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Long Residence Settlement

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For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

Introduction

It has long been possible to apply for settlement (permanent residence) in the UK based simply on your long residence, across a number of immigration visa routes, for a period of 10 years.

Key requirements are summarised in the phrase “10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK”. While this might seem straightforward enough, this visa route has been complicated over the years, by rule changes often brought about by legal challenges. We wrote about the current state of play with such litigation in this blog.  

To speak to one of our solicitors about your long residence application call us today on 0300 131 6767 or complete our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you.

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Who is eligible to settle on long residence grounds?

Firstly, we will be talking about long residence settlement applications. It is possible under the rules to make a long residence application for further permission to stay in the UK; this becomes relevant where someone who otherwise meets the 10-year rule requirements is barred from settling, for example due to a criminal conviction. So – the information below may be relevant to an extension application, but most typically it relates to applications for indefinite leave to remain.

A person may settle on long residence grounds if they have completed 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK. This does not include the “Islands” that surround Britain, such as the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

Previously, any kind of permission to stay in the UK counted towards the 10 years. However, in 2024 this was restricted, and so the following types of permission no longer count:

  • As a visitor
  • As a short-term student
  • As a seasonal worker
  • While on temporary admission or immigration bail

This change acts retrospectively, which means anyone applying for settlement in this route after 11 April 2024 cannot rely on periods in these routes.

Importantly, dependants cannot be included in a long residence application. This can require careful consideration, and expert legal advice is recommended for individuals present in certain visa routes whose families may be adversely affected if they settle on long residence grounds. Of course, if your family have themselves clocked up 10 years, they can apply for settlement in their own right.

For a FREE initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

What is the application process?

Applicants must meet the usual validity and suitability requirements contained in the Immigration Rules. You must meet the usual English language (level B1 CEFR) and Life in the UK requirements. If you have criminal convictions you should seek expert advice. Periods spent in the UK in breach of immigration laws may call your suitability into question – they will also impact your eligibility to apply in this route, so careful preparation of your case is vital. We normally advise obtaining a copy of your Home Office immigration records before submitting a long residence application – which you can do by making a Subject Access Request.

What is the effect of overstaying on an application?

No period of overstaying can be included in the calculation of the 10 years. However, overstays can in some circumstances be disregarded – which means they don’t actually break the 10 year period, they just don’t count towards it. If your permission to stay in the UK was affected by Covid concessions and rules, take care: no periods of exceptional assurance granted with reference to the pandemic between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2023 are included in the calculation of the continuous residence for the qualifying period. However, any extensions of leave granted under the Coronavirus extension concession and the following grace period (covering 24 January to 31 August 2020) do count. This again is a complex area, and specialist advice is strongly recommended.

What are the eligibility requirements?

First, you must have completed (or more accurately, be within 28 days of completing) 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK. Apart from the exceptions listed above, any form of permission to enter or stay in the UK counts. Note this includes time spent exempt from immigration control (e.g. foreign diplomats and armed forces), and time spent under EEA Regulations or under the EU Settlement Scheme. Time spent with “section 3C leave” – for example awaiting the outcome of an in-time application, administrative review or appeal – also counts.

Another important change in the 2024 rules relates to calculation of the 10 years. Previously it was possible to pick a historical period and rely on that. It is no longer possible to do so, as a continuous residence period must be “counted back” from the date of your application.

Where your current permission or leave to remain was granted after 11 April 2024, it is also now a requirement that you must have held permission to stay on your current immigration route (or been exempt from control) for at least 12 months on the date you apply.

What is the effect of absences from the UK?

Historically, a single absence of more than 184 days (6 months) or accumulated absences of more than 548 days during the 10-year qualifying period will break continuous residence. It is difficult to argue for discretion to be exercised in your favour if you exceed these limits.

Subject to transitional arrangements for absences abroad that predate rule changes, from 11 April 2024 these changes mean that – in line with general continuous residence rules – an applicant cannot have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period. Calculating absences on a “rolling basis” can be tricky; again, professional advice is required if you are close to your absence limits. On the positive side, under Appendix Continuous Residence it is possible to argue for absences to be disregarded, for example where caused by Covid or compelling health or family reasons.

It is also important to be aware of your status at the time you were absent from the UK. If you had valid leave to remain at point of departure, that is fine so long as you then return with existing or newly-granted leave, subject to the time limits described above. If you did not, your departure is likely to trigger a break in your continuous residence.  

Successful settlement application following rejection due to numerous absences

"Dear Joel, Javier & Gary,

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for helping me get my Indefinite Leave to Remain. It was a very stressful and tough time for me and your support and help has made all the difference.

Thank you for your communications, documents and calming me down. After reading your representation letter, I knew we were going to be successful. I really appreciate everything you did for me. Thank you."

Mr Lanchev

Why choose Latitude Law?

Latitude Law has significant experience of preparing successful long residence settlement applications. We have assisted clients with tackling some of the most complex issues that can arise for past residence looking to achieve settlement in this route.

Thanks to our extensive knowledge of immigration rules, we are able to provide pragmatic advice and meet our clients’ needs. We can advise you with confidence and ensure the entire immigration procedure runs smoothly and efficiently for you.

Working with a law firm can be a big decision, which is why we ensure that our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We are a highly driven team that is dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice.

As a boutique law firm specializing in UK immigration, our experts understand the complexity and uncertainty that constantly shifting visa and residence policies create for individuals seeking long-term residency in the UK. Our lawyers can provide up-to-the-minute legal advice on how any changes will impact your long residence application.

We are pleased to be recognised as a leading law firm by the following independent bodies: The Times Best Law Firms 2024, Chambers & Partners 2024, Legal 500 2024 and Who'sWhoLegal 2024. These endorsements from the international legal directories demonstrate our integrity and success in dealing with difficult cases. We are also proud of our 5-star Google reviews from over 150 satisfied clients.

Call us today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Let our legal experts take the uncertainty out of your long residence settlement application so you can start your successful journey towards life in the UK.

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Contact us

As the requirements for a Long Residence Settlement application are complex, to ensure success, you should seek specialist advice from an immigration solicitor before you proceed. Latitude Law’s specialist lawyers can advise you about your individual requirements and ensure that your supporting documentation is compliant with the very latest immigration rules.

Get in touch with our legal team today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Face your future knowing you have the dedicated support of one of our expert lawyers.

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For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

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