Leading Immigration Lawyers With Over 9000 Applications Approved
Call +44 (0)333 414 9244 | Mon - Sun, 8.30am -6pm

20 Years Long Residence

The 20 years long residence category permits applicants to apply for permission to remain in the United Kingdom for 30 months. A person who has continuously resided in the United Kingdom for 20 years, whether legally or illegally, is eligible to apply for permission to remain in the country.

For more information about the 20 years long residence route, including what you need to do to be eligible for it, how to apply, and expert advice for your application, reach out to us today on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.



Obtaining “long-term settlement” or “permanent residence,” also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) according to the Immigration Rules, is the ultimate goal for many immigrants in the UK. ILR is often acquired by residing in the UK for an extended period of time.

Alternatively, ‘long residency’ in the UK for extended periods of time can result in Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Those who have lived in the UK continuously lawfully for at least 10 years are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The applicant must additionally demonstrate that their leave has always been legitimate, which requires that all fresh applications have been submitted on time or that the applicant has always departed the country before their leave expired, in addition to demonstrating their “continuous residence.”

Some people won’t be able to fulfil this legal obligation. Therefore, there is a second, 20-year route to indefinite leave to remain that people with overstaying concerns or other problems with immigration may be able to follow to normalise their status and progress towards getting ILR.

What Is The 20 Years Long residence Rule?

The 20-year rule requires that a person has been residing in the UK continuously for at least 20 years. It does not require that they have been doing so legally.

Continuous residence refers to living in the United Kingdom for an uninterrupted period of time. For these purposes, a period shall not be deemed broken if an applicant is away from the country for no more than six months at a time, provided that they have valid, limited entry or stay authorization at the time of departure and return.

What Kinds of Applicants Qualify for The 20-Year Rule?

To be eligible for permission to remain on the 20 years long residence route, an applicant must fulfil the following four criteria:

  • to submit a “Application to Remain in the UK on the Basis of Family Life or Private Life”;
  • to submit an application for leave that is legitimate by paying any applicable fees, appearing at a biometrics appointment, submitting a passport or other acceptable photo identification, and being present in the UK on the application’s submission date;
  • not being subject to rejection due to ineligibility;
  • having spent at least 20 years continuously residing in the UK;

In order to qualify the relevant immigration rules, applicants must demonstrate that they have lived in the UK continuously for one period of 20 years, with no breaks that would be considered significant.

This implies that over the 20 years they are counting on, they should not have had any absences that lasted more than six months at a time, and they should not have been outside of the UK for more than 550 days in total.

The applicants should not have been deported, removed, or have left the UK as a result of an application being denied, and they shouldn’t have done so without having the reason that they would be able to return to the UK legitimately. Documentary evidence is also needed to apply for this route.

What Does Lawful Residence Mean?

The 20 years of residency must have been continuous and legal in order to be recognised under the 20 year norm.

Immigration rules defines “lawful residence” or lawful residence in the UK refers to a house that has been occupied continuously in accordance with:

  • existing permission to enter or stay in UK lawfully; or
  • temporary entry under section 11 of the Immigration Act of 1971 (as it then stood), or immigration bail under section 11 of the 1971 Act, in the event that later permission to enter or stay is granted; or
  • a waiver of immigration restrictions, such as when a waiver loses its validity if a grant of permission to enter or stay is issued right away after it.

Contact IAS immigration for more information on how to apply for 20 years long residence.

Procedure to Apply for 20 Years Long Residence

You must provide credible evidence to support your 20-year residency claim, demonstrating that you have been in the UK nonstop for that whole time. The documentary evidence may consist of:

  • Banking records
  • Accommodation or housing records
  • Statements of earnings and other work-related documentation, such as letters from your company

You may apply using the online application form to submit a request.

You must provide biometric data and supporting papers, such as your passport and evidence of 20 years of continuous residence in the UK.

If a candidate’s case is very complicated, they can be ordered to attend an interview.

You may get help from our IAS immigration lawyers preparing the appropriate supporting documentation for your application. Please contact us by phoning us on 0333 305 9375 if you need our help.

What Prevents An Applicant from Qualifying for The 20 Years Long Residence Rule?

The only criteria that must be met in order to qualify for the 20-year rule are the following:

  • utilising the proper form,
  • submitting a valid application,
  • avoiding rejection due to “suitability requirements,”
  • and having lived in the UK continuously for at least 20 years.

As a result, if a candidate has lived in the UK continuously for 20 years, their application may only be denied on the basis of appropriateness (usually due to reasons of public good) or if it is invalid (for instance, if the proper fee was not paid).

“Continuous residence” shall be deemed to have ended upon any absence lasting more than six months or, in some cases, upon departure from the UK. The clock will effectively restart whenever there is a break in the continuous residence.

A person who is not currently located in the UK is unable to submit an application based on their 20 years of continuous residence in the UK. The settlement path is a ten-year commitment and is part of the longer residency route that lasts twenty years.

Those who want to depend on their 20 years of long residence in order to stay in the UK will find that there is no 5-year road to settlement available to them.

Other Rules on Long Residence

The 25-year-old “Half of Life” Rule

Those between the ages of 18 and 24 who have lived continuously in the UK for half of their lives are eligible to apply for leave to stay under Appendix Private Life. After 30 or 60 months of legal residence in the UK, successful candidates will be entitled for an indefinite leave of absence.

