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Why was my 10-year long residence refused?

If you are looking to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK based on ten years of long residence, you should ensure that you are eligible based on your residence history.

If you would benefit from the support of a specialist immigration lawyer, contact Birmingham Immigration Lawyers for a discussion about how we can assist with your case.

Phone 0121 667 4593 or use the online contact form to get in touch with one of our specialist advisers.

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There are many reasons why a 10-year long residence application can be refused. Some of the reasons for refusal include:

  • The Home Office has made a mistake in assessing the application
  • The applicant made a historical error on an administrative form (e.g., a tax form)
  • Applications contain very small errors
  • The application is refused on the grounds of public interest
  • The applicant fails to meet the lawful continuous residence requirement
  • The applicant does not have sufficient knowledge of English
  • The applicant did not pass the Life in the UK test
  • The applicant falls under some other general grounds for refusal
  • The applicant spent longer than 18 months outside the UK in total over ten years
  • The applicant spent longer than 6 months outside the UK at any one time

It is possible for people resident in the UK to apply for indefinite leave to remain (residence) based on a long period of lawful stay (10-year continuous lawful residence).

Eligible applicants may be able to apply for British citizenship after holding indefinite leave to remain for at least one year. All applicants must meet the requirements for citizenship in order to successfully naturalise as a British citizen

When submitting an application for leave to remain, it is vital to ensure that the applicant has not had an eligible period of overstaying during their immigration history.

Even if a person has a record of overstaying their visa, it is also possible that there may be an exception to the rule. It is recommended to work with an immigration solicitor who can advise you on the most effective approach based on your circumstances.

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What happens if ILR is refused?

It is possible that your application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) will be refused. If this happens, you will receive official communication from the Home Office.

This letter or email will outline why your application has been refused and whether you can appeal as well as the process you should follow.

If your application is refused, you must act quickly as appeals are limited by time and you may not have the right to appeal after a certain date.

It may be possible to appeal the refusal. Appeals are overseen by the independent Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

If you are given the option for an administrative review, you can request this if you do not have the right of appeal. It is not possible to make another visa application while your review is pending.

Another option is a judicial review. Some individuals may have the right for a judicial review This is however, an expensive option and should only be undertaken if there is a strong case for a successful outcome.

What is the long residence (10 year) rule?

If you have lived in the UK lawfully and on a continuous basis for at least ten years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain under the ten-year residence rule.

A full explanation of what is included is outlined under paragraph 276B of the immigration rules.

As well as having been lawfully and continuously residence, you must also demonstrate the following:

  • Have abided by the restrictions of your immigration conditions
  • Can show proof of English language proficiency
  • Passed the Life in the UK test
  • Not currently in breach of immigration laws

In recent years, it has become more difficult to qualify under the ten-year rule, and even minor errors on the application form can lead to a refusal.

To apply for this status, it is necessary to fill out Form SET (LR). You may submit your application no sooner than 28 days before the qualifying period of ten years.

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What does continuous lawful residence mean?

It is important to understand the legal definition of ‘lawful residence.’ It means that applicants under the ten-year rule must have been lawfully residing in the UK, with a valid immigration status.

This means that there should be no record of overstaying or breaching immigration rules. However, under the following circumstances, applicants may be successful in their applications:

  • There was a genuine reason beyond the applicant’s control for overstaying
  • The application was submitted following a previous application’s refusal (under certain circumstances)
  • There are other compelling or compassionate circumstances in your favour

The beginning of the lawful residence period begins when the applicant arrived in the UK or when they received leave to stay.

The ten years does not have to be the ten years prior to the application, and may consist of any continuous period of ten years.

Residing in the UK with valid leave to enter or remain is considered lawful residence.

Gaps in lawful residence

It is possible to qualify under the ten-year rule even if the applicant has a history of gaps in lawful residence.

The immigration rules and some court cases have confirmed that there are situations whereby an application can be granted ILR despite times where an individual has overstayed.

Paragraph 276B states that:

“The requirements to be met by an applicant for indefinite leave to remain on the ground of long residence in the United Kingdom are that:

(i) (a) he has had at least 10 years continuous lawful residence in the United Kingdom. […]

(v) the applicant must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws, except that, where paragraph 39E of these Rules applies, any current period of overstaying will be disregarded….”

In essence, the guidance around the ten-year residence rule and gaps in lawful residence is somewhat unclear and has been subject to some successful legal challenges.

If you have some gaps in your residence, it is important to discuss this with a qualified immigration solicitor who can advise on your personal situation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If your indefinite leave to remain application is refused, you will receive a letter from the Home Office outlining why you have been refused. If you are able to amend the issues mentioned in the letter, you may be able to resubmit your application.

However, if the reasons require legal expertise, it is recommended to consult with your immigration lawyer for support.

It is possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after ten years on the basis of long residence. You should ensure that you meet all the qualifying criteria of continuous lawful residence and have not spent more than 18 months (total) outside the UK during this time.

Some categories of visa allow the holder to apply for ILR after five years (e.g., Spouse Visa, and some work visas such as the Skilled Worker Visa).

There are many reasons why the ILR application can be rejected. These can include the following:

  • General grounds of refusal
  • The applicant does not meet the continuous residency requirements
  • The applicant did not submit the required supporting documents
  • The applicant has a record of criminal history
  • The Home Office believes there are false representations in the application

If you believe you have grounds to appeal your ILR (or if you’re not sure), speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers for further support and advice. Call 0121 667 4593.