Applying for settlement under the 20 years long residence route

On 6 July 2012, the former 14-year route to settlement was replaced with the 20 years long residence visa. This means Applicants without immigration status in the United Kingdom must now reside continuously for 20 years before they can apply to regularise their status. Unlike other visas, the 20-year long residence route is the only visa application which does not require immigration status at the time of submission. If your application is successful you will be granted limited leave to remain with a view to settlement after 10 years of lawful residence.   

What is the 20 years long residence route?

Prior to 6 July 2012, Applicants without immigration status in the United Kingdom could apply for settlement under the Immigration Rules after 14 years. On 6 July 2012, the Home Office amended their rules and introduced a new provision under rule 276 in which Applicants without immigration status would have to wait 20 years before they could apply to regularise their status. The 20 years long residence route is for those who have been continuously resident in the United Kingdom for a consecutive 20 year period irrespective of their immigration status in the United Kingdom. The 20 years long residence route is an ideal choice for those are have not been able to secure their status and have been deemed as over-stayers.

What are the requirements for the 20 years long residence visa application?

The requirements for a 20 years long residence visa application are similar to the 10-year route. The key difference being there is no immigration status requirement for the 20 years long residence application. The requirements for this application can be found in the UK Immigration Rules and in particular under paragraph 276ADE of the Immigration Rules.

The main requirement for this application is that you must have lived continuously in the United Kingdom for at least 20 years. If you are claiming you have acquired 20 years of residence it is up to you to provide the correct evidence of the same. Without the correct evidence, your application will struggle as the Home Office may consider your case not to be credible. Continuous residence is defined in paragraph 276A of the Immigration Rules. Continuous residence will only be broken if you have absences which exceed 6 months in any given year in the qualifying period. In addition to this, you must also show that you meet the suitability requirements by showing that you are of good character. There is no statutory definition given to the term “good character” therefore there is no fixed way of showing that you have good character. If you have been convicted of a criminal offence and you subsequently received a custodial sentence your chance of applying for this visa becomes harder. However, it does not mean you cannot apply for this visa but it means your application must be prepared by specialist immigration solicitors who can prepare strong legal submissions using the legal framework in support of your case.

You can strengthen your case if you can show your ties and connections to the United Kingdom. The Home Office will always give consideration to Article 8 factors.

Will I get Indefinite Leave to Remain if my 20 years long residence application is successful?

The 20 years long residence visa can lead to indefinite leave to remain but it is not an automatic right. In most cases, the Home Office will issue a discretionary visa for a period of 30 months which must then be renewed at regular intervals (until you reach 120 months). Once you have acquired 10 years of lawful status in the United Kingdom you can then apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Using Legal Representation to submit a 20 years long residence visa application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a 20 years long residence visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your 20 years long residence visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully apply for a 20 years long residence visa application

Our team of solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client-tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your 20 years long residence visa application by providing you with advice from our leading team of solicitors before your matter even reaches the Home Office. We can assist you with the preparation of your 20 years long residence visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

If you need professional legal advice about submitting a successful 20 years long residence visa application please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.

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