On 15 March 2022, the UK Government published a new statement of changes introducing several amendments to the immigration rules, including significant changes to the rules involving children’s route to settlement.

In this article, Immigration partner Christine Chiew and paralegal Chelsea Qu explain the key changes for children’s route to settlement and how you can apply.

To read the Chinese version of this article, please click here.

What are the current rules?

Currently, if a child (regardless of whether born inside/outside the UK) has lived in the UK continuously for 7 years, the child is able to apply for leave to remain under the 10 years route.

What has changed?

Paragraph 276ADE(1) of the Immigration Rules, which governs permission to stay on private life grounds, is going to be replaced by a new ‘Appendix Private Life’.

This will mean:

Children born inside the UK

  1. A child who is born and has lived in the UK continuously for 7 years will now be able to apply for settlement immediately instead of limited leave to remain. This avoids the need for children to apply for extensions repeatedly.
  2. A child born in the UK who has lived in the UK for less than 7 years may be added as a dependant to a person on a private life route in certain circumstances to allow them to regularise their immigration status.

Children born outside the UK

  1. A child who is born outside the UK but who has lived in the UK continuously for 7 years will be able to apply for settlement after 5 years rather than 10 years as is the case at present.

Other changes

  1. Other applicants on the private life route will still need to complete 10 years’ residence in the UK after being granted permission before they can get settlement. However, more positively, applicants will be able to combine time on family and private life routes towards the qualifying period, rather than having to ‘reset the clock’ on the qualifying period if their circumstances change (though they will need to complete at least 1 year in their current route). The current rule is that 10 years’ continuous leave has to have been spent just on the private life route.
  1. Applicants for settlement will be able to rely on GCSEs, A Levels or equivalent Scottish Higher qualifications in English language following education in a UK school to show they meet the English language requirement.

British citizenship

Children (regardless of whether born inside/outside the UK) will be able to apply to register as British citizens after 12 months of obtaining their settlement status.

When do the changes take effect?

These changes will take effect from 20 June 2022. Any applications made before this date will be considered under the current rules.

If you would like more information on the Child settlement route, please contact Christine Chiew using the below details.

For further information please contact:

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.