Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is an immigration status that allows you to remain in the UK without any time limit and free from immigration control. It allows you to work, study, live in the UK and claim qualifying benefits. ILR can be used as a path to British Citizenship.

If you have lived in the UK for 10 continuous years, you may be eligible for the 10 Years’ Long Residence ILR route. To qualify for this ILR route, you must have legally resided in the UK for 10 years without breaks and meet all of the relevant criteria.

Much like the 5 Years’ ILR route, you must not only meet the eligibility requirements for the 10 Years’ Long Residence ILR route, you must also put forward a convincing application about your UK history to the Home Office to increase your chances of success.

The lawyers at QC Immigration have extensive experience in successfully submitting ILR applications for both the 5 and 10-year routes and will be able to give you the guidance that you need to submit a comprehensive and strong case.

10-Year route requirements

To successfully obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain through the 10 Years’ Long Residence route, you must have met all of the terms of your past visas and have legally resided in the UK continuously for 10 years.

In addition, you must meet the following general requirements:

  • You have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years
  • You have permission to stay in the UK (‘Leave to Remain’)
  • You have complied with the terms of your visa
  • You have passed the Life in the UK Test
  • You have met the Knowledge of the English language requirement

English Language Requirements and Life in the UK Test

If you are aged 18 to 64 years old, you must meet both the English Language and Life in the UK Test requirements known as ‘Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK’ (KoLL).

  1. You may meet the knowledge of the English language requirements, which can be satisfied by having an academic degree taught or research completed in English, or by passing an accepted Secure English Language Test (SELT) at level B1 or above. You may be exempt from the English language requirement, if you are from a majority English speaking country.
  2. You must further pass the Life in the UK Test.

Doctors, dentists, nurses or midwifes who have previously been granted leave under Tier 2 (General), do not need to meet the English language requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The exemption only applies to the knowledge of English language requirement and they are still required to satisfy the Knowledge of Life in the UK.

You may be exempt from any or both the above KoLL requirements because of your age, a physical or mental condition, or being one of the below:

  • victims of domestic violence
  • foreign and Commonwealth citizens on discharge from HM Forces (including Gurkhas)
  • highly skilled migrants applying under the terms of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) judicial review, and their dependants
  • bereaved spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners or same-sex partners of people present and settled in the UK
  • parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives of people present and settled in the UK, applying under paragraph 317 of the Immigration Rules, even if they are aged between 18 and 64
  • adult dependent relatives, under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, even if they are aged between 18 and 64
  • retired persons of independent means
  • people applying for ILR as a refugee
  • people applying for ILR on the basis of discretionary leave
  • people applying for ILR on the basis of humanitarian protection
  • people applying for ILR outside the Immigration Rules, for example under discretionary arrangements such as those for Gurkhas, widows, overage dependants and orphans
  • people applying for ILR as a stateless person


You will need to submit your application with the relevant documentation in order to successfully apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain through 10 Years’ Long Residence. This includes your current passport (or another valid ID), your Biometric Residence Permit or your police registration certificate, if you have one, as well as every past passport that you have held throughout your 10 years of stay in the UK where available.

You may also need to submit additional documents depending on your circumstances. As a QC immigration client, we will provide you with a list of documents that is customised to your case.

How the team at QC Immigration can help

QC Immigration specialises in 10 Years’ Long Residence Indefinite Leave to Remain applications. We have maintained an exceptional success rate, even when handling complicated cases. Contact us now to discuss your unique case.

Our London-based team of lawyers will be able to offer you a comprehensive approach and practical guidance, to help you put together a thorough and clear application that has a good chance of being accepted. This can be done remotely, or in-person as we work with clients seeking to gain access to the UK from across the globe.

Bringing on legal professionals to advise you and help you shape a strong application is highly advisable. Having to deal with an appeal or an administrative review can prove to be a drawn-out and costly process. Therefore, it’s best to do what you can in order to be successfully granted ILR on the first attempt.

If you would like to use our services, please get in touch with us. You can contact one of our skilled immigration lawyers online. Book your consultation today and begin your application for ILR through 10 Years’ Long Residence.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much does the application cost?

The application fee is £2,404. You will also have to consider additional costs such as legal advice and biometric information (£19.20).

What is continuous residence?

Continuous residence can be defined as time spent lawfully in the UK without any excessive periods of absences or overstaying.

How many absences am I allowed during the 10 years’ qualifying period?

You can leave the UK during the 10 years’ residence for up to 6 months at a time and 18 months in total. We can guide you on how to calculate your absences to meet the legal requirements.

Which English test qualifications fulfil the requirement for knowledge of English?

You can see a list of all the English test qualifications that fulfil the requirement for knowledge of English by clicking here.

Can I lose my Indefinite Leave to Remain if I am away from the UK?

You may lose your Indefinite Leave to Remain status if you leave the UK for 2 consecutive years unless you have exceptional reasons. Our team at QC Immigration has helped clients reinstate their Indefinite Leave to Remain successfully, contact us if you need help.

How can I prepare for the Life in the UK test?

You can prepare for the Life in the UK test by studying from the official guidebook, “Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide For New Residents”. We would also encourage you to take our free Life in the UK Quiz.

What is the processing time for ILR under the 10-year route?

Currently the Home Office published processing time for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 10-year route is approximately 6 months using the standard service. Subject to availability, you may be able to get a faster decision with the super priority service, at an additional cost of £800. The super priority service will provide you with a decision by the end of the next working day after your biometric appointment, if your biometric appointment is on a weekday.

What if my total absences exceed the limit?

We often come across clients who have spent substantial time away from the UK due to holidays, work, study, medical, or family reasons. These can sometimes lead to the total absences being over the limit. We can in certain circumstances request the Home Office to exercise discretion in disregarding the excess absences, please see examples here.

Can my family members also apply?

Your family members cannot be included in your application, but if they are also eligible for ILR via Long Residence, your dependants will be able to apply separately.

Indefinite Leave To Remain 10 Years’ Long Residence Infographic

Need more information?

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

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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.

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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