Family and Kid Residency Requirements for Seven Years

A kid who has been in the UK for seven years may be eligible for leave to stay under Appendix Private Life of the immigration law if they can demonstrate that it would not be “reasonable” for them to leave the country.

Children who fit these criteria and were born in the UK may get instant, indefinite entry into the country. Non-UK citizens are eligible for 30 or 60 months of leave, and after 60 consecutive months of leave, they become eligible for indefinite leave.

Contact our qualified immigration lawyers today to help you with your 20 years long residence application.

Events that Break Continuous Residence

The term “continuous residence” has a specific connotation in relation to immigration laws. In the 20-year option, you cannot:

  • been absent from the UK for more than six months at a time;
  • spent more than 550 days overall throughout the 20-year residency term outside of the UK;
  • a visa denial resulted in removal, deportation, or departure from the UK;
  • without having a reasonable expectation that you may legally return to the UK at the time of your departure over the preceding 20 years.

According to immigration rules, the regulations don’t require that you have been present in the UK lawfully. Because of this, the Home Office may not consider all of your 20 years to have been spent in the country legally, even if they did. For instance, if you overstayed a work or family visa or another kind of temporary leave of absence.

You are still eligible to apply under the 20-year rule even if you served a criminal conviction during that time. However, the period of detention is not included in the 20 years long residence requirement.

The Long Residence guidance confirms that a person’s long residence is not interrupted if he or she moves or departed the United Kingdom before November 24, 2016, but after the expiration of their leave to remain, applied for a new entry clearance within 28 days of the expiration of their previous clearance, and returned within six months.

How IAS Can Help

The 20 years long residence rule does include a lot of requirements, and candidates must be informed of all the regulations and exceptions that may disqualify them. Nevertheless, these are not impossible to overcome, and those who follow the guidelines will succeed.

The applications are complicated. As immigration lawyers, we can help you to encounter significant obstacles and prepare the supporting documents.

We are immigration lawyers which are expert in relevant immigration rule to obtain indefinite leave and help you to be successful applicants.

Immigration Advice Service can help you with our expertise. We have helped a lot of people successfully migrate, granted indefinite leave, lived in the UK, becoming British citizen, and proceed 20 years long residence route without significant obstacle. Call us on 0333 305 9375.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents will appear here.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is crucial to stress that a person submitting an application in accordance with the 20-long residency criteria must not be rejected due to the suitability requirements. Applications must be rejected where the applicant has received a prison sentence of more than 12 months, is a repeat criminal, or committed an act that resulted in significant injury.

It’s a prevalent misperception that a successful application for Indefinite Leave to Remain or “settlement” under the 20-year rule is automatically granted.

On the contrary, a successful application under the 20-year rule only permits the applicant to normalise their status by being granted restricted permission to stay for 30 months, via the so-called “private life route.”

A sort of permission to stay known as discretionary leave is granted to a person in violation of the regulations that govern immigration on a standard basis. The use of discretionary leave is something that is only sanctioned in very unusual circumstances and is meant to cover extraordinary and compassionate situations.

Related Posts

Architectural building with Canadian flag on top
17 May 2024

Open Work Permit Canada for Nigerians

Canada has a growing economy that allows immigrants to explore different career Opportunities. Nigerian citizens who wish to work in Canada can be granted an open work permit provided the employee and employer meet the eligibility requirements.
For further information on how to apply for an open work permit, contact The Immigration Advice Service (IAS) at +23413438882 and +44 (0) 3316300929. Our immigration lawyers are ever ready to help you with the application process.

Read Article
Silver, antique Canadian coin
17 May 2024

Canada Visa Requirements for Nigeria

If you are a Nigerian looking to go to Canada, you must apply for a Canadian Visa to work, visit or study there.

Read Article
Two friends standing together on street in America
17 May 2024

Easiest Way to Get American Visa from Nigeria

If you’re a Nigerian waiting to visit the US, you’ve probably heard about an easy way to get an American visa. However, there’s no easy visa; you must meet the necessary requirements.
For more information about applying for an American Visa from Nigeria, including support and advice about the process, or any other queries you might have, then call our immigration experts today at +23413438882 and +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.

Read Article
Nigeria welcome sign on white arch
17 May 2024

Entry to the UK from Nigeria

To live and work in the UK, you will need a visa. This guide will give you all the information you need about the type of visa you should apply for and other criteria you need to consider when making an application for entry to the UK from Nigeria.

Read Article
Nigerian man wearing purple coloured shirt
17 May 2024

How Much Is Priority UK Visa in Nigeria?

If you are applying for a UK visa to either stay short-term or settle there, you can apply to fast-track your visa application from Nigeria if you need to obtain a visa at short notice.
Immigration Advice Service (IAS) are available to advise you on the different fees and processing times depending on your visa and what level of priority you require. Call us today on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 or you can contact us online.

Read Article
Student stepping outside, through glass door
17 May 2024

Study Gap for UK Student Visa from Nigeria

You may want to take a break from your studies before applying to study in the UK; but do study gaps impact your UK Study visa and do UK universities offer courses for international students?
Immigration Advice Service (IAS) can help you apply for a Study visa in the UK and provide advice on your study gap. Call us on +44 (0) 3316300929 and +23413438882, or message us online.

Read Article

Get in touch with our team

Learn about our professional services and find out how we can help.

Contact Us