This article serves as a guide for an indefinite leave to remain application, otherwise known as 10 year lawful residence. Contact us today for help with your application.


What is indefinite leave to remain on the basis of 10 years lawful residence?


Indefinite leave to remain allows you to settle in the UK if you have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years (known as long residence). Indefinite leave to remain is also sometimes called settlement. You can use it to apply for British citizenship.


This guide will briefly explain the general requirements that must be met to apply for the spouse visa. All requirements must be strictly met, otherwise the application will be refused.


What are the requirements?


In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain, you must satisfy a number of requirements which are as follows:


  • You must have permission to stay (leave to remain).
  • You must have been in the UK legally for 10 years without gaps (continuous residence).
  • If you are aged 18 to 65 years old, you must pass the Life in the UK Test. You must also speak and understand English to the required level.


Knowledge of language


You can prove your knowledge of the English language by having a recognised English test qualification from an approved test centre. You must have an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level.


You can also prove this if you have an academic degree taught or researched in English. If your degree is from a UK university, you only need your degree certificate. If your degree is not from a UK university, you will need a copy of your degree certificate and an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) from Ecctis confirming the degree is equivalent to a UK qualification.


You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are a citizen of one of the countries below:


Antigua and Barbuda Canada New Zealand
Australia Dominica St Kitts and Nevis
the Bahamas Grenada St Lucia
Barbados Guyana St Vincent and the Grenadines
Belize Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago
the British overseas territories Malta USA



You also do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are aged 65 or over or unable to because of a long-term physical or mental condition. However, you must provide a completed exemption form from a doctor confirming your physical or mental condition.


If you do not meet this requirement, you can apply to extend your leave to remain (extend your stay). You do not need to wait until your current visa expires but you must be in the UK to apply.


Continuous residence


Continuous residence is time you have spent in the UK without gaps. You can leave the UK during the continuous residence for up to 184 days at a time, and 548 days in total.


You cannot count time spent in the UK on a Visitor visa, a visitor without a visa, on a Short-term study visa, on a Seasonal Worker visa, on immigration bail or in a prison, young offender institution or secure hospital. You also cannot count time spent in Ireland, the Isle of Man or Channel Islands.


If you have exceeded absences of over 548 days in the 10 year period, then absences may be waived if you can show that there were serious and compelling reasons.


What documents must you provide?


You will need to provide a current passport or other valid travel ID, your biometric residence permit (BRP) if you have one and all the passports you have held during your time in the UK. You will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.


You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.


What is the process?


You must apply online for indefinite leave to remain.


When you apply, you will be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information. You will also need to submit your supporting documents. You can upload them into the online service or have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment. Any children aged 6 and over who are applying on your application must also provide biometric information.


You must not travel outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Otherwise, your application will be withdrawn.


You can submit your application as soon as you meet all the eligibility requirements. You do not need to wait until your current visa expires but you must be in the UK to apply.


How long does it take?


It will take up to 6 months from your application date to know whether your application has been successful if you use the standard service.


You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service where you will get a decision by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday or 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend.


There is a number of reasons why an application can be delayed, but most commonly it will be failure to provide all the required documentation and/or the need to attend an in-person interview.


To help avoid such potential delays, please contact us to assist with your visa application so that avoidable delays and/or refusals can be dealt with at the application stage.


What are the fees?


The fee depends on what you are applying for.


What you are applying for Fee
Indefinite leave to remain £2404
Extend your stay £1048


There is no fee for having your biometric information taken.


What about family members?


Your family members (dependants) can apply separately if they are eligible for indefinite leave to remain with long residence. A dependant is your partner or child.


If your dependants are not eligible to apply separately and your application for settlement is successful, they can apply to remain in the UK as the partner of a settled person or remain in the UK as the child of a settled person.


Your children may have to leave the UK of they are not eligible to apply separately and are over 18.


Indefinite leave to remain – granted


Once you are granted indefinite leave to remain, you can do the following:

  • Work
  • Run a business
  • Study
  • Use public services such as healthcare and schools
  • Apply for public funds and pensions
  • Apply for citizenship usually after a minimum of 12 months


At Lisa’s Law, we regularly assist in applying for Indefinite Leave to remain applications. We will advise and represent you throughout the process. Contact us to start your application today.


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