After 10 years of being in the UK lawfully you may eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), an option which most people are unsure about. Providing you meet the eligibility requirement in full there is no reason why you cannot apply and free yourself from Immigration Restrictions in the UK.
Requirements for ILR under the Long Residence rules
The main requirement is that you have permission to stay in the UK and have held a valid visa throughout your stay over the 10 years, the visas can be in any immigration category, or a combination of different immigration categories.
The criteria to apply under the Long Residence rules is as follows:
- You have been in the UK lawfully for 10 years;
- You have not breached any of the terms in connection with your visa;
- Life in the UK Test – you will need to pass this test if you have not already done so;
- Sufficient Knowledge of English Language – you must pass an approved English language test, have a qualification recognised by UK ECCTIS. Applicants who are from a majority English speaking country automatically meet this requirement;
What is continuous Residence and time spent in the UK which does not count towards it?
Continuous Residence is when you have spent 10 years in the UK lawfully without any gaps this does not include leaving the UK for short trips, i.e holidays, business trips etc.
Time spent in the UK does not count as lawful residence under paragraph 276A of the Immigration Rules for third country nationals who have spent time in the UK as:
- the spouse, civil partner or other family member of a European Union (EU)
- an EEA national exercising their treaty rights to live in the UK but have not qualified for permanent residence
- former family members who have retained a right of residence
During the time spent in the UK under the provisions of the EEA regulations, the individuals are not subject to immigration control, and would not be required to have leave to enter or leave to remain.
This not rule you out completely from applying if you have spent time in the as one of the above as the caseworker must apply discretion if this only makes up part of the time you have spent in the UK. We would be more than happy to speak with you and advise.
When does the 10 year qualifying period begin?
Your qualifying 10 years’ continuous residence period begins from the date you entered the UK on a valid visa or the date you were granted a visa from within the UK, Hudson McKenzie can assist with this if you are not sure of the date.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the long residence route means the number of absences permitted are limited.
The permitted absences under this route are as follows:
- 180 days at a time
- 540 in total over the 10 years’
- If you depart the UK after the expiry of your visa and submit a new entry clearance application within 28 days of your visa expiring
- If you are in the UK with a right to reside under EEA regulations and leave and are re-admitted to the UK under these regulations.
If you have been in the UK and you spend more than the permitted time stipulated above or have spent time in:
- a prison, young offender’s institution or secure hospital
- the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands
Your continuous residence period will be classed as broken and you will fail to meet the requirements.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain – Long Residence
The earliest date a person may submit their application for ILR under the Long Residence route is 28 days prior to the qualifying period, it is important to ensure that the application is submitted no earlier than this as it will lead to a refusal and you will end up losing the application fee in full.
Out of time applications
On 1 October 2012, the immigration rules were amended, the changes affect applications which were made on or after 9 July 2012 and are decided on or after 1 October 2012.
If the continuous residence period includes periods of overstaying but further leave was granted before 1 October 2012, the caseworker may disregard these periods when considering an application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) provided the period of overstaying does not exceed 28 days.
For applications made before 9 July 2012 there is no requirement for applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) to be made ‘in-time’ under the 10 years long residence rules. For applications made on or after 9 July 2012 an applicant applying for an extension of stay or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on the basis of long residence must not be in breach of the Immigration Rules. However, for the purposes of the application a period of overstaying of 28 days or less on the date of application will be disregarded.
Ways to submit your application and fees
There are two ways in which you can submit your application, by post or in person at a Premium Service. Applications which are submitted by post are usually processed within 6 months and applications submitted in person mean that a decision will usually be made on the same day. The Biometrics Residence Permits (BRP) card will usually follow within 7-10 working days.
The main difference is the processing times and price; the applications fees are as follows:
Postal applications- £2,404
In Person applications – £3,204
As you need to submit your passport in support of your application most people opt for the dearer option to get their passports back quickly which will allow them to travel as soon as they are in receipt of the BRP card.
If you wish to discuss your options and assess if you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the basis of Long Residency, please contact our offices where are member of our team will be more than happy to speak with you.
Call us now on 020 8863 5811.