Changes to the 10-year ILR Long Residence rules

Hidden amongst a host of other changes to the immigration rules on 11 April 2024, there have been significant changes to the 10-year route to settlement known as ‘Long Residence’.

The Long Residence route to settlement is for those who have lived in the UK continuously and lawfully for 10 years or more. The rules have now been consolidated in a new Appendix: Appendix Long Residence.

The changes will benefit some applicants who did not meet the previous absences requirements, such as those who came to the UK as child students, while others lose out.

The significant changes are:

  1. How absences are calculated

One of the biggest changes is in relation to how absences will be calculated.

Previously, the rule was that an applicant should not have spent more than 548 days outside the UK over the 10-year period.

From 11 April 2024, the new rule is that applicants should not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12-month period.

No single absence should be more than 184 days.

  1. Applicants must have held permission in their current route for 12 months or more

A new requirement has been introduced that an applicant must have held permission in their current route for at least 12 months. This change means that if you have been in your current route for less than a year, you may need to delay your settlement application even if you have already completed 10 years’ residence.

Importantly, this requirement only applies for applicants whose current visa was granted after 11 April 2024.

  1. What counts towards the 10-year qualifying period

Applicants must have held lawful permission in the UK, except permission as a visitor, short-term student or seasonal worker, or have been exempt from immigration control.

The new rules specify that time spent in the UK as an EEA national or a family member of an EEA national exercising Treaty rights qualify towards the 10-year period. This is a clearer position than under the previous rules.

As before, time spent overstaying in the UK will still break the 10-year qualifying period with some limited exceptions.

Importantly, one major change is that applicants can no longer rely on a historic 10-year qualifying period to qualify for settlement under the new rules. This was a useful feature of the old route which allowed those who had accrued long periods of lawful residence but who never made an application. This is no longer an option under the new rule.

How we can help

Contact our friendly team for advice on how these changes might affect you and your eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain.