Do I need to stay on the same visa category?
To apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years, you will need to have been on the same visa type for the whole five years to be eligible for an ILR Visa.
This could be quite simple for those on an Ancestry Visa, as the initial grant period can be up to five years. Additionally, if you have been granted a Tier 2 Visa for five years, you may also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after this.
However, for those on a Family Visa, or a Points-based Visa for less than five years, you will need to extend. Your visa can usually be extended for the same amount of time as your first one, allowing you to reach five years in total.
If you have switched visas during your stay, as long as you have a continuous five-year period on one visa category, you will be eligible to apply for an ILR Visa. Otherwise, you will have to spend 10 years in the UK on successive visas with no gaps in between to be eligible for the 10-year route.