The Long Residence route to ‘settlement’ in the UK is a way of using different types of permission or ‘leave’ to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Indefinite Leave to Remain means a person will not have to keep renewing their permission to be in the UK – they will be a permanent resident.
Let’s take Michael as an example; he is Australian and came to the UK as a student in 2016. He studied for three years and then spent a year doing his masters degree. At that point, he secured a job as a skilled worker. Michael likes the UK and would like to settle here permanently. Luckily, he will be eligible for ‘settlement’ or Indefinite Leave to Remain after he has been in the UK for five years as a skilled worker.
Unfortunately, after three years of employment, he has lost his job and cannot find new employment as a skilled worker, so he will have to leave the UK soon. He has been here now for seven years but is not yet settled. This is because he has not been here for five years as a skilled worker. His student permission does not count in this case.
Michael married a British Citizen six months ago. He applies successfully to stay in the UK as the partner of a British citizen. He does not have to leave the UK but he has to start again. This time he will be on the ‘five year route to settlement’ as the partner of a British Citizen. By the time has lived here another five years, he will have been here 12 years.
However, in 2026 Michael will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the Long Residence Route. He can use all his previous permissions, as student, skilled worker and partner, to calculate ten years of lawful immigration status in the UK.
The most important aspect of a Long Residence application is ‘continuous residence’. The applicant must show that they have lived in the UK for ten years with lawful permission to enter or stay here. If they have left the UK for over six months at a time, this will generally break that continuous residence. If they have been in prison or let their permission lapse before renewing it, these will also break continuous residence.
The applicant must pass an English Language test at Level B1 and the Life in the UK test.
Finally the applicant must show that there are no reasons why the Home Office should refuse the application. The Home Office will consider if it is not in the public interest to grant Indefinite Leave to Remain. So, for example, the Home Office will look at the person’s age, connections with the UK, domestic and compassionate circumstances. If the applicant has acted fraudulently or has breached immigration rules, the Home Office will take this into account. Character and conduct will be factors too.
In summary, Long Residence is a good way to get Indefinite Leave to Remain for someone who has been in the UK for ten years on a patchwork of different types of permission or leave.
If you have any concerns about the Long Residence route, please contact a member of our team.