This visa category can benefit migrants who have come to the UK illegally or those who have come to the UK legally but have become overstayers. The Home Office refers to this visa type as the “private life” category, and it is a way of regularising illegal immigration status.

Migrants under this route must, first of all, apply for limited leave. If their application is successful they will be granted leave for 30 months, and they can apply to extend this leave when it is due to expire. Only after they have spent 120 months (ie ten years) on limited leave in total in this category can they apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The rules about applications for limited leave are fairly complex. In the case of an adult, in some cases, the applicant must have spent at least 20 years in the UK illegally or partly illegally before they can apply. In other cases, an adult may not need to have spent as long as 20 years in the UK, depending on their age and the circumstances of the case. In the case of a child under 18, they may be able to apply if they have spent at least seven years in the UK.

There is no English language requirement for the limited leave application but there is an English language and Life in the UK test requirement for the indefinite leave to remain application.