I Qualify for ILR But Have Lost One of My Passports. Will this Affect my ILR Application Based on 10 Years Continuous Residence?
Anyone who has navigated the immigration system will know how much paperwork and information is required when submitting a visa application. If one item of evidence or documentation goes missing, this may lead to fears that the Home Office will automatically reject the application. Thankfully, there are often ways around missing items of paperwork. When applying ILR under the long-residence route (ten years), one of the main considerations when assessing an application relates to the amount of time spent continuously in the UK. It is for this reason that it is important to provide the necessary documents to prove this without any doubt.
What is the Ten-year ILR Long Residence Route?
The ten-year-long residence route provides anyone from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) who has spent ten continuous years in the UK with the eligibility they need to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Those who hold ILR can live, work, and leave and enter the UK indefinitely without being subject to immigration control. They also have the right to claim benefits where eligible and can use the NHS without being required to pay the healthcare surcharge.
In order to be eligible for ILR under the long-residence route, the applicant must have spent ten continuous years in the UK. The continuous residence rule is met if the individual has not left the UK for more than 180 days at a time, or 540 days in total during their ten years. Time spent in prison, young offender institution or secure hospital, or in Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands is not included as time in the UK.
The Home Office rules also state that the ten-year qualifying period starts from either when you arrived in the UK with a visa, or when you were given permission to stay in the UK. Long-residence applicants also need to have kept to the terms of their UK visa/s,
How Do I Prove I Have Been in the UK ‘Continuously’ for Ten Years?
The Home Office requires a number of documents to be provided with your application for ILR under the long-residence route. These include your current passport, your biometric residence permit (BRP), and all of the passports you have held during your time in the UK. Where an applicant has lost a passport, this may pose a problem both when completing the application form as they may need the passport to enter the full list of absences from the UK, and also because the ‘all passports’ requirement cannot be met.
What can I Do if I Have Lost a Passport When Applying for ILR under the Long-residence Route?
If your passport has been lost or stolen, one option is to make a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) to the Home Office. There are three types of SAR which can be requested from the Home Office:
The basic SAR should suffice when it comes to gathering the information needed for an ILR long-residence application, as this can include:
- an electronic summary of your immigration history
- landing cards held electronically (Copies of landing cards can be used to calculate the total duration of any absences from the UK)
- visa applications submitted from outside of the UK (as part of entry clearance)
- details of any entry and exit into and out of the UK.
The Home Office states that SAR requestors should expect to receive a response within 30 days of their identity being verified.
How can I Request a SAR from the Home Office?
SARs are requested online, and all requests are free of charge. Before the SAR request can be processed, you will need to provide:
- a copy of your photo identification, such as a passport, that has been certified as a true likeness
- signed authority from the person you are applying for, if you are applying for someone else
- proof of your relationship, if you are applying for a child
When making a SAR online, you will first need to confirm the information you require, and once done, you will need to provide personal details so the Home Office can locate your records on their systems. If they are unable to find you on their database, you can expect your application to be refused. For this reason, it is essential to use your full name and correct previous addresses and other personal information.
How Do I Apply for ILR Based on Long Residence?
The application for ILR based on a long residence is completed online. You will also need to arrange an appointment at a local UKVCAS office to have your biometric information was taken (photo, fingerprints, and signature). The application fee is £2,389 in addition to the £19.20 fee to have your biometric information taken. Applications for settlement under the long residence route can take up to six months to complete, however, there is the option of the super-priority service which will provide a decision by the end of the next working day for an extra £800.
Having been in the UK for ten or more years, it is understandable that you will be keen to submit your application for ILR as soon as possible, to gain the advantages that settlement provides. Realising that you have lost a key document such as a passport need not be a significant problem, however. Simply by applying for a Subject Access Request, you can ensure you have the full complement of the information you need to provide as part of your application. If you have any concerns about making your application, talk to experienced immigration solicitors.
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