The UK is home to some of the most beautiful and prestigious real estate in Europe, making it an attractive destination for people looking to buy a house and settle down. There are several requirements and benefits to consider when thinking of buying a home in the UK. But does buying a house in the UK give you residency?
Buying a house in the UK does not automatically grant you residency, as many factors determine whether you’re eligible to live in the UK permanently. To become a resident, you need to apply for and be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or permanent residence if you’re an EU citizen.
However, becoming a resident is easier if you’re already a property owner with an Innovator visa, a tier 1 investor program, and the sole representative visa program. Let’s delve a bit deeper and find ways to gain residency.
Best Ways To Qualify for UK Residency
In the UK, residency is a big deal. It grants you access to many benefits and rights, including healthcare, pensions, and the right to work and study. Here are some of the best ways to qualify for UK residency:
1. Applying for a Spouse or Family Visa
Suppose you are married to a British citizen or are the partner of someone who has settled in the UK. In that case, you may be able to apply for a spouse or family visa.
This will grant you the right to live and work in the UK for an initial period of 33 months and can be extended for a further 28 months. You can then apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK and, eventually, full citizenship.
2. Buying Property as a Non-British Citizen
For non-British citizens, purchasing property in the UK can provide a path to residency. When buying property, you must prove your identity, residence, and source of funds. Depending on your country of origin, you can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa or Business visa to purchase a property.
Once you have obtained a visa and purchased property, you can apply to remain in the UK for an extended period. This may be granted as an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or a Limited Leave to Remain (LLR). The UK government does not restrict the number of properties a single non-British citizen can purchase.
3. Working Visas
Several options are available if you are a skilled worker looking to live and work in the UK. Skilled workers can apply for a tier 2 visa, which allows you to stay and work in the UK for up to five years.
There is also the highly skilled migrant program, which allows those with exceptional talent to stay in the UK for up to five years. In addition, entrepreneurs can apply for a tier 1 visa, which allows them to start and run a business in the UK.
4. Studying in the UK
Studying in the UK is another route to residency. You can apply for a student visa which allows you to stay and study in the UK for five years or less. At the end of your studies, you can apply for a Tier 4 visa, which allows you to stay in the UK while you look for a job in your field.
Once you have obtained a job and earn more than £25,600 per year, you can apply to switch your student visa to a Tier 2 skilled worker visa. This can give you residency in the UK and allow you to stay for up to five years, after which you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
If you have a Tier 4 student visa, you may also be eligible to work up to 20 hours a week during school terms and full-time during holidays. This could allow you to save some money to buy a house in the UK.
By studying in the UK, you can establish yourself and build contacts with local employers, making it easier to find a job and settle in the UK.
5. Applying for Asylum
Asylum seekers in the UK can apply for a residence permit if they are at risk of persecution in their home country. This could include political or religious reasons or even persecution due to race, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.
If the application is successful, the asylum seeker can stay in the UK long-term. It is worth noting that this right of residence does not automatically confer British nationality. Instead, it allows the individual to stay in the UK indefinitely.
If you have been living in the UK for five years or more, you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship through naturalisation. This process allows foreign citizens with ties to the UK to become British citizens and gain full residency rights.
To apply for British citizenship, you must meet various eligibility criteria. This includes:
- Having lived in the UK legally and continuously for five years
- A minimum of £16,000 in savings
- Not having any significant criminal convictions or spent periods outside of the UK.
Once your application is approved, you will be invited to a special ceremony and receive your certificate of British citizenship. This grants you the same rights and privileges as any other British citizen.
How To Apply for Residency in the UK
If you decide to make the UK your home, you’ll need to apply for residency. The Home Office is responsible for granting visas and residency to UK residents. You have to familiarise yourself with their rules and regulations.
The type of residency you can apply for depends on your individual situation. The Home Office offers a range of visas that cover different types of residence, including those who want to study or work in the UK and family members of EU citizens.
- The Tier 2 (General) visa is the most common visa. This is for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area, and you must be sponsored by an employer to apply.
- For those who have bought a house in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. This is for those looking to develop a business in the UK and can prove that they have access to at least £2,000,000 worth of investment funds.
- For EU citizens, you can apply for permanent residency by completing an EEA Permanent Residence application form. This will allow you to stay in the UK for up to five years.
- If you are a family member of an EU citizen, you can apply for a family permit visa. This allows you to live and work in the UK for up to five years, as long as your EU citizen family member is also living in the UK.
To apply for any visa, you’ll need to fill out an application form and provide relevant documentation, such as evidence of your identity and financial situation. Ensure you have all the correct documents before submitting your application, as this will help speed up the process.
Once your application has been accepted, you’ll be issued a visa allowing you to live and work in the UK for a specified period.
Buying a house in the UK does not automatically give you residency rights. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for one of the various types of visas offered by the Home Office.
After your application has been accepted, you’ll be able to live and work in the UK for a specified period. In some cases, you may even be eligible to apply for British citizenship after living in the UK for a continuous period of five years or more.