Long Residence in the UK
10 YEARS’ LAWFUL RESIDENCE
If you have lived in the UK legally for 10 years then, under UK immigration law, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain. You must have passed the Life in the UK Test or achieved an appropriate level in English for Speakers of Other Languages (With Citizenship). You can submit your application upto 28 days before you reach the qualifying 10 year period of long residence.
You will normally be granted indefinite leave to remain unless one of the following applies:
- The 10-year period has been broken; or
- You have one or more unspent criminal convictions; or
- There are public interest reasons to refuse the application.
BREAKS IN THE 10-YEAR PERIOD
The period will be broken if:
- You were outside the UK for more than 6 months at any one time; or
- You left the UK temporarily and did not have leave to enter or remain when you left and returned; or
- You were outside the UK and had demonstrated a clear intention not to return; or
- You left the UK at a time when you had no reasonable expectation of returning lawfully; or
- You were outside the UK for a total of 18 months; or
- You spent time in prison or detention due to a sentence from a criminal court.
14 YEARS’ UNLAWFUL RESIDENCE
The 14 year long residence route to settlement in the UK was closed on 9 July 2012. However, persons who previously may have been eligible for indefinite leave to remain under the '14 year rule' may still be eligible to apply for leave to remain on the ground of having established a private life in the United Kingdom (see below).
You may apply for leave to remain based on your private life in the UK in the following circumstances:
- You have lived in the UK continuously for at least 20 years; or
- Your are under the age of 18 years old and you have lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years; or
- You are aged between 18 and 25 years old and you have been residing continuously in the UK for at least half of your life; or
- You are aged 18 years old or above, and you have lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years but you have no social, cultural or family ties in the country to which you would be required to go if required to leave the UK or there are other exceptional circumstances that would make removal a breach of your right to private life.
If your application is successful, you will be granted two and a half year’s leave to remain in the UK initially. You will able to work or study during this time. You will not be able to have recourse to public funds. You will be able to apply to extend your stay for 3 further two and a half year periods. Once you have been in the UK for 10 years in this category, you will then be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.