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16 April 2024

Updates to the 10 years long residence settlement route

On 11 April 2024, the British Government introduced changes to the rules around 10 years’ long residence. Find out more in our blog.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Image of a British flag outside Westminster Palace to represent 10 years long residence

11 April 2024 was a busy day, with there being changes to several different aspects of UK immigration rules, including a 10-year extension to Sponsor Licences, and the salary requirement for a Spouse Visa was increased to £29,000 a year. These changes can be seen in our immigration rule updates timeline

However, a change that went somewhat under the radar was an update to the rules for 10 years’ long residence. This is an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) route that is somewhat uncommon due to the requirements, yet it is still available for those who can get it. 

The updates clarify some of the rules around 10 years’ long residence, making the requirements much clearer than they previously were. 

What are the changes to the 10 years long residence route?

There are a few different changes to this route that have been introduced. We will go through them below.

Time period for permission to stay in the UK

Essentially, you will need to have been in the UK on your current visa or other route for at least a year before you can apply for 10 years’ long residence. 

This change means that even if you have been in the UK for a combined period of 10 years on valid visas, that you may still have to wait even longer before you can get ILR. 

You will no longer be able to apply for ILR through the 10 year route if you are currently in the UK on a visa that lasts a year or less. Instead, you will have to try and get a visa that allows you to be in the UK for more than a year. 

Clarified requirements for long residence

The rules have also been updated to clearly state what the actual requirements for the 10 years’ long residence route are, such as which visas and other routes count towards it. 

They also now clarify what does and does not break continuous long residence in the UK. For example, the following have been stated as not impacting your long residence if the situations cause you to be outside of the UK for more than 180 days in a year:

  • Travel disruptions caused by natural disasters, conflicts, or pandemics 
  • Assisting with providing humanitarian aid or with an environmental crisis if sponsor has agreed to it
  • Accompanying your partner overseas who is either a member of the armed forces, a UK government employee, or a permanent member of the British Council   
  • Compassionate grounds such as the applicant or a family member having a life-threatening illness, or the death of a family member
  • Research activity on a Skilled Worker Visa which was approved by your sponsor in specific roles, such as if you are a scientist
  • Absent from the UK for work, to study, or to support family overseas, as long as the family have maintained a family life and permanent residence in the UK
  • Carrying out research endorsed by official bodies under the Global Talent Visa route 

Amount of time you can be absent from the UK for

Finally, there are also changes to how long you can be absent from the UK for without breaking your continuous long residence. Previously, you could leave the UK for a maximum 184 days at once, with an overall limit of 548 days within a ten-year period. 

Now, you cannot leave the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period. There is no longer an overall maximum number of days that you can leave the UK for, meaning that you can now leave the UK for more than 548 days in a 10-year period. 

However, it should be noted that this change will not apply retroactively to those who left the UK before 11 April 2024. You will still be bound to the old rules. 

How can I get ILR through the 10 year route?

Previously, you would have just needed to have been in the UK for 10 years on a combination of different types of visas to qualify for ILR through long residence. 

However, the Visitor Visa, Short-term Study Visa, Seasonal Worker Visa, and any of the older versions of these routes do not count towards ILR at all. 

All of these rules still apply, you just need to also be currently on a visa that lasts for more than a year as of the new changes. 

Also, there are other requirements you will have to meet, such as passing a Life in the UK Test, and proving your knowledge of the English language. You can learn more about the different requirements in our guide on 10 years’ Indefinite Leave to Remain

How we can help

Over the years, our expert immigration law team have helped countless clients with their application for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you think you might be eligible for ILR through the 10 years’ long residence route, or just want UK visa application guidance, then we can help. 

You can book a free 10-minute consultation with a member of our team to discuss your issue and see how we might be able to help you. If it is determined that we can help you, then you can book a longer, paid consultation that will last either 30 minutes, or an hour; the length depends on what you choose. 

The team member who initially takes your call will be your point of contact within the company, and you can ask them any questions that you may have. They are happy to help. 

If you think we can help you, then get in touch with us today.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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