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How to get a residence permit in the UK?

How to get a residence permit in the UK?

Real estate in London and other popular UK cities has always been in demand among foreign nationals planning to relocate to the country for the sake of study, work, business, or family reunion. About 14% of the UK population is foreign-born. 35% of them reside in London.

Before relocating, foreigners have to prepare a set of documents and apply for a visa. Below, we will discuss the existing types of visas, why applicants may be refused, and where to receive assistance when applying for and obtaining a residence permit in Great Britain in 2023.


Visa regime and regularities

The visa regime and residence permits in the United Kingdom vary from those in the EU countries. Despite being a member of the European Union until the end of 2020, the country was never a part of the Schengen Agreement. Subsequently, to cross the country’s border, Russians and nationals of other states have to apply for a residence permit in England. To do this, you need to compile a considerable set of documents and file them through a visa center (there are five visa centers in the Russian Federation).

Visa types

British visas are classified into the following categories:

  • work;
  • investors;
  • study;
  • families;
  • immigration;
  • non-immigration;
  • other cases;

In 2022, immigration visas include:

  1. A Skilled Worker visa is the most common type. The holders can obtain permanent residence after 5 years of living and working in the country. Applicants have to land a job offer from a licensed employer according to their qualifications.
  2. A Health and Care Worker visa is for people who have a job in the health or social care sector in the UK. Applicants must meet the minimum wage requirements and know the English language. This visa also provides an opportunity to apply for permanent residence after 5 years.
  3. An Innovator visa allows individuals with a groundbreaking business plan to come to the UK to start their own business. Applicants have to present a new, unique, and viable business idea, as well as have entrepreneurial experience and a minimum of £50,000 to invest in their venture. Holders of this visa can be assured of permanent residence.
  4. A Start-up visa is similar to an innovator visa but is for individuals with great potential but do not have experience or investment funds. A temporary residence is issued for 2 years, and the holder cannot obtain permanent residence. However, after 3 years, they then have the option to switch to the Innovator visa and apply for permanent residence.
  5. Investor visas are for individuals who have invested more than £2 million in Great Britain. The holder can count on permanent residence for either 2, 3, or 5 years depending on the total investment amount.
  6. A Global Talent visa is for experienced professionals who have proven their value to the economy of the country. Applicants should receive approval from one of the six bodies engaged by the UK Home Office. Holders can obtain permanent residence after 3 or 5 years (depending on their level of career and knowledge).
  7. Intra-company transfer visas allow multinational companies to relocate employees based in another country to work in a branch or subsidiary in the United Kingdom.
  8. A Minister of Religion visa is for those who have been offered employment in a religious community (for example: as a Minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order).
  9. International Sportsperson visas are for elite sportsmen or qualified coaches who have achieved significant success in their sport.
  10. Temporary work visas include several temporary options.

Every year, educational institutions in the UK accept thousands of foreign students. They receive one of the following visas:

  1. A Standard study visa is for students over 16 years of age who have been accepted into further education institutions in the UK . Applicants should have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in the country and also be proficient in English
  2. A Child study visa is for international students aged 4 to 17 willing to study at independent schools.
  3. A Short-term study visa is for international students coming to study in the UK for 6 to 11 months.

Family visas are for foreigners with family ties to local nationals. The major types of family visas are the following:

  1. A Spouse/Partner visa is for foreigners with spouses or partners who are British citizens. Applicants have to be married or in a civil partnership.
  2. Parent visas are for overseas parents of British citizens.
  3. A Child visa is for children whose parents live in the UK without an indefinite residence permit.
  4. An Adult dependent relative visa is for those who come to the country to assist dependent relatives in need.
  5. A Family visa based on private life is designed for those who have been living in the Kingdom for an extended period and want to stay based on their private life.

There are other types of visas available, such as:

  1. British National (Overseas) visas are for Hong Kong citizens holding British foreign passports and also for their family members.
  2. An Ancestry visa is for citizens of Commonwealth countries, citizens of British Overseas Territories, and citizens of Zimbabwe who have at least one grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Mann.
  3. A Global Talent visa is for talented and promising people who want to work in Britain. Applicants should receive approval from one of the six bodies engaged by the UK Home Office.

The UK visa policy is evolving, so residence permit types may change over time. Up-to-date information is available on the official website of the UK government.

Documents to get long-term visas

The set of required documents for a residence permit depends on the type of the desired visa. The following is the basic documentation needed for adult applicants:

  • a completed and signed online application form;
  • a foreign passport that is valid for at least six months and has at least two blank pages that are free of marks or stamps;
  • previous foreign passport (if applicable);
  • a certificate from an educational institution or from a place of work (in the second case, it should state the position and salary of the applicant);
  • a certificate of personal income, form No. 2-NDFL (Personal Income Tax);
  • a bank statement to verify solvency;
  • birth certificates for children under 18 years of age;
  • a marriage or divorce certificate;
  • documents confirming the right of property for real estate;
  • a set of required documents translated into English.

