Private Life in the UK
Have you lived in the UK for the required number of years?
The ‘private life’ route has replaced the old 14 year route, and allows people who have been in the UK for a considerable period of time to apply to regularise their stay. It offers some concessions that weren’t in the earlier Rules, but has taken away the immediate settlement that used to be granted after a successful application under the 14 year route. Now you only become eligible to apply for settlement 10 years after first being granted leave on the basis of your private life. There are four categories of eligibility under the private life route:
1. Children who have lived in the UK for at least seven years
Children who have lived in the UK for at least 7 years can apply, though you need to show that it would not be ‘reasonable’ to expect the child to leave the UK. What will be considered reasonable is not defined, but it is important to show how integrated the child is to life in the UK.
2. Young people aged between 18 and 25
Young people aged between 18-25 can apply if they have lived in the UK for at least half their lives.
3. People who have lived in the UK for at least 20 years
People who have lived in the UK for at least 20 years can also apply. These are very evidence-based applications, and so the more documents you have to show that you have lived in the UK for this length of time, and the more ties you can show to the UK, the greater the chance of your application being successful.
4. People who have lived in the UK for less than 20 years who can show that they have no ties at all with their home country
In the words of the Rules, no ties including social, cultural or family. In other words, you have to prove that you have no friends from your own community and haven’t spoken to your family since you left. It is almost impossible to make a successful application on this basis.