How to apply for ILR under the 10-year Long Residence?

If you have been lawfully resident in the UK for 10 continuous years, you might be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain to settle in the UK – however, there are stringent requirements to be met.

According to the Guidance: Long residence, the applicant must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. the applicant must have at least 10 years of a) continuous and b)lawful residence in the UK -but they can apply having sent 9 years, 1. Months and two days in the UK.


(a) “continuous residence” means residence in the United Kingdom for an unbroken period, and for these purposes a period shall not be considered to have been broken where an applicant is absent from the United Kingdom for a period of 6 months or less at any one time, provided that the applicant in question has existing limited leave to enter or remain upon their departure and return, but shall be considered to have been broken if the applicant:

(i) has been removed under Schedule 2 of the 1971 Act, section 10 of the 1999 Act, has been deported or has left the United Kingdom having been refused leave to enter or remain here; or

(ii) has left the United Kingdom and, on doing so, evidenced a clear intention not to return; or

(iii) left the United Kingdom in circumstances in which he could have had no reasonable expectation at the time of leaving that he would lawfully be able to return; or

(iv) has been convicted of an offence and was sentenced to a period of imprisonment or was directed to be detained in an institution other than a prison (including, in particular, a hospital or an institution for young offenders), provided that the sentence in question was not a suspended sentence; or

(v) has spent a total of more than 18 months absent from the United Kingdom during the period in question.


(b) “lawful residence” means residence which is continuous residence pursuant to:

(i) existing leave to enter or remain; or

(ii) temporary admission within section 11 of the 1971 Act (as previously in force), or immigration bail within section 11 of the 1971 Act, where leave to enter or remain is subsequently granted; or

(iii) an exemption from immigration control, including where an exemption ceases to apply if it is immediately followed by a grant of leave to enter or remain.

Although the related Policy Guidance sets 6 months as “180 days” and 18 months as “540 days”, recent cases have overturned this definition. Given that 18 months equals one and a half years, the correct number of days would be:

365+ 365/2 = 547.5 ≈ 548 days

The Home Office might exercise discretion when there are reasonable and compelling grounds and sufficient evidence provided, including inter alia

  • significant or serious illness
  • frailty
  • particularly difficult family circumstances


Further, the applicant must meet the knowledge of the language and life requirement by passing the Life in the UK test and meeting English level B1.

He/she must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal and must not be in breach of immigration laws, except

  • for any period of overstaying for 28 days or less which will be disregarded where the period of overstaying ended before 24 November 2016
  • where overstaying on or after 24 November 2016, leave was nevertheless granted in accordance with paragraph 39E of the immigration rules – for more information on overstaying, see applications from overstayers (non family routes).


Paragraph 39E states:

This paragraph applies where:

(1) the application was made within 14 days of the applicant’s leave expiring and the Secretary of State considers that there was a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, provided in or with the application, why the application could not be made in-time; or

(2) the application was made:

(a) following the refusal of a previous application for leave which was made in-time; and

(b) within 14 days of:

(i) the refusal of the previous application for leave; or

(ii) the expiry of any leave extended by section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971; or

(iii) the expiry of the time-limit for making an in-time application for administrative review or appeal (where applicable); or

(iv) any administrative review or appeal being concluded, withdrawn or abandoned or lapsing; or

(3) the period [of] overstaying was between 24 January and 31 August 2020; or

(4) where the applicant has, or had, permission on the Hong Kong BN(O) route, and the period of overstaying was between 1 July 2020 and 31 January 2021.

You are allowed to have short gaps in lawful residence on or after 24 November 2016 as long as leave was granted in accordance with paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules. Meanwhile, overstaying during the period of Covid-19 pandemic (between 24 January and 31 August 2020) will be disregarded and it will not affect subsequent visa applications.

The 10-year continuous lawful residence will be broken if you have overstayed or have been absent above the limit unless there are exceptional and compelling circumstances.

As mentioned, you can submit your application up to 28 days prior to the completion of the qualifying period. You may use the super priority service to get the decision within 24h.

In terms of supporting evidence, you should demonstrate that you have established your private and family life in the UK and build solid connections. You may wish to provide a personal statement explaining your personal circumstances and immigration history as well as well rely on some of the following:

  • Evidence of accommodation, tenancy agreements, Utility bills; mortgage statements;
  • Bank statements;
  • Evidence of education;
  • Evidence of employment; P60, payslips, SA600
  • Proof of identity your family member


Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.


The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.

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