The provision of supporting documentation is extremely important. as it will validate the answers given in the application form. For example, if a foreigner checked the married status in the column, he should then attach the appropriate certificate.

Persons under 14 years of age who have not yet received passports must provide copies of their birth certificates. Pensioners need to add a copy of their pension certificates. Unaccompanied minors planning to enter the UK should have power of attorney from both parents or legal guardians. A power of attorney from the second parent is required if one of the parents intends to leave with the child.

UK embassies and consulates

You can apply for a residence permit in the UK for Russian citizens in Moscow at 10 Smolenskaya Embankment, or 1 Syromyatnichesky Lane. A residence visa for the Russian may also be obtained in Yekaterinburg (57 Sibirskaya Street), Rostov-on-Don (91 Suvorova Street), and St. Petersburg (26 Liteiny Lane).

Residence permit (a resident visa)

Generally, foreigners who plan to stay in the UK for a long time and obtain a residence permit come to study, work, or be engaged in business. With a visa issued on these grounds, they have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and citizenship in the future.

The common ways to receive a residence permit in England

There are numerous ways to get a British residence permit for Russians. The most common of them are the following:

Family relationships

Spouses and parents of British citizens can count on a 2.5-year family visa. A residence permit may be issued for a longer period for children and family members in the care of relatives.

People who come to the country to reunite with their families are eligible for permanent residence after five years of residing. Under-aged children can apply for permanent residence earlier.

Residence permit for real estate investments

There is no option to get a UK residence permit when buying a property. However, buying a house in London or another city significantly increases the chances of your visa being approved.

Employment-based or business-based residence permit

As a rule, foreigners willing to permanently move to the UK for more than five years for work or business usually receive work visas. At the end of the residence permit period, they can extend it or apply for permanent settlement.

Visas that can be extended for five years or longer:

  • A Skilled worker visa. The duration depends on the type of work performed by the foreigner;
  • An Intra-company transfer visa, for 9 years;
  • A Minister of Religion visa, for 6 years;
  • An Investor visa may be renewed indefinitely if the business continues to operate and make a profit and the foreigner still conforms to the necessary standards;
  • A UK Ancestry visa, for 10 years;
  • A Representative of an Overseas Business visa, for 5 years.

To remain in the United Kingdom after the maximum visa renewal, a foreigner will need to either switch to another visa category (if the current visa allows it) or apply for permanent residence.

The applying procedure for a visa

Before applying, please read the instructions and requirements carefully:

  1. Registration on the official website of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Service. To do so, a foreigner needs to fill out a form, pay a fee, and receive a GWF number.
  2. Setting and downloading of documents. After registering, a foreigner will be redirected to the visa center website. He can choose a suitable date and time, as well as download the supporting documents for a residence permit.
  3. An appearance at the visa center. On the chosen date and time, the foreign citizen must visit the visa application center with a passport, a confirmation e-mail, and the necessary documents. Here the biometric data will be checked and a digital photo taken.

The document processing time will not exceed 15 working days. This process can be sped up by paying extra under the priority visa service. For £500, the commission will review the documents within 5 working days. You can check the application status in your personal account on the visa center website.

The applicant will receive an email when their passport is returned to the Visa Application Centre. It can be delivered by a courier delivery service.

Reasons for refusal to issue a residence permit

The most common reasons are:

  1. The lack of grounds for obtaining a residence permit. As a rule, foreigners who cannot provide documents confirming the purpose of their trip and stay are denied a permit.
  2. Wrong document format. It is not sufficient just to send a set of documents. They should be placed in the correct chronological order and presented exactly as required by the visa center. An applicant could be denied a permit due to the use of the wrong color ink.
  3. Non-disclosure of information. Applicants who choose not to divulge immigration or legal issues they have experienced in the past (for example, criminal records) will be denied a residence permit.

Extension of permanent resident status

As previously mentioned, the residence permit’s duration depends on its type. In most cases, foreigners can apply for permanent residence after 5 years of residing in Britain. Some persons engaged in business and investment in the country may apply for an indefinite visa in just 2-3 years.

As long as the applicant meets the immigration requirements, he and his family members can count on permanent residence. Also, an important condition for obtaining an indefinite visa is knowledge of the English language and the British way of living.

We will assist you with getting the UK residence permit!

Please contact London representatives if you need assistance with obtaining a residency permit, choosing a home, or any other moving-related difficulties. The top homes and apartments in London are included in the website’s catalog. No matter the goal of the potential ex-pat, he will undoubtedly succeed as the company's highly qualified specialists uniquely address each client's situation.

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