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Changes to 10-Year Long Residence ILR Rules

On 11 April 2024, a new Appendix to the Immigration Rules: Appendix Long Residence came into effect, replacing the previous provisions in Part 7 (rules 276A-276D) of the Immigration Rules.

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Who can apply on the basis of Long Residence?


The Long Residence route allows applicants who have lived in the UK lawfully for at least ten years to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as settlement. Applicants may combine permission held under most immigration routes towards the ten-year qualifying period.


In certain circumstances, an applicant may also be granted permission to stay on the basis of Long Residence, for example, if they meet the suitability, qualifying period, and continuous residence requirements but do not meet the English language or knowledge of Life in the UK requirements.


What are the key changes?


Current permission is required for at least 12 months


One of the most notable adjustments is the requirement for applicants to have held current permission for at least 12 months or have been exempt from immigration control in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of the application. Whilst this change may delay some applications, it aims to ensure consistency and compliance.


Under Appendix Long Residence LR 11.3:


Subject to LR 11.4, the applicant must have had permission on their current immigration route for at least 12 months on the date of application, or have been exempt from immigration control in the 12 months immediately before the date of application.


This means that future applicants are prevented from applying for settlement on the basis of Long Residence until they have held permission on their current immigration route for at least 12 months.


The Long Residence route is often an appealing route as it allows applicants to rely on numerous different categories of permission to stay in the last ten years to count towards the qualifying period. Applicants who have recently switched immigration categories will, therefore, need to be wary of this restriction.


Overstaying in light of the qualifying period for Long Residence


A further clarification of the rules has been brought in under Appendix Long Residence LR 11.2:

The following periods will not count towards the qualifying period for Long Residence:
· time spent on immigration bail, temporary admission or temporary release; and
· any period of overstaying between periods of permission before 24 November 2016 even if a further application was made within 28 days of the expiry of the previous permission; and
· any period of overstaying between periods of permission on or after 24 November 2016 even if paragraph 39E applies to that period of overstaying; and
· any current period of overstaying where paragraph 39E applies.


There has been a great deal of case law on whether periods of overstaying could be disregarded for ten-year Long Residence applications. LR 11.2 clarifies that any period of overstaying before or after 24 November 2016 will not be considered towards the qualifying period for Long Residence.

Changes to the relevant absences where 10 year period changed

Appendix Long Residence introduces changes to the way absences are calculated. The 10 year long residence route previously permitted absences of 548 days. That has now changed.

The current approach to absences for a 10 year long residence, under Appendix Long Residence, can be summarised as follows: 

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.

It can be argued that this particular change will be important to people who arrive in the UK to study at university, as they typically have longer holidays due to their family being overseas.

Transitional provisions

It's worth emphasizing that the enhanced absence allowances won't be applied retroactively. While future applicants will benefit from more lenient absence regulations, individuals nearing the end of their ten-year period as of now still need to consider the maximum absence of 548 days concerning their residency before April 11, 2024. These transitional measures maintain the requirement that continuous residency will be interrupted if an applicant has been away from the UK for over 184 days at a stretch or for a cumulative total exceeding 548 days, particularly if the absence began before April 11, 2024.

Historic ten-year residency removed

The option for making an ILR application based on a historic ten-year period of residence has been removed by the new rules, which may disadvantage certain individuals who had accrued a residence period but had not previously applied. The removal of this option can have a particular negative impact on long-term residents from the EU.


Knowledge of English and Life in the UK for settlement on the Long Residence route

Under Appendix Long Residence, applicants are still required to pass the Life in the UK test. However, the new rules made the English language requirement slightly easier as Appendix English Language permits reliance on GCSE / A-Levels. 


Contact us today if you have questions about the new rules, if you think you could be eligible for a Long Residence route, or if you need help calculating your absences.


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