10 Years Long Residence ILR Application Guide
The 10 years long residence route to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) provides a route to settlement based on continuous lawful residence in the UK for a period of 10 years. In this post, we look at the requirements for a successful application for ILR on the basis of 10 years long residence.
Requirements For 10 Years Long Residence ILR
In order to make a successful application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on the ground of 10 years 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 years 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.
10 Years Continuous Lawful Residence
In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on the basis of the 10 years long residence rule, you must have at least 10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK. This can include periods including temporary admission and periods where you have enjoyed section 3C leave.
Lawful residence, as defined in paragraph 276A of the Immigration Rules includes a period with:
- Existing leave to enter or remain;
- Temporary admission where leave is subsequently granted;
- An exemption from immigration control.
Continuous residence will be broken for the purpose of a 10 years long residence ILR application if the applicant has:
- Been absent from the UK for a period of more than 6 months at any one time;
- Spent a total of 18 months outside the UK throughout the period;
- Left the UK with no valid leave to remain on departure from the UK and did not apply for entry clearance within 28 days of that leave expiring.
Current periods of overstaying cannot count towards the qualifying residence period for a 10 years long residence ILR application, as we examined in a recent blog post.
Long Residence ILR, Absences And Time Spent Outside the UK
In order to meet the requirements for an application for ILR on the basis of 10 years continuous and lawful long residence, you must have:
- Not been absent from the UK for 6 months or less at any one time;
- Had existing leave to enter or remain when you left and returned – this can include leave gained at port when returning to the UK as a non-visa national;
- Departed the UK before 24 November 2016, but after the expiry of your leave to remain, and applied for fresh entry clearance within 28 days of that previous leave expiring, and returned to the UK within 6 months.
If you had existing leave to enter or remain when you left and returned to the UK, the existing leave does not have to have been in the same category on departure and return.
Discretion In 10 Years Long Residence Indefinite Leave To Remain Applications
It is possible to argue that discretion should be exercised in relation to the 10 years long residence ILR absence requirement. Home Office guidance on 10 years long residence ILR applications reads: “If the applicant has been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in one period or more than 18 months in total, the application should normally be refused. However, it may be appropriate to exercise discretion over excess absences in compelling or compassionate circumstances, for example where the applicant was prevented from returning to the UK through unavoidable circumstances”.
The following factors are relevant to whether or not discretion will be exercised in a 10 years long residence indefinite leave to remain (ILR) application:
“Things to consider when assessing if the absence was compelling or compassionate are: for all cases – you must consider whether the individual returned to the UK within a reasonable time once they were able to do so
- for the single absence of over 180 days:
o you must consider how much of the absence was due to compelling circumstances and whether the applicant returned to the UK as soon as they were able to do so you must also consider the reasons for the absence
- for overall absences of 540 days in the 10 year period:
o you must consider whether the long absence (or absences) that pushed the applicant over the limit happened towards the start or end of the 10 year residence period, and how soon they will be able to meet that requirement
o if the absences were towards the start of that period, the person may be able to meet the requirements in the near future, and so could be expected to apply when they meet the requirements
o however, if the absences were recent, the person will not qualify for a long time, and so you must consider whether there are particularly compelling circumstances”.
How To Make A Long Residence ILR Application
Applications for ILR based on 10 years continuous and lawful long residence are made online. If you wish to receive a decision on your indefinite leave to remain (ILR) application more quickly then you will be able to purchase additional paid for services.
When To Make An Application For 10 Years Long Residence ILR
You can apply for ILR in the 10 years long residence category up to 28 days in advance of completing your qualifying period of continuous lawful residence. An application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) based on 10 years long residence made more than 28 days in advance will be refused.
Documents Required For A 10 Years Long Residence Application
When the Home Office considers your application for ILR on the basis of 10 years continuous and lawful long residence they will consider any UK exit and entry stamps in your passports and landing cards. If you have an extensive travel history, you may consider making a subject access request. Only full days will count as absences. You do not need to include any days on which you entered or departed the UK.
As part of your 10 years long residence ILR application you should consider providing other documents to demonstrate your continued residence in the UK, including but not limited to:
- Evidence of accommodation, tenancy agreements or mortgage statements;
- Utility bills;
- Bank statements;
- Evidence of education or employment;
- Travel tickets and receipts.
10 Years Long Residence ILR Application Fees
The current Home Office fee for an application for ILR on the basis of the 10 years long residence rule is £2,389. If you wish to make a long residence ILR application via the super priority service then the application fee be an additional £800.
How Long Does Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) Last For?
Once you have been granted indefinite leave to remain, it will not expire. You will be permanently free of immigration time restrictions. However, if you spend more than 2 years outside the UK then you may lose your ILR.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and Breach of Immigration Laws
One of the requirements for ILR under the 10 years long residence rule is that you must not be in breach of immigration laws. The only exception is that any period of overstaying for 28 days or less will be disregarded where the period of overstaying ended before 24 November 2016 or where the overstaying was on or after 24 November 2016 and leave was nevertheless granted in accordance with paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules
General Grounds For Refusal and Public Interest In Settlement Applications
When considering an application for ILR under the 10 years long residence rule, the Home Office will also need to consider the public interest. This will involve a consideration of a number of factors including criminal convictions, false representations, an applicant’s conduct, breaches of conditions, NHS debt and failure to provide litigation costs.
Home Office guidance on 10 years long residence ILR applications informs caseworkers that they:
“must consider whether there are any reasons why it would be undesirable on public interest grounds to grant indefinite leave. In considering this you must take into account the person’s:
- strength of connections in the UK
- personal history, including character, conduct, associations and employment record
- domestic circumstances
- compassionate circumstances
- any representations on the person’s behalf
The applicant must also not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal. You must assess the factors in paragraph 276B (ii) to decide whether a grant of indefinite leave would be against the public interest. You must look at reasons for and against granting indefinite leave using the factors listed and, where necessary, weigh up whether a grant of indefinite leave would be in the public interest”.
An application for 10 years long residence ILR should therefore include evidence relating to an individual’s personal circumstances, property, working history, contribution to the community and general conduct.
English Language and Life In the UK for 10 Years ILR Applications
If you’re aged 18 and 65 years old, your 10 years long residence ILR application must demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language and have passed the Life in the UK test .
Appeal Rights Against Refusal Of Indefinite Leave To Remain
In the event of a refusal of indefinite leave to remain, long residence applications made under this rule may be considered a human rights application and should therefore attract a right of appeal. This is confirmed in the Rights of appeal, Version 7.0 Guidance on when there is a right of appeal against decisions in immigration cases, including mechanisms to prevent repeat rights of appeal and prevent delay from appeals against unfounded claims:
“The applications listed in this section and made under the Immigration Rules are human rights applications and the starting position is that there is a right of appeal against refusal…….. ……..
The relevant applications are those made under:
- Paragraph 276B (long residence)”.
You will need to consider the timing of any application and whether you have extant leave.
Contact Our 10 Years Long Residence ILR Application Immigration Lawyers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to an ILR application based on 10 years continuous and lawful long residence, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.