Long residence in the United Kingdom

The rules on long residence recognize the ties a person may form with the UK over a lengthy period of residence here. A person who has completed 10 years continuous and lawful residence in the UK can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on this basis. For the purposes of ILR under 10 years long residence category, the residence in the UK must be both continuous and lawful.

The application is subject to the following conditions:

  1. No interruptions in the legality of stay for at least 10 years, disregarding any periods of overstaying of up to 28 days;
  2. Continuous residence of at least 10 years – absences from the UK should not exceed 18 months in total during the 10 year period or six months in any one time; continuous residence is not interrupted if the applicant left the UK while holding a valid leave to remain and returned to the UK within six months with a valid leave to enter;
  3. There are no considerations of public interest that would make grant of indefinite leave undesirable;
  4. Good character requirements;
  5. Successful completion of Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test.

Good character requirements, as per paragraph 322 (1C) of the Immigration Rules, are subject to the following conditions:

1. Good character requirement cannot be met where the person was convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment of four years or longer;

2. Where the applicant had been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 12 months but less than 4 years, the conviction is considered spent after 15 years from the end of the sentence;

3. Convictions punished by imprisonment of less than 12 months are considered spent after 7 years since the end of the sentence;

4. Within 24 months from the date on which the application for indefinite leave to remain is decided there should be no convictions or admissions of liability punished by a non-custodial sentence or any out of court disposal which would be recorded in the applicant’s criminal record.

Applications for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of 10 years’ lawful residence can only be made by post. There are no premium service appointments available for this type of applications.

Public interest considerations 

In addition to the Good Character requirements, public interest considerations include personal history, character, conduct, associations and employment record. This rule allows the decision-maker a wider use of discretion and may potentially lead to refusal on the grounds not explicitly spelled out in the immigration rules.

Alternative applications for further leave to remain

Where an application for indefinite leave to remain cannot succeed, either due to the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement or due to Good Character requirement, the applicant may consider applying for extension of leave to remain on the basis of continuous lawful residence of 10 years.

Dependents of applicants for indefinite leave to remain under the long residence rule

It is important to note that there are no provisions for dependents to be included in the application for settlement under the long residence rule. Where a dependent was included in the application by mistake, the Home Office would normally refuse the application. Applicants should seek legal advice prior to applying as there is no general rule covering dependents of the applicants under the long residence rule and each scenario requires individual consideration.

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