Private Life Route – How To Obtain A Visa To Legalise Your Residence In The UK

When living in the United Kingdom lawfully and continuously for ten years, it is possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) by combining different visa categories, even if they individually do not lead to settlement, such as Student or Graduate visas. This is, of course, subject to meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules under the Long Residence visa route. However, what happens if the residence in the UK has been lawful and unlawful? Is there a way to regularise status in the United Kingdom and potentially settle in the future?

The Private Life visa category was originally introduced in the Statement of Changes in June 2012 and came into force on 9 July 2012. Under this immigration route, those, who have been living in the UK continuously for 20 years, regardless of whether the residence was lawful or unlawful (or combination of both), could be eligible to apply for a visa to regularise their status.

We have successfully assisted clients in regularising their precarious status after having resided in the UK continuously for 20 years. From our experience in dealing with such applications, the Home Office expects an applicant to provide a variety of documents that could demonstrate their physical presence in the country, such as travel history as evidenced by entry stamps in the applicant’s passports, bank statements and employment records.

To strengthen a Private Life application, we, as immigration practitioners, advise to provide additional documentary evidence to demonstrate the applicant’s established private life in the UK, such as personal statement, support letters from friends, local social groups and communities which the applicant has been a part of, and photographs.

Once the applicant has been granted their first permission to remain in the UK on the Private Life route, they will be placed on a 10-year route to settlement, provided that they meet the visa conditions and have maintained their continuous residence throughout their qualifying period.

This visa route offers a pathway for those with a precarious status to regularise their stay in the UK and could be a solution to those who have been subject to the hostile environment policy of the Home Office as a result of their precarious status within the UK.

If you require assistance in relation to a Private Life route visa, or would just like to learn more about this visa route, please feel free to contact us to arrange a consultation.