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What is the 10 year rule on long residence?

The Immigration Rules allow people to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) following 10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK.

Paragraph 276B of the Immigration Rules enables a person with 10 continuous and lawful years of residence in the UK to apply for ILR.

ILR – 10 years long residence visa success stories

Here at Edwin Coe, we have assisted many individuals with their indefinite leave to remain on the basis of having completed 10 years long residence in the UK.

We would like to share some examples with you.

Mr T Wang – April 2018

We assisted our Chinese client who has been in the UK for 11.5 years and was advised by several law firms that he was deemed to have a gap which was affected by his previous refused Tier 4 student and Tier 2 visa. Although our client was legally in the UK during this time, through pending applications and appeals, he did not have a valid visa between October 2013 and January 2016. Our client failed to depart the UK within 28 days of his refused Tier 2 and returned to the UK with a new visa after 4 weeks.

Our client’s initial application was first rejected at Croydon using the Premium service. We did not give up and filed another application again with extensive explanations in our letter of representation. His ILR was approved in three hours and he has since introduced three other clients to us.

Ms J Zhou – January 2018

We assisted our Chinese client who had a single gap in her lawful residence due to submitting two applications which were both refused due to (i) an error in payment and (ii) an out of date application form. By the time she submitted her application for the third time round, it was classified as overstaying of 28 days or more.

We advised our client on the documents required to support her application and attended the Home Office Premium service appointment with her on the day. The caseworker came back and forth with questions and we managed to provide sufficient evidence to support the overstaying gap. Her ILR was granted on the same day and the client was overjoyed.

Mr X Feng – June 2018

We assisted our Chinese client who had overall absences for 750 days out of the UK in the past 10 year period. We explained the compassionate circumstances relating to theses absences and asked the Home Office to exercise discretion to grant him ILR outside of the Immigration Rules. The application was initially refused, but we managed to resubmit another fresh application within two weeks with more supporting documents and a detailed explanation, and his ILR was granted on the same day.

Mr B HU – February 2018

Our Chinese client first filed for an extension to his Tier 1 Investor visa in November 2017 himself. When he completed his 10 years continuous lawful residence 4 weeks after submission of his Tier 1 Investor extension, we assisted him with his ILR application by varying his leave and cancelled his previous application with the Home Office. His application, which was submitted using the Premium service was approved 3 weeks later.

Mr C Lin – February 2018

We assisted our client who had overall absences of more than 800 days out of the UK in the past 10 year period, in addition to overstaying for more than 28 days on one occasion. We advised on the supporting documents required and provided extensive, compelling, compassionate circumstances surrounding the death of his father and asked the Home Office to exercise discretion to grant him ILR outside the Immigration Rules. His application was approved within one week, and was submitted using the Premium service.

Anonymous client – May 2018

Our client had been present in the UK for 10 years, during which time he had held seven different visas. This included five Tier 4 student visas over the first 5 years of his leave in the UK. During these 5 years, the client had only gone on to complete two of his courses, meaning the other 3 courses were incomplete and he had no completion certificates or degrees. A further issue was that after the seventh year of his 10 year period, the client returned to China where he fell ill, leaving him bedridden and unable to travel for 18 months. Despite the fact that he had not completed several of the courses for which he was granted Tier 4 visas, and despite the fact that he had excessive absences from the UK, we were able to achieve a positive result for the client and his ILR status was approved.

What does ‘continuous’ mean?

The definition of ‘continuous’ for the purposes of paragraph 276B means residence in the UK for an unbroken period. For these purposes a period shall not be considered to have been broken where an applicant is absent from the UK 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:

  1. 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
  2. has left the United Kingdom and, on doing so, evidenced a clear intention not to return; or
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. has spent a total of more than 18 months absent from the United Kingdom during the period in question.

What does ‘lawful’ mean?

Lawful residence” is defined at paragraph 276A(b) as:

Lawful residence” means residence which is continuous residence pursuant to:

  1. existing leave to enter or remain; or
  2. temporary admission within section 11 of the [Immigration Act 1971] (as previously in force), or immigration bail within section 11 of the 1971 Act, where leave to enter or remain is subsequently granted; or
    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.

We note that leave to enter or remain is lawful for the purposes of a long residence application, as is temporary admission or bail, or exemption from control if that status is immediately followed by leave.

Any other requirements?

In addition to showing 10 years’ continuous lawful residence in the UK, an applicant must show that:

  • there are no reasons why granting leave is against the public good
  • they have passed the Life in the UK test
  • they speak English at level B1
  • they are lawfully resident in the UK at the time of the application 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.

Dependants of applicants for ILR under the long residence rules

We note that there are no provisions and no general rule for dependants to be included in the application for ILR under the long residence rule. Where a dependant(s) is included in the application, the Home Office will generally refuse the application.

When, where, how to apply?

Applications for ILR on the basis of 10 years can be made up to 28 days prior to completion of the qualifying 10 year period. It can be made by post, or at the Home Office for a same day decision using the Premium service.

Here at Edwin Coe, we have assisted many individuals with their ILR on the basis of 10 years long residence. If you have any questions about this topic please contact Christine Chiew – Consultant or any member of the Edwin Coe Immigration team.

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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