On the basis of long residence
This guide details the requirements needed to be met by persons wishing to qualify for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of long residence after 10 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK.
Other than the general checks you must do before applying (validity of your passport or travel document, no general ground for refusal such as criminal judgement…), there are some more specific requirements which must be satisfied in order to be granted indefinite leave.
Firstly, you must have at least 10 years lawful residence in the UK. Furthermore, in order to be granted leave, one should not be against the public good and you must meet the language and life requirements (you will have to pass the “Life in the UK” test).
During the first year of your stay in the U.K, it is important to check that you meet the residence requirement as it is this which may become cause for concern during you application.
Upon the date of application, your 10 years residence in the UK must have been both lawful and continuous. Please, note that this 10 year period can have been completed just before your application date. However, it can also have been completed earlier on in the past; there is no set time limit for this. If after 10 years of residency you leave the UK and re-entered, application for settlement based on the 10 years period will be built up on your earlier 10 year residency.
This period must be lawful. This means that under any circumstances, you have never stayed in the UK illegally. More specifically, you must have always stayed in the UK with an existing leave to enter or remain, under a temporary admission, or an exemption from immigration control.
It is important to note that the administration will refer to your application date, and will not consider your residence illegal in case of delay in the treatment of your application on the side of the UKBA.
For being lawful, your residence period must have been continuous. Continuous residence is considered to be broken if:
– You have been absent from the UK for a period of more than six months,
– You have been absent for a shorter period but you did not have valid leave to enter the UK on your return, or valid leave to remain on you departure from the UK (the category of both leave can be different when you left and returned to the UK)
– You spent more than 18 months outside the UK throughout the whole 10 years period.
Note that if you were in the UK with a right to reside under EEA regulations when you left the UK and was re-admitted under the EEA regulations, continuous residence is not broken.
Concerning the calculus of your absences from the UK, the UKBA considers that a month is made up of 30 calendar days. Therefore, you must not have been out of the UK for more than 540 days (6×30) during your residence period. For determining your absence periods, you should check carefully the information on the application forms, any UK exit and entry stamps in the passports, or also the landing cards section on warehouse. You must be satisfied there is enough evidence to show you have been in the UK.
Finally, you must know that the UK consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Time spent in the in the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man does not count as residence in the UK for the purposes of long residence even though they form part of the common travel area.
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