ILR Long Residence

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on long residence grounds if you have lived in the UK lawfully and continuously for 10 years. 

Requirements of An ILR Long Residence Application

You may qualify for indefinite leave to remain on long residence grounds, if you can demonstrate to the UK visas and Immigration that: 

  • You have had at least 10 years’ lawful continuous residence in the UK; 
  • Your 10 years’ lawful and continuous residence is unbroken; 
  • You have passed the Life in the UK Test unless you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65; 
  • You have passed the English language test at Level B1 CEFR unless you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65; 
  • There are no reasons to suggest that granting you ILR long residence would be undesirable or contrary to public interest; 
  • There are no other reasons for the refusal of your ILR Long residence application under Part 9 of the Immigration rules such as previous criminal convictions;  
  • You have not been in breach of immigration laws, except o for any period of overstaying for 28 days or less which will be disregarded where the period of overstaying ended before 24 November 2016 or where you overstayed on or after 24 November 2016, leave was never the less granted in accordance with paragraph 39E of the immigration rules.

If you wish to apply for ILR on long residence ground, speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.

Break In Continuous Residence  

When calculating time spent outside the UK for the purpose of ILR long residence application, a month constitutes 30 calendar days. 

Events That Break Continuous Residence 

You will be considered to have a break in your continuous residence 10 years if at any time during the 10 year period relied upon in your application for ILR: 

  • You have been absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time;  
  • You have been absent from the UK for less than 6 months but had no valid leave either upon leaving the UK or on your return to the UK (or both). 
  • You have been absent for a total period of more than 18 months; 
  • You left the UK before 24 November 2016 without having valid leave to remain at the time of your departure from the UK, and failed to apply for entry clearance within 28 days of your previous leave expiring (even if you returned to the UK within 6 months) 
  • You have been administratively removed or deported from the UK; or 
  • You departed the UK after the refusal of an application for leave to remain; 
  • You demonstrated an intention not to return to the UK on your departure from the UK;  
  • You left the UK in circumstances where you could have no reasonable expectations of being able to lawfully return to the UK at a later date; 

You have received a custodial sentence (not suspended) or have been directed to be detained.

Not Falling For Refusal On Public Interest And Undesirability Grounds 

When considering an application for ILR on 10 years long residence ground, the UK Visas and Immigration will assess whether there are any reasons that suggest that granting ILR will undesirable or be contrary to the public interest. When making such an assessment the UK Visa and Immigration will take into account the following factors: 

  • Your age at the date of application;  
  • Your strength of connections in the United Kingdom including family, social and cultural ties;  
  • Your personal history, including character, conduct, associations and employment record; 
  • Your domestic circumstances;  
  • Any circumstances which may be deemed to be compassionate or compelling;  
  • Any representations advanced on your behalf relating to any aspect of your life in the UK or your circumstances in general. 

What If You Have Absences Of More Than 540 Days In Total or 180 Days At One Time?

As stated above, if you have absences of more than 6 months from the UK at any one time or absences of 18 months in total over a 10-year period, your application for  ILR on 10 years basis would ordinarily fall for refusal. 

However, the Home Office has a residual discretion to disregard absences of more than 6 months at a time or more than 18 months in total where the applicant has demonstrated that their absences were due to very compelling or compassionate circumstances.

Examples Of Things the UK Visas and Immigration Consider When Assessing Whether Absences From the UK Were For Compelling Or Compassionate Reasons 

  • In all cases :- 

The UK Visas and Immigration caseworker will consider in all cases, with references to your circumstances, any documentary evidence and representations made, whether you returned to the UK within a reasonable period of time as soon as you were able to return.   

  • For the single absence of over 180 days :- 

If you have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days at any one time, the UKVI caseworker will need to consider how much of your absence of over 180 days was due to compelling circumstances and whether you took urgent steps to return to the UK as soon as you were able to do so. In addition, the UKVI caseworker must also consider the underlying reasons for your absences of over 180 days at any one time when deciding whether discretion should be exercised in your favour.  

