Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
How can I settle in the UK as a highly skilled migrant?
This section explains how you can apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). You should read this section if you have been in the UK under the HSMP for at least 5 years.
If you have been in the UK under the HSMP for less than 5 years, you should read the section on Extending your stay.
The requirements for settlement
To qualify to settle in the UK under the HSMP, you must:
- have been living here legally for the last 5 years; and
- currently have permission to stay here as a highly skilled migrant; and
- have been in the UK as a highly skilled migrant, work permit holder or innovator throughout the 5 years; and
- have maintained and accommodated yourself and any dependants without the use of public funds throughout the 5 years; and
- have been employed, self-employed or a combination of both throughout the 5 years; and
- have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK.
During the continuous residence period, you cannot be outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 consecutive months.
Time spent in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man may be included in the continuous period, as long as you were given permission to stay (also known as leave) as either highly skilled migrant, a work permit holder in an occupation that you would have been given a work permit for in the UK, or an innovator.
Your most recent permission to stay must have been given in the UK as a highly skilled migrant.
Making an application
To settle in the UK under the HSMP, you must make an application for 'indefinite leave to remain' using application form SET(O). You should read the information in this section before you apply, to ensure that you meet the requirements for settlement. You will need to pay an application fee (see below) when you apply, and we will not refund this fee if your application is unsuccessful because you do not meet the requirements.
If you meet the requirements, it is important that you complete the application form correctly and provide all the supporting documents we need. Your completed application form and the processing fee should be sent to our offices.
If your application is successful, you will be able to remain in the UK without any time limit on your stay. You will not need to apply to extend your stay any further. You may want to consider applying for British citizenship.
Transferring your indefinite leave to remain to a new passport
If you have been issued with a new passport or travel document, you can ask us (using application form NTL) to transfer your 'indefinite leave to remain' stamp. You do not need to do this - you can travel with your new passport or travel document without having your stamp transferred, if you carry your old passport or travel document containing the stamp or the letter in which your leave was granted.
For more information, see the Transferring your visa to a new passport pages.
Application fees for settling in the UK using form SET(O)
Fee if you are applying by post Fee if you are applying in person Main applicant £1051 £1426 Partner or child aged under 18 (if they are applying at the same time as the main applicant) £788 for each family member included on the main applicant's application form £1163 for each family member included on the main applicant's application form Partner or child aged under 18 (if they are applying separately from,the main applicant) £1051 £1426
How to pay your application fee if you are inside the UK
If you are applying online, you must pay your fee online as part of your application.
If you are applying by post or courier, you can choose how to pay your application fee:
- By cheque in sterling on a UK bank account. The application form will tell you who to make the cheque payable to, you should write your full name and date of birth on the back, and attach the cheque to the front of the completed application form.
- With a UK postal order. You should write your full name and date of birth on the back, and attach the postal order to the front of the completed application form.
- With a credit or debit card - American Express, MasterCard, Visa (including Electron), Delta or Maestro (including Solo). For postal and courier payments, we accept only Maestro cards issued in the UK. You must include the card number, the amount paid, the payer's name as it appears on the card, the 'valid from' and expiry dates, the card verification value (CVV) code, the cardholder's signature and the date. The issue number is also needed for Maestro cards.
If you are applying and paying in person at a public enquiry office, you can choose how to pay your application fee. For applications made in person at a public enquiry office, the total fee includes an additional fee of £375 for each person. This includes a £100 appointment fee, which may be retained should the applicant fail to attend their appointment without good reason. Please check the relevant application form to find out if you can make an application in person.
- With a UK postal order (except at our Glasgow and Cardiff offices). You should write your full name and date of birth on the back.
- By banker's draft (except at our Glasgow and Cardiff offices).
- With a credit or debit card - American Express, MasterCard, Visa (including Electron), Delta or Maestro (including Solo). We can accept any Maestro card for payments at a public enquiry office. You must include the card number, the amount paid, the payer's name as it appears on the card, the 'valid from' and expiry dates, the card verification value (CVV) code, the cardholder's signature and the date. The issue number is also needed for Maestro cards. The cardholder must be present for the payment to be taken.
Payment by any other method is not accepted.
You must send the full amount to cover the total cost of your application. If you do not do this, your application will be invalid and will not be considered. We will return your application and part payment to you.
We start considering the application when the payment has cleared. Payments are cleared:
- after 5 working days for cheques
- after 1 working day for credit or debit cards
- immediately for postal orders
Please note that when making large or multiple payments using your credit card, the anti fraud measures that banks operate sometimes stop the full payment being taken. This is can happen for a number of reasons.
To prevent this you may inform your bank of your intention to make large or multiple payments in advance so that your bank allows the full payment to be taken when you submit your application.
Please be aware that not all banks offer this service.
Payment information on the application form
It is very important that you complete the payment section of the application form correctly. If this section contains errors, we will not be able to process your payment. This will mean that your application is invalid.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is my immigration status while my application is being decided? If you make an application before your authorised stay ends, your existing immigration status will continue until your application is decided, even if the decision is not made until after the end of your permitted stay. You can continue to work until your case is decided if the conditions of your existing leave allows you to do so.
Application for permanent residence in the UK in an employment or other category listed on the form
- Form SET(O) PDF 641KB opens in a new window
- Guide SET(O) PDF 240KB opens in a new window
- Photo guidance (new)PDF 374KB opens in a new window