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10 Years Long Residence

The rules on long residence recognise the ties a person may form with the UK over a lengthy period of residence here.

A person who has completed 10 years continuous and lawful residence in the UK can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) on this basis. For the purposes of ILR under 10 years long residence category, the residence in the UK must be both continuous and lawful.

Requirements for long residence

The applicant must meet the following requirements, in order to be granted indefinite leave:

  • The applicant must have at least 10 years lawful residence in the UK.
  • There must be no reason why granting leave is against the public good.
  • The applicant must meet the knowledge of language and life requirement.
  • The applicant must not have one or more unspent convictions within the meaning of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Continuous residence is defined in paragraph 276A of the Immigration Rules. Continuous residence means residence in the UK for an unbroken period. For the purposes of long residence, a period is not considered broken if the applicant:

  • Was absent from the UK for six months or less at any one time, and
  • Had existing leave to enter or remain upon their departure and return.

Lawful residence is defined in paragraph 276A of the Immigration Rules as a period of continuous residence in which the applicant had one of the following:

  • Existing leave to enter or remain
  • Temporary admission within section 11 of the 1971 Immigration Act where leave to enter or remain is subsequently granted
  • 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.

Events that break continuous residence

Continuous residence is considered to be broken if the applicant has:

  • Been absent from the UK for a period of more than six months at any one time, or is absent from the UK for a shorter period but does not have valid leave to enter the UK on their return, or valid leave to remain on their departure from the UK
  • Been removed or deported from the UK, or has left the UK following refusal of leave to enter or remain
  • Left the UK and by doing so, showed a clear intention not to return
  • Left the UK under circumstances in which they could have no real chance of returning to the UK lawfully
  • Been convicted of an offence and been given a custodial sentence, or ordered to be detained in an institution other than a prison, such as a hospital or young offenders institute, not including suspended sentences
  • Spent a total of 18 months outside the UK throughout the whole 10-year period.

Further information, help, and advice

Our team of specialists have years of experience in visa services. We work with clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0203 488 2308 or email us at

Worldwide Immigration
Worldwide Immigration