The Private Life Route to Settlement in the UK

The Private Life route offers one of the lesser-known immigration pathways to permanent settlement in the UK. Depending on your age when you came to the UK and how many years you have lived here, it may be possible to apply to stay and eventually settle on the basis of your right to a Private Life in the UK. In this article, we will outline the eligibility rules for the Private Life route to permanent settlement in the UK.

What is The UK Private Life Immigration Route?

The Private Life route offers a way for individuals to stay and then settle permanently in the UK on the basis that they have a private life here. The right to a private life is provided under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which states:

  • Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home, and his correspondence, and
  • There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety, or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Who Can Apply To Stay On The Basis Of Their Right To A Private Life?

Appendix Private Life provides three categories under which applicants can apply to settle in the UK based on their right to private life:

  • Children who have been continuously resident in the UK for 7 years and it would not be reasonable for them to leave
  • Young adults aged between 18 and under 25 who arrived in the UK as a child and have spent at least half their life continuously resident in the UK
  • Adults over the age of 18 who have continuously lived in the UK for more than 20 years. Where applicants have not lived here for more than 20 years, it is still possible to apply under this route if there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country where they would have to live if required to leave the UK.

The continuous residence rules mean that a Private Life applicant must not have spent more than 6 months outside the UK at any one time.

Under private life rules, successful applicants are normally granted permission to stay in the UK for up to 30 or 60 months.

When Can I Apply To Settle On The Basis Of My Right To A Private Life?

Having resided in the UK for a qualifying time of 5 or 10 years on the Private Life route, it is then possible to apply for Indefinite leave to remain (ILR). ILR means that you can live, work, and study in the UK on a permanent basis without being subject to immigration control. And after a further 12 months, it is then possible to apply for British citizenship and a UK passport. It is possible to apply for ILR on the basis of the right to private life where an applicant:

  • Has lived continuously in the UK since their birth and for at least 7 years and the Home Office is satisfied that it is not reasonable to expect them to leave the UK.
  • Has, or last had, permission to stay on the private life route as a child, or young adult who met the half-life test and has lived in the UK for a continuous qualifying period of 5 years
  • Those who are aged 18 or over and do not qualify under the 5-year route to settlement can apply if they have lived in the UK for a continuous qualifying period of 10 years.

Those applying for ILR must also pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements (to at least CEFR level B1).

Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. If you need any assistance with making an application under the Private Life route or any other immigration matter, please speak to one of our immigration Solicitors on tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form.

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