If you have accumulated at least 20 years of residence in the UK which includes periods of unlawful stay, you may be eligible to apply for Leave to Remain in the UK based on your Private Life. Paragraph 276ADE(1) of the Immigration Rules takes into account the time you have spent in the UK and your connections here.

private life visa path

Example of our successful client:

The client initially entered the UK on a Visitor Visa and overstayed. In addition, he had used different identities in the UK which made proving his continuous residence rather difficult. Furthermore, he kept barely any documentation from his earlier years in the UK. He worked for cash in hand to support himself. We were very resourceful in assisting the client to gather a plethora of strong evidence and presented compelling legal arguments to support his application. The client received Leave to Remain promptly, without any further questions from the Home Office.

If you would like to discuss your case with our team please get in touch.

Applying for a visa on the basis of Private Life

Evidence required for the 20 years long residence visa:


Should provide evidence of your residence in the UK throughout these years

X  Do not have to show that you have been previously living in the UK on a lawful basis (eg, if you had overstayed expired visa or entered the UK illegally)

X Do not have to fulfil English language requirements or income requirements

What if the application is successful?

If your application is successful, you would be granted Discretionary Leave to Remain for 2.5 years, on a 10-year route towards Settlement. You may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain by the 10th year of being on this Visa.

What are the conditions of your Visa

This Discretionary Leave will normally be subject to a condition of no access to public funds, unless you can provide evidence that you are entitled to the funds because you are destitute.

When to extend the Visa

You should apply for another 30 months’ leave, no more than 28 days before your current visa expires.

Unlawful stays in the UK under 20 years of residence

If you have had an unlawful stay in the UK but have not accumulated 20 years of residence here, you may still qualify for Leave to Remain based on your Private Life if you fulfil one of the following requirements:

  1. You are under 18 years old, and have lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years, and it would not be reasonable to expect you to leave the UK; or
  2. You are aged between 18 to 25, and have spent at least half of your life living continuously in the UK; or
  3. You are aged 18 years old and above, have lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years, but there would be very significant obstacles to your integration into the proposed country to which he would have to go if required to leave the UK.


Am I allowed to add my family members to the application?

You may add qualifying family members to your visa application. For example, if you are applying as a partner with children, you can all apply on the same application.

What does living ‘continuously’ mean?

A ‘continuous’ residence means living in the UK for an unbroken period. You:

Can be absent from the UK for a period of maximum 6 months at any one time, provided that you have an existing limited leave to enter or remain upon your departure and return.

X  Any time spent in prison. Nevertheless, time before and after that imprisonment can be added to make the full amount of time.

How do I show my UK ‘residence’ for the application?

Besides passports or travel documents covering the relevant period, you also have to show yearly evidence of residence in the UK from official or independent sources.

How do I meet the alternative ‘significant obstacles’ requirement?

This is a very high standard of proof, you will need to show that leaving the UK would lead to very serious hardship for you. The Home Office will consider if you will be able to integrate in your home country or the country they propose your return to. You bear the burden of proof that you will have ‘significant obstacles’ to that integration, such as risks of being prosecuted or discrimination because of your sexual or political orientation or faith. The decision-maker will consider all the relevant factors:

  1. Cultural background
  2. Length of time spent in the country of return
  3. Family, friends and social network
  4. Faith, political or sexual orientation or sexual identity

What if I cannot afford the private life visa application fee?

There is an online fee waiver request form which you may fill in if you:

  • Do not have a place to live and you cannot afford one
  • Have a place to live but cannot afford your essential living costs like food or heating
  • Have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing

How do I apply for this Private Life visa?

The application can be made online on the Home Office website.

QC Immigration has an exceptional success rate in cases with very complicated circumstances and immigration history. Contact us today to discuss the best strategy for presenting your Private Life application.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

Get In Touch


What do our users say

Thank you very much for your contribution and good job you have done for me and my family. Today, I feel that thanking you is not enough. You will remain in our hearts and we will always have this deepest and sincere regard for you, as you have always shown your kindness and your work have been appreciated by the whole family.

Long Residence Settlement (10 years) client – Mauritian

Qiyin is an extremely diligent and thorough immigration lawyer. She took the time to fully understand my case and application for the highly skilled migrant program. She was very careful to consider both the short and longer term issues related to my application and provided very balanced and frank advice. My highly skilled migrant visa was successfully renewed thanks to her advice and help. I highly recommend her.

Tier 1 (General) visa client – Singaporean

I would like to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us in the past few years! I am now finished with the whole process and had my UK Citizenship ceremony. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Entry Clearance Settlement (Spouse) visa client – Canadian

Thank you for all your help. I got the visa this morning and look forward to going on holiday. See you again in 30 months for the next visa.

PEO same-day service (Spouse leave to remain) client – Thai

We are so glad that our friend recommended you to help with our ILR application and we have no doubt it may have been a different story if we were applying without your support! We appreciate your professional approach and knowledge on immigration matters and wish your business well in the future (we are sure you will be very successful). Have no doubt we will be using your services for our application for Citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (Spouse) client – Russian

The QC Immigration team has proved an absolute star on the immigration front and my son’s fiancée is now happily settled, thank you again.

Partner (Fiancée) Settlement Visa – Brazilian

Many thanks for all your work on our application, especially since I contacted you on short notice! I contacted you on Sept 22nd and we signed up with you on/around Sept 27th! So we pulled this all together a little over 3 weeks.

Premium Service (Fiancée) Partner visa client – American

You have exceeded our expectations by saving us so much time and money when organising this! Thank you for also co-operating with our investment manager and accountant to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Tier 1 Investor (Super Premium Service) client – Chinese

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client - Dutch

EEA Permanent Residence client – Belgian

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch