Permanent Residence Application After Five Years as the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
One of the many benefits of most UK visas is that after a qualifying period, it is possible to apply for and secure permanent residency, otherwise known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Not only does ILR mean you can remain permanently in the UK, but it also removes the need to apply for a new visa in the future and also pay the costly immigration healthcare surcharge. While ILR may not be the initial aim of all applicants who come to the UK, after many years of living and working here, it may become their goal. For those with families and children who have established their lives in the UK, this is especially the case. Add to this the fact that after a few years, migrants will have friends, hobbies, and a new way of life in the UK, it is understandable that many choose to remain here permanently. In this article, we will explain how migrants on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa can prepare for their ILR application after five years of living in the UK.
Step 1) Do Your Homework And Check Your Eligibility
We always advise that migrants check their immigration status and eligibility for ILR before going to the time and expense of submitting an application. Migrants on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa will typically be granted leave of three years initially, which can be further extended for two years. Once you have been living in the UK for five continuous years, you will then be eligible to apply for ILR. This applies to anyone with one of the following visa types:
- Representative of an Overseas Business
- Sole Representative of an Overseas Company
- Representative of an Overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation
Even though you have been living in the UK for five years on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa, this must have been for a ‘continuous period’; this means you must not have been outside of the UK for more than 180 days in any one year period. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you have been unable to return to the UK within your intended timescale, perhaps for compassionate reasons or due to COVID-19, the Home Office may exercise discretion. If you have been outside the country for longer than the allowed time for reasons beyond your control, we recommend seeking the help of an Immigration Solicitor who can assess your case and, if necessary, prepare a covering letter setting out why you meet the continuous residence period.
In addition to the continuous residence requirement, you will also need to meet the following requirements:
- Prove that your employer still needs you to do your job
- Prove that you have established a UK-registered branch that is actively trading if you’re a sole representative
- Pass the Life in the UK Test (only applies for those between 18 and 65)
- Meet the English language requirements (only applies for those between 18 and 65)
The Home Office also advise that your application for ILR may be refused for the following reasons:
- If you have acquired a criminal record in the UK or another country
- If you have provided false or incomplete information to the Home Office
- If you have broken UK immigration law
Your partner will also be eligible and can be added to your ILR application if you are both in a genuine relationship, they have permission to be in the UK, you intend to live together, you both have enough funds to support yourselves, they pass the life in the UK test, and they meet the English language requirements. Children can also be added as long as they are your dependant – i.e. they are not married or in a civil partnership or financially self-supporting.
Step 2) Prepare Your Application And Supporting Evidence
Once you have confirmed that you are eligible for ILR, the next stage in the process is to prepare everything you need to draft and submit your application. This will include gathering all of the evidence you need, including:
- A formal letter from your employer explaining that you are still required to be in the UK to represent their organisation
- Proof you have been living continuously in the UK for five years – while most applicants will have their continuous residence confirmed by HMRC and DWP (the Home Office will carry out these checks), in some cases, you may need to provide additional information such as bank statements, mortgage statements, P6O, employer letter, evidence of pension contributions.
- Birth certificate/s
- Marriage certificate/s
- Proof you and your family members meet the English language requirements (you may need to pass a test)
- Proof you and your family members have passed the Life in the UK Test
Step 3) Submit Your Application
Once you have drafted your application, we recommend having it checked over by an Immigration Lawyer. They will also check you have all of the necessary paperwork to support your case. We have seen many cases whereby applicants submit their form and pay the £2,389 application fee for each person applying, only to realise they have made a simple mistake which leads to a refusal.
Given how important acquiring ILR is for migrants and their family members, we would always advise that you don’t rush the process. Taking the time to make sure that every box has been completed correctly and all of the necessary documents have been provided to the standard required by the Home Office, you can be confident of receiving a positive decision in a timely manner. We wish you and your family all the very best with your application for ILR and your future life in the UK.