Indefinite Leave To Remain: Settlement in the UK based on long residence
Many expats are surprised to find out that they can qualify for permanent residence in the UK, despite the fact that most of their time spent in the UK is not specifically on visas leading to permanent residence.
The UK Immigration rules indeed make provision for persons to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), after ten years of continuous lawful residence in the UK. This application is the so-called long-residence application.
The Long Residence criteria
In order to qualify under the long residence rule, you must have permission to stay in the UK in any immigration category or a combination of different immigration categories. You must also have been in the UK legally for a period of ten years, and adhered to your visa terms during this time.
The ten-year qualifying period is counted as from you first arrived in the UK with a visa or when you were first given permission to stay in the UK.
The continuous residence in the UK must have been spent without any gaps. A person is however allowed to leave the UK during continuous residence for up to 180 days at a time, and 540 days in total.
Time count in prison, a young offenders’ institution or secure hospital does not count as time spent. Neither does time spent in the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.
Persons who are between 18 and 65 years old, have to pass the Life in the UK test and fulfil the English language requirement.
Where an applicant has overstayed their visa, there is a provision in the UK Home Office guidance to disregard one small break. However, it is vital that professional advice is taken if this is the case. It is also possible to apply where an applicant has left with a valid visa and returned to the UK with a valid visa, providing the absence was for less than six months. An applicant must also not have had absences totaling 18 months over the 10 year period.
If you want to find out more about the long residence application, or want to apply, contact our OISC registered immigration consultants today.