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.