Obtaining ILR – the 10 Year Long Residence Route
If an individual has been legally resident in the UK for 10 or more continuous years, they may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the 10 year long residence route. Obtaining ILR means that an individual will be legally resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions. ILR is also the precursor to applying for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Who is eligible to apply?
In order to apply for ILR under the 10 year long residence route, an individual must satisfy the following conditions:
- They must have permission to legally stay in the UK, known as Leave to Remain. Leave to Remain can be obtained in any one immigration category, or a combination of various immigration categories.
- They must have been legally resident in the UK for 10 continuous years.
- They must have kept to the terms of their UK visa and not breached any immigration laws or have any criminal convictions.
If an individual is aged 18 to 65 years old, they must also:
- Pass the Life in the UK Test; and
- Prove that they have sufficient English language skills if they are not from a majority English-speaking country. This can be done by passing an approved English language test at the level B1, B2, C1 or C2; or if the individual has a degree that was taught or researched in English which is recognised by the UKVI.
When does the 10-year qualifying period start?
The 10-year qualifying period starts from either:
- When the individual legally arrived in the UK on a valid visa; or
- When the individual was given permission to the stay in the UK.
It is important to note that 10-year period must be a continuous residence.
What is continuous residence?
Continuous residence is the time an individual has lawfully spent in the UK without any major gaps or absences. However, an individual is allowed to leave the UK during their continuous residence for up to:
- 180 days per year
- 540 days in total over the course of the 10-year qualifying period
It is important to note that leaving the UK on a valid visa and re-entering the UK on a different valid visa will not break the continuous residence, provided that the individual re-entered the UK within 180 days.
Time spent in a prison, young offender institution, or a secure hospital cannot count towards an individual’s continuous residence. Additionally, time spent in the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, or Channel Islands cannot count towards an individual’s continuous residence.
When can an application be made for ILR under the 10 year long residence route?
The earliest an individual can apply for ILR under the 10 year long residence route is 28 days prior to completing the 10-year qualifying period.
If an individual applies earlier than this, their application will be refused and the fee paid will not be refunded.
What are the application processing times?
Decisions made on applications for ILR under the long residence route can take up to 6 months. During this time, all supporting documents submitted with the application would be with the Home Office and an individual would not be able to travel overseas.
Alternatively, using the priority service for a higher fee means that an individual can get a decision on their application within 1 working day.
How can NA Law Solicitors help?
As specialists in individual immigration, we can help you apply for your ILR application under the 10 year long residence route. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article or have specific queries about your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free case assessment.