If you have been in the UK lawfully and continuously for 10 years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement). The 10 year 'long residence' route counts leave to remain in various immigration categories. For example, it may be made up of continuous residence as a student, graduate, and skilled worker combined. Periods of permission to be in the UK as a visitor, short-term student, and seasonal worker do not count. You must make this application whilst in the UK.
Permitted Length of Absences
When calculating your continuous residence in the UK, you should be aware that you cannot have left the UK for more than 548 days during the 10 year period, and must not have been absent for 184 consecutive days at any time. Even though they are part of the Common Travel Area, any time spent in the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man does not count as UK residence for the purposes of this application.
You left the UK on 1 January 2017 and returned 152 days (5 months) later. This is an acceptable absence for the purposes of this application.
You left the UK on 1 January 2017 and returned on 1 August 2017. However, you came back to the UK for 48 hours in May before leaving again. This is an acceptable absence because, although you have been absent for 8 months (243 days), there is a break in the absence which means the absences are not consecutive; they will be calculated as January to May and May to August. These are both acceptable absences for the purposes of this application.
You left the UK on 1 January 2017 and returned on 1 September 2017. This is a period of 243 consecutive days and is not an acceptable absence for the purposes of this application.
How can I prove my continuous residence?
You must be able to provide all the relevant dates of your entry to and exit from the UK over the relevant period. This may include passport stamps, boarding passes and visas to other countries. Establishing your right to remain in the UK can be done via visa vignettes, biometric residence permits, and grant of leave (decision) letters.
What if my absences are over the threshold?
If you have spent more time absent from the UK than permitted under this route, you must calculate at what stage your continuous residence was broken. This is important because it will enable you to identify from which date you can restart your residence (your new 'start date').
I had good reasons for being absent, can I still apply?
It may be possible to rely on compelling or compassionate circumstances to justify an absences which is over the threshold (either a single consecutive absence of over 184 days or the total absences surpassing 548 days). You should have good reasons and evidence to support your reasons. The decision will be at UKVI's discretion.
Does prison time break continuous residence? - Indefinite Leave to Remain
Yes. Your continuous residence will be broken if you receive a custodial sentence and you are sent to a prison, young offender's institution, or a secure hospital. Read more about how criminal convictions can impact immigration applications here.
Is continuous residence broken by my decision to appeal a refusal?
Generally, no. You will not become an overstayer if your application for further leave to remain was refused and you exercised your right to appeal within the stipulated timeframe. This is commonly referred to as Section 3C Leave (see Section 118 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002).
If you want advice on making an application under the 10 year long residence route to settlement, contact us. See below an email from UKVI confirming our client's application under the 10 year long residence route to settlement has been successful.