Long Residence and Private Life
The rules acknowledge that long residence may develop ties to the UK and therefore settlement can be granted a leave to remain or indefinite leave on grounds of private life after a ten years’ continuous and lawful stay.
For leave to remain:
Ten years of continuous and lawful residence in the UK.
There is no limit on the time afterwards when can be applied. One can leave the UK, re-enter and apply for settlement; however, applicants may not have spent more than 180 days abroad in a row, or have spent 540 days abroad in total during the ten year period. If an applicant did not have a valid leave when he/she left or re-entered the UK, the ten year period will also be considered breached. The applicant may not have spent time in prison during his residence in the UK.
If the applicant has applied for a new leave in time, but the decision has not been made when their current leave expires, the 10 year period keeps running until all their appeal rights are exhausted.
Time spent in the UK while being exempt from immigration control (e.g. diplomats and members of armed forces), is to be counted within the 10 years lawful residence.
The applicant must have a valid passport or travel document.
There may be no reasons why it would be against the public interest to grant leave; taking into account:
- the applicant’s age;
- strength of connections to the UK
e.g. running a business shows long term commitment;
- personal history
e.g. marriage with resident or family in the UK, employment record;
- other circumstances;
When there are circumstances that may lead to refusal of the application, they will be weighed against compassionate circumstances.
- any representations on the person’s behalf.
Immigration laws must not have been breached by the applicant, except for overstaying.
If a person with a limited leave to remain qualifies to these conditions, he may be granted an extension of further leave on the basis of long residence.
For indefinite leave:
- All the conditions for leave to remain
- The applicant must have knowledge of the language and life requirement, unless they are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 when they make their application.
- Applicants may not fall under the general grounds for refusal.
Someone can apply for indefinite stay 28 days before he reaches the ten years residence. Applications before this will be refused.
Applications of a person who has passed the 10 year residence period while waiting for a decision on further leave, or while waiting on a decision on their appeal, cannot apply for indefinite leave, but only for leave to remain.
Dependants are not allowed and must apply separately. It is permitted to work and study within this category.
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