I am Spanish and have a 1987 "Leave to enter the UK for an indefinite period" stamp on an old passport. I have never applied for citizenship. I have lived in the UK since 1982, have a British husband and children, a NI number, an NHS number - including a prescription exemption card, a British driving license (1984), received Child benefit for all my children, have a degree from a British university, trained and worked as a teacher (retired early), paid taxes and will receive a state pension in 2027, and I have the right to vote in all elections other than General and Referenda.

Am I mistaken in believing that my status in the UK is secure indefinitely? Or do I still have to apply for a Permanent Settlement Status? The information on the gov.uk website is unclear.

  • 2
    Your question really belongs on Expatriates. However, AFAIK, you do not need to apply for Settlement. But doing so means you should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status (instead of 2 years with the indefinite leave to remain you have now). gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/…
    – Traveller
    May 20 '20 at 8:28
  • Which information do you find unclear?
    – phoog
    May 22 '20 at 3:57

You are mistaken. You need to apply for settled status. Even if what I say is not technically correct, you would have heard of the Windrush scandal, and if Mrs Patel decides next year that only people with five generations of British parents should be in the UK, settled status is much more likely to protect you.

Applying is very easy, especially if you paid income tax for five consecutive years (they can look up your P60 forms automatically).

  • Settled status is more secure than ILE? Is there a danger that someone who is Japanese, for example, might face after living in the UK for 38 years, of which 33 with ILE, that isn't faced by those with settled status?
    – phoog
    May 28 '20 at 3:37

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