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Long Residence Guidance: ILR 10 Years Route 2024

Long Residence Guidance: ILR 10 Years Route 2024

What is long residence?

If you have resided in the UK continuously and legally for a period of 10 years you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – this is known as long residence. Lawful residence means that you have not overstayed your visa at any point throughout your stay in the UK.

One of the main features of the long residence route to ILR is that it does not matter what type of visa you have held during your 10+ years in the UK. This is different to shorter pathways to ILR, which require applicants to have held a specific visa for 2, 3, or 5 years. And in some cases, visas (such as the Intra-company transfer visa) do not count towards ILR. As such, ILR through long residence is ideal for anyone who has held several different types of visa and has been unable to reach the qualification period for ILR for any visa they have held. In many cases, simply by switching from one visa to another, this can effectively ‘reset’ the ILR clock, meaning that any time spent already in the UK does not count towards ILR; this is not the case with the long residence route as any time counts (as long as you have been here continuously – as we explore below).

Long residence requirements 2024

In order to qualify for long residence under the 10-year rule, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have resided in the UK lawfully and continuously for at least 10 years without gaps – this includes time on most immigration categories or a combination of different immigration categories
  • From 11 April 2024 the applicant must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have passed the knowledge of life in the UK test
  • Have held your current visa for at least one year

Assuming you meet the above eligibility requirements, you will also need to meet another set of criteria regarding your suitability, these include:

  • there must not be any grounds for refusal; these may include criminal convictions or if you pose a threat to immigration control. In addition, granting you indefinite leave to remain must not be against the public interest, and;
  • you must not have breached your previous immigration conditions (e.g. overstayed).

If you are not sure if you qualify for ILR through the long residence, please speak with one of our by calling us on 020 3744 2797, who will be glad to discuss your situation and prepare the application for you.

Continuous 10 Years lawful Residence

The continuous lawful residence requirement means that you must have spent at least 10 years in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain granted by the Home Office. When calculating how much continuous time you have spent in the UK, the Home Office will also check how long you have been outside of the UK during that period (also referred to as "absence" or "breaks in continuous residence") . A new update for the long residence ILR absent rule in 2024 is:

  • any single absences started before 11 April 2024 must be no longer than 184 days
  • a 10-year period completed before 11 April 2024 must not have total absences of more than 548 days - for 10-year periods which extend beyond 11 April 2024, there is no 548-day limit
  • from 11 April 2024 the applicant must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period

Please note that the following circumstances do not count towards the continuous residence:

  • Time spent on a Standard Visitor visa or as a visitor without a visa
  • Time spent on a Short-term study visa
  • Time spent on a Seasonal Worker visa
  • Time spent on immigration bail, temporary admission or temporary release
  • Time spent in a prison, young offender institution or secure hospital
  • Time spent overstaying your visa, including periods under "exceptional assurance" because of COVID-19
  • Time spent in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Channel Islands

Subject access requests

If you do not have access to all of the information you need to calculate your time in the UK, you can submit a subject access request (SAR) to the Home Office 2. A basic search will provide you with a summary of your immigration and travel history and any landing cards held electronically. It will also provide basic details of visa applications you submitted from outside of the UK for entry clearance.

English Language Requirements for ILR on 10 Year Basis

You can meet the English language requirements in 3 main ways:

  • Pass an approved CEFR English language test at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level
  • Have a degree taught or researched in English, or;
  • If you are from an exempt country 3

You will not need to meet this requirement if you are aged under 18 or over 65.

10 year long residence documents required

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 current biometric residence permit
  • All of the passports you have held during your time living in the UK

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

You may also need to have your documents translated if they are not already in English or Welsh.

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 they are submitted. Contact our solicitors by calling 020 3744 2797 for your long residence questions.

When to apply for long residence ILR?

You will be able to send your application to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) up to 28 days before you meet all of the eligibility requirements outlined above. It is important to apply before your current visa expires.

Timing is crucial here. If you are trying to apply as early as possible, it is even more important that you have confirmed you meet the 10 year residence period. Even if you are a day or two out in your calculations, your application may be refused if you have applied too early. As such, it is advisable to wait until you are sure you are past the 10-year continuous residence threshold.

Extension of staying for 2 years on the basis of 10 years long residence

There may be reasons where an applicant may need to apply for an extension even though they qualify for Indefinite Leave to remain. Such an instance include where the applicant has not passed the life in the UK test, but they meet all of the other eligibility requirements for Indefinite Leave to remain.

Paragraphs 276A1 and 276A2 of the immigration rules allow applicants who have met all other eligibility requirements of an ILR application apart from the English language and life in the UK test requirement.

How can Reiss Edwards help with your long residence?

The long-residence route offers many migrants who have been living in the UK for ten or more years the ability to secure ILR. Our team will be happy to have a chat with you to discuss the long residence pathway with you and whether this is the best approach for you and your family.

We can assist with all aspects of long residence ILR applications, including:

  • Recommending the best immigration route to meet your goals and those of your family
  • Checking your application prior to submission
  • Handling the whole application process for long residence ILR on your behalf
  • Checking you have the necessary documents
  • Dealing with complex matters relating to your application
  • Liaising with the Home Office on your behalf
  • Managing any refusal for ILR through long residence


1 GOV.UK: Indefinite leave to remain if you’ve been in the UK for 10 years (long residence)

2 GOV.UK: Request personal information held in the borders, immigration and citizenship system

3 GOV.UK: Prove your knowledge of English for citizenship and settling

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