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My wife has an UK ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and while a naturalized US Citizen, has been returning to the UK every two years (in fact every year or more frequently). So as far as we know, her ILR is still currently valid.

Our son (US Citizen) is considering college options in the UK or EU, he is currently 15. (He will be just past 18 when he finishes high school, in the US). Is he eligible to apply for a UK ILR currently?

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    Are you maintaining any address in your or your wife's name in the UK? What is your wife's nationality (i.e. is she only American)? Both of these questions directly affect the answer to your question. – ouflak Oct 21 '15 at 7:06
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According to Apply to Settle in the UK:

You can apply as a child under 18

You may be eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’re under 18 and you live in the UK with 1 of the following:

  • both your parents who are British citizens or settled in the UK
  • one of your parents who is settled or settling in the UK and the other parent is dead
  • one of your parents who is settled or settling in the UK and has sole responsibility for looking after you
  • one parent or relative who is settled or settling in the UK and there are compelling reasons why you should be allowed to stay

Eligibility

You must have or have had permission to be in the UK and:

  • you are or will be living with your parent or parents

So, if your son will not actually be living with both parents in the UK, then he is probably not eligible for an ILR straight away. However, I made assumptions about your situation when answering the questions on gov.uk, so please run through it yourself to get the most accurate information.

  • That is a fair assumption in this case. I'm curious about the "straight away", is there a more roundabout way to actually achieve this? – rj123456 Oct 21 '15 at 0:16
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    @rj123456: I'm mostly unfamiliar with the possible routes to ILR, but your son may be eligible to apply after getting some other kind of visa first (like a student visa). Perhaps somebody else with more knowledge in this area will add additional details. – Greg Hewgill Oct 21 '15 at 0:18
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My wife has an UK ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and while a naturalized US Citizen, has been returning to the UK every two years (in fact every year or more frequently). So as far as we know, her ILR is still currently valid.

If they have been letting her in using her ILR, then she could still claim to have it. It may have been cancelled without her realizing it though if she was allowed in as a visitor and they did not recognize her as a permanent resident. Such things have happened to the dismay and later surprise of people before. The biggest problem is that the UK has now introduced exit controls. If your wife is just visiting for a few brief periods of time over a period of years, the UK is fully within its right to say she is no longer resident, much less a permanent resident. And this would all come to light in your son's ILR application.

You should know that the UK ILR has absolutely zero value in the rest of the EU, except perhaps to expedite Schengen visitor visas.

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