Overview of Moving to the UK from Romania
Romanians are one of the fastest growing foreign national communities in the UK, with around 345,000 Romanian-born individuals living in the UK as of 2020. This is more than quadruple than the figures were a decade prior.
Part of this can definitely be attributed to Romania joining the EU in 2007 and enjoying restriction-free travel and residency in any EU member state, of which the UK was one.
Since Brexit, Romanians can no longer settle in the UK without applying for a visa or a residency scheme first. One of these, the EU Settlement Scheme, saw over 1 million Romanians apply for residency in the UK, emphasising how popular the UK is for many Romanians.
The highest number of Romanians in the UK are concentrated in its larger cities, such as London, Birmingham and Sheffield. In particular, Burnt Oak in London has become known as ‘Little Romania’ for its high concentration of Romanian expats.
If you’re a Romanian looking to move to the UK, there are a number of options and choices available to you to allow you to do so. For example, there is the EU Settlement Scheme as previously mentioned, but also a range of visas that will allow you to apply for permanent settlement (also known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.
EU Settlement Scheme for Romanians
After the UK’s departure from the EU, the British government launched the EU Settlement Scheme to allow EU citizens and their eligible family members to continue living in the UK.
The main deadline to apply for the scheme was 31 June 2021. However, You may still be eligible to apply if you were living in the UK in certain circumstances.
You will be able to apply to the scheme now if any of the following apply to you:
- You have a Romanian (or other EU) family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- You’re exempt from immigration control, or you stopped being exempt from immigration control after 30 June 2021
- You’re already in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (such as if you’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after 30 June 2021
- You’re a family member of a British citizen who you lived with in the EU
- You must have lived with them in that country by 30 December 2020, and returned to the UK with them
You may also still be eligible to apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying before the main deadline, such as any of the following:
- You have, or had, a medical condition which prevented you from applying
- You lacked the physical or mental capacity to apply
- You’ve been the victim of modern slavery
- You’ve been in an abusive or controlling relationship
UK Work Visas for Romanians
If you’re not able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you will instead have to apply for a UK visa in order to settle in the UK.
One option is to apply for a UK work visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa. This is the UK’s general work visa for professional and skilled workers, and allows you to permanently settle in the UK if you meet the eligibility criteria.
This visa operates on a points-based system to assess the quality of visa candidates. In order to be eligible for the visa, you must attain a minimum of 70 points, which can be earned through things such as having good educational qualifications or relevant work experience for your chosen profession.
You must also have a job offer from a UK-based employer who will sponsor you to come to the UK, as well as meet minimum English language requirements.
If the Skilled Worker visa isn’t right for you, you may also be able to apply for other work visas such as the Health and Care Worker visa, which is aimed at those in medical or care professions, or the Scale-Up visa, which is where you will come to the UK to work with a fast-growing business.
All of the work visas mentioned here will allow you to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
UK Spouse Visas for Romanians
If one of the UK’s work visas isn’t the right fit for you, you may instead wish to apply for a Spouse visa, if you’re eligible.
The Spouse visa allows you to come and settle in the UK with a spouse who is either a British or Irish citizen, or someone with settled status in the UK.
To be eligible for a Spouse visa, you must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:
- Your relationship with your spouse must be genuine and subsisting
- You and your spouse must be over 18
- You and your spouse must intend to live together permanently in the UK with adequate accommodation that doesn’t require access to public funds
- You must meet the minimum financial requirements
- You must meet the minimum language requirements
The Spouse visa is one of the most popular UK visas to apply for. However, it can also be difficult for applications for it to be approved. It’s important to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria for the Spouse visa before applying.
UK Family Visas for Romanians
It may be the case that you already have Romanian family members in the UK who have settled status.
If you’re not eligible to join them via the EU Settlement Scheme, you may instead apply for a Family visa to join them and settle in the UK.
You will be eligible to apply if you are your family member’s:
- Adult dependent relative
Your family member must also be a British or Irish citizen, or be settled in the UK, such as by having indefinite leave to remain or settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
You will have to fulfil a range of specific eligibility criteria depending on what type of family member you’re applying as. For example, if you’re applying as an adult dependent relative, you must prove that you need long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks because of illness, disability or your age, amongst other things.
Family visas, including the Spouse visa already mentioned, will normally allow you to apply for indefinite leave to remain after a period of years (unless applying as an adult dependent relative, in which case you will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely once you receive your visa).
How Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) is the main route that people can take in order to permanently settle in the UK.
Being granted indefinite leave to remain will mean that you will be able to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you like. You will also be able to access NHS services for free and claim public funds, which you cannot do with most UK visas.
The eligibility requirements for indefinite leave to remain will vary based on the type of visa you’ll have in the UK. For example, applying for ILR after spending 5 years in the UK on a Spouse visa will mean that you have to fulfil certain financial, language and relationship requirements.
Most applicants will also have to complete the Life in the UK Test, which is a short test about the UK’s history, customs and ways of life.
Note that after successfully applying for ILR, you can lose it if you spend a consecutive absence of 2 years away from the UK.
Only those with British citizenship are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of time outside the UK without losing the ability to live and work in the UK.
How Can IAS Help?
Hundreds of thousands of Romanians have moved to the UK and successfully made it their home, with many more seeking to do the same.
If you’re a Romanian national interested in moving to the UK, IAS are on hand to help with whatever you may need.
We are expert, professional and empathetic immigration solicitors with years’ worth of experience working in the immigration sector. We have already helped hundreds of people achieve their dream of moving to the UK, and we could help you do the same.
Whether you need expert assistance on the UK immigration and visa system, how to maximise your chances of having your application approved, or need hands-on concierge services to help with the logistics of your move to the UK, we can help.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:31 am
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You will need to apply for a visa before you can travel to the UK. You may do this through the official Gov.uk website.
Note that if you try to travel to the UK without a valid visa, you will be turned away at the border and may be deported back to Romania.
As part of the application process, you may also have to attend a visa application centre to give your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and photograph.
There is one UK visa application centre located in Bucharest.
As a Romanian, you will be able to apply for British citizenship after spending at least one year in the UK with indefinite leave to remain.
There are many benefits to British citizenship, such as:
- The ability to carry a British passport, which affords the ability to travel visa-free to over 130 countries
- The ability to vote and stand for public office
- The freedom to spend as much time outside the UK as you like without ever losing your citizenship status as a result
You will also be able to retain your Romanian citizenship if you apply for British citizenship.
As there is already a strong and well-established Romanian community in the UK, there are a number of amenities available for those who wish to connect with other Romanians and the wider Romanian community.
For example, there are a wide number of Romanian Orthodox churches in the UK, including several in London and more throughout the UK’s larger towns and cities.
There are also currently six Romanian-language schools in the UK, which are open for Romanian children. These are located in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Nottingham, Willesden and Hendon.
A full list of Romanian amenities, including schools, restaurants, groups, food shops and more can be found on the following websites:
It may be the case that you’re still unsure if the UK will be the right place for you to move to full-time.
If so, then you will not need a visa for stays up to 6 months, on account of Romania being part of the EU. On these trips, you will be able to travel around the UK, experience what life is like here and see local sights and meet the local people.
However, note that you will not be able to work, claim public funds or live in the UK through multiple frequent or successive visits.