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Home / Blog / Uncategorised / Can I submit a leave to remain application to the Home Office if I have lived in the UK for 20 years without any leave? – Asif Hanif (Henry Hyams Solicitors)


Can I submit a leave to remain application to the Home Office if I have lived in the UK for 20 years without any leave? – Asif Hanif (Henry Hyams Solicitors)

The information provided in this blog does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice please contact our expert immigration team who will assist you with any queries you may have. We are highly experienced with all immigration matters. Please visit Review a Solicitor and see for yourself how our immigration team has been highly rated by existing Clients of the Firm.

In short, the answer to this question is “YES”. However, there are certain requirements that you must fulfil when applying to remain in the UK, based on twenty years of continuous residence.

Do the Immigration Rules provide for such applications?

Yes. Paragraph 276ADE of the Immigration Rules sets out the requirements for such applications.

What are the requirements for such applications?

In brief, if you intend to rely on this particular rule, then you must demonstrate the following:

• You do not fall foul of the “suitability grounds” under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules (for example your removal from the UK is conducive to the public good, this generally applies if you have a criminal record, but also covers other matters)

• Apply using the correct application form and pay the correct accompanying Home Office fee (not applicable, if you qualify for a fee waiver – I will explore fee waiver applications in further details in forthcoming blogs, so watch this space!)

• Must have lived in the UK “continuously” (note: not “lawfully”) for 20 years

Is it really that easy?

Not quite! You are only able to demonstrate your 20 years of residence in the UK if you have evidence of your initial entry to the UK. In most cases, this is easy, as some Applicants enter the UK via the normal channels and have a stamp confirming the entry date.

Having overstayed in the UK (for whatever reasons they may have), they are then able to rely on that initial entry date to prove their continuous residence in the UK for the last 20 years.

I do not have a Passport; can I still rely on this provision?

Well…it depends. If you are amongst those individuals without any Passport to demonstrate your arrival in the UK, then you will need to submit extensive evidence with your application, demonstrating that you have resided in the UK for the last 20 years.

This is where your competent legal team will guide you, and advise you, on the best evidence to submit, based on your particular circumstances, to demonstrate your continuous residence in the UK for the last 20 years.

Without evidence of twenty years of continuous residence in the UK, your application will not be successful.

If I am successful in this application will I get Indefinite Leave to Remain?

There seems to be a misconception amongst people, that if you are successful in your initial application under this route, you will be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR).

I can see why this misconception exists – probably because, those individuals who have resided in the UK “lawfully” for “10” years, similarly submit a long residence application and are granted ILR.

The difference in the twenty-year route is that the Applicant does not have “lawful” residence, hence, if successful, you will be granted a two and a half year visa, and you will be placed on the ten-year route to settlement.

This means, you must continue renewing your leave to remain, 28 days before your leave expires, and build up your 10 years “lawful” residence in the UK, after which you will be eligible for ILR.


As with all immigration applications, thorough preparation is vital in such applications.

A majority of these applications are refused, owing to the lack of documentary evidence submitted with the application. In order to submit a strong application, your circumstances need to be addressed and analysed before a qualified Immigration Solicitor, so that he/she may advise you on how to prepare your application in the best possible way, so that a true and accurate reflection of your circumstances are before the Home Office, ultimately leading to a successful grant of your visa.

How much does this visa cost?

I am sure you have been thinking about this question whilst reading this article.

Nothing is free, right? Well, sometimes they are!

If you are able to demonstrate, that you do not have the financial resources to pay the Home Office fee, then you will be eligible to submit a Fee Waiver application. If approved, you will be exempt from paying any Home Office fee. Your legal team will be able to discuss your financial status with you and assess your circumstances carefully, before advising you on the strength of your potential Fee Waiver application.

However, if you have the financial resources, i.e. you have family and friends to financially assist you then, the Home Office fee is as follows:

• Application fee: £1052.20
• Immigration Health Surcharge: £1560.00

Why should I instruct Henry Hyams Solicitors?

At Henry Hyams Solicitors we have a specialist Immigration team that has over 30 years of combined experience in assisting our Clients with such applications and we have a very high success rate. Our Client reviews reflect our work ethos. In respect of our legal fee, we offer a competitive fixed-fee service, so there are no nasty surprises at the end.

If you would like to discuss your leave to remain application then please contact our immigration team. Henry Hyams has a highly experienced immigration team to guide you at every stage of your application. Henry Hyams Solicitors have been providing legal advice for over 80 years. We have experienced solicitors who have been providing immigration advice, assistance to clients nationally and internationally for many years.

Asif Hanif
Immigration Solicitor at Henry Hyams Solicitors, Oxford House, Oxford Row, Leeds, LS1 3BE

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