Immigration Solicitors London

Est. 2002

+44 (0)20 7038 3980

RLegal Solicitors, 162-168 Regent Street London W1B 5TG

RLegal is regulated by the SRA, Reg No: 00380691

On 9 July 2012, the Home Office removed the 14 Year Long Residence Rule which allowed individuals without a visa a means to regularise their stay on the basis of the length of time they had spent in the UK. It was replaced by a new category based on a person’s right to a “private life” in the UK. Like its predecessor, this category potentially allows an individual with no lawful permission to apply to remain in the UK.


An applicant will need to satisfy not only a suitability test but will also need to meet a minimum residency requirement. The length of time a person will need demonstrate they have been resident in the UK will depend on their age and circumstances. The three general criteria are:


- 20 years continuous residence;
- 7 years continuous residence if the applicant is under the age of 18; or
- has spent more than half their life in the UK if the applicant is aged between 18 and 25.


Successful applicants will be allowed to regularise their stay and will be placed on a path that will lead to indefinite leave to remain after 10 years further residency. Initial permission will be issued for 30 months and an applicant will expected to renew their permission every two and half years until they have reached 10 years.


We strongly recommend that an individual wishing to apply to regularise their stay in this category takes legal advice before doing so.


RLegal will guide you through the complex evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your application. We have over 20 years experience of lodging successful applications in this and its predecessor categories. We will take the worry out of the process and give you peace of mind.


For more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7038 3980 where you can talk to one of our team, email us at or complete our online enquiry form.


Alternatively click on the links below for frequently asked questions.

To qualify for permission to stay in the UK on a discretionary basis outside of the Immigration Rules the applicant will need to demonstrate that they:


- do not fall for refusal under the grounds of ‘suitability’;

- have lived in the UK for continuously for a period of 20 years; or

- is under the age of 18 and have lived for a continuous period of 7 years in the UK and it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK; or

- is over the age of 18 but under the age of 25 and has lived for half his life continuously in the UK; or

- is over the age of 18, has lived continuously in the UK for a period of 20 years and has no ties to a country of return.

An application must be made to the Home Office on the correct form, with supporting documents and the correct fee. Applications can only be submitted by post.


Applicants for a discretionary leave visa must pay an Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa.


The evidential requirements for this category are extremely complex.

Once an applicant completes 10 years stay in the UK under the Long Residence: Private Life category they will be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Applicants granted discretionary leave before 9 July 2012 are able to extend their visa permission under the Rules in place at the time they were granted their initial discretionary visa.


Successful extension applications will be granted for 3 years and the individual will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain once they have completed 6 years with this status (3 plus 3 years).

- Comprehensive legal advice.

- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements.

- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for this category.

- Completion and submission of all forms.

- Booking a biometric appointment.

- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


If you would like to discuss your application for Discretionary Leave: Private Life in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form.

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