For Overall Absences Exceeding 540 Days In The 10 year Period 

If you have absences exceeding 540 days during the relevant 10 year period, the UKVI caseworker must consider whether the long absence (or absences) that that caused you to go over the 540 days limit happened towards the start or end of the 10 years’ residence period. The caseworker will also consider how soon you would meet the requirements of an application for ILR on 10 years long residence grounds if your absences were not disregarded for the purposes of the application.  

If the absences were towards the start of that period of 10 years lawful and continuous residence, you may be able to meet the requirements in the near future (for example, in 6 – 18 months time), in which case you may be expected to apply when you complete 10 years’ continuous lawful residence without excess absences.  If, however, the absences were recent, as a result of which you will not qualify for a long time, the caseworker will consider whether there are particularly compelling circumstances which led to the excess absences. All of these factors must be taken into account when deciding whether it is reasonable to exercise discretion in your favour when considering your 10 year route to settlement application.

Application By a Person With Temporary Admission / Immigration Bail

If during the relevant 10 years continuous residence, you have spent time on Temporary admission or release or immigration bail, the time spent on temporary admission or immigration bail may qualify as lawful residence if leave to enter or leave to remain is later granted. For example, if you were granted leave to remain following a period of temporary admission, the time on temporary admission counts as lawful residence for the purposes of an application on 10 years basis.

What Else Do I Need To Know About ILR Long Residence? 

If you have completed 10 years continuous residence in the UK but you have not been able to pass the Life in the UK Test or you are unable to demonstrate knowledge of the English language at the required level (B1 CEFR), you can apply to the Home Office for limited leave to remain on private life grounds. In these circumstances, you will be granted limited leave so that you have sufficient time to pass the life in the UK Test or the English language test or both before applying for ILR on 10 years  basis. Limited leave to remain is granted under paragraph 276A2 of the long residence category of the Immigration Rules, and not as an extension of their previous category of limited leave to remain. 

Once you have passed the relevant life in the UK or the English language test, you can apply for ILR on long residence grounds rather than waiting to apply just before the expiry of your limited leave.  

Once you have built up a period of 10 years’ continuous residence, there is no limit on the length of time afterwards when you can pursue your 10 year route to settlement application. This means you could leave the UK, re-enter on any lawful basis, and apply for 10-year route to settlement from within the UK based on a 10 year period of continuous lawful residence you built up in the past. There is also nothing to prevent a person relying on a 10 years long residence that they may have relied on in a previous application or grant. 

If you are sponsoring your dependents’ UK visas, once you are granted ILR your dependents may need to apply to switch to a different category such as Spouse or Unmarried partner or child visa categories.  

Once you have been granted ILR on 10 years basis, you will be free from immigration control and can live in the UK indefinitely. You should note, however, that if you don’t wish to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen following the grant of ILR you must not be in absent from the UK for more than two years at any one time as that will lead to the lapsing of your ILR.  

An application for ILR on 10 years’ long residence grounds is by its very nature also a human rights claim and as such in the event of the application being refused it will carry a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).  

Applications for indefinite leave to remain on 10 years’ long residence ground can be submitted via the UK Visas and Immigration’s priority service where you can expect a decision on your application within 24 hours of enrolment of your biometrics.


  • Making a Subject Access Request to the Home Office

As part of your application for ILR on 10 years basis, you may need to confirm your immigration or travel history, or you may wish to confirm information provided to the Home Office as part of previous immigration applications. We can assist you with an application to the Home Office for disclosure of your personal information held by the Home Office’s immigration records.

Once you have received a copy of your immigration record from the Home Office, we can carry out a comprehensive analysis of your immigration and travel history to advise you on every aspect of your ILR long residence application.

  • Application for Further Leave to Remain on Long Residence Grounds

If you have completed 10 years’ continuous and lawful residence in the UK but have not been able to pass the Life in the UK or the English language test, you will be able to apply for further limited leave to remain to enable you to meet the knowledge of Life in the UK and the English language requirement at a later date. We can assist you with your application for further limited leave to remain if you are unable to meet all the requirements of an application for indefinite leave to remain.

