ILR 10 Year Route - 10 Year Long Residence Documents Required
If you have never heard of the ten year route to indefinite leave to remain (ILR), also referred to as the long-residence route, don’t worry, you are not alone. Most who plan to apply for ILR will do so after five years of holding an eligible visa type. Unfortunately, it is common for migrants who believe they are eligible for ILR after five years to be advised that because they have switched visa type, the clock has been reset, and they need to wait longer to apply. The good news is that if you have been in the UK for ten years and have never applied for ILR, you should be eligible under the long-residency route, no matter which visa you hold or how many times you have switched visa type. In this article, we will explain the documents required to apply for indefinite leave to remain under the ten-year long residence route.
What Is The ILR Ten-Year Long Residence Route?
The ILR long residence route allows migrants who have been in the UK legally for ten years to apply for permanent settlement. With indefinite leave to remain, you can stay in the UK for as long as you wish, and apply for citizenship after one year. ILR holders are also not required to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS), providing them with full access to the NHS.
If you are an EU citizen, it will be faster and cheaper (it is free) to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme is open until the end of June 2021, and as long as you have been in the UK for five or more years, you will be given full settled status as an EU citizen.
Am I Eligible For ILR Under The Long-Residence Route?
The key to acquiring ILR is ensuring that you have been in the UK for ten years or more continuously. This is known as the ‘continuous residence requirement’, meaning that you must not have been outside of the UK for more than 180 days in any year (during the ten years you are relying on to apply for ILR), or 540 days in total. As such, the word continuous does not need to be interpreted literally. If you have been away on holiday, away on business, or returned home to visit your family, you will still be eligible as long as you have not exceeded the permitted number of days absent. The ten-year qualifying period starts from either a) the date you arrived in the UK with a visa, or b) the date you were given permission to stay in the UK, either are acceptable. The Home Office will discount any time applicants may have spent in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Channel Islands, or in prison, a young offender institution or a secure hospital.
Assuming that you qualify under the continuous residence rule, you will also need to prove that you:
- Have held legal immigration status while in the UK for the whole ten years – this is known as leave to remain
- Have kept to the terms of your visa at all times
- Have passed the Life in the UK Test (only if you are between 18 and 65)
- Have sufficient English language skills, typically by passing an official test (again only if you are between 18 and 65)
Which Documents Will I Need To Provide To Prove My Eligibility For Long-Residence ILR?
As a minimum, the documents you will need to provide to the Home Office to support your long-residence application are:
- a current passport or other valid travel ID
- your biometric residence permit if you have one
- all the passports you have held during your time in the UK
For applicants with an active travel history in and out of the UK during the ten year period, it useful to request a ‘subject access request’ of your immigration history. This is especially important if you do not have all of your previous passports. In addition, any documents which prove you have been living in the UK for ten years will also be of benefit to your application, including:
- Travel tickets into the UK
- Property rental agreements
- Mortgage statements
- Utility bills
- Bank statements;
- Employment contracts
- Documents proving you were in education in the UK
Where there is any doubt of your eligibility for ILR, the Home Office will likely request further proof. Given the importance of applying for ILR, it is always advisable to engage the services of an immigration Solicitor who can check your application and accompanying documents before it is submitted. Because they understand the process followed by Home Office case officers follow when assessing applications, it is common for Immigration Lawyers to spot gaps or issues which may give rise to a request for more information or even refusal. They will then be able to advise you on the best strategy to overcome any hurdles. In such cases, they will often write a comprehensive covering letter which the Home Office will review when considering your case, explaining why you are eligible.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For ILR Long-Residence And How Long Will It Take?
The current application fee is £2,389, in addition to the £19.20 biometric fee. It can take up to six months to receive a decision from the Home Office using the standard service. If you would like a faster decision, you can pay an extra £800 to use the super-priority service for a decision by the end of the next working day.
If you have been in the UK for a decade and have been applying for visas during this time, the ILR long-residence route is your chance to secure settlement. Being free of needing to apply for visas in the future will be of considerable benefit and will provide you with greater certainty as to your immigration status in the UK. And after one more year, you will have the ultimate benefit of being able to apply for British citizenship.
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