20 year rule on long residence
20 year continuous residence, which could be legal or illegal
20 Year Long Residence
Under the 20 year rule, a person does not have to have lived in the UK lawfully, but simply “continuously”.
The definition of “continuous residence” is almost the same as for the 10 year lawful residence route. However, time spent in prison will not break continuous residence. Instead, time in prison will simply not be counted towards the period of residence. Time before and after imprisonment can be aggregated to make up the full amount of time.
The only requirements to meet under the 20 year rule are:
- not falling for refusal under suitability grounds, i.e. be a person of good character;
- making a valid application for leave; and
- having lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years
If the application is successful, an individual will be granted limited leave to remain for a period of 30 months. It will usually have a condition of “no recourse to public funds” attached to it.
A person will then be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain once they have accumulated a period of 120 months (i.e. 10 years) lawful residence. So, under the 20 year rule, it will be 30 years from entry to the UK before the person is eligible to apply for settlement.
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