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Long Residence

Long Residence – 10 years lawful residence

The Long Residence category of the Immigration Rules enables non-UK national who have lived in the UK lawfully for at least ten years to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as settlement and permanent residence).

By settling in the UK, you can live and work in the UK without time limitations. However, you must first satisfy the eligibility criteria.

You will have held valid leave to remain in the UK from any combination of immigration category and been in the UK on a continuous basis for at least 10 years. Your 10-year qualifying period will have started from either when you arrived in Britain with a UK visa or when you were given permission to stay in the UK.

Long Residence requirements – Eligibility for ILR:

  • You have lived in the UK for a continuous lawful period of ten years; and

  • Your lawful 10 year period of residence is unbroken; and

  • There are no public interest reasons why it would be undesirable to grant you indefinite leave to remain; and

  • There are no general grounds for refusing your application, such as a criminal conviction; and

  • You have demonstrated knowledge of the English language and completed the Life in the UK test; and

  • You have complied with the terms of your UK visa.

Continuous residence requirement

Continuous residence is time that has been spent in the UK without any significant periods of absence. You should not leave the UK more than 6 months at any one time, but no more than 18 months in total (or 540 days).  It is important to note, when leaving the UK you have valid on departure and when you return. A month constitutes 30 calendar days and you only have to count full days out of the country, not days spent travelling.

Absences of more than 6 months will in most cases be considered to have broken your continuous residence unless the Home Office exercises discretion where you can show exceptional or compassionate circumstances for the absences.

You will have a break in your residence if at any time during the period relied upon:

  • You were absent from the UK for more than 540 days in total; or

  • You were removed or deported from the UK; or

  • You left the UK having been refused leave to enter or remain;

  • You evidenced a clear intention not to return to the UK on leaving; or

  • You left the UK with no reasonable expectation of being able to return lawfully; or

  • You were sentenced to a period of imprisonment (not suspended) or directed to be detained; or

  • You were absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time; or

  • You were absent from the UK for less than 6 months but had no leave either upon departure or return.


On most occasions, a person who meets the requirements for continuous lawful

residence should be granted indefinite leave to remain. This is unless a grant is

against the public interest.

You must consider whether there are any reasons why it would be undesirable on

public interest grounds to grant indefinite leave. In considering this you must take

into account the person’s:

  • Age

  • Strength of connections in the UK

  • Personal history, including character, conduct, associations and employment record

  • Domestic circumstances

  • Compassionate circumstances

  • Any representations on the person’s behalf

The Home Office has a discretion to grant long residence applications where the applicant has exceeded their absences beyond 540 days in total or a single absence of more than six months. You would need to demonstrate that the absences were for an exceptional or compelling reason.

The qualifying 10 year period does not need to have been completed recently. You can rely on a historic continuous period of 10 years lawful residence.

If you have dependants, they may need to apply to switch into a different category of the Immigration Rules, such as the Spouse or Civil Partner or Child categories, unless they meet the requirements under Long Residence.

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