Long Residence route
People who are 25 years old or older can qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain because of the length of time they have lived in the UK. This is called the Long Residence route.
But you must show you have lived in the UK:
- for at least 20 years, and
- for 10 of those years, you lived here lawfully and continuously.
There are 6 tests to show your residence in the UK is lawful. There are 5 tests to show that your residence in the UK is continuous.
Make sure you can pass all 11 tests for lawful and continuous residence before you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
What to do now
- Collect all your immigration papers together
- Add up the months and years you have lived in the UK starting from the date you first came
- Work out if you pass the 11 tests for lawful and continuous residence:
- add up the months and years you lived here lawfully first, then
- add up the months and years you have lived here continuously next.
You must start again every time an event your life means you do not pass one of the tests.
You cannot count any time before that event, towards your ‘10 years lawful and continuous residence’.
Use the example below to help you.
Mr A has lived in the UK for 20 years.
But only the most recent 5 years count as ‘lawful and continuous’. Mr A must wait 5 years before applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- Years 0 to 5 do not count because Mr A went abroad for more than 6 months in one go
- Years 5 to 14 do not count because Mr A was convicted of 2 offences and got a court sentence for each conviction
- Year 15 does not count because Mr A went abroad for 2 months. Adding up all the time he was abroad that made a total of 19 months
The picture below shows this timeline for Mr A.
Choose What does lawful and continuous mean below for more help with this.