Up visa.

Scale-up visa applicants, like those applying for the Skilled Worker visa, must have a job offer from a UK employer who has been authorised by the Home Office to sponsor applicants. The job offer must be for a position with a minimum 6-month commitment. In contrast to the Skilled Worker visa, you are permitted to change employers after working for your sponsoring employer for six months without obtaining Home Office approval.

Consequently, the Scale-up visa provides more flexibility than the Skilled Worker visa. You need a job in a scale-up occupation that qualifies and has a salary of at least £33,000 annually, £10.10 per hour, or the rate unique to your line of work before you can apply for a scale-up visa. Additionally, you need to meet the English language requirement.

Steps to Take to Become a UK Permanent Resident for International Students

There are steps you need to take in order to become a UK permanent resident. The following is how to get PR in UK for international students:

Get a Student Visa

It is not difficult to apply for a student visa to the UK. The visa with the longest stay is a Tier 4 student visa. Moreover, with the student visa, you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa or other kinds of visa before your student visa expires.

It is always advised to submit an application at least three months before the beginning of the course, wherever it is scheduled. The UK Student visa application fee is £363 and the health care charge is £150 yearly which shows that you’re medically fit.

To get the student visa, you need to submit the following documents which include your:

  • Valid passport
  • Filled visa application Tier 4 student visa application form
  • Recent passport size photographs
  • Proof of financial support during your studies in the United Kingdom
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) form issued by your Institution
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Tuberculosis test results
  • Any other document the university requires

Work While Studying

For students, finding an internship is fairly simple. A paid internship will help you build your resume in addition to giving you money. This is yet another crucial step in obtaining PR in the UK while working and attending school.

As an international student, you are permitted to work part-time while studying in the UK. Also, you will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the term time and full time during the vacation period with a Tier-4 visa.

Get Employed

A good reason to stay in the UK after graduation is to get a good job. Especially if you wish to get ILR in the UK, you will be able to start the 5 year clock once you switch to a Work visa that leads to ILR. The UK is always open to hire the most talented foreign nationals after they have obtained their degrees in the UK.

Following their studies in the UK, students can apply for a 2-year Post Student Work visa (PSW) which is a huge benefit for international students. This visa includes some of the new rules for international students in UK which were implemented in the autumn of 2020.

However, it should be noted that only applicants with Tier-2 visas are eligible for permanent employment in the UK. Therefore, when your study programme finishes, you can apply for the Tier-2 visa.

A UK Tier 2 visa is a work visa that permits you to be employed to work in the UK. You can apply for permanent employment in the UK region once you have obtained your Tier-2 visa.

Apply for UK Permanent Residency

Once you have completed your 5 years graduate job, you may now apply for permanent residency. You have to obtain ILR in order to become a permanent resident.

An ILR visa in the UK can be obtained with the help of a full-time job, good moral character, and no criminal background. In addition to passing a recognised English language competence test, you must pass the test of Life in the UK. An ILR visa application can take up to 6 months to complete.

You need to provide the following details for your ILR:

  • Name
  • Signature
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Your current passport
  • Your present immigration status
  • Your 2 passport size colour photographs
  • Digital prints of all your 10 fingers
  • Your present studying or working status.

Planning on staying in the UK after your studies? Enlist us to make sure all the legal pitfalls are avoided.

Stay Back and Work Permit After Studying in the UK

This is a great chance for international students as they are welcome to apply for the UK’s Graduate Route so they can stay in the country after graduation and get employed.
You can apply to stay in the UK for up to two years after obtaining your undergraduate or graduate degree. Graduates with a PhD may seek a 3-year extension.

Benefits of UK Graduate Route

The following are the benefits of UK Graduate Route:

  • You will have the option to change to a skilled job route and stay in the UK when your 2 or 3 years are over after you have secured suitable employment in the UK
  • Since the Graduate Route is unsponsored, you are free to work or look for work at any skill level throughout the time after you graduate. You will have the freedom to work as a freelancer, do an internship, or get professional experience in the UK
  • There are no minimum wage requirements or restrictions on how many international students may take the Graduate Route to remain in the UK.
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How Can IAS Help?

Many Nigerians apply for the UK Student visa with the intention to stay back and work in the UK after their studies. The ILR will permit you to stay back, work and advance in your career in the UK.

However, you need to switch from your Student visa to Post Study Work visa to extend your stay in the UK. At this point, it is recommended you seek expert guidance to help you through this crucial time of realising your dream to get the ILR in the UK.

You’ll need to provide some documents and meet some requirements that you alone may not be able to sort out. To avoid undue errors and unwanted refusal of visa application to extend your stay in the UK to get your ILR, IAS can help.

We are professional, experienced and sympathetic immigration advisers with a long history of working with people on how to get ILR in the UK for Student visa. We can help you get ready all your documents and requirements you need to get going in your journey to obtain your ILR in the UK.

For more information about how to get ILR in the UK for Student visa, the requirements, supporting documents including our offers and services reach out to one of our friendly lawyers at IAS on +23413438882 or call our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Within 8 weeks, you will be informed about the results of your application. Certain ILR applications may be expedited with the super-priority option, which costs an extra £800. With this super-priority option, you’ll get a decision about your ILR application within 24 hours.

You can apply for a PR card when you have worked in graduate employment for 5 full years.

Income and salary requirements differ for ILR depending on your occupation. If you have a skilled worker visa, formerly known as a Tier 2 visa, you must make at least £25,600 per year unless the “going rate” for your position is higher.

For instance, if your income is £26,000 but the yearly going rate for your position is £30,000, then you fall short of the required salary. It should be noted that in order to attain the average salary criteria, you cannot combine your income with that of your spouse.

The work visa holder is responsible for proving that they meet a salary criterion solely on the basis of their pay.

Only foreign nationals who have stayed for continuous 10 years under different visas in the UK can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

No, Tier 4 or Student visas are ineligible for settlement-related purposes. To be eligible, you must change from your Tier 4 visa to a different visa category that results in ILR.

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