Are you in the UK without a visa?

 You may be able to regularise your status.

Relationship with a settled person

The Home Office will have to be satisfied that there are “insurmountable obstacles” that would lead to your relationship being unable to continue overseas. The Immigration Rules describe this as a very significant difficulty which cannot be overcome, and which would cause serious harm to you, your partner or any children that you may have.


This is a very high standard to meet, and a visa on this basis is generally only granted in extreme situations, such as, for example, if there are serious medical issues that mean that your partner cannot safely leave the UK, or if you come from an unsafe country where it would not be reasonable for the Home Office to expect you and your partner to live.

Children in the UK

If you have children who are British or settled in the UK, and they live with you or you take an active part in their upbringing, you can make an application to be allowed to remain on that basis. If your children are in the UK illegally, or with visas but not settled in the UK, they will need to have lived here for seven years.


The Home Office have a duty to consider the welfare of all children who are in the UK, but this is not the only issue that they will look at, and they will consider whether it is “reasonable” to expect a child to leave the UK to continue their relationship with you.  You will need to satisfy the Home Office that you have close ties with your child, and that the child in turn has close ties with the UK.

Length of time in the UK

Once you have lived in the UK for a number of years you can apply for leave to remain on the basis of the private life you have developed during your time in this country. The number of years you have to show that you have lived in the UK depends upon your age at the time that you apply.


Children who have lived in the UK for seven years or more can apply, though you will need to show that it would not be “reasonable” to expect them to leave the UK. Young people aged between 18 and 25 can apply if they have lived in the UK for at least half their lives, and people older than 25 can apply once they have lived in the UK for at least 20 years.


These are very evidence-based applications, and it is always for an applicant to prove both that they have lived in the UK for the required number of years, and the closeness of their ties with the UK.


The Immigration Rules also allow applications from people who have lived in the UK for less than 20 years, but have lost all ties with their home country, including all social, cultural or family ties. This means that you have to prove that you have no friends in your own community, and that you haven’t spoken to your family since you left your home country. As these are almost impossible to prove, it is very difficult to make a successful application on this basis.

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