20 years is a long period for an individual. Our team has assisted many clients with their 20-year long residence application, with people seeking to obtain legal immigration status in the UK after being in the UK for such a long period of time.


We were instructed by a client that had arrived in the UK in 2000. He instructed us to apply for leave to remain on the basis of 20-year Long Residence, on his behalf. Although this client provided plenty of documents to prove his continuous residence in the UK from 2000, the Home Office refused his application.


We believed that the decision was wholly wrong as our client had genuinely been in the UK for over 20 years and therefore we appealed the decision. Keep reading to learn more about why we were successful with this 20 year residence appeal.




After lodging the appeal against the refusal of our client’s application, we represented this client in the First-tier Tribunal, primarily challenging the decision’s legality under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. We stated that the client was relying on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, citing his health and long-term residency in the UK (18 years at the time of application and over 20 years at the time of the hearing), to show that a refusal would breach his right to a private life and that there would be significant barriers in his reintegration into China.


Understandably our client did not have documentary evidence for every year that he had been in the UK illegally. However, he did have witnesses who gave evidence as to his residence.


The judge was not satisfied with the lack of documentary evidence and believed that the witnesses were not credible. The Judge gave much weight to the fact that the Home Office had conducted a home visit a few years ago and the client was not there. The Judge then concluded that the client had not been in the UK resident since 2000.


Permission to Appeal


Following receipt of the appeal determination, we believe the judge erred. The reason for this is that we felt adequate reasons were not given as to why the Judge concluded that there were intervening years during which our client was not present in the UK.


We argued that it should be considered that producing documentary evidence for individuals who live unlawfully in the UK for lengthy periods can be challenging. Therefore, a lack of evidence covering each year does not necessarily invalidate a claim of having been present during the relevant periods.


We argued that the Judge did not give adequate reasons as to why it was decided that little weight would be given to the client’s witnesses.


Permission was granted to appeal. The Upper Tribunal agreed that errors had been made and the appeal was scheduled to be reheard.


New Appeal Hearing


At the new appeal hearing, the client’s witnesses attended again, and the case was heard from the start this time by a different Judge. The Home Office case was the same, that is to say that the client has not been in the UK continuously since 2000 as there was years not accounted for.


We argued that the disputed years represented a minority of the client’s total residence in the UK.


The Judge agreed that the balance of the evidence is that it is more likely than not that the appellant has been present throughout each of the disputed years.  He has resided in the UK continuously since 2003. The disputed years represent a minority of the appellant’s total residence in the UK.


Accordingly, the client was granted leave to remain.


The conclusion


Our client was delighted that his case was finally successful.


This case highlights the importance of ensuring that a decision should not just be accepted. Any decision needs to be carefully reviewed to ascertain whether it has been considered fairly and in accordance with the law. In our client’s case it had not, and therefore should we not have challenged this our client would not have leave to remain today.


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