Reforms to British citizenship

On 2 October 2018, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid proposed reforms to the requirements of becoming a British citizen which include toughening English Language requirements and changes to the Life in the UK test.

The Life in the UK test was introduced as one of the mandatory requirements for Naturalisation applications on 1 November 2005 and for Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) applications on 2 April 2007 with a purpose to prove that an applicant has sufficient knowledge of British life and proficiency in the English Language to qualify as a ‘British citizen’. Essentially, this is a computerised test which consists of 24 questions covering topics about British values, history, traditions and everyday life.

The test has been continently criticised for containing factual errors or merely being a “bad pub quiz” with focus on culture and history rather than on liberal, democratic or social values that bind the UK society together.

In his speech, Sajid Javid addressed that “not only will there be a new values test, but we will also strengthen the English language requirements for all new citizens”.

The Home Secretary also announced that those individuals, who have been convicted of the most serious criminal offences, where it is in the public interest, will be deprived of the British citizenship.

If you are concerned that the proposed changes might affect your future UK immigration applications, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

Indefinite or limited leave to remain on the basis of long residence in the UK

The Immigration Rules recognise the ties which may have been formed by applicants with the United Kingdom over a lengthy period of residence and therefore allow them to apply for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of long residence.

10 years of continuous lawful residence

According to paragraph 276B of the Immigration Rules, those, who have lawfully resided in the UK for 10 consecutive years, might be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) in the UK.

Once 10 continuous years of lawful residence has been built up, there is no limit on the length of time afterwards when an application for an ILR can be submitted. The Home Office defines residence to be “lawful” if an applicant has had:

  • Existing leave to enter or remain in the UK;

  • Temporary admission, where leave to enter or remain is subsequently granted;

  • An exemption from immigration control

“Residence” does not include time spent in the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man even though they form part of the common travel area.

Applicant must not only meet the definition of lawful residence, but also face the complications imposed by requirement of the residence to be “continues”.

The definition of “continuous residence” is defined by paragraph 276A(a) of the Immigration Rules and essentially means that the applicant:

  • Has valid visa when leaving the UK;

  • Does not remain outside the UK for more than 6 months at any one time;

  • Has valid visa on return to the UK;

  • Has spent no more than 540 days outside the UK in total during the 10 years’ period

The long residence may be granted even if there are some gaps in the continuous residence:

  • If any applications within the period under consideration were made out of time by no more than 28 calendar days where those gaps end before 24 November 2016;

  • Where visa was granted in accordance with paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules on or after 24 November 2016;

  • Applicant must meet all other requirements of lawful residence

Applicants must also meet the Knowledge of Life and Language (“KOLL”) requirement, demonstrate that they are lawfully present in the UK on the date of application and there should be no reasons why granting leave is against the public good.

There is a possibility of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain within 28 days before completing 10 years’ qualifying period. The application can be submitted on the same day at one of the Public Enquiry Offices or by post.

20 years of continuous residence

Before 9 July 2012 there was a rule which allowed migrants to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after 14 years of continuous residence in the UK, where the residence could be lawful, unlawful or mixture of both. On 9 July 2012 this rule was replaced with 20 years’ rule and if the Immigration Requirements of paragraph 276ADE(1)(iii) are met, an applicant would be granted limited leave to remain for 30 months’ period on the 10 years’ route towards settlement in the UK.

The requirements for limited leave to remain under the 20 years’ route are limited to:

  • Not falling for refusal under the suitability grounds;

  • Making a valid application for leave to remain;

  • Having lived in the UK continuously for at least 20 years

Chan Neill lawyers have successfully assisted applicants with their long residence applications for many years now. Should you require an advice and/or assistance with your long residence application please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.

Congratulations to our Senior Partner, Mr Michael Chan


Mr Chan, our founding member and senior partner of the firm has received the prestigious award from IAE (International Advisory Experts) as the Lawyer of the year in Insurance Litigation Law in the UK 2019.

Mr Chan has acted for many composite insurers in specialist insurance litigation matters. These include Zurich, Axa, Royal and Sun Alliance whose exposure across a wide spectrum of insurance liability risks in large technical loss claims he successfully minimized.

Given his successful litigation career, he is now also instructed by numerous private and corporate clients with complex business needs and cross border commercial dispute and litigation.

International Advisory Experts annual awards pay tribute to firms and individuals who have been successful over the past 12 months and have received exceptional praise from their peers. All nominees have been researched by their research team and group members and then analysed by an independent panel and winners are chosen, taking into account their reputation, rankings, testimonials and client performances.

New in-country visa application system

It has now been officially announced that from November 2018 UK Visas and Immigration (”UKVI”) is introducing a new application process for in-country applications.

According to the UKVI, the new service “will offer a range of benefits to customers, including a streamlined online journey for most application types, a modernised, digital and more secure process of submitting documentary evidence, fast and convenient self-service, more flexible on-demand, mobile application services and enhanced support for vulnerable customers.

The UKVI’s new partner Sopra Steria will have their appointment booking tool live as of 2nd November 2018. During the period from 9th November to 30th November 2018, the majority of applicants will have a choice between applying using a new or existing visa application process. After 29th November 2018 Premium Service Centres will be closed.

As for the new system, having submitted an application online, applicants will be required to book an in-person appointment at one of the new UK visa centres in order to provide their documentary evidence and biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph). The new UK VCAS centres will start opening from 9th November 2018.

Should you have any questions regarding the new submission process please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that the information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to replace legal advice.