We have recently been successful in representing a client who has been living in the UK for more than 20 years in their application for leave to remain on human rights grounds. This is despite the fact that the client had very little evidence to support their application.


Keep reading to find out how we helped our client obtain leave to remain.




Our client originally entered the UK in 1999 on a student visa. She did not apply for any leave after her student visa expired in 2000.


In 2022, she applied for leave on human rights grounds. She provided little evidence in her application of her residence in the UK. We advised the client that in these circumstances we would want a number of witnesses to support her application. As per our advice, she relied heavily on witness statements.


Her application was refused by the Home Office because she had not provided sufficient evidence for every year to show that she had lived in the UK for 20 continuous years. She also could not show that there would be significant obstacles to her integration in returning to her home country. Furthermore, the Home Office believed there were no exceptional circumstances. Overall, there was a complete lack of documentation in the case.


Despite having little evidence, we advised the client that she should appeal and that all seven of her witnesses should attend the court to give evidence in support of her continuous residence in the UK.


Accordingly, we proceeded with an appeal against the refusal of the decision.


Legal framework


The law recognises that a person is considered to have built a private life that is protected by the European Convention of Human Rights if they have lived in the UK for at least 20 years.


The relevant framework is Immigration Rules 276ADE  which states:


The requirements to be met by an applicant for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK are that at the date of application, the applicant:


  • does not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-LTR 1.1 to S-LTR 2.2. and S-LTR.3.1. to S-LTR.4.5. in Appendix FM; and
  • has made a valid application for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK; and
  • has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment)


Appeal Decision


Generally, the Home Office requires the applicant to provide a lot of evidence to prove their 20-year continuous residence such as receipts, utility bills, tenancy agreement, official letters etc.


We asked the client why she did not have these documents. She explained that she had spent most of her time looking after her grandchildren over the past 23 years and socialising with her family. She did not register for any utilities as these were taken care of by her children. She explained she did not ever require medical treatment and therefore there were no GP records.


In light of this, we believed that her grandchildren’s evidence would be considered of great importance at the appeal hearing as she had helped raise them from children to adults. We advised our client that the grandchildren should provide evidence in person for the appeal and explain what care their grandmother/our client had given throughout the years to them. The Tribunal gave significant weight to the grandchildren’s evidence. The client had also socialised with her other relatives regularly. These relatives gave evidence as witnesses to prove that the applicant had lived in the UK for 20 continuous years.


We also included photographs in our bundle of each year our client was in the UK. Although there were no date stamps in the photo, we argued that as the years progressed, it can be seen that not only is the client getting older, but the children have become teenagers, and then adults. We provided in-depth details of the photos, such as where the photo was taken, who was in the photo, and whether they were witnesses. The court gave this evidence significant weight.


We received the decision today confirming that she was granted leave to remain in the UK. The client and her witnesses were all ecstatic. The client can now live with her family without fear of removal, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.


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