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ILR after 10 Years Long Residence

If you have completed 10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK you may be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) through the Long Residence Rule.

The 10 year Long Residence rule, as commonly referred to can be thought of as an overarching, alternative or parallel route to ILR depending on your immigration circumstances.

The Long Residence rule is useful to those who have been in the UK on a visa which does not of itself lead to ILR for example, those who are in the UK solely on student visas, or similarly for those who have 'switched' immigration categories and for one reason or another were not in a position to apply for ILR through the immigration routes they were or are currently on, but have been here for 10 or more years.

Since 12 April 2023, time spent on a visit visa or short term student visa category no longer counts towards 'continuous' lawful long residence.

From 11 April 2024, an individual must have been on his current visa for at least 12 months, unless the visa was issued pre-11 April 2024 - see below for other changes to the Long Residence Rule. 

The basic requirements for a long residence ILR application are that:

  • you have held continuous lawful visa permission for 10 years and
  • have not been absent from the UK for a single period of up to 180 days (184 days if the absence was prior to 11 April 2024) during the 10 year period unless an exception applies and
  • not been in the UK unlawfully
  • meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements. 

Previous applications that have been submitted to the Home Office late may impact on the prospects of a successful 10 Year Long Residence ILR visa application.

If successful an applicant granted ILR through the Long Residence Rule will be entitled to reside in the UK for an indefinite period so long as they do not live abroad for more than 2 years. For those who do stay outside the UK for more than 2 years, an application for entry clearance to return should be made.

Holding ILR enables a person to live, work, receive state assistance and potentially naturalise as British citizens. 

Applications for ILR through the Long Residence Rule are made on an individual basis and therefore dependants must either qualify through their own right i.e. meet the Long Residence Rule requirements themselves or apply to stay in a different route.

The Long Residence immigration lawyers at RLegal have successfully assisted many individuals and family members to obtain ILR through this route.

We have navigated clients through many situations, sometimes through court action, and have built up a considerable knowledge of the 10 Long Residence Rule.  Evan Remedios a lawyer at this firm very first immigration case in 1992 involved assisting a family to obtain ILR through what was then known as the 'long residence concession', before it was incorporated into the immigration rules. 

RLegal immigration solicitors with our extensive experience of the 10 year Long Residence Rule can guide you through the complex evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your application for ILR.

We will take the worry out of the process and ensure the application satisfies the legal requirements for obtaining ILR under the Long Residence Rule.

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

Alternatively click on the links below for frequently asked questions.


For those who have resided lawfully in the UK for a 'continuous period' of 10 years with a visa, then subject to the immigration requirements below, they may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) through the Long Residence Rule.

Please note, the category of visas an individual has held does not have to be in a single category, but can be in a combination of them. 

Applying through the 10 year Long Residence route can be done through the Home Office Super Priority Service within 24 hours, subject to availability and by paying the additional £1000 processing fee.

To qualify for permission to stay in the UK through the 10 Year Long Residence Rule the applicant will need to demonstrate they:

- have had at least 10 years continuous lawful residence in the United Kingdom but not including time spent as a Visitor, Short-term Student or Seasonal Worker;

- from 11 April 2024, that they have held their current immigration permission for at least 12 months prior to applying, unless that visa was granted prior to 11 April 2024 - this is a significant change as referred to below;

- have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days during the 10-year residency period or up to 184 days if the absences was pre-11 April 2024, unless an exception applies;

- have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom unless exempt. For those who cannot satisfy this requirement they may be able to apply for a visa to stay in the UK through this route for up to 2 years at a time; and

- having regard to the public interest there are no reasons why it would be undesirable for them to be given ILR on the ground of long residence, taking into account age, strength of connections to the UK, personal history (including character, conduct, associations and employment record), domestic circumstances, and any compassionate circumstances.

Post 11 April 2024 changes to the Long Residence Rule

Attention should be paid to the new requirement for those applying post 11 April 2024 as their current visa must be held for at least 12 months - this does not apply to individuals granted a visa pre 11 April 2024.

For example, those granted a student visa on 12 April 2024 can only apply for ILR through the Long Residence route on 12 April 2025 (or 28 days prior to) - this would obviously put some potential applicants in the unfortunate position of having to wait almost 11 years to apply through the 10 Long Residence Rule.

Therefore, it is important for those approaching a visa extension (perhaps students more so) to carefully manage their extensions to ensure they do not contravene this requirement, otherwise they face having to wait for a longer period to apply for ILR through the Long Residence Rule than necessary and perhaps more frustratingly, incur more in visa fees than what was required.

Please also note, the requirement to have not been absent for more than 548 days throughout the 10 year period was removed on 11 April 2024, and particularly benefits those who came to the UK as students at a young age and had high absences due to travel home to see family. The removal of the 548 day absence from the Long Residence rule is a significant, but welcome change.

For those who were absent from the UK for exceptional reasons such as COVID-19, absences can be disregarded when applying through the 10 year Long Residence route for ILR and is particularly useful for those who contravene the 180 day absence, but we recommend immigration advice should be sought - RLegal solicitors have successfully argued this point. 

Finally, it is important to note that the Home Office will only consider 10 years 'continuous residence' from the date of application or decision, which ever is more favourable to the applicant. This means that an applicant cannot select an 'historic' period of 10 years where they met the requirement for ILR but did not apply.

An application under the Long Residence Rule for ILR must be submitted to the Home Office on a prescribed online form with the correct documents and the appropriate fee.


You are able to lodge your application for ILR, 28 days before the completion of the 10 year residency period.


The documents required to support a Long Residence application include:

  • passports
  • residence permits
  • Knowledge of Life in the UK certificates
  • evidence to support your presence in the UK and this will depend on your circumstances.


Applications under the 10 Long Residence Year Rule made through the standard system are currently taking up to 6 months to process.


If your application through the Long Residence for ILR is refused, you may have a right of appeal against the Home Office’s decision which is processed in the UK if your visa expires during the consideration process, otherwise the only readdress is by way of Judicial Review.


The Home Office charge a basic application fee of £2885 for indefinite leave to remain. 


An application under the 10 Year Rule can also be submitted through the super-priority service for an additional fee of £1000 but is subject to availability. Care should be taken when considering to do this as the timing has to be right in order to maximise the chance of obtaining a Super Priority slot.

- Comprehensive legal advice relating to the immigration rules for ILR through the 10 year Long Residence Rule.


- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements.


- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for a 10 year Long Residence ILR application. This can be particularly challenging for those who do not have access to all their passports or have absences beyond the 180 days in a 12 month period.


- Completion and submission of all forms.


- Booking a biometric appointment.


- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


Please contact us by telephone on 020 7038 3980 via email at or by completing our online contact form to discuss your case with a member of the team.

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