Settlement by Long Residence

If you are a non-UK national and have lived in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully for 10 years, you may qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK on the basis of long residence.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain on the ground of long residence, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a period of at least 10 years residing in the United Kingdom continuously and lawfully; and
  • Your 10 year period of lawful residence is unbroken; and
  • There are no public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain; and
  • There are no general grounds for refusing your application (such as a relevant criminal conviction); and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and about life in the United Kingdom; and
  • You are not in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration laws.

You will have a break in your residence if at any time during the period relied upon:

  • You were absent from the UK for more than 18 months in total; or
  • You were removed or deported from the UK; or
  • You left the UK having been refused leave to enter or remain;
  • You evidenced a clear intention not to return to the UK on leaving; or
  • You left the UK with no reasonable expectation of being able to return lawfully; or
  • You were sentenced to a period of imprisonment (not suspended) or directed to be detained; or
  • You were absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time; or
  • You were absent from the UK for less than 6 months but had no leave either upon departure or return (or both).

When assessing whether there are any public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain, the Home Office will consider the following factors:

  • Your age;
  • The strength of your connections in the UK;
  • Your personal history (e.g. character, conduct, associations, and employment record);
  • Your domestic circumstances;
  • Any compassionate circumstances; and
  • Any representations submitted on your behalf.

The Home Office has a discretion to grant long residence applications where the applicant has absences in excess of 540 days in total or a single absence of more than six months. You would need to demonstrate that the absence(s) was/were for an exceptional or compelling reason.

If you have not completed the Life in the UK test or met the English Language requirement, you may be able to extend your stay in in the UK, rather than apply for indefinite leave to remain. The qualifying 10 year period does not need to have been completed recently. You can rely on a historic continuous period of 10 years lawful residence.

Once you have been granted indefinite leave to remain on grounds of long residence, you will be free from any immigration time restrictions. You will not lose your indefinite leave to remain unless you are absent from the UK for more than two years or commit a serious offence. It is possible to apply for ILR on the basis of long residence at a Premium Same-Day Service appointment at the Home Office and receive a decision on the same day.

A long residence application is deemed to be a human rights claim and will normally trigger a right of appeal if refused. Please call our expert immigration lawyers on 0330 058 3929 for further advise on making a Long residence application.