One of the more generous aspects of UK immigration law is the fact that most visas (with the noteworthy exception of student visas) lead to Indefinite leave to remain, usually after five years residing in the UK.

Indefinite leave, a form of permanent residency in the UK, is a valuable asset for any migrant to have, it is in most cases a steppingstone to eventually becoming a British national, if that is what is desired.

The immigration rules do however state that if an individual has been in the United Kingdom for a period of 10 years then they can apply for indefinite leave to remain, if they do not qualify under the 5 year route for any reason.

1. You actually have to be in the UK for 10 years

It is not good enough to say that you were almost here for 10 years, but there is an exception in that so long as your leave to remain takes you beyond a 10 year mark you can apply 28 days beforehand for indefinite leave.

2. Have you been lawfully in the country for the whole of that period of time?

This can be a difficult question to answer as on occasion the Home Office will grant a Visa even if it was applied for late. Applying for a visa late does mean that your legal continuity is broken, but the Home Office have stated they will usually wave this if it is no longer than 10 days.

3. How long have you been outside the country?

The relevant rule requires that applicants for non-residents have not spent more than 540 days out of the country during the tenure period.

This is almost 18 months! Sounds generous, but bear in mind that many people come to the UK to study at the age of 16 or 18 and will often fly home during school holiday breaks which can often mean that they have spent a considerable number of days out of the country from that time.

4. Make sure you calculate your days out of the country correctly

A day where you are partly in the UK and partly outside of UK because that’s the day you travel does not count towards your days out of the country, the same is true for dates when you return back. This means that often overnight trips count as no days out of the country, which can be a relief!

5. Have you got any criminal history?

Make sure you have no serious criminal convictions and make sure you do not live at all on the phone, both a very serious matters can lead to refusal.

6. The Tricky 6 month rule.

Even if you have spent less than 540 days out of the country, if any one of those trips is more than six months or 180 days this can cause an issue as it is prohibited in the rules. Most clients do not have this problem but please be aware that this could be an issue.

7. Nationality has different residence requirements

Be aware that just because you qualify for indefinite leave under the 10 year rule that this does not mean that you will be able to apply for nationality immediately one year after obtaining in definitely. In the normal situation you’ll be able to do this, but please bear in mind that your day is out of the country for nationality are stricter you can spend no more than 90 days out of the country over the last five years, if you have done so the best thing to do is to wait until the more recent period in the UK is more consistent.

One thing you deafly don’t need to worry about is your financial situation, under the 10-year-old there is no specific requirement to earn a specific amount or have a minimum amount in savings.

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