  • ILR Application Through Super Priority Service Appointments

You may wish to receive a decision on your ILR application within 24 hours of enrolling your biometrics by using UK Visas and Immigration’s Super Priority Service.

We can arrange for you to submit your ILR application through the UKVI’s Super Priority service so that you can receive a decision on your application within 24 hours of enrolling your biometrics.

  • Returning Resident Application

If you have previously been granted indefinite leave to remain which has lapsed because you have been away from the UK for more than two years, you may qualify for indefinite leave to enter the UK as a returning resident.

We can assess your circumstances, advise you on the prospect of a successful application for settlement in the UK as a Returning Resident and assist you with the application process.

  • Fresh ILR Applications and Immigration Appeals After Refusal of ILR Application

Following refusal of an application for ILR on long residence ground, it may be possible to submit a fresh application to the Home Office by providing further representations or documentary evidence to address the issues raised in the refusal letter.

Our lawyers can analyse the Home Office’s reason for refusal and carry out  a comprehensive analysis of your personal circumstances to advise you whether a fresh application for ILR has any prospects of succeeding.

Where a fresh ILR application does not seem likely to succeed because of the complexities of the issues involved or lack of documentary evidence to substantiate any aspect of the application for ILR, we can advise and represent you in challenging the Home Office’s refusal by appealing to the First-tier Tribunal.

In addition to providing excellent advice and representations in connection with applications for leave or indefinite leave to remain, our lawyers are also vastly experienced in successfully challenging Home Office refusals by appealing to the First Tier Tribunal (IAC).

How our lawyers can help you with your ILR Long Residence Application?

Our lawyers are specialists in UK immigration law with almost a decade of experience. We have assisted hundreds of ILR long residence applicants to prepare and submit successful applications to the Home Office.

Our immigration lawyers can provide you expert advice on meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, carry out a detailed assessment of your prospects of qualifying for 10 year  route to settlement and can assist you with the preparation and submission of immigration applications from within or outside the UK.

Our lawyers combine creative energy with deep technical legal expertise to uncover innovative, out-of-the-box and unconventional strategies that help you succeed in your application even when you’re facing inherent challenges in meeting the requirements of an ILR  Long Residence application.

We do this by deploying the following:

  • Taking a holistic approach to analysing every facet of each case and formulating strategies to comprehensively address every element of the case;
  • Bringing deep technical and substantive legal expertise;
  • Collaborative strategizing among specialist lawyers, who operate at different levels of seniority, bringing a wealth of technical expertise, tactical know-how and diversity of perspective on your matter;
  • Using Design Thinking to reframe the challenges you face with a view to redefining value and opening up the scope of solutions;
  • Designing customised strategy to meet your specific challenges.

What This Means For You?

If you instruct us to take on your case, our scope of work will comprise of the following:

  • Taking detailed instructions to carry out a thorough analysis of your case;
  • Assessing your eligibility for 10 year  route to settlement in line with the requirements as set out in the Immigration Rules, the accompanying Policy Documents and the wider case-law jurisprudence;
  • Advising you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case;
  • Advising you on strategies, where possible, to remedy the weaknesses in your case and better evidence the strengths of your case;
  • Providing you detailed and customised advice on the documents you need to provide in support of your application;
  • Reviewing your documents to assess whether they meet the evidential requirements of your application and to advise you if further documents are required;
  • Drafting the application form to provide to you for review and, if required, amending the application in line with your observations;
  • Preparing a detailed letter of representations to be submitted in support of your application;
  • Submitting the application form online and arranging an appointment for the enrolment of your biometrics;
  • Responding to any queries from the Home Office regarding your application
  • Addressing any queries that you may have regarding your application and any issues arising from your immigration status;
  • Corresponding with the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) to ensure a timely decision on your application.
  • Upon approval of the application, reviewing and ensuring that the approval documentation has been issued correctly.

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